As children, we learn ways to survive that are not always in harmony with or conducive to learning how to live life, be happy and enjoy our relationships. These things we learn from a young age become embedded in our cells. Changing these deeply held beliefs changes one’s life. It can take time to do this, but when you do, when you begin to have moments of deep recognition that you are hurting yourself by believing these to be true, then you can begin to choose a gentler, sweeter life.
Do you identify on some level with any of these?
Don’t be important
Don’t be you
Don’t grow up
Don’t be a child
Don’t be you
Don’t be close
Don’t be successful
Don’t be visible
Don’t feel attached
Don’t be well
We carry these beliefs in our bodies and cells, and they are held afloat like a life support system by what in TA are called Drivers (Tabi Kahler, 1975). These Drivers are what give us the tools to survive and make life work for us; the only problem is that they keep us from being happy, living life fully and enjoying our relationships.
The Please Others Driver person – feels responsible for making others feel good, and it may be vital for him/her to be liked. Avoids upsetting people even if they are wrong and lacks assertiveness. Takes criticism personally and allows people to interrupt him/her. Reads people’s minds instead of asking for the information they need! Often feels misunderstood when others don’t agree with him/her. This person needs to know in his/her cells and body that:
• It is okay to respect and consider myself
The Try Hard Driver Person – may not answer questions directly and invites others to try hard with him/her. Says, “I do not know”, when he/she does. Is committed to trying rather than succeeding and makes tasks huge. Too many questions and answers don’t relate to questions. Communication can be strained, and people get confused. He/she creates chaos with his/her time schedule; sabotages. This person needs to know in his/her cells and body that:
• It is okay to do it
The Be Perfect Driver person: gives more information than asked for so others understand correctly! Strives for perfection, believing that he/she is not okay if they are not perfect; high standards for self and others. Keeps making minor changes and drafts rather than the final version and can demotivate through criticism. This person needs to know in his/her cells and body that:
• It is okay to be myself
The Be Strong Driver person: holds in his/her feelings. Dislikes admitting weakness, self-critical; fears being unlovable so does not express his/her needs and gets overlooked rather than ask for help, it may be refused! The lack of emotional response makes others’ uncomfortable. This person needs to know in his/her cells and body that:
• It is okay to be open and to take care of my own needs
The Hurry-up Driver person: Believes he/she has to do everything right now, perhaps interrupting people and telling them to hurry. Makes mistakes in haste, quality of work can be poor and delays deadlines. Does not get to know people, feels like an outsider and has a crammed schedule. This person needs to know in his/her cells and body that:
• It is okay to take time