Monday, November 16, 2009

Adam Mayfield's "Shoulds"

Adam Mayfield is one of the most talented and sensitive young performers on daytime television today.  In my interview with him over at We Love Soaps, he shared with much about his role of Scott Chandler on All My Children and his struggles with insecurity and self-doubt.  Later in the interview, he discussed with me how reading, "Absolutely Should-less" has helped him to cope with these issues.

Damon L. Jacobs:  Looking back at this wild past year, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?

Adam Mayfield:  Relax.  And enjoy it.  Because you’ve earned it.  Relax, you’re right where you need to be. 

Damon L. Jacobs:   When you think about that, do you really feel stressed about the material?

Adam Mayfield:  It helps tremendously.  And I don’t think I realized that until right now so I’m glad you asked me that. 

Damon L. Jacobs:   I sincerely believe our thoughts are so powerful in determining our emotional experience.

Adam Mayfield:  I agree and I wanted to touch on that.  I think what I got most out of your book was the idea of Core Beliefs.  I think if you can change you Core Beliefs, or at least identify Core Beliefs, then you can take that anywhere.  You can see that none of these thought patterns and these emotions are real, they are just mistaken beliefs that you’ve learned.  It’s that simple.  All this is is rewiring the brain, and then you can change your life.  If you can identify your Core Beliefs then you are more than half way there. 

Adam Mayfield:  How do you change it?  I think with practice.  Just because you may identify a Core Belief, it doesn’t mean it’s going to change, [because] it’s so hardwired into your psyche and into your body.  So really, I think for me in changing bad habits, whether physical or thought patterns, it’s identifying it, and then it takes practice.  Just because you identify it or have some big revelation in your shrink’s office or from reading a book or from having a good cry, you haven’t changed shit. You’ve just started the work.  It  takes practice and it takes maintenance.  And I guess where most people fall short is that they have these realizations about themselves and they think the work is done.  The work is only just beginning. 

Damon L. Jacobs:   I agree.  It’s like physical exercise.  You don’t just go to the gym and say, “Okay, I look good, I don’t have to do this anymore.”  It’s a process. 
Adam Mayfield:  No, you have to do it the rest of your life. 

Damon L. Jacobs:    What Core Beliefs may be holding you back right now?
Adam Mayfield:  That I’m not good enough.  And I say that objectively.  I’m able to see that for what it is.  It’s just a belief, it’s just a thought pattern.  It’s this idea of self-diminishment.  “Diminishment” really sums it up.  Where did I get the idea?  Yeah, family, I guess.  I don’t know.  But I think that underlies just about everything. 

And in recent years I’ve become aware of how selfish that is.  The idea of “selfishness” is generally applied to people who think too highly of themselves and look down on others.  But I think “selfishness” applies just as equally to people who put others on a pedastal and look down on themselves.  I think that is just as selfish, just in reverse.  If you can focus on helping other people...if you want self-esteem then do esteemable things.  But I also believe that being too down on yourself is just as selfish as arrogance. 

I think where a lot of therapy falls short is coming from a place of building up one’s own self-esteem and as opposed to focusing your attention outwards and helping other people.  I’m not saying affirmations are bad.  But maybe couple that with getting the focus off yourself.  What I’ve found is that if you spend too much time doing this work on making you feel better about yourself, then you still get stuck in this selfish rut.  You never really get better, you just have these moments where you feel better and come right down.  I think the cure comes from really focusing on helping other people, putting the attention out there as opposed to keeping it in here, even if you think you’re fixing yourself. 

For more of the my interview with Adam Mayfield, please go to We Love Soaps.

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