Two Sisters Part 1: Closed vs Open Systems of Consciousness
The Power of Limiting Beliefs
A closed system of consciousness is one in which we believe there is a limited amount of power, success, money, attention, or access available to us. When we invest our consciousness in the belief of limitation, someone else’s success becomes our loss, and we feel diminished by their accomplishment.
Three Key Themes
There are three key themes in closed systems thinking that have a strong impact on our behavior. These three themes are an overriding belief in limitation, an overwhelming tendency to take things personally, and an ever-increasing sense of victimization. In a closed system of consciousness, we end up feeling wounded and victimized by things that in reality have little or no relationship to us.
As an example of a closed system of consciousness, let us imagine a relationship dynamic involving two adult sisters who are both married. The older sister has two beautiful and bright children who do well in school, have many friends, and are popular with their respective peer groups. The younger sister has one child who takes drugs, gets failing grades, and is a loner with few friends.
The younger sister has been jealous of her older sibling since they were little children. Over the years her jealousy has hardened into hatred. While success comes easily to her older sister, it comes rarely to her. The same pattern of success and failure that has complicated the sisters’ relationship with one another has taken root in the lives of their children. The older sister’s children are far more successful and better adjusted than is the younger sister’s son.
Jealousy and Competition
The younger sister’s jealousy causes her to see everything that happens in her life in terms of competition with her sister. She takes everything personally, even when it has nothing to do with her directly. Every new success of her older sister’s family wounds her deeply. Every new failure of her son, every bad grade, every run-in with authority, deepens her anguish. She has always seen her older sister as a winner and herself as a failure. No matter what she does to pull even or go ahead, she knows she is doomed to fail. No matter how hard she pushes herself to outdo her sister, she knows deep down that she will continue to lose. With every perceived loss, her sense of victimization grows.
Exactly who is responsible for her anguish? Is it her sister’s fault, as she would like to believe? Does her sister’s success really diminish her? Is their relationship a zero sum game where only so much success has been granted to the entire family and her older sister has greedily usurped it? Or is it her fault for taking everything so personally and seeing everything that happens in terms of a contest with her sister?
To be continued tomorrow. Please Share and Like.