Tag Archives: James Thurber

I do what I don’t want to do

Alice came to a fork in the road.  “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire cat.
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

There are all kinds of things people want out of life that they aren’t getting.   Life for many is a series of painful events or disappointment or lack of confidence or not knowing what direction to go.   What if all that could change?    What if you had direction?   What if you had purpose?   What if you were able to change sadness about life into hope and happiness?    What would that mean to you?

Let’s look at direction.   Life is going in the wrong direction and it’s tiring to have to fight through each day.   You might be screaming inside “I want something different … but I don’t know how to get what I want?”    The compass of your life isn’t pointed in the direction you desire your life to be going.   Deep within there is a compass for your life that points in your “true north”.   Living your life such that the compass isn’t pointing in your true north will be painful; you’ll be living out of character for you.   Getting your life aligned with who you truly are takes a bit of work.   It takes knowing what your values are and what your “virtues” are.  What are your signature strengths, values and beliefs?   

For some people the true self has been masked by years of being a fake person and not living the life they should be living.   There are a number of reasons that people start to hide who they really are.   It may have been an event early in life, a belief that in some way, in some manner they believe they aren’t good enough.   So, when someone doesn’t believe they are good enough they invent a new self, not the true self, but a fake self, the imposter, and they start acting in their new role as the imposter.     The imposter doesn’t make them any happier, but it does help them manage the pain of not living with the person they truly are.


Take a look at the image and you’ll see at the base are “values and beliefs”, those are a combination of experiences, events and the truth of who you are.   This is the starting place for thoughts.   Thoughts emerge from the values, beliefs and experiences of life.   Happy thoughts, sad thoughts, angry thoughts and peaceful thoughts and thoughts about who you are come from the values you have, the beliefs about who you are and what others said you were.   People who had to survive at some point in life started figuring out how to do that.   In order to survive some aspect of life they had to adapt, to start believing in what others said they were and in doing that pushed aside their own life.

Complete this sentence starting point:

I believe I am __________________________________.    (Find at least 5 endings to this sentence, more than likely you’ll find more).

Next time, we’ll talk about thoughts and feelings.

“All men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.”
James Thurber