The Myth and Danger of Having a “Doing it Alone” Mindset
There is a comment I’ve been hearing a lot lately and it has to do with being stuck and feeling challenged.
And that comment is "I can do it alone" or “I have all the answers inside of me. I don’t need others to guide me…”
I’m curious where that belief comes from and what you think so be sure to comment below.
And I have a strong option about why I think it works against people to take this on…
It’s admirable for people to want to take responsibility for their personal life challenges.
And I think people can get confused about this belief when it may be more appropriate to reach out for help.
It is my experience that the idea of, “doing it alone” is an adaptation to what a person didn’t get growing up. Healthy support.
If the problem was created within a relationship doesn’t it make sense that it also needs to get cleared up... in relationship?
Let's go further…
Memory Influences Us
Science shows that our memory system is influencing 80-95% of our daily thinking. It’s a good idea that if we are not happy with the result we are getting, we take responsibility for what we might be doing that is contributing to that.
We need to investigate what else might be happening that is causing us to drift off course.
I don’t know about you but when I think of nearly ANY problem I have it usually involves others.
So, I think it is wise to ALWAYS consider engaging with another person instead of pulling away and trying to do things on your own…it can speed up resolution.
I also think this phrase is sometimes used as a cover up for an unconscious mis-trust of people.
Let's talk for a moment about the idea of doing it alone. Like I said, in some of my coaching calls I've noticed this pattern with people where they get this idea that they have all the answers inside then they develop this attitude that they have to do everything alone.
It has good intentions, but from my perspective after working with hundreds of people over the past 20 years, I think the timing is not right (to do it alone) for what they actually need in the moment.
What I see happening with people is when they think they have to do it alone, they're not considering the implications as it relates to the original source of the problem. (That makes them think they have to do it alone in the first place.) Many times, the problem began early in life in relationship with another person.
This is a time in our development when we are actually incapable of effectively rationalizing all the possible things that might be going on. Our limited ability causes us to take on thinking to adapt to the situation or future situations that resemble it. This is how dysfunctional beliefs get formed.
What ends up happening then, is our early life beliefs may be inaccurate about current day problems that may look similar but are not the same.
"Oftentimes we take on the position of 'Doing it alone...' when we actually should be reaching out to the person to update our old memory files!" Ed Ferrigan
In other words, the filters we are listening or responding through today are causing us to make decisions that are not grounded in current reality but rather from the past. You’ll know this to be true or not based on the outcomes you are getting. (If you are happy with your results then carry on!)
So doesn’t it makes the most sense to clear issues up with the person in real time today. This way your memory system has a chance to be “re-informed” so to speak.
Now, let's talk about trusting other people because I think the “I have to do it alone or I have all the answers inside of me” pattern is often closely related.
When I have a belief that I have to do it alone that can be the mask to cover up my mistrust of other people. And it’s easy to get confused between “I have all the answers inside of me” and “how do I resolve my issues with someone who has no idea what I went through or what they are doing.”
And so I invite you to think about that. Ask yourself, “is there a pattern of mistrusting others.” Maybe you mistrust men because you were emotionally or physically violated when you were younger. Or maybe it's women because you feel abandoned by your mom whatever that might be.
I think it’s worth taking some time to think about how trust plays into this formula of “doing it alone.”
There is another big reason for investigating this. In most cases I’ve worked with, when we don’t trust others there is a pretty good chance we don’t trust ourselves as well.
When we investigate our assumptions and inferences enough times we begin to learn better discernment. When we discern better we trust ourselves more.
"When we don’t trust others there is a pretty good chance we don’t trust ourselves as well." Ed Ferrigan
Let's look at an example: You hear something in a conversation and you draw an immediate conclusion from what that person said that makes you pull back. It’s almost a guarantee that what just happened there was you ran that information through a filter and the filter is based on old information – past information.
A good practice is if you want to start building more trust for yourself or men or women then listen to them without those filters. Practice noticing your filters and removing them or using ones that enhance the relationship.
Your goal is to see in slow motion how your past is leaking into the present and how it’s influencing you.
And please don’t make it wrong that you have listening filters. All people have them. It’s part of life. And you can also use them in your favor.
Testing In the Real World
Now, let’s put this in a real world context and wrap up this article…
Imagine for a moment you're in a heated conversation and having a negative reaction in your body and starting to pull away. If you were using the principles we’ve discussed above you would turn to that person and say, “can we pause for a moment because I'm noticing I'm pulling back” and I’m unable to hear you right now because I'm kind of shutting down or preoccupied with some negative thoughts.” (I go into great details about this in my How to Stop Fighting and Arguing Communications program as well)
The key is to say those words in such a way that you're curious why you're shutting down or why you're pulling away.
This is also a great practice for taking responsibility about your history and not blaming the other person for your reaction.
The amount of curiosity you have will assist you in getting to the underlying memory that is getting triggered.
When you approach your life this way with any conflict that might emerge, you are inching your way towards liberation.
Over time, as you practice curiosity, you are conditioning your unconscious mind to communicate to you where your intention is coming from.
Today, when I practice this I know what filter I used and my intention within milliseconds of scanning myself for “what just happened.” It’s very empowering to know once you make this internal adjustments to your memory-nervous system that your life continually gets better. Life trauma’s no longer have a grip on you.
Play the video above back a couple more times if you're still sorting this out. It’s worth the extra time spent because this is a common problem for all humans.
Post your questions below in the comments to let me know what questions you have or need clarity about and we’ll create a little dialogue going there.
And please share this with your friends. That’s how we build a community where we all become stronger as a result. So thanks for today. Enjoy the rest of your day. And I appreciate all your comments. Thank you.