1996-09-29-Anxiety & Cardboard Perfection
Topic: Anxiety & Cardboard Perfection
Group: Nashville TeaM
Greetings, children and friends, I am Ham and I welcome you all tonight. You are all welcome to my heart always and forever.
Tonight, I wish to address anxiety and your coping mechanisms with it. Many feel anxious concerning the perception that others have of them, especially specific people, often family members.
Others have anxiety concerning the perception of their peers and colleagues. You all fear the worst, that another's perception will confirm your own lowest conception of yourself, that you are somehow a failure.
This anxiety causes you to keep up a front towards these people, a front of calm coolness, of having everything under control, a front that says that you know exactly what you are doing and don't need any help or advice, and especially don't need any concern or, heaven forbid, pity. In this group, we encourage you to explore these feelings, explore why they occur with the people that they occur with.
There is always in each person concerns that they would be embarrassed for another person to see. Each person is concerned with their status and their prestige in life, it is beyond what they really deserve. Each person is concerned with defending that status and level of prestige that their authority should not be breeched or undermined. This is all natural human feeling and it is universal. It is one of the things that makes true communication difficult, and true teamwork difficult.
Life is very complex and it is built around a complex web of human interaction. Business life is built around transactions that are partly postures more than reality. Everyone has to pretend to be expert and not sow doubts telling the truth at times if it is warranted. Your society is so full of these behaviors that reality is very blurred all the time in thousands of small ways and in order to fit into this society requires countless bendings of the truth and countless poses of authority that may not be entirely comfortable. It is as though you all are so afraid of exposing vulnerability that you are willing to sacrifice truth to that end. This phenomenon is world wide and extends to national life as well. This is intolerance.
You want perfection in all your dealings from the waitress that brings your breakfast to the mechanic who fixes your car to your political leadership, you want them all to be experts. You don't want them to display any hint of not knowing or inefficiency. And this intolerance stems from having to hold up this facade yourselves all the time.
This societal intolerance and shading of the truth is a recipe for ultimate disaster. Individually, it leads to heart attacks, strokes, depression, mental illness, and so on. As nations, it leads to intolerance of weakness of the unfortunate and between nations it leads to armed conflicts as everyone wants to see their side as white and the other side as black. You all want to be assured of your rightness, your innocence, that you were certainly right to lose your temper over the dry cleaner losing a shirt or something.
This society is taking a cardboard perfectionism to extremes. In part, it is said to be due to the congestion of people, the masses of people living in close proximity, that little things tend to cause greater perturbations. But, I contend that it is the strain of keeping up appearances, the strain of maintaining this cardboard perfection in yourselves, that causes you to jump on others for their slips because you are afraid of your slipping. When we speak of tolerance as a fruit of the spirit, we are speaking of it extending to your whole, entire life. We are speaking of you tolerating yourself to the point that you can tolerate others and tolerate others seeing your imperfections and it is this that decreases anxiety. If you can allow others to see your faults, to see your fears, then you can easily, very easily, tolerate seeing fears in others and imperfections in others.
It takes some work to identify your anxieties and to counteract these by openly expressing your true feelings. In some ways it is a measure of your cultural maturity. You all remember going through the adolescent phase where you answered every inquiry with "I'm fine" and you remember all the anxiety that that was hiding. Socially, this planet is still in its adolescence. Despite the cultural and professional pressures to the contrary, for your own spiritual growth you must learn to be more openly exposed. To say at times, "I don't know", or just to express hope or fear or any number of human emotions without the fear of falling into a black hole that you will never fall out of again, this won't happen and believe me you will feel better. Say, "I don't know but I am going to try", or something like that.
You are all in places in your careers where this is very difficult, but it is not impossible. It is the equivalent of letting down a piece of cardboard, you will still be standing, you won't disappear. Is this making sense to you?
Q: Yes, at first pass I find it easier to apply to business situations than personal situation, but I suspect it does apply to both.
Ham: Especially being a parent tends to reinforce this role playing. Because, for a child to see you weak or indecisive or frightened is for some intolerable.
Q: It works with the child too, when the child learns to feel like he or she has to put up a good front when they see weakness on the part of the parent. This can make children feel anxiety.
Q: I found myself saying, "I am bad at accepting imperfection in myself and better at accepting it in other people, and I wonder if I am kidding myself in saying that?
Ham: It is usually the case that one is the reflection of the other. So, if you are intolerant of allowing others to view your imperfections then you are usually intolerant of other's to that same degree. Deep within each person, there is a critic, and that critic is pretty accurately cataloguing your imperfections. You can take the critics job away by acknowledging and accepting your own imperfect humanity. But, mostly humans fear the critic and he goes on working for years before you can accept yourselves.
Q: This critic, is this the same imposter that we call the ego?
