• Sergio Salotto

My Personal Life-Changing Moment

Welcome to my site.

Picture of Sergio Salotto
You will have probably landed here in your search for something that might answer or help you address some questions, issues and/or challenges you may be experiencing in your relationships, career, or other matters in your life. Situations we all face at some point or another in our life – as it certainly was for me. So who am I and why this website? I am Italian by birth and emigrated to South Africa in 1955 with my parents. Between 1989 and 1990 things in my life were not going well. My marriage of thirteen years was on shaky ground; a small business venture was failing; I faced financial challenges; and my career was seemingly going nowhere. I was feeling pretty down about my life. In this hour of need, a friend recommended I attend a life awareness workshop she had found most helpful for her life. With some apprehensions, I enrolled and attended the workshop in 1990. The workshop lived up to many of the things my friend had told me. I gained a better understanding and appreciation of my life and myself and learned some “tools” to help me deal with my beliefs, opinions and behaviours to events, situations and circumstances. Within six months however, I was back to experiencing many of the same old feelings of emptiness and non-ok’ness. Something was clearly still missing - although, I could not identify what it was.

During April 1991 a thought popped into my head to write about my life events. I considered it a bizarre idea, as I had never kept a diary or written anything about my life.

Besides, what could I possibly write about and for what purpose?

I had done nothing adventurous or exciting in my life that could warrant writing about. This idea made no sense. But the more I tried to dismiss it the more I felt I had to do this. I eventually gave in and, in early May 1991, began to write. With a sheet of blank paper in front of me, I wondered: what do I write about; where and how do I begin; how do I structure this; what is the purpose of all this? After some contemplation, I decided I would simply write things down as they came to mind without paying any attention to the sequence of events, the period they took place in my life or anything like that - nor would I bother about the rules of English. It took me three attempts to get the final result. In my first attempt I found I was writing about events in my life as if I was a third party, as if it was not my personal event and experience. I was writing “stories” about them to some non-existent person. In my second attempt, I found myself writing from a point of self-protection; out of fear of what other people I mentioned would feel if they were to read what I wrote – my fears of the possible consequences of rejection. I scrapped that and started again for the third attempt. I finally got it right by realising that I had to put things down the way they really were for me without giving any consideration to how anyone else might interpret or feel about what I wrote. The more I got into this manner of writing, the easier it became. I now found myself enjoying pouring my heart out (so to speak) onto those handwritten sheets of A4 paper. I wrote whatever was in my mind, whatever my gut feeling had to say. Some nights I wrote for a couple hours, other times it was half-an-hour, and some nights I did not write at all. I did not set myself any time limit or constraints to complete my task. By the end of the fifth or sixth week I had written about fifty pages and felt I needed to review what I had written. Starting at page one, I read to contextualise what I had written. As I read, I began to see a pattern develop of why I had done, attempted to do or gave up on doing everything in my life. What I discovered was how everything I had strived to achieve, things I had said or refrained from saying were all driven by a fundamental belief I had of myself that “Everyone else was better and more important than me”. In other words, my belief that I was not good enough. Everything about myself and my life became instantly and vividly clear. It was like I was watching a movie of my life’s events playing before my eyes showing me all the “whys”, “whats” and “hows” of all the things I had done – or not done. Most significant of all was my realisation that everything I had ever done, or not done, in my life was triggered and driven by my fundamental belief. This had been, and was, my driving force for everything; the source of my emotional needs, fears, anger, frustration, guilt, feeling unworthy, fear of rejection, and everything else. This fundamental belief also played a role in all my relationships, marriage, career aspirations, friendships, education, sports, obedience of my parents, compliance with the norms and values of society, etc. Everything I had done was to gain approval and be accepted so as to prove to myself that I was just as good and important as everyone else. I also saw how my belief drove me to compromise on exercising my freedom of choice to do the things I really wanted.

I had moulded my whole life out of this personal belief, which I labelled as My Own Unique Life Driver – my MOULD. This unique driver and acronym forms the basis of what you will read about throughout my work. Identifying my MOULD also made me realise how important and necessary it was for me to be right about my views, opinions and beliefs in order to get recognition. I was actually quite self-righteous about everything in my effort to be accepted and recognised – I was greatly surprised by this realisation, as I considered myself to be quite the opposite. My “self-rightness” however achieved the exact opposite. It became a form of self-sabotage, because no one really wants to be on the receiving end of another’s judgemental, opinionated and self-righteous behaviour. As this rejection would result in reinforcing my fundamental belief (my MOULD), it would kick-start the whole cycle of my wanting to prove my self-worth - a process that led to my becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy of “doom.” My way of coping with this was to put on different behavioural “masks” and “acts” to suit different situations in order to get acceptance and recognition. Like for example playing the game of being "Mr. Nice Guy."

As all these things unfolded, I saw how I had lived my life as a product of my fundamental belief, which resulted in my being a victim of my circumstances - all in an effort to negate and overcome my MOULD. Another profound realisation was recognising that all the feelings and emotions I experienced had, in fact, absolutely nothing to do with anyone or anything else. I was the only creator of these and could not apportion any blame on anyone or anything for how I had lived and experienced my life: not my friends, my wife, my employers, my unsuccessful business venture or anything.

