In your physical existence, you are experiencing and sorting through the contrast of wanted and unwanted all day long. If space and time and therefore movement is added to the equation, you will naturally go towards those things that you want and away from those things that you don’t want. Experiencing the unwanted is meant to crystalize what you do want to think and say and have and do and create in your life. In this way, it is meant to serve as a necessary part of your personal expansion. But some people don’t use the contrast of unwanted and unwanted in this way. Instead they simply begin to let what is unwanted control their life. They live their lives with the primary intention of avoiding the unwanted.
Pushing against what is unwanted and trying to avoid the unwanted is a very different thing than going in the direction of what you do want. To comprehend this, I want you to think of the face of a compass. Imagine that South represents the unwanted. And due North represents what you really want. When you have a clear idea of what South is, you can use that awareness to then define what direction true North is and start taking actions in that direction instead. But many people don’t do this. They see South and don’t want to go South and so they go East or West simply to avoid going South. Or they keep going South, hoping that it will magically turn into North. Or they keep pointing South, screaming that the South should change into the North because it is so wrong for being the South. Essentially, they live their life fighting South or avoiding it. Some people spend their lives fighting the unwanted or avoiding it. Neither is actually going in the direction of what they DO want.
I want you to look at your life and relationships and ask yourself this question: Am I doing the things I am doing to avoid a consequence or am I doing them because I want to?
For example, am I doing the dishes because I want a clean house? Or am I doing the dishes to avoid getting in trouble for not doing them? Am I saving money in my account because I want to feel financially free or because I want to avoid being cashless in a calamity? Am I saying yes because I want to help that person or because I want to avoid them turning against me if I say no? Am I doing this job because I want to be doing this job or am I doing this job to avoid the feeling of financial risk or insecurity? Am I staying in this relationship because I want to be with this person or am I staying in this relationship because of how scary life might be without them? Am I not telling someone the truth about how I feel because doing so really does not serve me/my desires or am I not telling someone the truth about how I feel because I want to avoid the feeling of being rejected, invalidated or ignored? Am I exercising to have the body and physical feeling I want or am I exercising to not be fat? Do I spend time with my kids because I want to be around them or because I want to avoid the feeling of guilt and the potential that one day they will grow up to hate me?
Keep in mind that one person may do something because they want to avoid a consequence and another person might do that exact same thing because they want to. We may do something at one time because we really want to and at another time do that same thing because we want to avoid a consequence. For example, I may rub my wife’s feet one day because I really want to and another day because I feel like if I don’t, she will start a fight about how un-attentive I am to her.
You may argue that these things are two sides of the same coin. But really, they are two different directions on a compass. You will think different thoughts and make different decisions and take different actions if you are doing things to avoid unwanted as opposed to if you are doing things to get you closer to what you do want. For example, let’s say that a person doesn’t want to feel poor. They might get a job they hate simply because it provides financial security or start hiding money under the mattresses or start buying clothes that makes them feel rich even though they can’t afford it etc. On the other hand, if this person realized that they wanted to feel financially free, they may start to educate themselves on economics and finance and investing. They might decide to do shadow work relative to the experiences and beliefs that are keeping them poor. They might find an outfit at an affordable price which allows them to feel opulent but without the purchase being a bad financial decision and therefore taking them further away from their desire.
For another example, if a person doesn’t want to be alone and lose the security of their relationship despite it not being what they want, they might decide to become more and more codependent in their relationship. They might start to have extramarital affairs. They might cope by going into denial or continually look for proof for why they should stay in their current relationship. On the other hand, if they realized they want a different kind of relationship, they may choose to be honest with their partner. They may insist upon marriage counseling with their current partner and leave if their partner refuses. They may begin to develop security outside the relationship. They may put energy into strengthening other relationships so they won’t feel alone. They may start to act in a way that is authentic so as to increase the odds that a new relationship will be based off of what is real.
Sometimes if we really want something, we will be sure to act in a way that prevents unwanted consequences. But its’ not going to feel the same way as it does when you are doing something purely to avoid consequence. It will feel like taking a preventative measure brings you closer to what you really want and is therefore chosen with your free will. It will feel like an accessory action to what you want. When we do things simply to avoid the unwanted, we will feel controlled or forced into taking actions to prevent or avoid. Subconsciously, self-preservation will become our top need and priority and all of our other desires will be thrown on the backburner and deprioritized. We will then begin to feel really, really resentful of whatever or whoever is making us feel like we must self-preserve to the detriment of all of our other desires. We will see those people and situations like the bad guy and feel controlled by them. Really, we are being controlled by our own unexamined priorities and fears.
Become clear about what you don’t want. What is that consequence you are trying to avoid or fight? Knowing that, what does that indicate that you powerfully want instead? If you pivoted towards those things, what could you think and say and decide and do that would bring you in the direction of what you are wanting instead?
For example, imagine that you hate the fact that the environment is being destroyed. You don’t want that. This means you want a healthy earth where people live in harmony with the planet. In what ways could you put your energy into bringing about that vision? How might you stop pushing against environmental collapse and pour your energy into a healthy planet instead? You might plant a garden. You might vote for policy makers that have a similar vision. You might make solar panels to power your home. You might start riding a bike everywhere or take public transportation. You might show cool new environmentally friendly products to people you know… or even buy those products for them. You might start posting things that educate people about environmental awareness on your social media accounts.
When you are facing in the direction of what you want, when you are thinking and saying and deciding and doing things that bring you in the direction of what you are wanting, you will not feel the sensation of resistance or stuck-ness in your body. You will not feel like you are running away from anything or pushing against anything. Instead, you will feel that expansive, empowering feeling of bringing about what you want and putting your energy into what is right for you. A life that is lived simply to avoid what you don’t want, is not a life. It is not what you came here for. There is no way to feel happy or fulfilled or on the right path if you live your life to avoid what you don’t want. Live your life for what you DO want. Let your awareness of South define what North is for you personally and then GO NORTH by thinking thoughts and saying things and making decisions and taking actions that actually take you directly North.
Power is energy. It is the inherent capacity to create, direct, influence or do something so as to bring about what we want. Power in and of itself is wonderful. And it is something that all beings have. How that power is used is what matters most, because like anything, it can be used for harm and it can be used for good. We will all find ourselves in certain situations where we feel incapable of creating, directing, influencing or doing anything so as to bring about what we want. We feel out of control, disempowered at the mercy of others. At times like this, it is super infuriating to hear people say, “you’ve given away too much of your power”. It is an invalidation of the reality of the powerlessness inherent in situations where many of the elements involved are beyond your control. It also doesn’t make immediate sense. You weren’t aware of giving (and therefore didn’t consciously choose to give) anything away. Which is why “taking your power back” is much more about becoming aware that you have power to begin with than it is about taking back something you gave away. So here is how to realize you have power and how to own it.
You have to get that free will is an absolute of your existence. No one can take that away. They cannot take away choice itself, only choices. All other people can do is to put intense amounts of pressure on you in the hopes that you will use your free will to choose to comply to what they are wanting. They can’t take your free will away, only put pressure on it. You can’t actually give your free will away even if you wanted to. Even if you comply, that is because you’ve decided to use your free will to choose in favor of what appears to be the lesser of consequences for you. This means, in every situation, you must challenge your assumptions about where you think the power lies.
Some of you know and some of you don’t know that I was tortured in my younger years. I mean deliberate torture, not metaphorical torture. And so what I’m about to tell you is coming from the mouth of someone who absolutely knows what it is for someone else to put you in a position where they are able to cause so much pain that you will use your free will to choose to comply. This is coming from someone who knows how they may use your point of greatest weakness and therefore greatest need as leverage. We have the tendency of telling the story: They made me do it. But they didn’t. I’m going to get super extreme with you so you can see what I mean. Throughout history, when people have been unwilling to bend to the will of someone else, they tell them the penalty for non-compliance is death. This is still just narrowing the choices. Many people have chosen throughout history to choose death rather than to comply. Many people have been put in dungeons or concentration camps to find out that their captors had no control over their mind, so they still have the choice of what to do with their thoughts. The point is, they still had choice. Because of this, they cannot actually control you. Compared to these extreme situations, you should be able to see your free will inherent in any less extreme a situation that involves someone putting pressure on you to choose what they want you to choose.
Something most people don’t know is that even death itself is a choice. No matter how destroyed your physical body might be, your temporal self must align with your non temporal self in order to die. If the body is destroyed enough, your two points of perspective will often agree upon death. But comas are so often really about this lack of alignment of will between the physical and nonphysical.
There may very well be situations where the pressure they use their power to put you under will cause you to use your free will to choose to comply with what they want you to choose. There are situations where no one can even fault you for making that choice because anyone would. You have every right to feel however you feel about how unfair and immoral it is for them to put that pressure on your free will. The point is you must never, ever confuse the pressure and force they use with taking away your free will.
Get into reality and accept what needs to be accepted as quickly as possible. When we are using our free will to resist what is, we have no power. It is wasted energy. We are always at the effect of others and are fighting the situation we are in, instead of making immediate adjustments in response to it. For example, if someone refuses to accept the reality that the economy is collapsing, the decisions and actions they will take will absolutely not serve them. It is as pointless as playing a chess game and spending your energy denying that someone has just made a move instead of seeing it, accepting it and based off of that, making a counter move . Reality is your only axis for power. But often we will not see, feel, hear or accept reality. You have got to surrender to the truth of the situation at hand. That is very different than surrendering to the situation itself. If you surrender to truth, you are able to start making decisions and start taking actions relative to the actuality of what is occurring. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: How to Call BullS#!t on Denial. And my video titled: Reality.
When we feel powerless, all we are focused on is what we can’t do. It is as if the situation itself is closing doors and windows in our face. We tend to bang against those doors and windows, hoping that if we do that, someone will somehow take mercy on us and decide to open them. That’s not going to happen unless somehow the people who currently have power over those doors and windows decide that it is in their best interests to do so. You might be able to own your power by trying to convince them it is in their best interests to do so. This is the power of influence and persuasion at work. But it may just benefit you much more to put your energy towards looking for other doors and windows that might be open. Long story short, to own your power in any situation, you have to shift focus towards what you CAN do. In whatever situation you find yourself in, ask yourself: How and in what ways can I create, direct, influence or do something so as to bring about what I want?
Be true no matter what. To do this, you have to be honest with yourself. No one can control where you put your energy. Again, they can only put pressure on you to try to get you to decide with your free will to put your energy towards what they want you to put in towards. You have the control over what to put your energy and focus towards and into. You have control over your commitment because all commitment is, is to put your energy into something. Put your energy into what is true for you. Put it into what matters to you, what is meaningful and important to you. Commit your energy to your specific and individual values. Another way of saying this is that your power is really about staying as true as you possibly can to your values and what is important and meaningful to you specifically. This requires powerful authenticity. To understand more about authenticity, watch my video titled: How to be Authentic.
Realize that this is a fractal-based universe. And every single thing is imbued with consciousness. If you really, really get this, you have the ultimate answer to personal power. Everything that is outside you in this universe, is also inside you. Every conflict that exists externally is also a conflict that exists inside you. And everything has a consciousness that you can access. If you turn your attention towards feeling, seeing, hearing and knowing these parts inside you, and towards resolving those internal conflicts, you will no longer feel powerless. If you feel powerless relative to serial killers, find and integrate the serial killer in you and to the opposite, the part of you that is a match to being killed by one. If you feel powerless to viruses, find and integrate the part of you that is a virus and to the opposite, the part of you that is a match to being destroyed by a virus. If you feel powerless to narcissists, find and integrate the narcissist within you and find and integrate the part of you that is in resistance to the narcissist within you. This time space reality is a mirror dimension. Watch how this integration shifts the reflection, which is the external world. Watch how it changes your external approach to things you felt powerless to before. If you want more information on this, watch my videos titled: Fragmentation, the Worldwide Disease and Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How to Do It). If you perceive yourself to have no power relative to that which is on the outside, find that same thing within you and integrate it.
Put yourself in your own hands. To understand this concept, I want you to imagine yourself in the middle of a deep pool with a bunch of larger people. Because you don’t want to be responsible for swimming yourself and you see them as having more power in the situation than you do, you swim from person to person and with each one, you climb on top of them so that they can keep you afloat. The reason this diminishes your power is because you are now in their hands. It is up to them whether you sink or swim. You have made yourself their responsibility. If you sink, you can now make it their fault. This absolves you of pressure, but at the cost of your own power. See where you are doing this in your life. See where you are expecting them to be responsible for you and therefore putting yourself in their hands and simply hoping they do the right thing with you. For example, you might be doing this if you expect your abundance to come through a pay check from your boss instead of seeing your own skills as your venue for achieving abundance. You might be doing this if you expect your doctor to heal you instead of taking responsibility for your own health. You might be doing this if you expect other people to make decisions that affect your life. You might be doing this if you make your partner responsible for changing to be whatever way makes you feel good and powerlessly sinking into unhappiness in the relationship you are in, instead of actively taking steps to change the dynamic or choosing another partner. How can things related to your wellbeing be in your hands instead? Where do you think the power lies in this situation? How can you switch the situation so that it lies with you? People who intensely embrace responsibility have the most individual power.
Words have incredible power. Start using ones that honor you power instead of take it away. For example, change “I can’t” to “I choose not to” or “I wont”. So often when we say “I can’t”, we are recognizing a limit that doesn’t actually exist or not owning and taking responsibility for an actual limit we have. Change “he made me” to “he put pressure on me” or “I chose to”. Your words shape the way you think about yourself and the world around you on a deeply subconscious level. This includes language where you are blaming or making excuses. When we are not owning our power, we always have an excuse for why something we want did not come about or is not coming about. Pay attention to the language you are using to convey your reasons for doing or not doing something, your choices and decisions. You might be surprised how many excuses you make. Whenever your language absolves you of responsibility or ability, it absolves you of power as well.
Recognize, feel and build your confidence. If you don’t feel your personal power, it is because you are focused on what you have no confidence in, relative to the situation you are in. What do you have no confidence in relative to the situation that is causing you to feel you have no power? How could you increase your confidence in that situation? In what ways could you learn and grow in that area so as to build your confidence in the areas causing that lack of confidence? What do you have confidence in? Make a list. If you recognize where you have confidence in your life, the areas where you don’t won’t feel like they diminish you. For example, you may feel totally confident with cooking or being able to work with someone’s emotions or fix a car or paint or understand complex concepts or clean and organize. Really resource the confidence that you currently take for granted relative to those things. And remember, at one point in time, none of us felt confident walking. Now we are so confident about it that we take it so much for granted that we would not even think of putting it on the list of things we are confident about.
Get out of the position of the victim. The reality is that people are raped and murdered and taken advantage of and lied to and all of those things that fit into the category of being a victim. Those who hurt others were hurt themselves, so we are all victims of victims. You were the one who was hurt in the situation, but the rub of it is that doesn’t change anything. It still happened and it can’t un-happen. The only question you are left with is what are you going to do about it now? There is great value in expressing the emotions around being victimized and caretaking the part of you who has been victimized and continues to see itself as unable to get out of the position of being the one who is powerless and wronged. But once that has happened, complaining won’t actually change anything at all. In fact, it keeps you powerless because it is a cry for mercy from others. It is an attempt to put yourself in their hands. It is an attempt to cause them to see you as innocent and good so that you can gain their sympathy. You want to gain their sympathy to the degree that they will put their energy towards creating, directing, influencing or doing something so as to bring about what you need and want. Face the very hard question of what positive thing do I get or am I trying to get out of complaining to people or telling them how badly I was hurt by someone else? There has been so much badness attached to considering yourself a victim or victim mentality now that it is very hard for people to resolve the very real parts of themselves that have been victimized and it is very hard for people to look at and admit to their emotional attachment to staying in this role. I completely disagree with this shaming. There is no shame in whatever answer you get when you ask this question. There is only a decision to make about whether you want to maintain that position or whether a different approach serves you better. How might you have power in the matter instead?
