I’d like to follow up the juggling act with one of its implications. What you have learned in the past not only hinders learning something new, like juggling, it keeps you from being able to relax, kick back, let your hair down and chill.
Remember that juggling is a great metaphor for learning. Meaning that the final common pathway of learning is mistake making. And you cannot learn how to juggle without making many mistakes, albeit small ones and making corrections over and over. You must recognize that dropping the balls is required prior to keeping them in the air. When you have dropped them enough AND LEARNED THROUGH THAT MISTAKE MAKING PROCESS you have earned earn right to be a juggler.
Part of normal not being healthy is that we do not honor the mistake making process. WHY? Because of what we learned early in our lives.
When we made mistakes, did things wrong growing up, we learned something else. We learned to feel bad about ourselves “Bad boy, bad girl, aren’t you ashamed of yourself?” So we learned mistakes are to be avoided otherwise we get in trouble and feel ashamed.
When a child makes a mistake and is corrected it is often without warmth. “What’s wrong with you? If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times…”.
Gee, he’s told me a thousand times. I must really be stupid!
The grownup ends up reinforcing two things. The first is that mistakes have a very negative emotional charge. Second, the mistake maker is not capable, is inadequate. It’s not just that one does something wrong. There is something wrong with him/her! “What’s wrong with you?”
Hence, our best kept secret, the “scared one”, that part of us that has feelings of inadequacy, is born. So the way to keep the secret is to not do anything wrong, don’t make any mistakes lest others find you out. Don’t misspeak yourself. Don’t risk failing. Stay safe doing the expected and performing it well. Be the one with the right answer in school. And better yet, be first with that right answer.
Being fast with that hand in the air, fast with the right answer, compensates for those feelings of inadequacy. Thus, you prove your mettle to the assembled, both class and teacher. Alas, it’s not enough to make those feelings retreat forever.
You have to stand guard. You always have to be on your toes, constantly vigilant, for to drop your guard is to risk the breeching of your perimeter. Then they’ll know “what’s wrong with you.”
Being constantly vigilant is to be chronically stressed. Therefore, you can’t relax. Well, you could, but you don’t, save for the times you are with that small contingent of others with whom it is safe to be your imperfect, ball-dropping self.