Everything I experienced had been triggered by my needs to prove that I was just as important and good as everyone else – my need to overcome and negate my fundamental belief, my MOULD. By the time I finished reading, I knew that I had to take back control of my life. I had to make the changes I felt within me - to follow my gut feelings. In that moment it occurred to me that my MOULD was nothing more than a belief of my own creation. It was not real; not a factual element of who I am; it was nothing other than a product of my thinking. The factual reality is that I am no different than anyone else. I am who and what I am and, except for my believing that I am my MOULD, I am actually “perfect” and have no need for recognition or acceptance by anyone else. Of course, there would be people who will accept me for who and what I am, just as there will be those who will not. But so what. If I was not going to be true to myself and stop allowing myself to be driven by my MOULD out of fear of the possible consequences, it meant continuing to live a life of compromises and being a victim of my circumstances. That was no longer an option. With that I decided there and then that from that moment on, I would no longer allow myself to be controlled by my MOULD and fears ever again, no matter what the consequences might be – even if it meant death. In that moment I truly faced the possibility of that reality which might have resulted from my not having a job, no income, no family, no shelter, no food etc. I nevertheless made the conscious choice that I would rather live and experience a few days of absolute freedom than continue living a life of compromise for the rest of my life. In making this commitment, my mind was immediately flooded with my usual fears of the possible consequences. Am I being selfish and uncaring? What about the needs of my family, my job, my friends, etc.? As I considered each of these fears and thoughts, I knew that if I were to heed any one of them, even for a moment, I would end up compromising myself again and live as a victim of my circumstances for the rest of my life.

Acknowledging all these fears, I said to myself, “fears, I see, hear and know you. But too bad, because no matter what happens from this moment on, I am not going to compromise myself ever again by listening to you.” With that, I made a lifetime commitment to myself that no matter what might happen, from that moment on I would never again compromise myself to satisfy any emotional needs or fears driven by my MOULD. I would ensure to stay true to who I am by exercising my freedom of choice in everything I did or did not do, no matter what the consequences might be. What I experienced next is something I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. I must point out that all these thoughts, feelings, realizations and decisions were happening at the speed of my thoughts; they were happening in the moment. This wasn’t something that spanned over days of consideration, pondering over, sifting through, weighing up pros and cons etc. It all happened as I sat there reviewing what I had written over the past month. The moment I made my commitment, I experienced a burden “lifting” off my shoulders and body - a lifetime burden of forty years. At the same time, a source of great and quiet power and energy seemed to build up and enter my body from beneath as I sat there on the chair. I have no idea how long this all took, but it surely wasn’t more than a minute or so. There were no flashing, bright lights, Godly or spiritual visions or anything like that. What I experienced was a quiet, strong and powerful energy entering and going through my body. When the experience settled, I had clarity about everything I needed to do for my life: my marriage, family, job, business venture, and everything else. I also instantly experienced a great sense of caring towards everyone around me: my family, friends, colleagues. I realised and experienced the feeling that all I wanted to do with my life was assist people find their inner peace and contentment, achieve equality of everyone, which would result in eliminating warring and destruction. I realized this was my life’s purpose. Something I knew had been with me all my life; something I had subconsciously been driven by all my life. With this clarity also came a knowing that I was going to do everything in my power to ensure I would provide and care for my family in the best way I could. As to whether or not my choices for my life would be received with approval by everyone around me, I knew I had no control over that. But, regardless of how others would feel or react to my choices, I knew that I would not compromise myself again for the sake of seeking anyone’s acceptance or approval. As I absorbed everything I had just experienced, I realised that for the first time in my life I was truly taking real responsibility and exercising my true freedom of choice to live my life in true integrity with who I really am. I realised that, until this moment, I had lived my life by making decisions and compromises out of my fear of possible consequences, blamed everyone and everything when my expectations had not been met, and that I had not been true to who I really am. Over the next few days, I experienced more realisations as I became more attuned to my new-found state of being-ness. And the more aware I became of this, the more I seemed to experience a different understanding of unconditional acceptance of everyone and everything else – a different meaning of true love.

It was something deeper and simpler than I could have ever imagined. For the first time, I experienced and knew that the true meaning of unconditional acceptance means having no ideals, righteousness, expectations, judgments, dependencies, ifs or buts. It was about having or placing no labels or attachments. It then occurred to me that what I had done with committing myself to my new way of life was precisely accepting myself unconditionally for who I am. I now understood and realised that unless one practices and experiences unconditional acceptance of Self, it is not possible to truly love anyone or anything else unconditionally – because one does not know what it is, what it means or how to “practice” unconditional acceptance. Unconditional acceptance, however, does not mean the unconditional acceptance of all or any form of behaviour. Accepting one another unconditionally means accepting them as an equal human being regardless of who they are; accepting all forms of life as equal no matter what they are. It is about seeing everyone and everything in life as an equal, and entitled to unconditionally share equally everything that Life makes available. This was a true life-changing moment in my life. Over the weeks that folowed I decided to test the findings of my experience about my MOULD on those close to me – family and friends. I was blown away to discover that each person also had their own MOULD, each specific to that person, which triggered their emotional needs, feelings, attitudes and behaviours. I was also able to help them identify their MOULD, enabling them to experience a new way of life. Expanding my “testing” and findings to other people, I discovered that each one I spoke to also experienced feeling not good enough and I was able to guide them to identify their unique life driving force. This made me realise that our MOULD is a common driving force in each one of us and the source of our emotional needs, feelings, compromises and resulting behaviours. Perhaps even more strangely – and yet not surprisingly – it is something I saw and continue to see being played out all around; such as in the office, politics, religion, social gatherings, sports, film and TV. One’s MOULD is a major destructive driving force that fuels a person’s ego and greed.

Contrary to popular belief, the source of feeling not good enough is not borne of our childhood experiences, which we need to learn to manage and cope with. The true source of these feelings and beliefs is our unique MOULD. And we need to be thankful for that, because it makes it something we have control over and can eliminate permanently from our life to allow us to experience and live a fulfilling, meaningful, successful and love filled life.

#Life #marriage #career #origin #Compromise

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