“Don’t Touch the Stove!”

Do you remember being told that as a child, “Don’t touch the stove, you will get burned!”? I remember that. And, by the way, I did touch the stove as a child….tried to pick up the bright orangish-red grill….and burned the crap out of my hand!!!!

Anyway, the focus of this blog is the importance to learning to let go of childhood teachings like, “Don’t touch the stove!”, and replacing them with more relevant principles to live by.

I spend a lot of time in my office working with people who are successful in many areas of their lives but get tripped up by old childhood teachings. “Don’t touch the stove” is only one example of such. Others include:

“Good girls don’t”,

He should call her….ask her out for a date….and pay,

Masturbation is bad,

Saying “No” (especially if you are female),

Not always wanting sex or wanting to cuddle (if you are male),

Boys don’t cry,

Good parents never yell at their kids and

God will be angry with you if you divorce.

The best way to identify your childhood rules is to “follow your shame”. When we are children and are told important rules, most of us take these rules in at a very deep level. So deep that when we break them, we not only feel guilty, we feel ashamed. We feel not only was it bad that we broke the rule but that we are bad.

Just as you know, now, that you can touch the stove, it is important to look around in your life and identify other rules about which you still feel guilty and ashamed.

The link below is to a radio show on NPR, The Moth Radio Hour. This is a show during which participants tell stories about significant events in their lives. During the December 1st episode, entitled “Pizza, Polar Bears and Rock Stars”, a participant, Moshe Schulman recounts the very first time he (a devout Jewish young boy) ate sausage pizza (Pork is prohibited in the Jewish faith.). His description and the emotion in the story took me back to many rules I have worked to let go of (and some I still struggle with!). Worth a listen