We assume that fault implies responsibility. Perhaps one of the most important things to accept about life is that it doesn’t. Fault and responsibility don’t necessarily go together in a world where every being has power. And taking responsibility is not an admission of guilt. It is not letting someone who hurt you off the hook. It is a recognition of your personal power. It is an act of emotional self-preservation and empowerment. It isn’t a man’s fault that he had an abusive, alcoholic father. But even if it is his father’s fault, this doesn’t mean his father will ever take responsibility for picking up the pieces and righting his wrongs and fixing the son he abused. This means that if he wants a life that feels good, the ball is only in his court to pick up the pieces of himself and find new, fulfilling relationships and heal. It doesn’t matter if something in your life is someone else’s fault, you can’t guarantee that they will take responsibility for fixing it. This means the power and therefore the responsibility is in your hands even if it isn’t your fault to change the situation into what you want it to be instead. If you look at the word responsibility as if it is response-ability. You can ask yourself the question, how is it within my ability to respond? How do I have the ability and opportunity and capacity to respond to this situation so as to bring about what I want?
Wherever possible, commit to being in the position of cause instead of effect. This requires a mindset shift. We live in a universe based on the law of cause and effect. This means we will do things that affect others and others will do things that affect us. One of the best ways to own your power is to choose out of the position of being at the effect of others. This is something that entrepreneurs have figured out. If you are in the position to be fired, you are at the effect of your company and boss. Therefore, entrepreneurs have chosen to remove themselves from that position and be at the effect of themselves. A person who simply blames their partner in a relationship for the negative relationship pattern that is occurring, is at the effect of their partner. If however they recognize their own role in that pattern and change it, they have switched into the cause position in the universe, instead of staying in the effect position. Any time you are in a situation that feels like you are at the effect of someone or something else, ask how could I adapt to the reality of this situation so as to switch back into the position of cause instead of effect?
Follow the north star of your desires. Commit your energy to your desires, values, what is meaningful and what is important to you. Follow those things like a compass pointing you due north. As I’ve said earlier, to fully commit to something is to put all of your energy into something. This means mental, emotional and physical focus and actions. Your personal power is about being able to bring about what you want. This means commitment to following the north star of what you want, what is meaningful, important and what you value, is central to personal power. Doing this makes you a driver of your life instead of a passenger. This means being willing to be different, go in a different direction and stand out from the crowd. This means staying pointed towards your north star when people put pressure on you to stray from your course or try to make you wrong for what you want.
There are plenty of situations in life where it is in alignment to take a back seat with your power and to give others people’s power the drivers seat in a situation. Obsessing over having all the power implies relationship dysfunction in and of itself. There are plenty of situations where power isn’t about having the front seat or the back seat. But for the sake of your understanding about personal power, the final thing I ask you to see is that you can choose where and where not to give other people the power in any given situation. And this, in and of itself is power, because it is a choice!
When we perceive someone or something to have more power than we do; especially if that power gives them control or the right to make decisions, give orders or enforce obedience, we call it authority. Encountering authority, immediately makes us aware of our vulnerability. And the way we react to authority relates directly to the experiences we have had when we have been in that vulnerable position before. This is why so many people have “issues with authority and hierarchy.” For information on hierarchy, I suggest you watch my video titled: Hierarchy, Should We Accept It?
Before I continue with this lesson, I want you to take out a piece of paper and write down “what I could expect from my parents” on the top of the page. Underneath that, you’re going to make a list of what you could expect from them. Some examples may be: Caretaking, to have to fend for myself, to be guilted, to be praised, to be protected, to not be protected, to be valued and wanted, to be seen and treated like a burden and unwanted, to be invisible, honesty, for there to be dark truths underneath the surface of what was said and even done, disappointment, for them to take responsibility for me, for them to mess up, for them to make the right decisions, lots of mixed messages, for them to act in my best interests, for them to screw me for their best interests, to be supported, to be exploited etc. Write this list before you continue this video.
Now that you have written your list, make a short list of authority figures you have in your life, for example: The president, the monarchy, the government, someone with higher social status, someone with more knowledge, my boss, coaches, Teal Swan, any other spiritual leader, my professor, my doctor, police men, corporate executives etc. And see how closely your expectations or fears relative to them match this list that you just wrote. Do this comparison before you continue this video.
When we are born, our first authority figures are our parents. Beyond that, older siblings or older extended family members and beyond that, teachers and the parents of our peers. Essentially, our first imprinting relative to authority occurs within our interactions with the adults that were around us in our childhood. We learn to recognize and remember patterns by virtue of association. In our minds, however our first interactions went with our primary authority figures, is what we associate with authority in general. And this is where we become unconscious.
If you want to understand people’s very different reactions to what the powers that be in the world today are doing, simply know that people project their experiences with their primary authority figures onto any authority figures that they encounter in their adulthood. They expect the same experiences. To understand projection, watch my video titled: Projection (Understanding the Psychology of Projecting). For example, in response to this most recent Covid-19 crisis, a person who perceives themselves to have a loving, trusting relationship with their primary authority figures that they can rely on, will tend to say things like “the president is doing the very best job he can, we have to trust him to know what’s best for us.” Where as a person who perceives themselves to have an oppositional, distrusting relationship with their primary authority figures that they could not rely on will tend to say things like “this asshole is just in it for his own pocketbook no matter the cost to the average citizen, may god have mercy on us all.”
If what you are wanting is truth and clarity, it lies beyond projection. That is to say, all projection obscures the truth. For example, it opens the door for the possibility that we are projecting mal intent where there is actually mal intent, or we could be projecting mal intent where there is actually benevolence. We could also just as easily be projecting benevolence where there is actual benevolence as we could be projecting benevolence where there is actually mal intent.
Those of us who were much more fortunate in our experiences with authority figures in childhood, tend to project positive where it may or may not actually exist. Whereas those of us who were not so fortunate, tend to project negative where it may or may not actually exist. And we argue violently to preserve the validity of our own associations.
Perhaps the ultimate authority we have is the universe at large, what many call source or god. You will notice that your expectations of the universe mirror your expectations of your childhood authority figures. This has serious implications if you felt that one or more of the authority figures were adversaries. It means you feel the universe is against you. It also has serious implications if you had an un-predictable parent. It means you expect the universe to sometimes support you and sometimes destroy you. For more information about this, watch my video titled: I Can’t Trust the Universe, I Feel Like God is Against Me).
Our unconsciously held attitudes, and more than that feelings, towards authority figures can make a real mess of our ability to perceive and see things clearly as well as a real mess of our lives in general because of how it makes us respond to authority. It causes us to polarize towards hostility or over-compliance. It causes us to unconsciously play out the same experience in adulthood that we had with our primary authority figures as a child. It often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For this reason, it is important to recognize this pattern of projecting your primary authority figures in childhood onto authority figures in your adult life and to remember that the more in control of your own life you feel, the less of an issue you will have with authority.
Before you read the totality of this episode, I want you to go get your phone. Open up your contacts list and scroll through the names and relative to every name on that list, I want you to ask yourself “Do I feel like I have to placate this person?” Before you do this, let me explain what placation is. To placate someone is to make a person less hostile or to prevent potential hostility by doing something that appeases them. To understand placation, all you need to think of is a hostile situation. For example, a restaurant gives a refund to a customer who threatens to write a bad review. A civilian in war time pretends to be a member of the opposite side so as to not get killed. It is essentially any action taken with the specific intention of calming or preventing hostility. This means placation can be done in a situation where hostility is already present or where it is preemptively done because hostility is anticipated.
I’m going to give you some examples of how it might apply to your life. You buy someone something in order to prevent them turning against you. You compliment someone to calm them down when they react aggressively to something you did that they perceived as an insult. You get your work assignment done on time without ever asking any questions when you get stuck on it, so you never have to face the wrath or scrutiny of your bosses. You change your plans to attend something you don’t want to attend so as to avoid losing the friend who invited you. You put yourself down to prevent them from seeing you as a threat and all those consequences that would come as a result of them seeing you that way. You stay silent and deliberately don’t take the attention away from someone to prevent them from getting jealous of you and becoming an antagonist. You make sure to check in with a person and ask how they are doing to make sure you’re still ok with them and to make them feel like you care, so you never wander into the territory of being seen as an adversary. You tell them lies instead of the truth in order to avoid being ostracized.
Placation is felt as a tension and fear in the body. It is an incredible form of social pressure. The way you can tell if you are placating someone vs. connecting with them and doing things for them out of love is that you will be doing them with this background fear that if you don’t, they will turn hostile towards you and there will be a painful consequence because of that hostility.
Ok… keep this in mind while you feel for that emotional note of fear (fear that if you don’t do whatever appeasing thing, they will turn hostile) pause this video and do this exercise of scanning each person in your contacts list to see if you feel you have to placate them before you resume this video.
What did you find out? Are you really connecting with people? Are you doing things that please them out of love or out of fear about what will happen if you don’t? Do you feel really safe and secure in your relationships? Or are you spending the majority of your social energy placating the people in your life and feeling like it is impossible to be honest or authentic without them turning into enemies?
Some of you are probably feeling relieved to understand why you are under so much stress relative to the people in your life. Some of you are probably feeling pretty sick to your stomach about this realization right about now.
Why did you not notice this pattern so as to be able to name it before? Because you have become as acclimatized to living in dangerous, hostile environments and holding a hostile world view as a fish has become acclimatized to water. You’re used to it.
Don’t listen to what many psychologists and social experts say when they say that dysfunctional relationships and families are the rarity. They are in fact the vast majority relative to human social behavior. The fact that dysfunction is the norm is why we don’t call it dysfunctional any more than we called heads being put on a spike dysfunctional in the 1500s. At this point in time, families and relationships simply fall somewhere on the scale of dysfunction. Unfortunately/fortunately the more aware and conscious you become, the more you will recognize this.
In a dysfunctional family or in a dysfunctional relationship, there is a subconscious principal that governs the group or pair: Every man for himself. You can literally boil all the behaviors belonging to all the people that are part of a dysfunctional social system (such as manipulating, intimidating, triangulating, punishing, codependent strategies, narcissistic strategies and yes, this includes placating) to this: Everyone must find their own creative strategies to meet their own needs and to avoid harm in an environment where it is a guarantee that no one is going to take anyone else’s best interests as a part of their own best interests. It is the opposite of a safe and authentic relationship.
A dysfunctional relationship takes place in an atmosphere of hostility. But there are all kinds of words and behaviors employed to cover this truth up. Words like “I love you” and “we’re family and no matter what, we’re here for each other”. This is one of society’s main gaslights. To understand more about gaslighting, watch my video titled: Gaslighting.
Humans are a socially dependent species. And don’t think this is simply because of species evolution. It’s not only because being without a tribe that felt they wanted or needed us, meant death for millions of years. It’s because we are still relationally dependent. If you leave a human baby (and even child) out on its own, it is dead. End of story. And even when we grow up, whether you like to admit to it or not, there are needs that every person needs in order to thrive that in fact depend on being connected to and belonging with other people. This means we are put in a serious double bind when the very thing we need to survive and thrive is the very thing that we perceive as being hostile or potentially hostile to us. It means we have to develop strategies to stay aligned with and wanted by people who we feel could turn against us on a dime if we do anything to displease them.
I’m not going to gaslight you. You do not live in a world that is socially safe. People are not to a place yet where they have comprehended oneness at all levels. They are not at a place yet where they get that they need each other (and this includes everyone, not just ‘some people and not others’. Most people are operating from a narcissistic perspective without realizing it. Meaning “everything I’m doing, I do for my own best interests and I see you as ‘other’, so your best interests are not included in mine”. You know what that means? It means that some people are absolutely going to put you in a position to have to placate them. Even our government is set up to have to be placated by the civilian. But until we make this placation dynamic conscious and name it for what it is, we will have no hope of creating relationships that are different or a society that is different.
Until we make placation conscious, we will be staying in relationship arrangements that we shouldn’t, living inauthentic and dishonest lives that are out of alignment with our own integrity, placating in situations that placation is not actually required, because hostility is something that is being projected. And we will be doing it in subconscious, deterministic ways rather than conscious ways that are effective.
If placation is your norm, you become accustomed to unsafe relationships and not only perpetuate them, but stay in ones that are detrimental. Maybe you even stay in them because it’s safer than leaving. You do all this as opposed to creating safe relationships and finding people who are dedicated to creating safe relationships as well. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: How to Create a Safe Relationship.
If placation is your norm, your highest priority will not be honesty. In fact either lack of integrity, dishonesty and inauthenticity will be your way of placating people and you will self-sacrifice constantly or you will be walking a tight rope in a minefield trying to somehow placate people into to becoming ok with your truth so you don’t have to sacrifice your best interests completely. For this reason, you would benefit by watching my videos titled: How To Be Authentic, Integrity, What is Integrity and How to Build Integrity and Self Sacrifice, The Most Self Centered Thing In The World.
If placation is your norm, you most likely grew up in an environment where you adopted the perspective that the world is hostile and people are hostile. You had to placate one or more of the people in your early life and now because of this, you run the very real risk of projecting hostility or projecting the risk of hostility where it doesn’t actually exist. This tends to be especially noticeable with people who you perceive as having more power than you, such as authorities. This puts other people in a lose - lose situation. They are not all the things you are telling yourself they are, but it doesn’t matter. They are cast in the role of the dangerous guy in your head anyway.
If placation is your norm, you will not even be conscious that you are doing it. You will simply feel tension, anxiety, stress or even the panic of threat. You will then unconsciously experience a subconscious take over. You will begin to go into ‘placation autopilot’ and begin to do things to appease them or calm down potential or existing tension subconsciously. You will placate using the very same strategies you learned in your early childhood. There is no room to stop and realize what you are actually doing. If you stop and see what you are actually doing, you are in a place of free will and choice. Then you can decide if the situation actually requires placation or not. If not, you can relax. If so, you can decide how to best go about it in a conscious way. This may include finding effective placation strategies or finding ways to release resistance to and become more ok with the social consequence that the other person is giving you or potentially will give you. You can also decide what to do about the fact that you have a situation or person in your life where placation is required.
One thing that will totally change your relationship to placation is to realize that it is a narcissistic strategy. It is done for one person and one person only and that’s you (you includes things you’re identified with). You are placating to stay safe in a situation where you perceive the other person to be unsafe. For example, if you give that person a gift from a position of trying to placate them, you didn’t give them that gift so that they would feel good. You gave it to them so that you could be safe. It was a gift given for you, a lie told for your own sake, a concession made for your benefit, not theirs. You’re operating from the old paradigm: It’s every man out for himself.
You will most likely get confused when it comes to placation because placation involves so many loving gestures. When is it in-alignment to show love and not? You will ask. All you need to remember is that if you’re placating, you are doing things that some other parts of you might do to show love or to connect but there is fear present. Your motive for doing it is to calm down hostility or avoid hostility. You are doing it out of fear that there will be a consequence if you don’t do it. Or you are not doing it out of fear that there will be a consequence if you do do it. This is one reason why being aware of your actual motivation in any given situation (no matter how much of a bad person it makes you feel like you are) is so important. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening.
Another element that I must add here is that there is a shadow lurking in those who placate. That shadow is a lack of self-worth. People who have a chronic pattern of placating, have the understanding that people only turn hostile when they have decided they do not want or need the closeness or alliance of the person they are turning hostile towards. For example, if you really want or need closeness with a person because you love their company or because they have something you need, you are going to do everything to avoid a conflict with them. You will do this because you recognize value in them. If you have a pattern of placation, you feel that you must be the one who does the placating in every relationship because no one recognizes your value and so they don’t perceive themselves to need or want you and so they lack the motive to stay in alignment and close and on good terms with you. You personalize the hostility of your environment as being a comment on your own value and worth. For this reason, it will benefit you to watch my video titled: The Value Realization (A Realization That Can Completely Change Your Self Worth). And seeing as how you most likely got to this idea as a result of trauma from your childhood, such as living with a parent who was an adversary, it would benefit you to do a process that I created called The Completion Process. To learn this process, you can buy a copy of my book titled: The Completion Process or visit www.completionprocess.com and select a practitioner who can lead you through it.
If your social life is about placating, it is a serious issue. If you break it down, all life really is, is a collection of relationships with different things. If your life therefore is about placation, you will be living a stressed, tense, fearful, exhausting, in-authentic, dishonest, thousands of pounds of pressure life and wondering why you’re not doing ok. Your life will be non-stop assessment and obsession over whether you need to smooth anything over or prevent potential hostility.
