The Beta Version of You

by Amanda Stern
Originally Published: 

There’s this idea that we’re immobilized by convenience; that the number of options overwhelms us, renders us unable to make a decision, and while I think that’s true, I don’t think it’s that specific truth that forces us to swap out our first meditation class for a Season One bender of Transparent. It’s easy to remain in place, to stay in our apartment rather than leave, and it’s even easier to remain in place emotionally. Everyone knows that most of our long-term issues have to do with our unconscious beliefs, and choosing to stay in place when you want to move ahead is kowtowing to your unconscious self. I believe that it’s so hard to be healthy because we are unconsciously invested in remaining stuck, in staying who we’ve always been, believing we are who we assume we’ve always been: the sick one, the weak one, the outcast, broken.

We recycle old narratives and rely on outdated modes of thinking, consoled by the comfortable point of view we developed when we were children. When we don’t challenge those views, our tendency is to fall back on them. Every time we choose not to do something we know we should, we are falling back on old beliefs about ourselves.

When I was little, my stepfather was a sucker for gadgets and technology. He set up an intercom system on every phone in the house and “accidentally” listened to our private conversations. The basement was a warehouse for cables and antennae, for used parts he might one day need, batteries and video cameras. One night, he brought home a Betamax VCR when everyone else was snapping up the VHS VCR.

“This,” he said, “Is the future.”

© photo: Flickr/nesster

But it wasn’t the future, and it was rendered obsolete so quickly, it barely even registers as our past. The unconscious images we have of ourselves, the ones we don’t even realize we’re allowing to influence our decisions, are our Betamax. We can keep using them to screen and project stories about ourselves, but we’re better off investing in the future, and finally getting rid of a useless model.

photo: Flickr/maira.gall

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