Ham: Yes, it is an aspect of that same identify creating entity. Because mankind is a will creature, he can choose between reality and unreality and there is aspects of both in every evolving creature. There are always areas where the person sees reality slightly skewed out of their ego needs. The ego is a mental construction that is unreal itself. It is a way for the mind to self-identify, to identify itself as separate from universal mind. The truth is, however, that mind is not separable, it is one mind originating in the third source and center. But, being material creatures who are individually packaged personalities, the mind that is utilized must adapt to that phenomenon and so the ego identity is born. Spiritual growth and the process of becoming increasingly spirit identified, entails the gradual relinquishing of ego separation. Personality remains your unique connection with the Father, but there is a gradual lessening of the ego mind identification. This is a process extending on into Paradise. As you know, Lucifer himself was not exempt from ego identification. The ego says, "I am" or I am part of or I am partial, or anything of the sort. Is this helping somewhat?
Q: Yes, so the fear beneath all this is the fear of loss of identity?
Q: Of not being?
Q: So we become anxious because we are trying so hard to defend this unreality, this ego identification of mind as self and the need then to defend this self?
Q: And, denying this fear.
Ham: Yes, absolutely.
Q: So if we can get to a point where we become more accepting of how things are and the things that happen instead of defending the idea of who we think we should be, we would become less anxious?
Ham: Well put.
Q: Acceptance of partiality. . . .
Ham: Acceptance of life.
Q: I Find that when I am involved with someone who is equally perfectionistic that we get involved in trying to maintain our view of being perfect and then when we aren't, we blame the other person for making us imperfect. I find this harder than admitting to a colleague that I cannot do something.
Q: Does this stem from childhood tapes, of being told we are no good?
Ham: That is where it starts, but it's not always unconscious or repressed memories that trigger these things.
Q: Did you have any insights into when two intolerant perfectionists butt heads.
Ham: Humor, humor will save many situations. Because, humor can make you see the absurdity of the situation.
Q: And the kinship?
Q: The other patterns I see in myself is when someone threatens to knock over my cardboard perfection, I get angry at them.
Q: It is like a validation of your inner condemnation of yourself. And so, the antidote for this, is it to become as a little child, in your own view of yourself?
Ham: Yes, that is one way to put it. You have to grow more tolerant of others seeing your imperfections.
Q: It would also help to live more in the present moment and worry less about future consequences.
Ham: Yes very much so. Questions?
Q: I would like to ask my usual question.
Ham: Jarad, don't be so in a hurry to assign people their roles in your life. You are quick to make judgments and quick to blame. Try to exercise great tolerance for yourself and others, allowing your errors or mistakes to be simply your errors or mistakes. Try to have more patience with other's failings and to be considerate and understanding of other's desires.
Q: Anything for Rebecca?
Ham: Child, continue working and begin rough drafts and outlines for this work. You should begin working on the introductory chapter now. I will continue to guide your reading and help you focus your energies in the directions necessary. We will speak together this week again.
Q: I would appreciate any feedback or guidance you might have for me.
Ham: Do not always think in terms of fairness for yourself. There are other more important issues at stake. The Master sought to be fair with those around him, but never sought fairness for himself. It is human to react to a perceived injustice whether it be to secretly resent this or openly confront it. But sometimes, the small issue of justice in a small particular situation can be irrelevant to the overall greater picture. In relationships, if two people are always contending for fairness over every little thing, then they would be fighting all the time and the greater value of the relationship is imperiled. Be generous and light hearted over trifles. Is this helping.
Q: Yes, thank you. Q: I would appreciate any advice you have for me tonight.
Ham: Son, you continue to do well. There are some burdens that you have carried a little too long but that are now becoming easier for you to set down. You too have little tolerance for your own imperfections, and need to continue to open yourself up to others and to yourself. Don't worry son, you are always loved and greatly blessed from on high. Your difficulties and trials all have a purpose. You are becoming stronger by being more flexible and more tolerant. Do you understand what I am talking about?
Q: For the most part I do, but if you could elaborate any I would appreciate it.
Ham: You have a rigidity inside that is masked by show of being very tolerant with others. But there is something within you that you are very intolerant of and even refuse to acknowledge. I want to prescribe an exercise for you, as has been prescribed for Jarad, to once a day look into a mirror and address yourself saying "I forgive you, and I love you". This will change some of your thinking. We will discus it again later. Others of you, if you want to, do this exercise also, it is good for you all.
Q: It doesn't hurt to do it more than once a day?
Ham: No. It just must be done with sincerity. Any other questions.
Q: The thing that you said I am not willing to acknowledge in myself, is that something that is conscious to me or apparent to me.
Q: Is it something you can reveal to me, Ham?
Ham: Not at this time, the mirror exercise will help you understand. It's a childhood situation.
If there is nothing further, I will depart for tonight and greet you again next week.