There will always be some people who don’t mind putting you in a situation where you have to placate. But most people don’t want this. Most people would hate to know that the people around them were doing things that please them because of placation. This means that more people will be on board with helping you to end this dynamic than not. The ability to placate is an important social skill. But placation should never be your relationship style. You need to re-arrange your social life according to what your personal truth is relative to being around people who you need to placate. In my opinion, it should definitely not be your partner and it should not be the people whom you consider family or friends. If you feel you have to placate certain people, you need to have some serious heart to heart conversations with those people in your life about that feeling and collaborate with them about how to change that dynamic between you. The good and bad news is that you will be able to tell who you actually have to placate based on that conversation. Just be careful that in that conversation, you aren’t demonstrating that you are the one need to be placated.
Pay attention to your posture and notice those feelings of resentment, stress, obligation, anger, sadness or frustration when you think about doing something to establish rapport with someone else. Use those painful feelings as an alarm bell alerting you to the fact that you are in placation mode.
Be committed to directly naming it and talking about it when you feel that you are about to take an action to placate or have to do something to placate someone in order to stay safe and avoid hostility. For example, “I’m afraid that I have to placate you by coming to that party, because if I don’t come to that party, I am afraid that you’ll decide that I’m a crappy friend and abandon me.” And remember if you are committed to ending this pattern of placation, you should be asking yourself: How can I make people feel safe with me? How can I make people feel like they don’t have to placate me?
The human ego is so sensitive that an honest conversation that is safe is definitely a practice to master. But we should at least be trying to master it. Otherwise, we will be having relationships that are painful and not real. And that is exactly what a relationship based on placation is: Painful and not real.
Placation is currently a relationship style for people on earth. People so often feel the way to create a good relationship is to placate each other. But my question for you is: Is this what we want for our relationships? Is this what we want for our society and world?
Rejection is one of the most painful experiences that a person can go through. And it is also something that all people have experienced and will experience. Rejection can apply to all kinds of things. But when it comes to dealing with rejection on a personal level, what we’re really talking about is situations in which YOU or something about you is the thing being dismissed as inadequate, inappropriate or unwanted. It is essentially a NO relative to YOU in a situation where you want or need them to say yes to you; because them saying yes would feel like you are accepted and taken in by them as appropriate, wanted, and valued.
The biggest question you’re going to have if you struggle with rejection is: Why Me? Why am I the one not being accepted, wanted or valued? You will begin to subconsciously think things like: Why should I value me, if no one else does? The first thing to know about rejection is that it is perfectly normal to personalize things and to feel like crap when you’re in situations where you perceive yourself to have been rejected.
All pain boils down to some form of separation. When someone says NO to you or something about you, it is felt as a push away. The deepest need of the physical human is closeness and connection. We are biologically wired to maintain closeness with tribe, our survival depends on it, and so we are wired to feel actual physical pain when we are at risk of ostracization. So it would stand to reason that the deepest pain is to be pushed away by someone. It usually causes us to go into fight or flight mode, doubt our own value, to fear that we may never get our needs met and to feel and really, really lonely. This is compounded by the fact that when our self-esteem dips, in order to avoid the pain of more rejection and feelings of inadequacy, we tend to isolate ourselves.
You are not going to be able to get rid of the need for social acceptance. That is as ridiculous as a fish trying to get rid of the need to be part of a school of fish. What you can do is to recognize this need within yourself and respond to that need consciously and with your free will. For this reason, if you are struggling with rejection or the fear of rejection, you would benefit immensely by reading my book, the Anatomy of Loneliness (How To Find Your Way Back To Connection).
Instead of spending a long time helping you to understand rejection, I’m going to give you a list of points that will help you to change your perspective about rejection and overcome the pain of it.
Rejection is not a validation. Being rejected does not prove the validity or accuracy of something. For example, someone might reject something about you because they think it is bad or wrong. That does not mean that it is in fact bad or wrong. For example, if you were a blonde who was raised in a society that believed all blonde people were cursed by the devil and so you shouldn’t be near them, you would be rejected for being blonde. Would that rejection be a confirmation that being blonde is in fact bad and wrong? Stop taking rejection as validation that there is absolutely something bad or wrong about you.
Face your emotions about the rejection. There is nothing more worthless when it comes to the topic of rejection than ideas like “stop caring what other people think”. You are not going to get anywhere by telling yourself it is no big deal. All forms of rejection are immediately painful to a physical human. What makes the difference in recovery, is how a person deals with that pain or doesn’t deal with that pain. If you suppress, deny, ignore or bulldoze emotions, you will only amplify the problem. So admit to how you feel. Having feelings does not make you weak. Quite the opposite. If you need help with this, you can watch my videos titled: How To Feel and How to Express Your Emotion. And when you find these emotions, treat yourself with compassion.
When we believe that there is something wrong or bad about us and that is why we have been rejected, we slip into shame and make that shame worse by starting to beat ourselves up. We think that doing so will cause us to change something about ourselves so we will be valued one day. Our aggression turns towards ourselves. We begin to find fault with ourselves, kick ourselves when were already down and bemoan our perceived short comings. This only backfires in the end. We become furious because we feel powerless to beat ourselves into becoming whatever we believe would make us lovable.
The fear we feel because of this powerlessness converts itself into aggression and rage. We in essence begin to reject ourselves in response to rejection. We need to practice the opposite behavior… Self-valuing, self-acceptance, self-love and compassion towards ourselves. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Compassion and How To Cultivate Compassion. You may benefit by doing ‘parts work’ with the part of you that is rejecting you and the part within you that it is doing the rejecting. To learn how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work, What is Parts Work and How To Do It.
So many people are suffering from terribly low self-esteem. The core of this poor self-esteem is the feeling of not being valued. This is especially the case if they perceive themselves to have not been valued by their family members and/or peers in childhood. When we value something, we regard it as having worth to us because it is useful, important and beneficial. The realization however that can change your self-esteem completely is that. Value is entirely based on needs. “Worth” is a completely abstract concept. You cannot objectively determine the value of something. Worth has no basis in reality because it’s entirely subjective. It is a guarantee that you or the things about you will be seen as valuable to someone. If value were entirely based on needs. The most important questions to ask yourself are: Who needs me? And what do I need about me? To understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: The Value Realization.
When we struggle with rejection in our adult life, it is a guarantee that we have experienced rejection in our childhood and that the “rejection wound” has not healed. For this reason, resolution work relative to the original wounding is important. It is akin to facing and healing the cracked foundation of the house of your self concept. For this reason, you would benefit by doing a process that I created called The Completion Process. I have a book that I have written that details the process that is quite literally titled: The Completion Process. You can also visit www.completionprocess.com and select a practitioner to take you through the process.
People who really suffer from rejection and the fear of rejection tend to have fixed mindsets and not believe that things are changeable. This is to say that they suffer from a sense of powerlessness and futility even relative to things they absolutely do have power over and absolutely can change. This is why rejection tends to make them feel hopeless about the future. It is really important that you change to a ‘growth’ mindset. A mindset that does not see things as set in stone, most especially the self. Our personalities and behaviors are in essence, adaptations to our environment. This means, authenticity and integration and healing will change your personality and behaviors. Life is flexible and you are flexible. Face and seek to understand and change your perspectives regarding your own perceptions of powerlessness and your perceptions that things are fixed and unchangeable and therefore inevitable.
So much about the fear of rejection and the pain of rejection is because we do not have close and intimate enough relationships with people. We aren’t asking them enough questions. We are not really taking the initiative to see into, feel into, listen to and understand them. Instead, we are stuck with ourselves and our own needs. We tell ourselves a story about why people are rejecting us. We add meaning that actually does not exist. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button. Essentially, most of us aren’t brave enough to discover the real reason why.
We need to be brave enough and initiate putting energy forth towards learning from the rejection. Spending the time and energy in order to totally understand the real reason behind WHY we are being rejected by them can do one of two things. 1. It can make us self-aware. This puts us in a place of choice. We often do not understand how we are being perceived by others. We all have that friend who has a behavior that hurts people. We know this is why we don’t invite them to get togethers etc. But we are too afraid to tell him. If you were him, would you want to know so that you could decide to change it or not? 2. It can help us to understand that so often them saying NO to us has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with them… their own traumas and needs and wants. It can even have to do with things we would never have thought of, things that are in no way related to us or our value. Remember, really nice and valuable things are rejected every day by people who can’t afford them.
It can also bring to the surface the fact that what is really happening is incompatibility. Incompatibility can happen in a business setting, a family setting, a romantic setting and anything in between. To understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality in Relationships. Be brave enough to stop telling yourself stories about the rejection and directly talk to them instead. Tell them you really, really want the brutal, honest truth. And develop enough intimacy and ask enough questions to discover the real why.
Something that most people don’t know is that out of rejection comes your biggest sense of direction. I often talk about emotions serving as a kind of compass. Rejection can be a compass as well. This is even more the case when you are brave enough to discover the real reasons why. For example, I know a man who discovered that the real reason he was being rejected by women shortly after they became his girlfriend was because they all felt he was unavailable. He looked deeply into himself for his personal truth. He could have put tons of effort into learning how to be available in relationships. But he was a journalist. He decided that his real priority was his work, not a romantic relationship. So instead, he decided to do a course correction and specifically look for and date women who were extremely busy themselves and who wanted casual romance in their lives instead of a committed relationship where he would be needed.
To use myself as another example, in the beginning of my career, I was rejected more than a few times by people in the business of hiring spiritual teachers to speak. When I had direct conversations with them, they told me that they were interested in hiring empowering speakers, who left the audience feeling amazing and empowered after attending the speech. As opposed to me, who got up on stage and told them the truth, even if it was painful. They said people don’t return the next year, unless the speakers make them feel amazing. This feedback made my direction very clear. When I really looked deep inside myself, I realized that my calling is to be a truth teller, no matter if the truth feels good or bad. This realization directed me towards rebranding, as well as towards doing my own events catered towards people who wanted the truth and real healing based off of that truth, as opposed to people who wanted inspiration or simply to feel relief. Another person, given the same feedback might have realized that their compass was pointing them in the direction of creating more feel-good speeches. The point is, rejection can give you a strong sense of direction, if you let it. You can turn rejection into something that dramatically benefits your life.
Reach out to people or groups where you do feel valued and accepted and to people whom you feel an affinity with. Really initiate learning how to develop deep, meaningful friendships with people. When we feel afraid of rejection or experience the pain of rejection, we compound our own ostracization by isolating ourselves and by adopting behaviors that guarantee further ostracization. When we really need to do the opposite. When we experience the pain of rejection, we become “inflamed” emotionally and physically. Being near people who accept and value you will help this inflammation to die down and this pain to be soothed. Part of this is because it secures our currently highly unstable need to belong. If we have been rejected, our need for belonging is threatened. You need to meet this need. For this reason, you would benefit by watching my videos titled: Belonging and How To Belong as well as Instant Belonging.
Pain tries to convince you that you’re the only one in it, that you’re the only one who is being rejected when everyone else is being valued and loved and accepted. But it isn’t the truth. Everyone gets rejected for something. The most valuable people in history, people like Jesus and Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were rejected to the degree that some of them were jailed and even killed. So rejection says nothing about your actual value. And everyone feels pain when they get rejected. Whether that pain turns into suffering or not depends upon how that pain is dealt with. It depends on whether we use it to find deeper awareness, personal truth and direction. And consider that when you feel you are being rejected and therefore prevented from having something good, that might just be the universe re-directing you towards something better.
People have a very hard time expanding wide enough to be able to hold dichotomy. Essentially, in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, people tend to globalize and see things as all bad or all good. They want one answer or one cure for all situations. But it is critical if you are on the path of awareness to understand that all things can heal and all things can also damage. This means that any teaching or practice can be beneficial and it can also be detrimental depending on the circumstance.
There is an old wiccan principal, that which can poison can also heal and nothing can heal without also being able to poison. So you can understand what I mean by this, I’m going to give you some examples.
Take the teaching “you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”. This teaching is super beneficial for people who are paralyzed by the overwhelm of the “how” of reaching their goals. However, this teaching is super detrimental for people who do not like the pressure of having to make the right decisions based on big picture awareness… People who would prefer to follow the whims of their emotions. It can cause them to justify ignoring red flags and to justify getting into shark infested water until by the time they realize it is sharky water, it’s too late to turn around.
Affirmations and gratitude lists can be a really good tool for decreasing stress, improving your personal mentality and frequency and developing awareness of the positive polarity of your life. They can also be methods of coping with situations that need to be changed instead of coped with, methods of lying to oneself and methods of avoidance and escapism and denial.
The universal truth “There is no death” can help both people afraid of death and people who have lost a loved one to not fear ended-ness and to feel connection even when someone is no longer physically with us. It can also cause someone pain when they are grappling with the fact that in the physical dimension, death absolutely is a reality and so their feelings of loss are valid. This truth can make people stuck and unable to work through their grief because if there is no death, they shouldn’t be feeling grief and something must be wrong or unevolved with them to not be able to feel the reality of ‘no loss’. It can also remove some of the fear about death and someone might use that comfort to justify committing suicide.
Meditation is one of the most powerful tools available to humans. There are so many beneficial things it can do, the list would be five miles long. But let’s condense this list to say that it can be an especially powerful way to become aware and present. But meditation can also be a method of unawareness, suppression, resistance and escapism. For example, some people use it to escape the physical dimension because they perceived it to be unevolved and think it should be transcended. This is the opposite of presence. Some people use it to suppress their emotions. Any time they feel a strong negative emotion, instead of listening to it so as to becoming aware of the personal truth underneath it, they simply ‘meditate it away’. Some people use meditation as an addiction to avoid facing the wounding that they have.
One person may have reached the point in their personal growth process, where they are ready to let go of identity and begin to actualize the concept of oneness. Another person, who was enmeshed in childhood and never found their authenticity and never felt a solid core, might become unhealthier if they did the same things as the first person in this scenario. He or she would benefit better by developing healthy boundaries and a core.
Shadow work can be used as a tool of self-love. It can help you to develop intimacy with and awareness of and acceptance for parts of yourself that you suppressed, denied and disowned. It can also be used as a tool of self-hate. You can use to try to become aware of parts of yourself so that you can fix them into changing, thereby sending yourself the message from the inside that you are bad as you are.
‘Mind creates reality’ is a powerful concept that teaches you the power of your mind and also empowers you relative to a reality that most people feel powerless to. It can also be a fast track to causing pain, being ignorant and justifying denial. It can serve as a justification to slip into a narcissistic bubble. A person can speak the truth about reality and someone can use this concept as an excuse to deny it because “if they don’t choose to see it, it doesn’t exist”. This can also be a way of causing extreme pain to someone suffering by essentially blaming them for whatever painful thing happened in their life.
The teaching “choose yourself, even when others refuse to… because choosing yourself is self-love and self-love is self-care” can be something that people use to stop their codependency patterns, make the right choices for themselves and get out of abusive situations. It can also be something that people use to justify their narcissism and fail to take others as a part of themselves and enhance separation and a fend for yourself attitude within the human race.
So often when someone is contesting one of my quotes or is taking issues with one of my teachings or is suffering as a result of doing one of my processes, it is because they have taken something I have said out of context or found a scenario in which “that which heals can poison” or they are applying one of my teachings or processes to a situation that requires a different one. The misapplication of a teaching or technique is a serious problem in any field.
You get the point. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the fact that if any teaching or practice can be beneficial or detrimental, teaching to a group is difficult. Also, it blows the door open for people to be using the wrong concepts and practices for them at a given time or the right concepts at the wrong time or in the wrong circumstances. It can be compared to trying to nail something in with a screwdriver or trying to use an axe in a situation that requires tender loving care.
The level of awareness you need to have to be able to clearly and objectively see what teaching or practice is right in any given situation and at any given time is far beyond most people. The reason that “follow your feelings” isn’t a fail-safe answer is because you will feel better in several situations that are the opposite of good for you. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Why Follow Your Joy Doesn’t Always Work. Also, some things that are very right for you, do not feel great. For example, removing a thorn from your foot feels like crap in the short term.
The safest thing you can do is to be aware that right and wrong are not unchanging commandments. Whether something is right or wrong varies from situation to situation. Be aware of the potential healing and the potential poison of any given concept, teaching or practice. Therefore, relative to anything, you can ask yourself, in what situations or ways could this be detrimental and in what situations or ways could this be beneficial?
It is easy to assume that people have the same motive for doing things that you have. Psychologists have called this false consensus bias. Essentially, we tend to expect and project that people have the same beliefs, thoughts, motives, desires, values, aversions and preferences that we do, when sometimes they do not. When motives differ, it can create a lot of conflict and misunderstanding. One of these differences in motives can be seen clearly in the spiritual field.
