Let Me Think About That

Change happens when we change the way we think about ourselves.

In the world of personal development and self-growth, the basic principle is to discern what it is about ourselves that needs changing – hence the words “personal” and “self”. This is a continual theme in my articles. The opening quote is one of my favorites as well as one which I pen in every one of my books I sell. Perhaps I emphasize how we think about ourselves so much because it was a huge stumbling block to my own personal growth.

In 2012, when my 22-year marriage was hanging by a thread, I searched for a therapist to see if this once-happy union could be saved. After setting the appointment, I recall thinking, “I don’t want to go in there, lie on a couch and have him ask me a bunch of questions about my childhood.” The circumstances were dire and grave. I didn’t have time to go into all that malarkey. I needed a solution now!

It makes me chuckle when I remember that demand. Although the relationship could not be saved, all of my issues contributing to the breakup were basically caused by how I learned to think when I was a child. Yes, you read that correctly, “how I learned to think.” I may not be using the proper neurological or psychological terms but when we are young we develop behavioral models which I call “default patterns” that innately dictate certain actions and reactions in our day-to-day decisions.

At an early age, I was very worried about doing the wrong thing and looked to others not only for advice but also to tell me what I needed to do. Whether it was my mother, teacher, coach, or minister, for some reason, I didn’t believe that I could find those answers from within and therefore had to be told what to do. Needless to say, I was mostly an obedient child.

This, however, created a tremendous lack of self-confidence when it came to making life choices and decisions, constantly seeking the approval of others before moving forward. It was not a daily occurrence but happened in all the major decisions. This kind of thinking became my “default pattern” so it felt “normal” for me to react in this way.

Not realizing this was the case when I got married those patterns remained. My wife at the time was a recently divorced, mother of three, attractive, and had much more worldly knowledge than I. My thinking was, “tell me what I need to do to be a good husband, father, and provider.” There were many times when something as simple as where should we go to dinner was a mind-game for me trying to think what she would want to eat.

These kinds of self-limiting patterns spring from negative ideas that we learn to believe about who we are – which by the way, is how I define shame. Over the next few articles, we’ll discuss ways of how and why these patterns develop and most importantly, how they can be changed and healed. My hope is that you’ll discover some disruptive pattern that you had no idea existed and learn to change the way you think about you.


John Dunia
John Dunia
John has a passion; and that is helping others heal from past difficulties and abuses. Healing became important when he realized how much it freed him from his own past and now works to help others experience that liberation. The key to his success was discovering that the most debilitating damage was his own shame and the destructive things he believed about who he was. Throughout his own healing journey, he became hyper-aware of how shame was affecting him while having little clue of its presence. Others noticed these changes and reached out to him for help. His methods were so effective that he made it a mission to shift his career into helping others. Adopting the term “ShameDoctor”, he continues to teach others to empower themselves through his remarkably effective techniques. “Shame is one of the biggest yet least talked about issues we face as individuals and society yet so very little is mentioned about it.” It is his purpose to change the way the world perceives shame and promote helpful and viable techniques to heal and overcome those past struggles. John’s book, “Shame On Me – Healing a Life of Shame-Based thinking” was self-published in 2016. In addition to working with clients, John also writes healing and insightful articles each week. He is also looking forward to speaking on the topics of shame and healing throughout the globe.

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  1. We may think that we only have eyes in our head, but we “see” things in many ways and some of those ways of seeing are not always healthy nor grounded in reality. Somehow, we can start seeing ourselves, our motives, our follow through and our accomplishments with a jaundiced or cynical eye. It may be the result of a comment or how we were treated by others, and somehow we translate that into an ongoing discussion with our inner selves about how we don’t deserve success, or more, how we deserve derision, scorn or apathy. Your work is so important John, and I am so thankful that our paths have crossed and that I have had the opportunity to read your great thoughts and take inventory of the discussions that are ongoing in betwixt my own ears. You speak of self-limiting, and there can be no other term for it, we do it to ourselves, sometimes out of the mistaken notion that we need to be humble or that we should shun the spotlight and attention that comes with stepping up or going forward. Thank you for sharing your passion and raison d’etre with the rest of us.

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