One of the areas in which I’ve been growing and become more aware recently has been my daily work practice.

I’ve noticed that programming to me is intimately connected with some very deep emotional threads from my childhood.

When I was a child, programming was my primary survival mechanism. Programming provided a place where I could be myself, protected from the defeats of daily social life. It was also a place where I could be safe from the wrath of my father. On the contrary, it was a source of much praise and attention. At the same time, it was something that made me feel superior to my peers, which I sorely needed because I felt so inferior to them in every other respect :)

As long as those feelings are still unresolved, they’re going to be unconsciously controlling my work.

Yesterday, for example, I wasted one or two hours trying to get zendesk to behave in ways that it couldn’t. Why? Because of the challenge. Because the child in me wanted to be praised for being smarter than everyone else.

Today I caught myself before I wasted several hours changing zenbilling so it uploads files direct to Amazon S3. I took a break, read a book (thanks for the recommendation, Jerry), and quickly realized that for now there are other things that are more important, and the immediate problem can be easily solved by limiting upload file size to 500mb, something I could do in 11 seconds flat.

It’s about the eternal tug-of-war between the adult and the child. Between head and body. In my case, I resist adult intervention because for me as a child, adult intervention meant trying to shoehorn me into a box that didn’t fit. Trying to make me something I was not, never will be. So I have a strong resistance to adult supervision.

But that is not a healthy, productive way to live your life. If you resist other people telling you what to do, you will resist your own adult self telling you what to do.

Adult supervision is exactly what I need. But it needs to be from an adult (inside of me) that is loving, caring, understanding, that sees the whole picture. Not the broken mirrors-type adult that most of us have been subject to.

And so it is to some extent for us all.

Perhaps for you it might be in your relationships, your health, or something else, rather than your work.

But the mechanism is the same. There’s some part of you that has unresolved emotions that are affecting your behavior at an unconscious level. You’re not even aware that it’s going on. Others may look at you from the outside and be completely baffled by your behavior. And they may even say so, staring at you, “why do you react this way, there’s no reason to do that!”

But there is. To you. It’s the only way you can react, given your past, your history, your conditioning, your unconscious programming.

And the only way to move past it, to change it, to heal it, is to bring awareness to it. To be with it in a loving, compassionate, understanding, patient way. There’s nothing wrong with you. You behave this way for a reason. But that reason is no longer relevant, and so you actually have the ability to change this now. But only if you approach it with compassion for the child inside of you that is still in pain.

In your mind’s eye, hold him or her in your arms, love him, comfort him, beam light onto him, and give him everything he wanted back then, but no-one ever gave him. All the love and attention and care that he didn’t get. Give it to him now, today.

And soon enough, the behavior will slowly dissolve itself, and you’ll wonder why it ever was any different.

That’s the magic of being conscious.


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