To generalize, you can divide people who are into spirituality and self-help (which have now become comingled) into two camps. The first is people who practice spirituality and self-help in order to experience comfort. The second is people who practice spirituality and self-help in order to become aware and awaken. You have to really look deeply to see the difference because there are many gaslighting teachers and practices and tools in the spiritual/self-help field. There are many things that claim to be about truth and awareness and awakening that are only about instant pain relief and comfort. This motive split within the field is something that even people in the actual business of spirituality and self-help don’t recognize and really need to. People tend to project that other people who are interested in spirituality and self-help belong to the same camp as they do. This is part of what creates so much frustration amongst people in the field.
People who fit into the first camp, want to feel good. They see the knowledge and practices available in this field as a way to feel good. People who fit into the second camp, want to know what is true. They imagine that knowing the truth will enable them to make changes that will lead to feeling better. But they want to know the truth even if what they come to find out makes them feel really, really bad. It’s the classic matrix blue pill or red pill scenario.
Some people imagine themselves to be in the middle, with both motives. They are the ones who tend to suffer the most because they are caught in between interests that often compete. Not all truth is painful. But it is where truth is painful that this divide really appears. A person who is interested in spiritual practice in order to find comfort is unconcerned with whether those methods that create comfort reflect the truth or whether they are serving as a coping mechanism. A person who is caught in the middle wants to feel good, but is always worried about whether they are simply going into denial or avoidance or whether something that feels good that they are told is true or not.
While there are some teachers and practices that straddle the fence, most teachers tend to fit into either camp. Most practices tend to fit into either camp. Most spiritual events tend to fit into either camp. Indeed entire paths can fit into either camp.
I have deep understanding of the desire to feel comfort and to feel good. No one wants to be in pain and both spiritual practice and self-help techniques definitely offer some powerful tools for relief and coping. But I do wish to make people aware of these motives so that they can distinguish between the path of awareness and the path of simply feeling good. Only then can you truly be in a place of choice.
There are scenarios in which pain relief is beneficial. The path of awareness recognizes this. There are also scenarios where pain relief is detrimental. Comfort and feel-good based spiritual practice blows the door wide open for these detrimental aspects of pain relief. For example, if the barometer of whether something is true is whether it feels good, we will end up in the land of ignorance. For example, it is true that sex trafficking of children is happening. That does not feel good. If we follow our emotions like a compass, we must see that emotions are dictated by thoughts, most of which are programmed into you at a young age and have no real bearing on reality. So are we following our authentic compass or a compass that has been programmed by our family and culture? We may be in a situation where we really can do something to change the scenario we are in. But because of perceived helplessness, we may use a comforting spiritual practice to be able to cope with staying in the situation we should be changing or getting out of. We may use a comforting feeling concept to wash over the reality of a situation and by doing so, completely misinterpret what is actually happening. We may use feel good truths that belong to one dimension to negate uncomfortable truths that belong to other dimensions. We may defend truths that feel good to us if we have wounding around our truth being excluded from someone else’s reality. When our truth has not been acknowledged, especially in childhood, we fight for our own reality against other people’s. By fending for our own truth, we cope with the pain by becoming exactly like what hurt us… A person trapped in a perceptual bubble.
I could make a list five miles long about the risks involved with belonging to the “comfort and feel good” camp of spirituality. To go deeper into this, you can watch my video titled: Novocain Spirituality. What I want you to be aware of is that the desire for pain relief and the desire for healing, often takes you in drastically opposite directions. Many of the tools that are taught by the “comfort and feel better” camp are valuable, they can also lead to incredible ignorance and destruction if used in the wrong ways.
In general, people don’t want to see the truth when they feel they can’t change something or don’t want to change something. Your only axis of power and true choice is to be in reality and to see the truth. But all this being said, a person has to want to see the truth. You can’t make someone want to see the truth. And so, one of the most important things you can do is to really decide what your motive is for practicing spirituality and self-help. If you honestly want comfort and to feel good and relief, really own it. And be aware that what you are going for is to feel good, not to know the truth. You are engaging in these practices so as to ‘get out of the dirt’. If you want awareness, be aware that there may be things that feel amazing and there may be things that feel so bad, you doubt your ability to swallow them. Part of awareness is to go directly into the dirt. If you choose the path of comfort, you should run away from me as fast as your legs can carry you. And return only if you are ready.
All this being said, if you look at people who are associated with the spirituality and self-help field through this awareness of the two camps, a lot more will begin to make sense to you.
The question to ask yourself now is: In what camp do I belong? Do I choose the blue pill or the red pill?
Connection and belonging with that connection is the strongest need for a physical human. We are after all a relationally dependent species. Some of us feel that belonging with the families we were born into. This allows for more room when it comes to selecting compatible friends and a compatible mate for ourselves. But some of us never felt it and some of us lost it. Even if our family is technically alive, this dynamic creates a kind of orphan complex. It creates a desperate sense of urgency to belong, regardless of whether compatibility actually exists or not. This allows for much less room to select a compatible situation and compatible people for ourselves, which is a recipe for suffering.
If we have this pattern, we are on the lookout for similarities with others. Once we see these similarities, we do not go slowly in order to see if we are in fact a fit to them. We decide they are a fit. The beginning of the relationship usually feels like heaven. We finally have our deepest need met and we feel deep satiation. But what we don’t see is that our sense of belonging is in fact an overlay. An overlay is a pretend reality that sits over actual reality like an overlay. Overlays make it so we commit to something that isn’t real, especially in relationships. And eventually, when that overlay begins to corrode and we notice some of the incompatibilities that exist, we end up in a reality that is the opposite of what we would choose. To understand overlays in depth, watch my video titled: Overlay (What Prevents You from Having a Real Relationship).
Some of us move on to another situation or another relationship and then another and then another and repeat this cycle again and again and again until one day, we have healed enough to find or create belonging. Others fall into what I call the “modified puzzle piece pattern”. When they recognize the incompatibilities that exist and the ways they don’t belong, they begin to try to modify themselves so that they are a fit. The best way to imagine this is to imagine a little puzzle piece realizing that it doesn’t actually fit in the spot in the puzzle that it thought it did and so it finds a pocketknife and begins cutting away at itself in the hope that it can make the shape out of itself that will enable it to fit perfectly. It’s heartbreaking to watch.
The problem with this pattern is, it isn’t possible for a puzzle piece to modify itself in this way and be ok at the same time. It is always obvious that it is not a real fit. It had to cut away parts of itself that are intrinsic to it, which crates severe pain that does not go away. It got the message that it had to be different to belong, which destroys its self-esteem. Switching back to the human experience, I’m going to give you some real-life examples of people with this pattern and how it does not work.
A woman with this pattern has a deep need to be the priority in a relationship. She also has a deep need to live a ‘big life’, with lots of success and financial abundance and a man who takes care of her financially. She meets a nice man who is there for her emotionally, which is another need of hers. But this man has a child from another relationship and it becomes obvious to her that his child is the priority for him. Also, he is a simple man who loves a simple life and who has no ambition to ‘make it big’ or be rich. It causes her intense pain every time his child is around. She suffers realizing that she is on her own to make money and create success and that it will be her carrying him financially in the end, which makes her stressed out and lose respect for him. But she is so unwilling to face the fact that she does not actually fit with him that she begins to try to alter her truth. She attends seminars about simple living to try to talk herself into seeing her desire for a big life as ego dysfunction. She tries to find and heal the trauma creating her need to be prioritized. Her truth of “I need to be the priority” changes to “I need to be the priority when your child isn’t around”. But this modified truth isn’t the actual truth because she still gets hurt and there is still a conflict every time the man prioritizes his child’s need when she has a need. Her truth of “I want a man who will financially take care of me” turns to “I can be the financial success if he supports me emotionally.” But this modified truth isn’t the actual truth because every time she has to pay for something, and every time she sees him prioritize playing sports or watching movies instead of trying to improve their financial position, she resents him.
A man with this pattern really wants to be in a certain job. He clearly sees the needs that the company has for someone in that position. Instead of really examining his authentic talents and personal desires, he simply dresses and acts the part and sells himself so well that he gets hired. He has to change and hide and deny all kinds of things about himself in order to fit in that position. In time, this not only leads to zero job satisfaction, he also isn’t doing a good job in his position and does not seem motivated, which makes HR feel duped.
A woman with this pattern has been in several relationships. Each time she gets into one, her entire personality and the way she dresses and the interests she has changes. Once, she was with a Harley Davidson biker and suddenly she was wearing black leather and cut off all her hair so it would fit in a helmet and bought a motorbike with money she didn’t have to spare and put her daughter in afterschool care and dropped all her other interests so she could fit in with him and his other biker friends every day. She did the same thing when she started dating a Christian. Suddenly, she stopped drinking alcohol and started dressing in conservative dresses and sending her family religious pamphlets and spending more time doing “good mom” things with her daughter. She did the same thing with a man who loved dogs. She got one and acted like she loved them but when the relationship ended, she left it in a pen in the yard with no attention for the next 5 years.
Sometimes both people in a couple have this pattern. This is where things get super confusing. They both modify their truth to try to fit to each other in different scenarios and imagine it to be a good thing because it is compromise, which they imagine is the way to make a relationship work. But compromise does not work because it is very different than finding a third option that genuinely works to meet the needs of two compatible people. Compromise is ‘I’ll take a little pain and you take a little pain”. If you do that over and over in a relationship, you will both simply end up in lots of pain in the relationship. Compromise is a form of ‘self-sacrifice’ and your being will not thank you for it.
Hopefully by this point, you get how this pattern works and maybe even have someone from your own life (maybe it’s you) that you can clearly see is caught in this pattern. The modified puzzle piece pattern makes you violate your own boundaries (including personal truth) for the sake of the relationship. To understand about boundaries, it would benefit you to watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries vs. Oneness (How to Create Healthy Boundaries). Part of your personal truth, which is part of what defines you and is therefore a boundary of yours, is desire. If you have this ‘modified puzzle piece pattern’ in relationships, you will try to modify your desires by changing or trying to get rid of them, which cannot be done. To understand this deeper, watch my video titled: You Can’t Heal Yourself Out of a Desire.
This pattern also really, really hurts other people too because they will feel duped and misled. We will sell them on the idea that we are compatible to them and say we are ok with things. But then, it will turn out that we are different, maybe even the opposite of what we said we were and it will turn out that we really aren’t ok with what we agreed to.
We are conditioned to believe that love triumphs over all. We have been conditioned to believe that if we are genuinely a good person, we should be able to have a feel-good relationship with anyone and everyone. There is a big difference between loving something and being compatible with something. To understand incompatibility, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality In Relationships. The modified puzzle piece pattern is a refusal to acknowledge and accept incompatibility because doing so, means losing connection and belonging. For people who do not have belonging elsewhere, they would rather modify themselves to fit than acknowledge incompatibility because they think doing so would mean having no belonging and having nowhere to connect and fit as opposed to having the tiny bit of connection and belonging they are getting with the incompatible situation. It is a starvation and desperation pattern. Most people would rather have scraps and be malnourished for their entire life rather than risk starvation, which is what people with this pattern genuinely feel they are facing.
If you have this pattern, know that it makes perfect sense. Anyone who had truly felt the starvation for belonging would do the same thing. The pain of not belonging is ineffable. But if you have to modify yourself out of alignment with your personal truth (and especially desires) in order to fit somewhere, it isn’t an actual fit. It means belonging did not actually exist. You cannot call it belonging if only your pinkie toe fits or if only half of you fits, any more than a puzzle piece fits if only one or half of its tabs or slots fit. Your real fear is that you do not belong anywhere. This is actually impossible universally speaking. This means in the physical dimension, your belonging exists and you can either find that belonging or you can create it by starting a puzzle of your own where people will come to belong with you. The only way to do this, is to be completely authentic instead of to try to modify yourself so you fit where you do not fit. For this reason, you would benefit by watching three of my videos. The first is: How To Be Authentic. The second is Belonging and How to Belong. And the third is The Zebra and The Watering Hole.
You can only be authentic to the degree that you currently know yourself. Better said, you can only be authentic to the degree that you are currently aware of yourself. And because so much of people is denied, rejected, disowned and suppressed into the subconscious, most people are not aware of very much of themselves at all. This means, the most important work you have ahead of you is to re-own and accept and admit to and express the parts of yourself that you pushed away long ago. You have to be brave to be authentic and brave to be willing to see yourself and admit the truth of yourself to others. But that bravery is worth it. It is worth it because the day will come that you can honestly say “This is where I belong. I am exactly where I am supposed to be”.
It is a trend within the human race that there is a feud between generations. Throughout history, the old and the young find fault with each other. And today is no exception. Previous generations despise the millennial generation and even millennials hate other millennials. But every generation contains both positive and negative. For this and many other reasons, I want to explain the millennial generation. I must first warn you that to talk about a group consciousness, I must generalize.
We are going to begin at a high level. If you were to look through the lens of objective universal consciousness, you would see that the millennial generation is a “game changer” generation. It exists to collapse one society and re-build another one. It exists to bring humanity into free will. This is part of why they have come to adulthood in the information age where there are so many choices. The opposite of free will is determinism. How determinism works in society is that causation takes one of two roads. Either the previous generation does something one way and the next does it the exact same way, or the previous generation does something one way and the next does it the exact opposite way. One is repeat and one is rebellion. Both are in fact determinism. Neither are a byproduct of free will. Both are simply a reaction. Determinism has played itself out for so many generations like a pendulum swing creating very slow progress in the human race. They create extremes, both of which create their own kind of dysfunction. For example, the silent generation felt it was unwise to speak out and the baby boomers spoke out violently against things, expecting that doing so would improve things.
The millennial generation was designed to get humanity out of that perpetual pendulum swing. It is best to think of them as the “cards are up in the air” generation. They are the generation that is meant to see the shadows and change them. They are the generation that gets that the way things have been done will not work anymore. However they ended up “opting out of the game” because of trauma and therefore contain shadows of their own. These shadows that exist in the millennial consciousness must be seen because they will make it impossible to build the new. And if millennials can’t see them and integrate them, they will go down in history as the wounded generation and that ‘building of the new society’ will have to be done by the subsequent generations. They will go through life and never really find deep fulfillment.
All this being said, we cannot constructively look at the wounds that created these negative outcomes without compassion. Lack of understanding and lack of compassion is what dominates the minds of most who correctly identify the problems with the millennial generation. So with compassion, I ask you to look at the causation of the millennial consciousness. By seeing the causation, it will be easier to view actual solutions. If you are a millennial watching this, seeing your own wounding and the potential shadows within that wounding is critical in order to create a future and society that you actually want instead of a life dictated by your wounding.
The millennials were born in the early 1980s to the mid 1990s. To understand them, you need to understand what happened in the world from 1980 to now. You must first understand childhood for the child growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. There is no way, (without writing multiple books) that I could explain the many failed parenting methods that reigned supreme in the 1980s and 1990s. But I’m going to hit some points. Children before the 1980s were exposed to all kinds of detrimental parenting methods and failed parenting strategies, but most parents were unconscious about this and simply put expectations on their children, assuming that the kids would magically meet those expectations and it would all pan out ok. And because of what was and wasn’t happening in society, there was still a chance that despite poor parenting methods, young adults could create a life that was ok.
In the 1980s, views about parenting changed. The boomers recognized some of the painful parenting techniques as the reason they had felt pain and instead of just repeating the way they were parented; they began looking for other opinions. It was the era of the parenting book. Some of the most detrimental parenting theories such as Parent Power and Sleep Training were born and employed at this time. And the detrimental parenting theories made into books only increased in the 1990s.
The single-family home became the norm and divorce sky rocketed. Because of this, children lost access to many of the emotional and self-esteem resources that previous generations had access to when it comes to meeting their needs. Boomers raised their children with a blend of ‘unconsciously exactly what their parents did’ and also ‘nothing like their parents did’. Unfortunately for them, instead of this leading to conscious parenting, this created a damaged generation with a lot of unmet needs.
