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But where do the "I cant's" originate? How do they become imprinted? When do we internalize them as our own? Why do we do this? These are good questions and deserve a thoughtful response, but first it is essential that the issue of loyalty be addressed. Your parents brought you into the world. They gave you life, and nourished you so that you grew into who you are today. They are key people in the formation of your identity, your self-concept, and your orientation to the world. You have them to thank and to blame for how you turned out; they probably did the very best they could, given the information and the tools that were available to them at the time. parenting is a role for which we are ill prepared and untrained. For the most part, your parents raised you in much the same way that they themselves were parented. The legacy becomes passed down from generation to generation. Right or wrong, we hand down our psychological "parenting" in much the same way as we pass on family photographs, linens, heirlooms, and china. With photographs, you can draw your own conclusions. With psychological baggage, you usually inherit or construct a skewed picture of reality. So something will seem uninteresting or difficult or unpleasant, or I'm not sure that I can do it. Maybe I'll think "I don't really have time today, I'll do it tomorrow," which is self-talk; or I'll just think of it as something that I need to do, sometime in the vague future. That's procrastination, isn't it? If it's because I'm not sure I can do it, that's from a long history of messing things up, or if I'm not sure I can do it well, that's perfectionism. If there's a deadline, at the last minute the deadline may turn on my focus center and I get to it; if there's not a real deadline, I may never get it done.

If it's something that affects my wife, she may get on my case and become unpleasant enough that I go ahead and start, but that's not a good way to run a marriage. Anyway, once I get started, a task usually isn't as difficult or unpleasant as I'd imagined and I can usually go ahead and finish it. That's good, because we're talking about not getting started, but not being able to finish things is also a common ADD problem. What's Wrong with Demanding Moral Perfection? You are human, which means you are a fallible creature subject to mistakes in judgment. Situations may be morally uncertain, ambiguous, or subject to alternative interpretations about what is morally right. can and often do arise where you cannot possibly meet all of your moral standards. The demand for moral perfection is absolute, whereas rational moral duties or obligation permit exceptions. In addition to food, various nutritional supplements have been shown in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies (the "medical gold standard") to be effective in the body's fight against anxiety. Valerian root, Rhodiola, lemon balm, passionflower, kava kava, ginkgo biloba, and chamomile are all recommended by the American Psychiatric Association's Task Force on Complementary and Integrative Medicine as both effective and safe supplemental treatments for anxiety. Likewise, the journal Phytomedicine published a multi-center, randomized, double-blind study comparing the effectiveness of the lavender oil capsule Silexan with the prescription anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam (brand name, Ativan). Researchers found that Silexan was as effective as Lorazepam for fighting anxiety, with the added benefits of having no sedative-related side effects and no risk of dependence, both of which can be a serious concern with anti-anxiety medications. Consult your physician to determine which supplements will work best for you. You have an innate loyalty toward your parents because they are who they are. No matter how well or how poorly your parents treated you your innate loyalty toward your family overrides everything. Karen came in for a coaching session to find out which career she wanted to pursue. As we probed her likes and dislikes, her wants and dreams, she drew much of her information from childhood experiences, which is quite normal. During the conversation, clues began to leak out which were contrary to the ideal family picture she had previously recounted. The reality was antithetical to her rose-colored view. In fact, both her parents had been alcoholics; she was physically and mentally abused by her mother and her sister; and no real, honest communication ever took place in her home.

Not only is technology not making us happier but I believe it is also directly connected to our happiness spiraling downward. I visit over forty-five cities a year across the globe as a teacher, and speaker, leading seminars, workshops, and conferences. From this I am exposed to and work with a vast cross section of people in mostly large, industrial societies, and what I have observed is that an increasing number are dealing with issues of isolation and loneliness. We are starving for intimacy. I believe that one reason for this is that we are turning to technology for intimacy instead of turning to each other. We try to convince ourselves that three hundred virtual friends are better than five true friends. We are yearning for intimacy, yet as technology soars we find ourselves choosing to communicate through the least intimate form of communication available--text. Most children and teenagers do not use a Smartphone to talk at all; they send text messages--which is one step up from Morse code. We now have the ability to see and hear each other on the screen while we speak, but we'd rather communicate through text. (I think if someone came out with a Morse code app, it would sell.) To be clear, smartphones and social networking are fantastic tools but are, unfortunately, often used for misguided purposes. For getting started, once again the strategy is to break a task into small steps and do one step at a time, and to not think of it as one large chore. I tell myself that in reality I probably can do it, or at least I won't know until I try (self-talk). And sometimes it helps to set a deadline, a specific time and date that I will get started. Of course, it's better if I just go ahead and start a task now, if possible. Sometimes I just bite the bullet, put it at the top of my to-do list, underline it in red, put a big 1 in a circle beside it, and just make the decision to do it. And it helps to realize "I'm procrastinating on this." because I don't like to procrastinate; I don't like this aspect of myself and I know that I'll be happier once I go ahead and get it done and don't have it hanging over my head anymore ( I can use all of this as self-talk). Also, sometimes I just don't know where to start; maybe there's a bunch of tasks in no particular order. If I can't pick one, I can decide which one is the hardest and start there, or I just make myself start at the top of the list and work down. But there's a lot of inertia and I may have to use all of these strategies to overcome it. Aristotle defined human beings as rational animals (Aristotle, 1941).

