On one particular day, I spoke with three of my Environment Changer students – Frank, Sheila, and Darlene (not their actual names) and all of them were telling me the same story.

They were hurting, struggling, anxious, overwhelmed, hurt, and sad – in other words, they were suffering through a whole collection of negative emotions that were controlling them.

Their negative emotions were attached to a whole bunch of situations but there is no solution in the situation so talking about their situations was of no help.  In order to find a solution, we must look someplace completely different than the situation.

Frank, Sheila and Darlene were calling me for an answer.  An answer that might not help them once they heard my answer.

But my job was still to remind them that their negative emotions were coming from somewhere and it was NOT the situation.  I’ve taught this before, but they kept forgetting.

So I told them again what I told them before…

During the first 10 years of our lives, we are awake 16 hours a day which means we are awake 53,760 hours during those first 10 years.  Potentially, that’s 53,760 opportunities to hear terrible childhood messages from the people who raise us.

But it’s unlikely that the people who raise us would be that busy instilling terrible messages into our young minds full time.  There is a percentage of those 53,760 hours that came in as negative messages.

A helpful question I often ask is what percent of your 53,760 awake childhood hours contain troubling, painful messages?

If your answer is 50% for instance, then you have a huge collection of troubling, difficult, and destructive messages that are coming alive and creating pain in your life.

These messages are here to govern your life and FORCE YOU to feel what they are intended to make you feel.

When looking for the source of our painfully negative emotions, we must look to childhood messages.  Childhood messages have a unique power.  They are unique messages because they come into our minds during those 10 years where we are a clean white board waiting to be written on.

These negative messages drop into our childhood minds and sit there waiting for us to become adults.  At the magical age of 30, these childhood messages come alive, even as we are involved in our own adult intimate relationship/marriage.

These messages from our mom and dad poured into us while they were experiencing their own marriage/intimate relationship.  Now that we are adults in our own marriage/intimate relationship, these same childhood messages come again to do the job they did to our parents.

If your parents had a short fuse, you have a short fuse.  If your parents had a gambling problem, you have a gambling problem.  If your parents relied on alcohol to feel better, you rely on alcohol to feel better.

Note: This is a general rule unless you are what I call a “bucker” who actively and consciously rejects your parents’ programming.

Your parents were governed by their childhood messages which they never questioned or realized were even there.  Now you are the next generation enduring the same messages they were given.

It’s important that you remember how these childhood messages work: THEY POSSESS YOU.

But they don’t possess you constantly.  They turn on suddenly without any warning and talk to you.  They tell you what to do but you’re not aware these thoughts exist.

Let’s suppose you have to make a financial decision and your parents installed destructive messages about money.

With a financial decision to make, the messages will possess you to the point that you cannot think straight.  Your childhood messages will tell you what to do to make sure that something troubling and destructive happens with money.

Once the decision is made and your body acts it out, the childhood message suddenly disappears, leaving you with the results of the decision.

This is how the poor remain poor or how the rich remain rich.  This is how the addicted remain addicted or how the healthy remain healthy.  If you have messages to manage money well, you always manage money well.  If you have messages to be dependent on substances, you must take substances.

Let’s simplify the idea.  It’s easy. 

Childhood messages tell you what to do and the problem all this time has been that you simply listen.

You don’t think your own thoughts, you simply listen to the messages.  This is the problem you have.  You sit alone and listen.

That’s your only problem.  Your problem is that you have simply been listening to the messages and doing nothing but listening.

I’m proposing here and now that you do something new.  I am proposing that instead of listening to the stories, the messages, you begin to tell brand-new stories to replace those messages.

This is NEW!  I’ll warn you that success will not be sudden.  You have move into it one step at a time.

STEP 1: Begin to tell tiny stories to yourself.  For example:

  • “I am not what they told me. I am the story I tell about myself.”
  • “I am not what they told me.  I am a person with conscience, love and determination.”/  “I am not what they told me. I believe I am worth it and valuable because I matter to people around me.”
  • “I am not what they told me. I have made a difference in my own life and I will make a difference again.”

STEP 2: Make repetition a routine. 

Stories govern everyone’s life.  Stories carry ALL the power to cause events and situations to happen.  In order for stories to win, they must be told again and again.  Make repetition your routine.

You have never been the tiny storyteller but I challenge you to begin telling tiny stories throughout your day.  Tiny stories are exactly that… They are TINY!

They are short and they contain little words such as: “People love me and go out of their way to help me.”  As an experiment, tell that story for seven days in a row and watch how that story comes true.

Your problem again is that you have never been the storyteller.

Your childhood messages have been the storyteller and you have never done a single thing about it.  Now it’s your time to become the tiny storyteller and replace childhood messages with your positive and productive message about the life that you will create.

Now doing this may be challenging if the negative voice in your head tells you things like “this won’t work, what’s the point, things will never change”.

And until you learn how to eliminate that negative voice completely and stop being an emotional pinball, reacting to everything around you, telling these stories consistently will take great determination and persistence.

If you want to learn how to shut off the voice inside your head and start making real progress in your marriage, like the airlines say, you’ve got to put your own mask on first. And it starts with securing your emotional condition.

To learn more about this approach and see if it’s a good fit for you, you can apply for a strategy session below:

Strategy Session for Men

Strategy Session for For Women