6 Second Moments

A low self-image is usually not based on fact but on mismanaged memory. – Orrin Woodward

The phone rang in the middle of the night. It was the Veterans Administration Hospital calling to inform my mother that my father had passed away. I was 7 and where I slept and where the phone was located were in close proximity. After my mother received the news, she began calling family members and made the comment, “What am I suppose to do with a 7-year-old boy?” Overhearing that, I processed her words to mean I was a burden.

That one comment, when uttered, lasted all of 6 seconds, but my decision to let it define who I thought I was lasted for decades.

I often use this example to show the power of what I call 6 Second Moments – a few seconds worth of words from another which can have the power to shape our identity and what we feel we are capable of for the entirety of our lives.

In adulthood, that memory came flooding back and I realized how I had loyally lived out that 6 second moment. Believing I was a burden heightened my need to please and over achieve in order to feel worthy around others. Through self-examination, I understood why I chose to believe that. I understood I was projecting onto my mother who was simply trying to process the death of her spouse and the uncertainty of how to take care of a family. Her comment had nothing to do with me, yet I took it to have everything to do with me.

We all live life with a collection of positive and negative 6 second moments swirling inside our sub-conscious. Without development, we tend to hold on and identify with the negative ones.

What negative 6 second moments might you be allowing to define your worth? Are you ready to consider that any of them that oppress your spirit and keep you in limiting expression are misinterpretations, opinion and projections of others? The opinions of others are not your truth.