We have this incredible ability to reason, but we also have an emotional "animal" side that can be controlled by reason only imperfectly. So maybe, in a moment of intense emotion, you utter the wrong words. Later: "How could I have said such an unkind thing to her! What a jerk!" And let's not get into sexual indiscretions or other cases of weakness of will when you let strong physical desires cloud your judgment. Demanding moral perfection may therefore be a reasonable possibility if you happen to be a disembodied spirit inhabiting a perfect world (heaven), but here on earth, where you are a flesh-and-blood human animal, your moral judgment is going to be imperfect. Food scientists tell us that food and supplements should be thought of as drugs that not only nourish the body but impact the body for good or ill. God has provided a wonderful bounty for us, and eating responsibly and using natural treatments where possible is a terrific first line of defense against anxiety. Maintaining good nutrition and using supplements that have empirical support for their anxiety-fighting properties can be incredibly effective ways to help your body fulfill its role as a stress surge-protector. As a result of loyalty towards your family, you may have blocked hurt feelings, painful incidents, and/or traumatic memories from the past. Your survival mechanism probably has skillfully edited out those experiences that flawed your ideal picture and made it impossible to be integrated into your happy family fantasy scenario. To talk with Karen, you would never suspect that anything was awry, since she had constructed her life story from her heart's desires and not from the reality of the situation. Karen was not lying; she had unconsciously and selectively stored in her mind only those incidents that were happy memories. Karen's coping mechanisms ceased when she stopped smoking, an activity that served as the glue holding the pieces of the picture together. It was very difficult for Karen to come to terms with the fact that her unconscious loyalty toward her family had overridden the reality of the actual situation. This is not the first time major innovations have had antisocial ramifications. The first two crushing blows to the social bonds of the United States were the technological marvels of air conditioning and television. Not until after World War II did air conditioning enter the home of the average American. Before air conditioning, during hot summer weather, it was generally cooler out on the porch than it was inside the house. So people would often sit on their porches and chat with neighbors. The porch was, in essence, the householder's social connecting place to the neighborhood.

Then the new invention called air conditioning began replacing porch sitting as people began staying indoors in the summer, where it was now much cooler. Domestic air conditioning now meant that the traditional deep porches were less frequently included in home design as they were no longer needed as a refuge from the heat. So air conditioning became a self-perpetuating necessity as homes were designed to include it and to exclude a deep front porch. The unintended social result was that people no longer went out to their porches in the evenings to meet with neighbors, and, almost without noticing, Americans began to live more isolated lives. It occurred almost without noticing because at about the same time, in the 1950s, the next technological marvel, television, entered the average air-conditioned American home. This created an even more exciting incentive not to venture outside and visit with neighbors--or for that matter, even speak with the people sitting right next to us, our own family members. What is the difference between avoiding and procrastinating? Not much, but I think procrastinating implies it's uncomfortably hanging over my head, is unavoidable, and that I will get it done sooner or later. Avoiding means the task is a little less pressing and a little less certain. I have a white card in my pocket titled `Avoiding'. That's another strategy. If I'm consciously aware that I'm avoiding something, then I'm more likely to figure out a strategy and go ahead and do it. I ask myself every day or so, "What is it I'm avoiding?" Then either I can stop avoiding and start to do it, or at worst I can write it on the card. At least I'm aware that I'm avoiding it, and when I check the card occasionally I'm more likely to go ahead and start the task. Maybe it's an uncomfortable phone call, or some record keeping that isn't fun, or some part of Spanish that seems particularly difficult. I wish I could just do those things, but since I don't, it helps to have them on the avoiding card and stay aware of what's going on. And occasionally, when I'm about to write something on the avoiding card, I say "Oh, what the heck." and just go ahead and do the task and can avoid needing to write it down. Perhaps you are familiar with the line, "the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry"--adapted from Robert Burns's "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft a-gley" (Burns, n.d.). In Burns's poem, the mouse sets up his home in the field with the intention of finding safety and food, only to face the farmer's plough and be chased away. No doubt, like the mouse, you have set your plans with the best of intentions and things have gone awry.