2 Sep 2011

My Hoover Resembles My Love Life! Does Yours?

I bought a silver flash cylinder vacuum cleaner with 1600W motor power, a 2L capacity, featured onboard tools and 4m cable. It wasn’t the best Hoover at the store, but I thought that 1600W was powerful enough to clean my floors and well it was affordable! But after using it for a few months the adjustable head brush broke, I replaced it with a spare part which was the same price as the whole Hoover! And just a few days later, the adjustable metal tube got so stiff that it wasn’t adjustable anymore, not to mention the dust bags were so small and needed constant replacing and they were not cheap. So I finally decided to get a new one, I went to the store full of determination that this time I will get myself a better Hoover, a stronger Hoover, a Hoover that was efficient and will make my life easier, better and cleaner and one that wasn’t high maintenance. There in the store surrounded by all those shiny new appliances each one with a tag that stated more advanced features than its rival makers I was spoilt for choice, I saw one exactly like the one I’ve got, passed it and started comparing prices between two other Hoovers that had caught my attention, after half an hour of deliberation I picked a silver flash cylinder vacuum cleaner with 1600W motor power, a 2L capacity, featured onboard tools and 4m cable, paid and went back home! I had no idea why I did what I did, I had gone to the store with my mind set on buying a more efficient machine but I didn’t I went with what I know and what I was used to. The new Hoover was working fine the first few months but soon enough the same symptoms began to show.
I decided to try and understand why I had settled for what was familiar rather than what was better, sure I had to pay a little bit more money, but that was something I had initially expected to do and am capable of doing, sure the new appliance might look and work differently but that’s a welcomed change - most of the time - so what went wrong?
In his article Gregory Pacana[1] poses the crucial question; how much choice do we really have when choosing our relationships? Some might say that we all have certain qualities and attributes that we look for in members of the opposite sex and based on those things we decide on the person who is right for us. But is it really that simple? Is the process of attraction and mate selection that logical and straight forward? If it was, why would so many people get it wrong? Why do so many people seem to choose the wrong person or even worse choose the wrong person over and over again? Clearly it is more complicated than simple free choice.
Dr. Daniel Tomasulo[2]  suggests that we love what’s familiar, in brief, the theory of love might be expressed by saying: “we are drawn to what is familiar rather than what is unfamiliar”. He goes on to explain that we learn how to love and who to love from our family, good, bad or indifferent, relationships with parents and siblings teach us what to look for when we go out into the world. In fact, our unconscious acts like a GPS unit to see a “familiar” love that we’ve had in our family.
Who we love is likely to be more similar emotionally to what we’ve been used to – the people in our family. We may look for someone different, and may in fact be devoted to finding someone who appears to be different than what we have known in our family, but time and time again research shows and people confirm that there is a pattern to who and how we love. If you came from a loving, caring, generous and supportive family, this is incredibly good news. But, if you are like most of us, your family may have had some degree of ... let’s say... dysfunction, then you will (unfortunately) be drawn that.
To demonstrate his theory Dr. Tomasulo provides the following example; suppose you were asked to write your signature on a piece of paper, then you were asked to write it on a blackboard, and then sign your name in the snow with a stick. Your signature will be identifiable and uniquely yours. But when, where and how did you learn to do this? You could write it with your elbow, your nose or your foot and pretty much you’d get your unique signature. In much the same way we have patterns inside of us that guide our actions. We may not recall how we learned them, but we are drawn to recreate them in a familiar pattern[3]. 
Going back to Gregory Pacana, he adds that in life we don't get the person that we want, we get the person that we are. So "what are" children who grow up with loving supportive parents? They are people who love themselves and think highly of themselves. They are also people who feel that they deserve to be treated in a very special way. And "what are" children who grow up with unsupportive indifferent parents? More often than not they are people who often do not believe that they are entitled to be treated like they are special or deserving. We've been subconsciously programmed from childhood to believe certain things about ourselves? It doesn't matter if these things are true or untrue; truth has nothing to do with it. That's one of the pitfalls of childhood, we don't have the ability to question or challenge the things we are told and taught to believe, we simply accept them to be true and move forward. There is tape recorder which resides in our subconscious child minds. It is running and recording all the time. It doesn't block out the bad and it doesn't have the ability to tell truth from lies; it records everything. And that tape gets played back over and over in our minds when we become adults. What we must do is reject the negative feelings and voices that are inside of us and start from scratch. That "tape recorder" that plays in our minds? Well quite often it plays false information and lies and those lies need to be challenged and erased. Our inner tape recording needs to be examined and edited and those negative messages need to be replaced with positive messages.

So what am I going to do? Well, the next time I go Hoover shopping, I’m going to get the best Hoover there is.

[2] Dr. Daniel J. Tomasula, Ph.D., TEP, MFA is a psychologist, psychodrama trainer and a writer on faculty at New Jersey City University and formerly a visiting faculty member on fellowship at Princeton University.