Parenting in the 80’s and 90’s was a strange blend of careless and controlling. For example, in general, parents in the 1980s did not know what to feed their kids and therefore fed them all kind of things that destroy a child’s health. Kids were left unsupervised for large chunks of time because there was a lack of awareness about many of the dangers that parents are now all too aware of. This unsupervised play came with both benefits and dangers. At the same time, parents tended to be much more controlling in certain ways, hoping to be able to dictate the outcome of their child’s adult life. Parents were rigid about their children’s commitment to doing well at school, getting good grades, getting a good job, doing certain things with money, behaving in ways they thought would lead to social success etc. Millennials were also raised with the carrot and stick (punishment and reward) approach.
The most important thing to understand is that most parents in the 1980s and 1990s raised their children to believe that if the child did what he or she did or said to do, there would be a good life (a carrot) waiting for them at the end of that road and if they didn’t, there would be consequences and pain. The millennials jumped on that train, they tried to excel not only for approval but also believing that their closely guided efforts would yield positive results. And they didn’t. They didn’t big time!
The millennials were dumped out into the world as young adults with all forces against them. It’s akin to releasing a bird from its nest in a hailstorm that would last for its entire lifetime. Not only did failed parenting methods and childhood trauma mean that many of them had emotional development delays, they came into society at a time of financial collapse… One of the worst in history in fact. One we are still suffering from today. They were told that getting good grades, going to a good school, getting a good job and finding a good partner and having kids would be how to succeed at life. Instead, it did nothing for them. In fact, it created the very suffering they were told they could avoid by going down that road. Tuition cost so much that they had to take out massive student loans. They were told that having a job would soon take care of that. But even with a degree, they couldn’t get jobs because there was a backing up of the natural cycle of job progression to retirement. No one could retire. Overqualified people had to take jobs they would not have considered before. The millennials were now competing in the workplace against their parent’s generation and even grandparent’s generation. Not only could millennials not compete against their resumes, they had not been brought up for competition in the first place.
In the 1980s and 1990s, a huge push for equality had already taken place. A value established by the baby boomers. Parents and teachers encouraged this equality. They did things like give out participation awards and discourage competition. So now, they were in a highly competitive environment that they were unprepared for, had debt they could not pay back, no use for their degrees and had to go back into the entry level jobs they had held before and during college. These were jobs where many had to hold two jobs, just to pay the bills. They came to terms with the fact that they would most likely never be able to own a home or be able to afford to have kids. Many moved back in with their parents not because they wanted to, but because they felt it was either that or be on the street or be stuck on a hamster wheel working their asses off to afford the rent on a crappy apartment. Suddenly, the payoff or reward that they were promised would come as a result of all their hard work and investment looked like what it was… a pipe dream. A pipe dream, they are still expected to go for and criticized for not achieving.
And to make matters even worse, now in 2020, millennials are being hit by a repeat trauma. As we speak, the millennial generation is being retraumatized by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most especially, by the economic disaster caused by the shutdown/control measures that were put in place by members of the generations before them who are currently in power in the government. Many millennials who managed to defy the odds and start their own businesses, now find themselves in the same camp that those millennials who have been stuck in crappy entry level jobs have been in for a long time. Everything they worked so hard for, just got taken away. And those millennials that were worse off and stuck in the hamster wheel of society are even worse off now. The overwhelming meaning that they are all taking out of it… “I’ve been duped... What I was told is bullshit. It doesn’t matter how hard I work or how many things I try to do right, I’m not in control of any of it. They (generations above me) can just make a decision that makes me totally powerless to never being able to achieve something or powerless to it being taken away just like that”.
Many of the shadows that belong to millennials are the result of this feeling of having been “duped”. The generation before the millennials genuinely expected the world to improve with time. As a result, the millennials were sold an illusion of what would lead to a good life. They distrust authority because of this now. Many millennials feel that they were set up for failure. They were indoctrinated with ideas about how to succeed in a system that was in and of itself fundamentally flawed… A game rigged against them by the very generation who was supposed to guide them into further success. And because of this, where previous generations saw the things that their parents did wrong, most of them saw their parents as good enough to enable them to succeed in life at the very least. The millennial generation on the other hand feels totally set up for failure by their parents. There is a big difference between feeling like your parents did things wrong and feeling like your parents and/or their generation set you up to fail, hurt you and prevented you from success. Hatred springs from hurt. For this reason, there is actual hatred in the millennial generation towards the baby boomer generation. To the degree that when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, some millennials found themselves wishing that a virus would eradicate the previous generation so that they could stop being hurt and kept imprisoned in the hamster wheel by them.
Obviously, distrust is a natural reaction to being duped and set up for failure. As a result, the millennials are a distrustful group of people who have become obsessed with truth, what is real and authenticity. Millennials experience energy being invested in things as having no payoff whatsoever. For example, they put their energy into the family, only to have divorce ruin the family. They saw that no matter how hard their parents worked at marriage; marriage does not last. They put their energy into being the way that they were taught would guarantee them social success and saw that it only made them “better slaves”. They put their energy into school only to end up deeply in student debt and unable to get a job with their degree after graduation. They started small businesses only to lose them in this most recent pandemic. This is what burn out is all about. This is why the millennial generation is the burn out generation.
Burnout happens when no matter hard you work at something, it doesn’t work. If you believe that investing your energy and effort into something will never pay off, how committed and invested are you? The answer is not very. The laziness that most people attribute to the millennial generation isn’t laziness. It is lack of investment and engagement. Focus is also investment. The attention span and focus of millennials is very short in part because of this wound around investment. This is obviously an issue if it takes investment and commitment to make anything happen. Millennials have a very hard time recognizing or believing in a positive outcome as a result of their efforts. They tend to be impatient because they do not have the trust in future payoff. Would you? It is a deeply disillusioned and even cynical generation.
Along this same vein, professionalism is something that people need to have incentive for. There has to be a payoff to behaving professionally in order for someone to be professional. And so many of the elements of professionalism, like dressing well or doing a good job at a task or being reliable or keeping one’s emotions in control, simply seem like control tactics rather than anything that really gets them any particular pay off.
Seeing that nothing really panned out has thrown millennials into an existential crisis about what is true vs. false and about what truly matters vs. doesn’t. Millennials were thrust into a quarter life crisis. Very little that the previous generations valued is valued by the millennials. To generalize, they see good parenting as the most important thing, so much so that many of them will not be having children because they feel they cannot be good parents for any number of reasons ranging from emotional reasons to financial reasons to even the belief in a poor prognosis for the future of earth. They are divided relative to relationship. Many have given up on it entirely and opted for casual sex or serial monogamy. And many are determined to solve the Rubik’s Cube of how to have a good relationship no matter how impossible it seems. They care about finding work that is meaningful and fulfilling while they are actually doing it as opposed to putting forth effort now (even if it is not enjoyable) so as to experience a payoff later.
Because they were promised that putting their effort forth in a certain way would yield positive returns and it didn’t, they could see that those things they were guided to be and do, were not actually in their best interests. They were in other people’s best interests. If everyone is out for his or her own best interests, then they subconsciously decided that the law of the land on earth is: Every man for himself. Naturally, they became hyper focused on their own best interests and also withdrew their loyalty to others. They became “me, me, me” thinking this was the only way to ever get their needs met. This is a narcissistic way of being that makes it very hard for a millennial to be a functional member of a team. This is a drastic contrast to previous generations. Previous generations have held the perspective that to be a success and to feel good, they had to work hard at creating and preserving relationships no matter the cost. The millennials have seen this as exactly what screwed them. So they have the reverse mentality. To be a success and feel good, you have to fight for your own best interests and keep loose connection to people and things.
Looking at all of this, we come to the second major wounding for the millennial generation. They worked hard for no positive outcome or return. Do you know who else works hard for no return? Slaves. Millennials truly feel as though they were duped into becoming a slave to the system. They see that they are on a hamster wheel that will actually take them nowhere and all for the benefit of ‘someone else’ other than them. They see workforce competition and incentives programs as a ploy on behalf of authority figures to simply make them become even better slaves. Most of the “shadows” that have been ascribed to millennials like entitlement, the demand to be seen as important and to be recognized, the complete rejection of hierarchy and their lack of loyalty and investment within companies, are a result of this perception that they hold.
The life experience of the millennial has imbued them with a fundamental belief in their own powerlessness, incapacity and therefore low self-esteem. When someone feels powerless and incapable and therefore believes that the actualization of their desires truly is out of their own hands, they put the pressure and responsibility of their desires and needs on whoever they perceive as having more power than they do in a given situation. This is what other people then call ‘entitled’.
To understand millennials in the workplace, I want you to imagine feeling you are a slave and are expected to stay a slave and see yourself walking into a company where you perceive a boss to be a slave owner. What would you be sensitive to? How would you act? Either you will enter a company and fight for your own best interests and expect your needs to be the responsibility of your boss and always be on the lookout for how you are being used and exploited (and remain unattached and uninvested because there’s nothing in it for you) OR you will exit the system entirely and become your own boss. Millennials play a serious zero-sum game with companies that hire them because they perceive those companies to already be playing a zero-sum game with them by trying to make them a slave. Remember a slave is someone who works for almost no (and therefore an unfair) return. There is no work life balance for millennials. They desire a real re-working of what is fair exchange for their time and energy as well as a re-working of the economy so as to feel that they can afford life and the things they want, without killing themselves on a hamster wheel that never gets them anywhere.
Millennials are freedom obsessed because of this wounding. They refuse hierarchy and many perceive commitment, especially when commitment becomes hard, to be fruitless and restrictive. They also tend to hate rules. “Because this is the way things are done” and “because I said so” are not going to cut it for the millennial generation, especially in the information age. They operate with a mentality of “the rules don’t apply to me”. Obviously, this has an up-side and a downside. People who question the rules, can be unconventional innovators or they can wreak societal havoc.
As a result of this, millennials have embraced shadow freedom. Shadow freedoms or out of alignment freedoms are all reactions to feeling not free, but that are not true free will and are instead detrimental to a person. Some examples of shadow freedom are: Refusing to commit to anything or better said, committing to non-commitment. Refusing to assume responsibility for anything. Remaining unattached and uninvested so you can change course at the drop of a hat. Choosing to be a king of a country with only one citizen rather than a lower ranking member of a large kingdom etc.
Many millennials have gotten to a point where they see that nothing they are doing or are expected to do will ever get them to a life that feels good or where they can have those things that guarantee a good life. As a result, instead of stay on the hamster wheel and try to make something work that will never work, some give up. They develop an attitude of “what’s the point” and instead of put effort in for a future payoff, simply go for whatever instant gratification they can get in the moment. Including distractions and addictions. Millennials who have reached this point can feel quite lost and fickle and float from one job to the next and from one passion to the next and one relationship to the next.
Millennials are angry. Really, really angry. They feel like their education hasn’t gotten them any life satisfaction which makes them feel hopeless because it is assumed that knowledge gives you the tools for a better life. But it hasn’t worked. They perceive the message from other people to be “put up with it”. This is why they are so easily triggered. They feel they are being told to put up with being a slave, put up with things being unfair, put up with insult, put up with a flawed system staying the same, put up with never having your needs met, put up with inequality etc. The millennial generation isn’t going to put up with anything.
They are also exhausted, suffering the burnout of feeling lied to and taken advantage of and of having so fully committed to a pipe dream, only to figure out it was a pipe dream too late… A pipe dream that they are still expected to be committed to, despite the fact that it is never going to pan out. Most feel they will be paying the consequences for believing their parents and getting on that hamster wheel forever. The level of distress in the average millennial’s life is not sustainable and they have turned to all kinds of detrimental coping mechanisms, including addictions, as a result.
On top of this, they are also shamed and guilted for turning out distrustful, entitled (which they see as simply fighting to not be taken advantage of), impatient, self-concerned (which they see as just common sense in a world where everyone is in it for themselves), uninvested, demanding equality and truth etc. Many millennials are struggling. The baby boom generation has not handed off the baton to them so they can create society the way that they want it to look. As a result, they feel they are told to be an adult in a society that they perceive themselves having no control over. That is a gaslight in and of itself. They are told to vote for a system that they feel they can’t change or even effect. They perceive themselves to be on a hamster wheel to becoming a slave and many do not know how to get off. Their mentality is to win the game or get out of the game or stand up to the slave drivers rigging the game. So many of the millennials that have succeeded, have ‘gone rogue’. And this is now the aspiration of many millennials. Their mentality is, you can’t fix or win in the system, you have to pull out of it and destroy it.
And on top of this, they essentially created social media. Technology is a whole other conversation we could have around millennials. But social media reinforces many of the millennial shadows like the tendency to not form deep, meaningful relationships and coping through social media addiction. And it means that not only are millennials suffering from everything I have just described; they have the illusion that they are alone in not being able to make anything work. People’s social media accounts give the impression that “everything is awesome” for everyone else. So millennials are struggling with loneliness and the shame of perceived failure in a big way.
Millennials are struggling to try to stay in a society they were meant to replace. They have one foot in and one foot out. Millennials must understand the wounds they carry and seek to heal them so their life is not simply a reaction and so they can step into their universal purpose. Anyone who works with millennials must understand these wounds and help them to develop the skills they have disowned because of those wounds. Essentially, society must accept that these wounds must be worked with, instead of simply expecting millennials to act differently. Until they heal those wounds, so as to not be controlled by them, they will struggle to build a healthy new society, which is what the world so desperately needs.
If you are interested in how to heal the millennial wounding, I will be doing an episode next week on how to heal the millennial generation.
Chances are if you have spent any time in psychological, self-help or spiritual circles, you have heard the term gaslighting. In today’s episode, I’m going to up-pack and break down the concept of gaslighting for you so that you understand it.
In the 1930s there was a play that was later adapted into a film. Both the play and the film were named Gaslight. The play and film were about a woman whose husband abusively manipulates her into believing that she is insane. For example, he manipulates small elements in their home and insists to her and others that she is mistaken, delusional or not remembering things correctly when she points out these changes. One of which is that he dims the gaslights in their home, insisting that nothing has changed.
It is because of the title of this play and film that we now call this form of psychological manipulation and/or experience that I’m about to describe ‘gaslighting’. To gaslight someone is to sow seeds of doubt in their mind that makes them question their own sense of personal truth and reality (things like memory, judgement, perception, feelings etc). It is to try to convince someone that what they see, they didn’t see, what they hear they didn’t hear and what they feel they have no reason to feel.
To give you an example, imagine that I hit you in the leg with a 2x4 and your leg broke. Then when you were rolling around on the floor in pain, I kneeled down and said… “Wow…. Sweetheart… something must be really wrong with you because you have no reason to be in so much pain. Nothing happened and you just fell down like that. In fact, because I love you so much, I’m going to spend my own money to get you a doctor to figure out what is wrong with you because it’s not normal for people to just fall over like that and be in this much pain”. And if you tried to re-establish the reality that the reason you are in pain is because I hit you with a 2x4, I’d then say. “Oh my god… after everything I do for you every day and after how much I love you, I can’t believe that is what you think happened. Maybe we should see a psychologist.” At some point in that process, especially if I was someone you loved and trusted, you would begin to doubt your perception of what happened and that would make you feel insane.
People who gaslight use things like denial, contradiction, misinformation, misdirection and even true information and facts to destabilize, disorient and delegitimize a person’s sense of reality. When someone is gaslit, they end up in a state of extreme cognitive dissonance. Doubting one’s own sense of sanity leads to a severe decrease in self-esteem. They learn to distrust their own mind and thus defer to the perceptions and control of the person gaslighting them. But the distress caused by gaslighting is not a minor thing. It is so detrimental that it causes a mental and emotional breakdown that can lead people to the psych ward and even to commit suicide.
Something interesting to understand about gaslighting is that it so often involves the projection and transfer of things that belong to the gas-lighter onto the person being gaslit. For example, imagine that a gas-lighter is self-centered (what a psychologist would call a narcissist even). The gaslighting will involve the gas-lighter convincing the person being gas lit that he or she is so narcissistic and self-centered. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Projection (Understanding the Psychology of Projecting).
Gaslighting can be consciously done and deliberate as a means of interpersonal control. We could consider this conscious gaslighting. Conscious in the sense that a person is aware they are doing it and choosing to do it, not that they are an awakened being and are doing it. But by far, the most common type of gaslighting is unconscious. Meaning that a person is not aware of what they are doing and therefore are not doing it deliberately but are doing it none the less. This happens because most people are not completely conscious and most people are not self-aware. But this is not a reason to make it ok or less bad. This unconscious gaslighting is the kind of gaslighting that usually takes place in families.
