How Could I Say That About Myself?


So often, what we say to ourselves is out of habit.

The content of our internal dialogue is not like, say, a business's marketing collateral literature that describes its aims and ideals to potential clients. At the business, those in charge—if they are running a vital organization—undoubtedly get together and revisit the 'mission statement', hire a fresh set of consultant-eyes to revise and redraft the words they use about themselves on a fairly regular basis. Inside our heads, however, we rarely call on ourselves to voluntarily do this revision work, nor do we employ trusted help from the outside to provide their objective points-of-view on the script. Yet we desperately need it in order to stay fresh.

Let me confess to you the contents of one outdated page from my own internal script. The page is sparse, with a single short self-defining statement printed in medium-sized letters in the middle. It reads: 'I am lazy.'

(Of course, there is an entire appendix of additional material at the back of the book to clarify and complicate this statement. 'I only consider myself lazy because I know how much more I'm capable of than what I actually do.' 'The people around me don't see me as lazy, but I really must have them fooled.' 'I waste so much time.' You get the picture.)

This script has been read aloud in that undifferentiated 'authority figure' voice (which sounds suspiciously like a cross between my parents and past bosses) and recorded on one of those answering-machine outgoing-message tapes that loops continuously. After those tapes get old, the words on them start to sound garbled. Only some bits come out clearly. '[garble garble] lazy.' '[garble garble] lazy.' All I hear is 'lazy'.

The funny thing is: I'm not lazy. I know that. Actually, I've always known that. If I really were lazy, how could I possibly complete this website every week, with only the expectations of my faithful readers to hold me accountable? How would I have graduated from high school and from college, gotten a Master's degree, risen through the ranks in my last job, maintained friendships, kept a clean house, paid my bills? Sure, sometimes I might get a little unfocused…

[...insert two-hour pause in writing. There was so much important Internet reading to catch up on—emails, news, the weblogs of strangers, entertainment gossip, music reviews, astrological research…]

…but somehow I still manage to get everything done. Rather successfully, I might add. So where the hell did this script come from?

Years ago, I began to tell myself I was lazy for very specific reasons. I am a people-pleaser. There were important people in my life who had expectations of me that I could not satisfy. Not because I wasn't capable of completing what They asked, but because I didn't do everything quickly enough for Them or in Their desired sequence. There were even times I simply did not want to do what They expected. But I lacked the self-knowledge, confidence and communication skills to state these truths.

Instead, I concluded: If They wanted a certain something in a certain way at a certain time and I didn't deliver for whatever reason, I must be flawed. The label I chose for this flaw was 'lazy', and it served a purpose—to minimize outward tensions between Them and me, to internalize the burden for the disconnect between Their expectations and my desires.

My, how easy it may seem for me to deconstruct this no-longer-active 'I am lazy' script for you. It was not. It sucked. It was hard emotional work. Basically, I had to 'have it out' with Them—only They weren't around to have it out with. I had to unpack the internalized burden I'd placed on myself, decompress the flattened tensions, relive them and bring them to resolution. In the process, I discovered the purpose behind this script. Then—and only then—could I decide on a new purpose, one that served my purposes, and author a more fitting, less self-deprecating script for myself: 'I work at my own pace toward my own goals.'

I share this account with you this week as Mercury joins with Chiron, offering a great opportunity to uncover the painful wounds beneath our scripts so we can denature their power and refunction them to serve us well. Mercury is the planet of our mental cogitations and verbal communications; it rules the words that comprise our scripts. Chiron is the wounded healer who promises that, if we feel our deepest pains and incorporate them into our full consciousness, they will provide us our greatest tools to increased self-awareness and self-empowerment.

As they come together in Capricorn (and make positive trines to Jupiter in Virgo and the Moon's North Node in Taurus), we can get down to the practical business of dissecting what we tell ourselves, hunting for their origins—and through what we discover, these statements suddenly lose their weight and become manageable. We find renewed strength for strategically crafting new messages about who we are. This is the earth element we're talking about, so we're not doing this simply for intellectual stimulation or emotional nurturance. The new scripts we write ought to support real, practical, achievable, material goals. We must identify what skills and traits are needed for getting the jobs done—and then remind ourselves through mantra-like repetition that we already have these, or that we know how to go get them and are on our way right now.

What's also at stake is the type of people and experiences we will draw to ourselves as an indirect result of what we tell ourselves about ourselves. People treat us like we show them how to treat us. It's no wonder that, as long as I envisioned myself as lazy, I found work situations where the employer's expectations were always slightly out of my reach, no matter how hard or successfully I worked. The same is true for friends, lovers, family members, car salespeople—they act toward us the way we expect them to act toward us. The highly sensitive Venus in Pisces, which feeds right into the Mercury/Chiron/Jupiter alignment I described, shows us just how low psychic boundaries truly are between all of us. As long as we say to ourselves, 'I end up with men that don't deserve me,' you'd better believe that these unworthy men will continue to find us. It's only once we repeat the mental catalog of the qualities we are proud of in ourselves that others begin to see us as embodying those things.

By the way, in case anyone's interested, I'm not lazy. I work at my own pace toward my own goals.

Guest photos by Benjamin Budde.