Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

When Did You Off  Yourself?

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

January 24, 2011

So tell me this: when did you off  yourself?

When did you decide to hold yourself back? When did you say you'd only dip a toe in the water from now on rather than diving in wholeheartedly, rather than jumping in unabashedly, rather than throwing yourself in unreservedly? When did you start believing you should "keep to yourself" rather than share yourself generously? When did you figure out it was safer  suppressing who you really are rather than letting it all hang out  for all the world to see? When did you first get the misguided concept being stoic is cool?

You did that. Tell the truth now. You know you did that. You made a decision (which you told yourself at the time was a smart  decision) to withdraw from Life, to withhold your full Self expression, to hide your light  (as the I-Ching  may have said). You may not have made that decision yesterday. You may not have made that decision last week. It may not have been last month or last year even. I'll bet  you made that decision no later than your early teenage years. More likely, you decided to play it safe and keep out of Life's way  some time before you were eight years old.

But whenever it was, whether it was some time before you were eight years old or whether it was yesterday, you figured out it was just plain clever  (as if it was the  lesson you were supposed  to learn) to not be fully Self expressed in Life. So you off-ed yourself.

And you've been off-ed ever since.

When we make a decision at an early age to off  ourselves, it becomes entrenched in the way we do anything and everything from then on. It becomes what we know  about how we should be. In other words, it becomes built in  to our epistemology. From then on, there's no longer a conscious choice  whether or not to participate fully in Life, or whether or not to hold back. From then on, we hold back because holding back is on automatic. From then on, it's like a reflex. From then on, it's simply the right thing to do. We may even justify holding back rather than going all out by saying it's the proper  thing to do. We may even say it's the polite  thing to do. However it's framed, not much creative thought or responsibility goes into to it. From then on, we may even say about holding back "It's just the way I am.".
Werner Erhard points out it's not  the way you are. It's just a  way you are. It's just a  way you're being. And the trouble with being that particular way is it was invented by an eight year old. Any Self-respecting adult has no business allowing the tyranny of an eight year old to dictate what's possible for them in Life.

So tell me: when did  you off yourself? And when are you going to give yourself permission to participate fully again? When are you going to allow yourself to be fully Self expressed again? I mean wholeheartedly. Unabashedly. Unreservedly. I mean nothing held back.

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