For example, a mother might say a direct insult to a child. But this insult is not something she can consciously own up to because she is smart enough to know that only a bad mother would say that. It is critical that she avoid shame and see herself as a good mother and so she will suppress the memory of having said the insult and later when she is confronted about it say “I never said that, in fact I am not the kind of person who ever would say that, you must be inventing things or you must have heard me wrong.”
For another example, maybe there is zero tolerance for emotions in a family. When a child tries to express his or her pain, that child is shamed for it. This child knows and feels and sees that there is only a surface relationship taking place between themselves and their parents and even siblings because no one acknowledges anyone else’s emotional truth. But if he or she says that, the response may be “No… we are the best family. We love each other and we are all super close with each other, unlike so many other families in the world”. The parents are actually convinced this is the case, they learned to suppress emotions and deny them so long ago, they have no idea that acknowledging and directly coaching emotions is critical to relationships. This child is actually being gaslit. But it is gaslighting taking place because this child and the parents are in two different realities.
Where two people have two different perceptions of reality, there is always the risk of gaslighting, which is why in a relationship, usually both people feel they are the victim of gaslighting. When someone’s sense of reality completely contradicts our own, we tend to doubt our own sanity, especially if we have been heavily gaslit as a child and already doubt our ability to sense reality. To understand this dynamic in-depth, watch my video titled: The Most Dangerous Parallel Reality.
If we were heavily gaslit in our childhood, we will develop an internal fragment or part of our own consciousness whose job it is to gaslight us from the inside… An internal gas-lighter so to speak. It is constantly sowing seeds of doubt in our own sense of reality and sanity. It is constantly trying to convince us that maybe we aren’t remembering things right. Maybe what we see, we didn’t actually see, maybe what we heard we didn’t hear and what we feel, we have no reason to feel. This internal part is the one creating a lot of the condition experienced by what mainstream psychology calls “the borderline personality”. This part is usually committed to making us safe by doing two seemingly contradictory things. The first is making us doubt ourselves and live in uncertainty so we can create closeness or alignment with whoever was gaslighting us or held a different perception of reality than we did. The second is making us nothing like them. We were so hurt by their rigid certainty and saw at some level that they were committed to a reality that was false. So, this part wants to keep you in uncertainty and self-doubt so as to not be anything like that person who was gaslighting you. The result is, you are living in the feeling of confusion and insecurity about your own perceptions and sense of reality. It is critical to integrate this part of you so as to un-gaslight yourself in order to be able to heal from gaslighting and not fall prey to it if someone else is gaslighting you. To understand how to do this watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It).
There is an obvious issue when it comes to un-doing gaslighting. If you have been gaslit in your life and have committed to healing it instead of simply succumbing to it and perpetuating it, you will become a truth seeker. You will develop an obsession with truth and reality. This obsession will lead you to the understanding that when it comes to awareness, awakening and self-development, questioning your own perceptions is critical. After all, you don’t want to end up like the people who hurt you because they never questioned their reality, which part of you could see was totally false.
To understand why questioning your own perceptions is critical all you need to do is to talk to any scientist. They will tell you that perception can be very false. For example, you don’t see any radio waves and yet, you’re in a virtual soup of them all day every day. If you hold a warm cup of liquid in your hands, you will describe your relationship as closer and better than you will if you hold a cup of cold liquid. Talk to any psychologist who will tell you that you perceive the world through the lens of your social conditioning, which is often not reflective of what is true or healthy. Talk to a spiritual teacher who will tell you that your physical senses are limited and you are perceiving through the ego, not the non-physical self and are therefore not seeing the truth of the universe at large. You can watch my videos titled: Meaning, The Self-Destruct Button or How to Call Bull$#it on Denial or Deflection The Coping Mechanism From Hell. We all get that it is absolutely possible to not perceive truth and reality accurately and that the only way to really heal and awaken is to change the way we are perceiving things. But this awareness then serves as an excuse to doubt our own reality further. The fact that it is possible to not perceive truth and reality accurately does not get to serve as an excuse to gaslight yourself or make gaslighting ok.
Gaslighting is non accommodative by nature. It is designed to completely invalidate one person’s perspective because it serves the other person somehow to be right. And when we are gaslit, it is our own perspective we are allowing to be completely invalidated. We suffer from self-distrust. If you have been gaslit, you need to learn to trust yourself again. Only then can you engage in a look at the concept of truth or perception in a healthy way.
If you have worked on self-trust, I want you to remember that the objective truth or ‘reality’ is an amalgamation of all subjective perspectives. This means it must account for why someone’s subjective truth is what it is. I can promise you that the truth is not “it is what it is… because the person is insane (and therefore invalid).”
The way to get out of a gaslight is to first practice profound compassion and radical acceptance for your own inner experiences and then to work on seeing the objective truth. You can also heal immensely by experiencing other people having profound compassion and radical acceptance for your inner experience. When you are ready to work on seeing objective truth, you have to see the angle you have and the angle they have as a part of the bigger picture. You have to see the why of why they see it the way that they do and the why of why you see it the way that you do. But you must realize that if you presented the objective truth to someone, it would require them to stretch their perspective and they would therefore feel their limited perceptual reality change. This means that if a being presented the objective truth to a person who is holding onto their limited subjective perspective, this person would perceive it as a complete invalidation.
Questioning your perception is about questioning whether and where your perception is limited, not invalid. Humanity must expand past either-or mentality. We must develop AND consciousness. For more information about this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness (The Modern Day Replacement for The Middle Way). This is very different than agree to disagree. Agree to disagree is a commitment to the rightness of one’s own perspective. It is to commit to staying fragmented and also limited.
A powerful question you can use is: How does it serve them to be right? How does it serve them to completely undermine my reality? Ask yourself what their motive is and maybe in certain situations you can even directly ask them what their motive is. Don’t automatically assume the motive is bad. Motive is a big part of gaslighting. There must be a motive for gaslighting, both conscious or subconscious. This is why true gaslighting is used as a manipulative control tactic. Of course you must consider that you could be wrong about the motive. But it is nonetheless important to see what the motive could be. For example, in the movie Gaslight, the husband wanted to get rid of his wife in a way that put the fault on her instead of him, which would be accomplished by her being diagnosed as insane and being put in a psych ward. A parent could want your reality to be different because if it isn’t, they will not get the appreciation and care in their later life that they want from you. A partner could want your reality to be different because they get to be seen as the victim and therefore the good guy in the relationship. A therapist could want your reality to be different because they see that your perspective is ruining your relationships. A friend could want your reality to be different because they are feeling like you do not see the truth of them. Why is someone wanting your reality to be different than it is? How does it serve them? Why are you wanting someone’s reality to be different than it is? How does it serve you? Asking this question may just unearth some powerful needs that you can meet much more directly.
Gas lighting undermines self-trust. It especially undermines your trust in your own mind and senses. Self-trust is a very different thing than being fixed and rigid in your truth and rightness no matter what, which is what you’re afraid of because it is what hurt you so badly. That fear of being exactly like what hurt you may make you commit to self-doubt and uncertainty when what hurt you is gaslighting. It will make it so that you do not have that solid core of personal truth and of self-trust. This is an acutely painful state. There is an alternative. The alternative is to be solid but open. Open to awareness that may make you decide to change. The best analogy I have for this is to remember the sky. The sky is solid. It is always there and yet it is vast and open and it is open to change. It is possible to question your own perceptions and question reality without losing that ‘core’ just like it is possible for the sky to change and yet, to remain the sky.
Humans are a social species where survival and wellbeing depend upon cohesion with the social group. People are programmed from a young age to see that when they do bad or are bad according to the social group, their survival and needs are threatened. The only way to survive and to get one’s needs met is to do and be good according to the social group. These opinions about rightness and goodness become morals and ethics, which exist as a way for people to keep social order. From the very get go, we are trained to be good for the sake of our own survival and wellbeing. And it becomes rather ironic because we begin to engage in what would seemingly be self-less and altruistic behavior for purely self-centered reasons. Self-sacrifice is considered to be a human virtue. It is considered to be the ultimate act of selfless altruism. But what if self-sacrifice was in fact self-centered?
A basic definition of self-sacrifice is the giving up of one’s own best interests for the sake of someone or something else’s. This is where we run into a problem right here. It is not actually possible to give up your own best interests. People only think it is. Therefore, there is actually no such thing as self-sacrifice. It is only possible to be more or less inclusive of the wellbeing of others by taking their best interests as a part of your own best interests. When you do this, acting in their best interests becomes self-serving and does not feel like you are giving yourself up in any way. For example, a person who takes the best interests of a cause as a part of their own best interests will act in the best interests of that cause, even putting his or her own life on the line and not see or feel that as a sacrifice because they ARE acting in their own best interests by doing so. In other words, the minute you take someone or something’s best interests as a part of your own, there is no giving up of your own best interests when you act in theirs.
We think it is possible to give up our own best interests because we are taught as children that to be good, we must give up what we want or need for what our parents and siblings want and need. We are rewarded for doing so and conversely punished for being selfish. But even when we do this as a child, we are actually doing this for the sake of our own self-preservation and to get closeness and approval from them, so even that is a self-centered act of prioritization. So basically because we believe it is wrong to be self-motivated, we can’t see or admit to the self-motivation behind our altruism.
The only reason anyone does anything is because they think it will make them feel better if they do it. This is not bad. This does not mean that the entire universe is narcissistic. The truth of this universe is oneness. So the most enlightened being will be moved towards acts of altruism because they experience all things in the world as themselves. In a universe that is one, you could say that every act is self-centered because there is nothing that is not you. So, swallow the truth that there is nothing wrong with self-centered motives and that you can’t escape them even if you try and that the more enlightened you become, the more you experience that everything is you and so the more motivated you become to do things to increase the wellbeing of “others”. But you won’t really see it or feel it as altruism because you see the self-service in all of your actions relative to others.
To use an example, other people would have seen Jesus’s death on the cross as a sacrifice. But if he was enlightened, he would not have. He would have seen it as self-serving. He would have seen it as a risk he would have to take in accordance with the prioritization of what mattered most to him specifically. There are times when people find that the loss of their own life in the name of something they believe in would make them feel better than living out of alignment with their own values and beliefs. This is part of what makes people so fascinating and inspiring.
There are times that what we call “self-sacrifice” (but that is actually not) can be a free and loving choice and there are also times that what we call “self-sacrifice” can be morally reprehensible, a disowning of one’s free will and abusive. We could debate each case until the cows come home. But for the sake of your understanding, it could be said that canceling your tennis match to stay home and take care of your sick child can be a loving act as long as you see that doing so is acting in your own best interests rather than holding your sacrifice over the child’s head.
But now that you have accepted that there is in fact no such thing as self-sacrifice, I want to focus your awareness on how seemingly self-sacrificing behavior can be self-serving in incredibly destructive ways. I’m going to list some of these ways for you now.
Self-sacrifice can be used as an alibi in order to avoid taking responsibility for your life choices. When this happens, you abandon your own personal compass for the sake of closeness with people; where remaining close to them and meeting their needs would cause you to go in a different direction than your personal north star. This can be seen very clearly in co-dependency. This occurs when someone gives up all other personal desires and needs and purpose in exchange for the feeling of being close, wanted, needed and approved of by serving other’s needs and wants. When doing so does not pay off because they do not get the closeness or approval or most especially, the recognition or appreciation for their sacrifice, they grow resentful and bitter and even depressed. They lose the meaning in their life. They blame the other people for the reason they are not living according to their true wants and needs and purpose. They disown their free will. They have to swallow that what they really did was prioritize. They prioritized the feeling of being close, wanted, needed and approved of by serving other’s needs and wants to the detriment of everything else in their life and it may not have been a prioritization that paid off.
The best example of this is probably mothers. Many mothers prioritize caretaking their kid’s needs and desires and purpose. They ‘sacrifice’ their own needs, desires, goals and career purpose to do so. There are many self-centered reasons why they tend do this that range all the way from wanting to be seen as good by a society that considers career-oriented women to take away from or deprive their children. To wanting validation, praise and gratitude from their child for their ‘service’ to them. But when they don’t see that they are doing it for their own sake, if they don’t get enough closeness, validation, praise, gratitude and recognition for their sacrifice, they detest their life and turn against their own children. They use their self-sacrifice for their children as an alibi to avoid taking responsibility for not having chosen a life that was truly reflective of their actual desires, dreams, hopes, needs and purpose.
Dovetailing off of this last point, self-sacrifice can lead to martyr complex which hurts people. Martyrs are people who must feel victimized and persecuted and as if they have given up their own best interests to fulfill an emotional and psychological need. This is an extreme addiction to the feeling of rightness and goodness. As such, martyr complex is a coping mechanism. Martyrs sacrifice what does not need to be sacrificed just so they can see themselves as a good person and be seen by others as a good person. They put themselves in situations where they are seen as the victim just so they can see themselves and be seen as a good person. They also do this to avoid responsibility in any situation where responsibility would make them feel like a bad person. They must make everyone around them into a villain and selfish in order to feed this personal need. Self-sacrifice and being in situations where they can see themselves as a victim becomes a consistent and reliable way to avoid their deep, lifelong feelings of shame and guilt. The worse people feel about themselves, the more they tend to try to cover it up by making believe that they are kind, loving, compassionate and caring. Seeing ourselves as the victim who sacrificed our self for others removes the need for us to take responsibility for our lives by scapegoating other people as the cause of our pain, failures and disappointments.
Self-sacrifice can be used as a means of emotional manipulation. When people see themselves as self-sacrificing, they can portray themselves as the “noble sufferer”. This makes other people feel guilt and bend to their will in order to avoid their own feelings of guilt and shame. Self-sacrifice becomes a way of “buying” your needs and wants from others. For example, a child did not ask their parent to be born and yet some parents act as if parenting in and of itself is an act of altruism rather than love. Some parents consider clothing and housing and feeding and giving their child opportunities an act of self-sacrifice. They then hold that over their child’s head as a form of leverage. Any time they want the child to do something, like go to a specific school or get a specific job or marry a specific person or give them money or take care of them when they are older, they remind the child that he or she owes them because of how they sacrificed for him or her over the years. It’s actually a form of abusive entrapment. Self-sacrifice can be used as a form of manipulation and control in any relationship. For more information about this watch my video titled: cut the invisible strings.
Self-Sacrifice feeds societal dysfunction. We need not look very far to see this. Talk to anyone about the impact that a draft for war has had on their family. Or look at suicide bombing. On a more day to day level, when we hold self-sacrifice as a virtue, we end up opening the door wide for individuals within that society to self-sacrifice as a means for manipulation. We create a society full of unfulfilled people who are depressed and resentful for having not followed their true hopes, dreams and purpose and who have to engage in all kinds of unhealthy coping mechanisms to put up with their lives. It opens the door wide for people to be stuck in the victim/martyr complex and to blame others and disown their free will and personal responsibility. It opens the door wide for poor relationships between parents and kids as well as co-workers, friends and married couples. It doesn’t take a genius to see the damage this does and the pressure this puts on our businesses, legal system, childcare system, healthcare system and interpersonal relationships.
Hopefully in these examples of destructive self-sacrifice, you can clearly see that what seems like self-sacrifice is entirely self-serving. If someone insinuates that they are self-sacrificing, they have not consciously examined their priorities and values and owned up to what they actually are. For example, if a mother sees herself as sacrificing her own hopes and dreams for her child, that is a mother who has not owned up to the fact that being seen as a good person/mother by a society (that does not see working women as good mothers) is a higher priority to her than personal career success. So she is making a choice with her free will to prioritize one over the other or to let go of one entirely for the other. If this leads her to an unhappy life, she is responsible for making the choice in response to societal pressure that led her to that unhappiness. The person who thinks they are self- sacrificing is often a person who does not feel free to choose even though he or she is actually subconsciously choosing all that time.
You can’t lose your free will. Even the choice to give up choice is a choice and therefore free will. When it comes to facing your personal priorities and values, what is really hard to face is the shame around it. We are taught that some priorities and values are good and right and others are bad and wrong. If we feel we have sacrificed, we feel that we have given something up because we could not choose that thing we gave up or prioritize that thing we gave up and feel good about ourselves at the same time. We have to face our shame about choosing what we are giving up or have given up instead.
