One of my favorite things to witness as a coach is watching people prove their theories. We all have them. At least at some point in our lives. Our ‘theories’ are there until we’re done with them. And we work really hard to prove that our theories are correct.
Today I had the pleasure of watching a theory arise for a client that was perfectly accurate. I’ll bet there are many people that have this theory. For this client, I called it “The Imperfect Loop”. It works like this. Somewhere down the line, he decided he would never be “perfect” enough. Probably parental issues but not really important at this point. I mean it’s important, but coaching doesn’t care so much about WHY something is the way it is. Therapy looks for the “why”. Coaching works with what is and supports you to get to where you want to go. That’s what I love about coaching. Anyway…..I digress.
So he decided at some point in his life, perhaps sub-consciously, that he was never going to be perfect enough. Oddly never, this shows up as someone who is a perfectionist. Holding themselves to a very high standard. In order to prove that he’s not perfect, he attempts to tackle ten times more than any human could handle. In his own words, everything gets about a third of his attention. This way he can fail at being perfect so that he can prove to himself that he’s not perfect. See how this works? The imperfect loop.
We all have or have had theories. People that believe that “no one will ever be there for me”, the abandonment theory, do a great job at pushing people in relationships to the point that they walk away. “See, no one will ever be there for me”, they say. My theory was that no one will ever treat me as well as I treat them. So I chose relationships that have huge inequities. I think I’m done trying to prove this theory. It’s at least a work in process.
See if you can identify the theory you’re trying to prove. It’s not always easy to see in ourselves. Being aware of it is the first step in recognizing how often we try to prove it. Not something to “hate” about ourselves. I don’t recommend self-hate. Just something to work with so that you can live a happy life no longer trying to prove a theory that was probably never true to begin with.