Q: Dr. Hurd, I think I’ve determined once and for all that I do much better with some sort of forced structure — that is, a structure where I’m held accountable every day to show up, do something, etc. Do you think this is a good idea?
A: A structure is good, because it’s a commitment you make to yourself ahead of time. The commitment is thought out by you, and isn’t arbitrary in any way. Then, when you’re ‘held’ to it later on, it’s simply a matter of holding yourself to yourself. Nevertheless, a lot of people still have problems with this. From earlier years, they have internalized, emotionally, the view or feeling that ‘structure is imposed from someone else’—perhaps arbitrarily, as in the case of parents or other authority figures in the past. On the emotional level, they rebel against this. But in reality, they’re undercutting their own structure that they themselves created in adulthood. It’s a contradiction, and needs to be identified and corrected.
If you follow your own structure, then great. If you find yourself resisting your own structure, consider the possibility of this psychological issue. Don’t rebel against the past by harming yourself in the present. That was then and this is now.