Self-sacrifice does not actually exist in this universe. If we accepted that, there would be no more codependency in human society. But acts that seem self-sacrificing can only be in alignment when they are not accompanied by hard feelings or expectations. It can only be in alignment if you have taken someone’s best interests as a part of your own. And when you do this, any time it seems on the outside that you have chosen somebody else’s interest or a higher goal and lost something that is “yours” as an exchange, it is because that choice is more personally meaningful and more self-fulfilling for yourself.
All around the world, you can find parents that tell a specific lie. This lie is that they decided to have kids for the kids. In other words, the lie that having a child in the first place or that sacrificing themselves by parenting that child is an altruistic act that they do FOR the child itself. But the truth that no one wants to admit to or see is that having a child is not an altruistic act and parents have kids for themselves. I know this truth has the potential to trigger people and set off a real debate war. But stick with me to the end if you can, it may just have the potential to make you a better parent.
The reason that we can’t admit as parents that we had self-centered motives for having children is because currently, human society values the idea of altruism and self-sacrifice and considers it bad and wrong to have self-centered motives. This creates a bit of a problem because the reality is that the only reason anyone does anything is because they think it will make them feel better if they do it. This is true even for altruistic acts.
Before this begins to depress you, I must tell you that there is nothing wrong with this being the case… The ultimate truth of this universe is oneness. So the most enlightened being will be moved towards acts of altruism because they experience all things in the world as themselves. In a universe that is one, you could say that every act is self-centered because there is nothing that is not you. So, swallowing that there is nothing wrong with self-centered motives and that you can’t escape them even if you try and that the more enlightened you become, the more you experience that everything is you and so the more motivated you become to do things to increase the wellbeing of “others”. But you won’t really see it as altruism because you see the self-service in all of your actions relative to others. Let’s move on to accepting why parents have children.
There are many reasons why parents have children. Let’s look at some of the top reasons. One of the first is “oops”. Meaning they failed to prevent pregnancy for one of many reasons but they had sex and it happened. When this is the case, we have to look at the self-centered reason they decided to keep the baby instead of not keep it. For example, they might keep the baby because they don’t want to feel lifelong guilt and shame. Or they kept the baby because they think that not doing so will end their romantic relationship. Or they kept the baby because they wanted kids eventually anyway for any one of the reasons I am about to list.
Let’s assume the pregnancy wasn’t an oops. There are several reasons that people decide to have children, most of them subconscious. I’m going to list some of them for you now.
To try to create a permanent bond or knot with a romantic partner which guarantees that partner’s commitment or caring or financial support or that secures your sense of belonging with them
To try to create a feeling of family that you missed out on
To try to heal the wounds from your own childhood vicariously
Because of societal pressure… feeling like you have to have child to be considered a welcome, esteemed, successful member of a society that recognizes having children as a necessary part of the picture of social success
To legitimize a marriage
To try to get closeness and other emotional needs met by something because those needs are not being met by anyone in your life, including if not especially not being met by your emotionally unavailable partner
To end your loneliness
To feel needed and loved and wanted by something
To have something that truly and fully belongs to you unconditionally.
To get unconditional love and belonging
Because of those loving, fun, envy worthy, good-life images in your head that you’ve seen other people get, like of walking in the park as a family with a stroller or watching them opening presents on Christmas morning or watching them play a sport from the stands or on vacation as a family
To try to bring play and fun and enthusiasm about life back into your life by having something you can show the good parts of life to
To feel empowered by having something that you can have complete power and authority and control over creating and shaping
Because your religion or society gives you a very strong reason in the form of a belief about why you need to and must have kids to be an esteemed member of the religion or society
To carry on your legacy so you don’t end when you die
To collect benefits from the government
Because you personally love small babies and young children so you want to have them around
Because your sense of self-esteem is linked to caretaking.
Because you have a missing need to be validated. Nothing is more validating than a mini-me
Because your body is biologically wired to want to
To add meaning to your life that feels meaningless
To feel good about yourself and see yourself as a good person when you are able to give children the chance to enjoy existence
To live the success you didn’t get vicariously through them (success and status by proxy)
To have a living, breathing trophy to add to your existing success
Ok, you get the point. What can be really, really hard is that just because we decided to have kids to meet a personal need or desire we had, doesn’t mean that having a child will actually meet that need or desire. In fact, having kids can backfire on those need and desires entirely. For example, a mother may want closeness and validation and belonging by having a daughter. She imagines this daughter will be just like her and therefore turn into a best friend. But children are their own beings with their own destiny. She may have a daughter who is nothing like her and then feel even less validated and rejected and more alone than she did before having a kid. Another example is that we could have a kid to gain increased belonging and closeness with a partner only to find that the stress of parenting comes between us and makes us even less close than before and even makes our partner withdraw and even cheat.
When the original need or desire we had that motivated us to have kids in the first place isn’t met, the door is blown wide opened for conflict with our kids. Many people find themselves in the very painful pattern of hating parenting but feeling so much caring for their child as a person that they feel both trapped and deeply conflicted.
If a person is especially unconscious, they subconsciously blame their child for their life not going how they wanted it to go. Deep down, parents often feel betrayed by their kids because the presumed agreement was that the child (or parenting in and of itself) would meet that desire or need… therefore the child didn’t keep up its side of the bargain. They don’t see that this actually wasn’t an agreement the child actually agreed to. It was presumed. And the relationship begins to feel like a one-way relationship with their kids. They begin to feel like they are sacrificing themselves for their kids. This is where a parent can fall into the super damaging trap of holding the fact that they had their child in the first place (or are parenting them at all) over their child’s head as leverage demanding gratitude and obedience as payment in return.
It’s ok to have self-centered motives. In fact, you can’t not have them. You just have to be really, really aware of them and own them. Having a child may not actually meet those needs and desires in the way you imagine they will. As anyone who has kids can tell you, the picture you have of what having a child will be like is so much different than what parenting is actually like.
On top of this, you have to stop for a minute and really get that when you decide to have kids, it is because of what you expect to GET from having them. And you have to be really, really aware that so much of parenting is giving. Parents often think about what they will get, not about what they will be required to give, especially in a society where we no longer live in tribe. Parenting has never been harder in history than it is now for this reason. Your child will have his or her own needs, most of which you will have to meet or find someone else to meet. They will have their own desires, destiny, purpose, preferences, thoughts, feelings and aptitudes. You are not doing them a favor by giving birth to them. Even if their soul decided there was mutual benefit in coming through you, they did not physically walk up and knock on your door asking for you to do it. They are not in debt to you for anything you decide to give them or do for them. They owe you nothing no matter what you do for them. Not getting this is to entrap your child and entrapment is the opposite of love. To understand this in depth, I want you to watch two of my videos. The first is titled: “The Defective Doll” and the second is titled: “Cut The Invisible Strings”.
Having a child is entering into a relationship. Contrary to popular opinion, it will not be an unconditional one. Just like any other relationship, the health and longevity and safety of that relationship has to do with their best interests being accommodated for, not just your own. For more information about this, watch my video titled: “How To Have a Safe Relationship”.
As a parent or potential parent, ask yourself WHY did I or do I really want kids? Be brave enough to admit to the self-serving motive. And don’t fall into the trap of believing the lie that parents tell. They did not have you for your sake. They had you for their sake. The question is why?
So many people are walking the surface of the earth with terribly low self-esteem. The core of this poor self-esteem is the feeling of not being valued. When we value something, we regard it as having worth to us because it is useful, important and beneficial. And it is this understanding that gives rise to the realization that can change your entire life. The realization is this: Value is entirely based on needs. Sit with that for a minute while I explain how this understanding can change your self-concept.
When you were young, you came into an un-awakened society. In an un-awakened society, there are collective social and cultural values. And when we value one thing, we usually condemn the opposite. For example, self-sacrifice may be a social value, in which case selfishness is condemned. To the opposite, winning may be a social value, in which case considering someone else’s best interests is condemned. We deem one good and the other bad. In order to keep the social order, we socialize children by training them to behave in a way that is acceptable to the society we live in. We indoctrinate children with our social and cultural values and reward them when they adhere to those values. We punish children when they demonstrate behavior that contradicts our social and cultural values.
If we want our needs to be met, survive in society and have a chance at feeling things like love, belonging, contribution, and safety, we only have one option: We need to adopt the values of the society we are born into. The disapproval and punishment we are met with as a result of not adhering to a societal value is painful enough that you will avoid it in the future at all costs. In response, what you do in order to avoid it in the future is that you adopt the social value and you make it your own standard for yourself. This is a problem if any of those values become standards that oppose your own truth or your own unique being. For example, a child who is born a scientist into a family that values art is going to adopt artistry as a value and therefore standard for himself or herself. It is a standard that he or she will consistently fall short of and therefore, he or she will feel low self-esteem.
To understand the concept of values being entirely based off of needs, imagine that you are driving down the highway when you see a man running into the middle of the road as fast as he can to retrieve a ladder that has fallen out of the back of a truck. Think about the different reactions that this situation could elicit. One driver could be absolutely furious because the man caused him to swerve so as to not hit him. One driver could thank God for his bravery because by risking his own life to run out on the road, he could potentially be saving the lives of anyone that might be unable to avoid hitting the ladder.
If this man has a wife and children, they may feel betrayed because their husband and father would choose to risk his life without a thought to the pain that would cause the family. A police officer may see this man as stupid and be upset that he didn’t call the authorities when he had to deal with a ladder on the highway. A news anchor may want to feature him on the nightly news as a hero. All of these reactions were entirely different. They were different because they had different needs, different past experiences, and therefore very different values.
Values are determined by needs. If I need to get to work on time, I’m going to value an efficient highway and I will be angry at a person who gets in my way. If I need to stay safe, I will value anyone who makes sure the road is a safe place to drive. If I need my husband, I will value any act that keeps him with me and devalue any act that could take him away. If I need to feel like I am in control of public safety, I’m going to value people following the rules and get angry at anyone who risks their own life. If I’m a news anchor who needs a good story, I’m going to value a story about a public hero.
Beliefs, rules, and values are formed in response to needs. These become the foundation of your standards. Examine your beliefs, rules, and values through the lens of, “every one of them is created in response to a need of parents, culture or society at some point in time.” You adopted their values, beliefs, and rules so as to be accepted and loved by them. The things they taught you became your “shoulds” and you didn’t even question most of them. But beliefs, values and rules change when needs change.
When it comes to the concept of self-worth, the first thing we need to do with it is to throw it away. “Worth” is a completely abstract concept. You cannot objectively determine the value of something. Worth has no basis in reality because it’s entirely subjective. The criteria created to determine a person’s worth is entirely dependent upon the society he or she is born into.
Think of it this way. The quality of being present is worthless in a society that values doing. The quality of external beauty is worthless in a society for the blind.
Now I am going to tell you something that I never want you to forget. Perhaps the reason that you feel like you have no worth or value is because the very real qualities which you came in with (qualities that would have held infinite value to other people) were not considered valuable to the people that comprised your family or the culture or society you were born into.
For example, if you were born with artistic talents but landed in a family that valued the quality of scholarly intellect above all else, they may not consider your gifts valuable and therefore you would have received the message that you were not valuable. However, if you would have been born into a family of artists, your gift would have been instantly recognized as valuable and therefore, you would have felt as if you were valuable. The sad reality is that you can be born into a society, culture or family that is incompatible to you because your own innate value is not in alignment with their specific needs and therefore values.
I often tell a story about a horse who feels really bad about himself. This horse lives with a car dealer. The car dealer loves cars, he loves making lots of money and he loves to go fast so he needs something that can go over a hundred miles an hour. The horse watches him wipe the cars lovingly for hours with diapers. The horse hears him talking about how much horsepower the car engines have and he realizes it would take 140 of him to equal one of those cars. He hears about how much money the man can sell the car for and he realizes that someone would pay much less money for him than the cars. The horse decides that he doesn’t have value. He is worthless. But is that actually true? One day, the horse ends up being driven in a trailer to a farm. He thinks he is being given away by the car dealer because he has no value. However, when he gets out of the trailer, he sees a man standing there with a huge smile, excited to see him. The new man spends hours brushing his coat. He overhears the new man bragging about how perfect his conformation is. The new man needs a horse he can soar over a series of jumps on, which is something a car could never do. Suddenly the horse realizes that there is someone to value everything in this world. It is simply a matter of being in the right place with the right person who will recognize the needs that you are designed to meet.
So many of you grew up in households and still may live in communities or cultures that are no different than this horse living with a car salesman. But it is just as much BS that because you are being treated like you are treated, means you have no value as it is for the horse to make how he was treated by the car salesman mean that no one will value a horse.
Think about what your parents need and why. See if your innate talents, tendencies, nature and interests are something that they value. If not, what do they value? What needs make them value those things? Are you a match to those needs or not? For example, let’s imagine that your mother does not value your tendency to tell it like it is. She values social etiquette and politeness. The reason is because she has the need for people to see her as a good mom, which can only happen if her child is well behaved. A person who tells the truth is very valuable to many people and in many social circles. But it is incompatible to her need of keeping up the appearance of being seen as a good mom. Essentially you need to realize that their valuing or lack there of, is not about you at all, it’s about their own needs. Money is worth a lot to most people. But in a time of war, when needs change, suddenly money can become worthless in that country overnight.
Worth and value is completely subjective, variable, often irrational, and dependent upon circumstance. For this reason, true human worth is impossible to determine. Another way of looking at value, rather than to say that value doesn’t inherently exist is that value is inherent in all things, but that value is not going to matter in certain situations or to certain people. Try to accept that it is pointless to try to get someone to change their needs. It is a much better strategy to find someone who has a need that is compatible to you. And it is a guarantee that you will be seen as valuable to someone. Who might that someone be? If value were entirely based on needs. The most important question to ask yourself is: Who needs me?
Before we dive into this episode, I have to warn you that like so many of my belief altering videos, this video has the potential to trigger you. It will especially trigger you if you have been raised with a ‘blue collar mentality’. I ask you to use the trigger to really examine and question whatever resistance arises so that you can consciously choose a mentality that best serves you and your success.
If you were to look from objective perspective, you would see two concepts that dramatically slowed human progression. Those concepts are the hourly wage and the salary. The human economy is built upon these concepts. One could say that time is the new currency. Rather than suggest a way to overhaul the entire world economy, I am going to explain why this had a devastating effect on human life, excellence and progress in general.
When people began to be paid according to how many hours they spent doing a task (or for a period of time specifically instead of for the completion of a specific task) the subsequent belief that came with it, was that a person’s time is what is valuable. Now the valuing of a person’s time is synonymous with the valuing of a person in general. For example, how many times have you heard the following: “If he or she doesn’t value my time and prove it somehow, then he or she doesn’t value me”. This is one of the top reasons, if not the top reason that people quit their jobs.
The first problem with this is that time is a perceptual construct that exists for the reason of tracking expansion, change and progression. But time is in essence, an illusion. It begins to unravel at the 5th dimension only. So you’re valuing an illusion.
The second problem is that once a person began to see their time as valuable, they started to see what they were doing with their energy during that time as less important. The incentive to really produce quality results decreased. Many people began to do ‘just good enough’ work to keep their jobs. Business became a never-ending road of incentives programs and bonuses to try to get people to produce quality. People began to feel entitled to earning based on the time they spent doing a task. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the incentive to take a long time doing something or to do just enough to get paid more was also born of this concept. Something that we have to accept is that not all uses of time are equal.
The third problem is that when we began to see what a person was doing with their talent and energy during that time as less important than their time itself, we began to lose touch with unique purpose. Because of wounding relative to negative hierarchy, there were many societies that sought to treat all humans as equals. “Everyone’s time and energy is just the same and just as valuable as everyone else’s”. One of the shadows of this ideology is that people are treated as if they are the same, when they are not. For more information about this, watch my equally triggering videos titled: Hierarchy (Should We Accept It) and People are Not All Equal.
Man’s skill and man’s energy was treated like one resource to be plugged into the machine of society wherever it was needed. This is in fact the foundation of the traditional school system, which is one of the reasons you learned things you will never ever need to know in your adult life. Really, this viewpoint became the foundation for a huge waste of true energy and talent. From objective perspective, if we valued results, it would be obvious what innate aptitude, talent and interest people had very early. We would see how unique and different people are from day one. And children would be streamlined toward their innate gifts and interests. If you play this out, the machine of society would be a much more efficient and productive entity. Job satisfaction would be much, much higher. You wouldn’t have to try to artificially incentivize quality results because the desire to produce them would be intrinsic. Can you imagine being told at five when you loved drawing but hated math that you could have extra art tutors rather than have to come in after school for math tutoring? Most people in today’s world are actually in the wrong place and position within society because of this dysfunctional social mentality and dynamic.
