Personal Chaos and the Lies We Choose To Believe
Excelling In The Face Of Personal Chaos By James C. Tanner
Personal chaos is often prolonged when we formulate internal mis-truths as a means of negotiating away and coping with the stress levels experienced during the constant emotional bombardments of conflict one experiences during such seasons.
“I have this under control.”
The words resonate with, and reflect an inner strength which simply does not exist. While we can put on this mask temporarily, it doesn’t take long before the mask begins to fall, and our chaos lays naked before the eyes of the world, noticed for what it truly is.
“Things will be better tomorrow or next week, I just have to hang in there.”
When our world appears to be going around in crazed circles, and chaos has become the normal operational state in our day to day experience, it’s often easy to begin a process of inner negotiating as we try to convince ourselves that, as in a lottery, our number will come up soon, enabling us to step off this emotional Ferris wheel.
“This isn’t my fault!”
When our world appears to be collapsing around us, quite often a small coping mechanism pops up and we being the process of assigning blame. Personal chaos is never fault based. Having said this, and what confuses many is understanding that personal chaos is responsibility based.
We are born as infants, and over time our body grows in mass. At birth, our inner strength or survival is based on the protection and nurturing of a parent or guardian. As we grow and develop, our ability to stand on our own two feet begins to strengthen and expand. There are times in life where we are exposed to what seems to be much more than we are ready to, or able to handle based on what we perceive at the time to be our own inner personal strength. As we attempt to grapple with the load, and our knees begin to buckle under the strain, we discover an ugly thing called “chaos”.
Chaos is never your fault. While the statement is a very controversial truth, it is a truth none-the-less.
Personal chaos is a symptom, an evidence if you will, declaring that you have reached and exceeded your personal limit based on your personal growth at this point in life. To move beyond this point, one must be willing to stretch and grow in personal development. The silver lining in the dark cloud of chaos is observed when we begin to recognize personal chaos for what it is.
“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
Personal Chaos and the Lies We Choose To Believe
As a young man, I grew up in a middle class family of Irish descent, where a strong work ethic was engrained upon us at an early age. While other children played, I can remember helping my father around his construction sites doing simple tasks such as carrying ladders, or other such tools. In my late teen years and early adult years, those who had the opportunity to watch me grow and develop as a person often made statements to the effect of, “You went from being a boy to being a man, never experiencing a normal teenage experience.”
At the time, when people said I had grown up ahead of my time, I found myself walking through life resenting the lost teenage experience. I was interpreting people’s compliments as if I had been denied something great in my life. The key phrase in this last sentence are the words “I was interpreting”.
As we grow and develop in life, we continually grapple with the processes of understanding, and sometimes we proceed based on a mis-interpretation.
I mis-interpreted people’s compliments to imply that I had lost something, and when we lose something, we mourn or grieve that loss. Based on a lie, a mis-interpretation, I allowed myself to enter into a season of regret, a season of longing for what I had lost.
What were people really telling me when they said I had gone from being a boy to being a man? Their comments had nothing to do with my having been denied a season of my life, when in reality they were acknowledging what I could not see.
Somewhere in my childhood years, I had gone from being child-like to being man-like in my ability to handle and process responsibility. My inner capacity to process the stressors of this world increased at a rate much faster than that of my peers. I did not lose anything. I had gained new inner strength.
My season of grieving lost teen age experiences was a season of stress I had brought upon myself, due to a mis-interpretation. My mis-interpretation was not due to my being at fault in some small way, it was the simple evidence that in my personal growth I had not yet reached the level of maturity and understanding required to process their thoughts correctly.
Sometimes, in the face of personal chaos, we have to cut ourselves a little slack and recognize that as individuals, we are continually in a growing and developing process. In the momentary decisions, we choose Door “B” instead of Door “A” and in that process we experience a negative response designed to teach us, to develop us, to prepare us for the next time we are faced with a similar choice. Personal chaos is often experienced during a season of great personal growth.
Personal chaos is not the heavy bar room bouncer who is tasked with throwing you to the stench filled curb. Personal chaos is the teacher who is beckoning you to grow and develop your capacity to process life’s stressors.
On our own, if left unchallenged, we develop an inner concept of who we are in relation to the rest of the world. Many of us develop that inner concept based on the confinements of parental, social, religious, environmental, and social-economical influences failing to realize that the scripting of who we are inwardly is left up to us. We are all called to be unique in this life, and no other person can accurately define who you are to be, for in doing so they would only create a mirror image of themselves.
Personal chaos should never be perceived as a negative season in life, but a season of great things calling upon a great person to become something greater. The processes of stretching, growing, and processing are never easy, and they do result in growing pains. This is all a normal part of how we evolve, how we expand our capacity for the things which lay ahead of us in our lifetime.
The challenge for many is often found in our mis-interpretation as to why there is chaos in our life. Most often people assume it’s because they have taken on too much and need to let go of some things in their day to day lifestyle. Perhaps there are things which need to be swept out the door, but one should be slow in making such decisions.
Personal chaos will linger if we do not see it for what it is, and do not embrace the lessons it is trying to teach us. Avoidance or pre-mature dismissal of conflicts or time demands in an attempt to remove chaos from one’s life is often similar to choosing Door “B” when we should have taken time to learn how to break down, identify the individual issues and resolve them – in this instance the latter would be Door “A”.
Personal chaos is a poorly written invitation calling you to grow into a more meaningful greatness.