Most of the people who instantly get the dysfunction of valuing time, own businesses and struggle with employees who are part of unions and who expect good pay for mediocre results. However, there is a fast way for a person who has only ever been an hourly wage based employee to get the dysfunction in valuing time over results… Go hire a lawyer.
It has been a common misconception that successful people value their time more than anything else. You’ll hear things like “What is your time worth?” Successful people will not waste time doing less than efficient or less than productive things. For example, a business man will hire a cook or someone else to clean his house because with that time he would spend cleaning the house or cooking, he could focus his energy on an endeavor that guarantees he could afford to pay someone else to clean the house for an entire year, freeing up his energy to do what he does best... Focus on the needs of his company. But if you really look at any of these examples of successful people valuing their time, what you will notice is that they aren’t really valuing their time specifically. What they are valuing is their energy and where they are focusing that energy to achieve the best results.
If we adopted this mentality, a scientist with great skill would hire someone to clean his house because universally it is a great waste of his skill (not efficient in terms of a society’s progression) for him to be focusing on cleaning his house. It would be a bit like a violin being used as a chair. It makes no sense. It isn’t efficient. It isn’t the highest and best use of the unique being that is the scientist. The universe is interested in the highest and best use of a thing. And if we want to be in alignment with success and part of that is excellence (which are really just two of the many words we use to describe expansion) we need to adopt the same mentality.
If you felt yourself go into resistance about the previous examples, it is probably because you don’t want to accept that someone’s purpose would be cleaning. First, this reaction comes from the fact that you have adopted a societal judgment that a person’s personal worth is lower if they are a cleaner. Second, you are making the assumption that no one’s interest, aptitude, passion and talent is cleaning. Third, you have not seen that if people genuinely had a task they all didn’t want to do, they would quickly come up with a different way to get the job done. For example, the robotics industry would have already overhauled our world, like it will very soon.
Ironically many people question why the quality of things used to be so much higher in ancient times. It baffles the mind that a society would focus on building something that took thousands of years to erect. One of the reasons was that these societies valued quality and results more than time. The human lifespan was much shorter. What mattered to them was contribution. What mattered was to feel like with what little time they had, they would leave the world with something that was truly a statement of greatness and achievement… To leave it better than when they came. People wanted to leave a mark on the world. This is the same reason why men would sacrifice their lives for war. We can debate the rightness or wrongness of their perception that war was a worthy use of their energy later. For the sake of this understanding, you have to see that was truly great was that it didn’t matter if it took them an hour or 2,000 years. What mattered was the quality of the result. And you can be sure they came up with all kinds of methods and tools to try to turn years into months or days.
If you want to be a success, stop valuing your time and instead value results. Realize that it is in your hands whether something takes four days or four hours. You only care if things take hours if you hate doing whatever it is you are doing. This begs the question, why come to earth to spend your life doing what you don’t want to do? And if you’re doing the right thing with your energy, interests, aptitude and talent, you’re going to have passion for what you’re doing so it wont matter if it takes four days or four hours. To grasp this concept further, watch my video titled: Have To (The Life Philosophy That Will Ruin Your Life).
It may strike you as odd that someone like myself is telling you to focus on and value results, especially given that people who teach any spirituality usually tell you to focus on the journey, not the destination and that happiness belongs to the person who can feel joy about what is and that the desire for excellence is simply a function of the ego. But both expansion and stillness have a place and have value in this universe.
When you are focused on success, you are focused on expansion. To succeed, you must consider your energy is what creates. The right focus and use of that energy in order to achieve the best results is the order of the day. No matter what anyone says, no boss is going to simply value your time; a person who sits in a corner and does nothing but breathes oxygen also has time. What they are going to value is results. You are no different. You don’t value the 20 hours that a plummer may take to fix a problem if he doesn’t fix it. In fact, you’d be pissed to pay him for those 20 hours if he didn’t fix it. You value the result, which would be him fixing the problem. If he doesn’t fix it, you either don’t care about the time he spent doing it or at best, you value his effort.
This life is not about time. It’s about how you focus and spend your energy in this dimension we call physical life. A person could be given one hour and live a more meaningful and successful life with that one hour than a person who was given 40 years. Make sure that what you focus on and how you spend your energy is on what really matters to you. Let go of the idea that your time itself matters. If all that mattered was what you were doing within any given timeframe, how would you feel about yourself and your life?
If you have spent time in the spiritual, self-help or psychology community, you may have heard the term “parts work”. Today, I’m going to explain to you what parts work is as well as offer you one of my simple methods for how to do it. Keep in mind that I could write several books on parts work alone, so what you are going to read in this article is a condensed version of leagues worth of information.
When we introduce ourselves to someone, we call ourselves by one name such as “I am Teal”. We see ourselves and our consciousness as a singularity. The problem is that consciousness is not unified, it is split. It is fragmented. So that you can have a thorough understanding of this, if you have not done so already, I want you to stop this video now and watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease before you continue to watch the rest of this video.
To reiterate, even though you have one body, within that body, you end up with multiple selves. The best way to picture this is to imagine that inside your body, you have a collection of Siamese twins. They are technically all conjoined because they all share one body. But each one has its own identity, its own desires, needs, perspective, strengths, weaknesses and appearance. There is really no limit to how many can be inside a person.
Again, the mistake we have made within society is to think that only some people suffer from what psychologists call multiple personality disorder. The reality is that all people do. The question is… to what degree? Most people aren’t walking around calling themselves by one name one minute and another name the next. But how many people behave completely differently in one scenario than they do in another? How many people have multiple “sides”? How many people can’t make a decision because they feel torn? These are all indications that we have multiple selves operating within us at any given time. Our degree of internal suffering is about the degree of harmony or lack there of between these internal selves.
Ready to go even deeper? Though trauma is the primary thing which causes the psyche to fragment, upon opting into a physical human body, you already opt into an experience of fragmentation. Each cell in your body has an individual consciousness (which we could call a part) and every organ that is made up of those cells has an individual consciousness (that we could call a part). Looking at it this way, an organ in your body is actually a collective consciousness. And you are more like an ecosystem that goes by one name, which is also a collective consciousness. We could treat any collective consciousness as a singularity so as to completely focus on and learn from it. This is the bedrock of what we are doing with parts work.
Without you knowing it, I just gave you the actual definition for internal peace. Most people think inner peace means you have found some external thing or type of practice that has caused you to finally feel calm and whole and fulfilled. Actually inner peace simply means that these inner twins (all the different parts of you that add up to this amalgamation that you call by your name) are all coexisting harmoniously instead of at war with each other. It is the absence of internal opposition between parts.
Something to understand about parts work is that just like meditation, no one owns the copyright to working with aspects of consciousness. Any person with a methodology that includes parts work has their own philosophy and approach to parts work. I am no exception. When I teach you about parts work, I am going to be presenting my methodology and approach. I have many important reasons for why I suggest to do it the way that I suggest you to do it. There are so many different philosophies and methods and techniques that fall into the category of parts work. Parts work is simply the term that has caught on to represent the ideology behind them all. For example you have Internal Family Systems, Gestalt, Inner Shamanic Journey Work, Freudian psychology, Art therapy, Play therapy, Acting Schools, Jungian psychology, Inner Child Work, Ego State Theory, Voice Dialogue and the list goes on and on. Keep in mind that shadow work is essentially techniques, practices and processes that make you aware of what is subconscious within you. Most of your ‘parts’, you are totally unconscious of. So parts work is technically a shadow work process.
You can do parts work by yourself and/or you can do it with someone facilitating and guiding you through it. Today, I’m going to teach you how to do it if you are by yourself. You can go deep into the consciousness of only one part of yourself. In fact, this can be a great way to become conscious of yourself. But I’m going to show you how to work with two parts that are in a state of opposition because this opposition between two selves is the primary cause of distress in your life.
First, identify the parts you are going to work with. For the sake of this example, lets imagine that a woman is overworked and her body is breaking down. But no matter what she does, she can’t stop and relax. It is then safe to assume that there is a part of her that needs to relax and a part of her that will not let her relax. She is going to feel into which one is more dominant or present and in control to start. So lets imagine that the part which is more “up” right now is the part that needs relaxation. She is now going to set up two chairs in a room. She is going to pick one of those chairs and when she sits down in it, she is going to sit down AS only that part of her that needs relaxation.
The best way to imagine this is to imagine that she is a method actor and in that moment, she is only diving into the perspective of and becoming that one part of herself, as if it were the totality of her. Another way of thinking about this is that by sitting in that one chair, you are channeling only that one part of you and allowing it to take over your whole body and awareness. She is going to spend some time getting used to it as if she is in a foreign being. She will consider things like ‘what do I feel like?’ ‘How big or small am I?’ Do I feel female or male? Human or not human? How old do I feel? Where do I feel like I am? Essentially, to begin with, you are simply becoming aware of it without asking it to express or questioning it.
From there, you have a choice to communicate in a written or spoken format as this part (keep in mind that some parts are less communicative and verbal than others). Some people choose to record themselves doing this if they are speaking. Others prefer to write. If you have chosen to write and find it difficult at first to simply let the truth belonging to one of your parts to flow through you, consider writing with the hand you do not usually write with. It doesn’t matter if it is messy. Your non dominant hand is more connected to your subconscious mind. This woman in our example will then begin to write or speak as this part. What is its current truth? What does it need to say or need you or others to hear? Seeing as how the part this woman in our example just went into is the part that needs relaxation, it may write or say things like “I’m just so tired. I literally can’t do this anymore. I don’t like life anymore. Every day is just a grid, what kind of life is that? I don’t even like what I liked anymore etc. Let it express as much as it wants. You may feel questions arise from somewhere deep inside you. You can ask these questions to this part. Things like “when did this start or when did things change for you?” Or “what would you be doing instead if you could do anything and why?” Any question that arises can help you to gain deeper clarity about this part of you. Two questions that you need to remember to ask are how this part feels about the central personality. For example if it were me, I would ask, “how do you feel about Teal”. Also ask how this part feels towards the part on the opposite or other side of it (the other side of the split). In this case, the part that will not let the woman in our example, stop and relax. Don’t be surprised if it has no awareness of the other part. Also understand that it can have any type of relationship with the other part. It may hate the other part, love the other part, consider the other part a protector, minimize the other part etc. Any relationship that is possible in the outside world is possible in the inside world.
When it feels like this first part has said what it wants and needs to say and you’ve explored it so as to have a good understanding of it, and when it feels willing for you to explore the other part, you are going to stand up from the chair. When you do this, imagine leaving that part of you sitting in the chair. You are going to turn back around and look at the chair you just came out of as if that part of you is sitting in front of you. Imagine, sense or feel that part of you. Your perspective of it from this “middle point perspective” will often be different than the perspective you had of it when you were inside of it. What does this tell you about yourself? Using our example, the woman might notice that when she was inside this part and sitting in the chair, it felt older like a stressed out version of herself but that when she stood up, suddenly that part sitting in the chair mentally looks like a young slave from the 1200s.
The next step is to sit down in the other chair you set up in the room. But when you do this, this time, you are sitting down as the opposite part. Using our example, this woman will sit down as the part of herself that refuses to let her relax. She is going to repeat the exact same process as she did with the first part, but with this part now. Seeing as how the part this woman in our example just went into is the part that refuses to grant relaxation, it may write or say things like “I can’t afford to relax. People who need relax are pathetic. Life will come crumbling down around me if I let go of any of the balls I have in the air” etc. Let it express as much as it wants. Question it if you are able to split your consciousness enough to do so. Again, the two questions that you need to remember to ask are how this part feels about the central personality. For example, if it were me, I would ask, “how do you feel about Teal” and how this part feels towards the part on the opposite or other side of it (the other side of the split). In this case, the part that needs relaxation.
When it feels like this second part has said what it wants and needs to say and you’ve explored it so as to have a good understanding of it, you are going to again stand up from the chair. When you do this, just like you did the first time, imagine leaving that part of you sitting in the chair. You are going to turn back around and look at the chair you just came out of as if that part of you is sitting in front of you. Imagine, sense or feel that part of you. Your perspective of it from this “middle point” will often be different than the perspective you had of it when you were inside of it. What does this tell you about yourself? Using our example, the woman might notice that when she looks at it, it appears to be a very serious version of herself that acts and feels a lot like her mother. This of course gives her the clue that this part of her may just be an internalization of her mother, which looks to have taken over her mother’s job of beating her into responsibility productivity and work ethic. Also take a moment to look at both parts now, as if they were both sitting in their respective chairs in front of you, what do you notice about them when you imagine, sense or feel them both sitting in front of you?
If you allow your awareness to touch these parts, the process of integration will already be occurring. So technically, you could simply become aware of them and make them aware of each other and that will have initiated the healing. However, the aim of this kind of parts work is to create a conflict resolution between these opposed parts. You can consider your intention to be to bring enough awareness to each part that each part begins to release its resistance to the other and finds alignment instead. You can go back into the first or second parts as many times as you want to or feel called to in order to create this ‘resolve’ between them. Simply remember to come back into the ‘center point perspective’ each time you do this. By setting this intention, you are acting as a kind of mediator for your own two parts.
When you are doing this, if one part does not begin to agree with the other, I don’t want you to think about striking a compromise. You can’t force resolve and compromise is damaging. Compromise means, I’ll take some pain and you’ll take some pain in order for us to stay connected. Instead, you want to be focused on the ‘third option’. The third option is something that is a “yes this feels good to both of us”. Using our example, the part that will not allow relaxation may begin to see how much damage it is doing and that continuing to disallow relaxation is leading to a burn out (where being unable to be productive is a guarantee). It may also remember that it used to feel like hell to be treated like a slave by mom and see that it is doing the same thing to the other part. This may lead to it agreeing to get on board with relaxation and deciding with the other part what that relaxation might look like. This may lead the first part to reassure the second that it will feel more motivated to work if it gets that relaxation and even thank it for being so driven.
When parts begin to merge and re integrate, it can feel like the two have reached peace or agreement. It can also feel like they are literally dissolving into one. The goal is for the tension between them to turn into relief and alignment.
Eventually, when your system gets used to parts work, your “awakened ego” will become stronger and stronger and your parts themselves will gain awareness and so they will be increasingly oriented towards and interested in finding alignment. As a result, what you will notice is that they will begin to soften quickly and without having to go into each one over and over, they will begin to merge into one or one may even choose to disappear because that part does not have a role it wants to fill anymore.
Here are some important things to remember. I don’t care how hateful, violent, difficult, avoidant, narcissistic, unaware or whatever else a part may be, it is abusive to hold an attitude of negative judgment or criticism towards a part when you are working with it. This can in fact enhance a split and make the conflict between your parts worse. The right attitude to have is curiosity and the intention to offer it awareness that will help it, not even to change it. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen people approach one of their parts thinking it needed to change, when really it was the one holding the truth. But for the sake of understanding this, imagine you are an addict and I walk up to you and tell you, “Don’t you see how messed up you are? You’re ruining everyone’s lives. Who is stupid enough to keep hurting people even if you know you’re doing it?” How open are you going to be to me? Are you going to soften or go into more resistance to me? Are you going to open your truth to me or close down? A thing must become softer in order to change. So act in a way relative to this process that inspires willingness, openness and softness.
Also, the reason that I consider it critical to step into the ‘center point perspective’ is because this integrative process is also a conscious dis-identification process. This does not only help with self-awareness. If you go all the way into a part and then step out of that part, you are realizing a very powerful truth. You are seeing that you are at one time, all of these parts and therefore no one single part. This causes your identity to grow in the direction of oneness, which can be considered the awakened or enlightened ego. I know when I say that an ego can be awakened or enlightened, you may feel yourself choke. But don’t worry, to understand this concept better, you can watch my video titled: Oneness is not the ultimate truth if this universe. When you get that you are all and therefore none of these parts, suddenly you become choice. You can draw from the incredible resources of any part. They no longer have control over you. In this way, parts work becomes one of the methods to actualize enlightenment.
Most of the time when fragmentation occurs within the psyche, you will be dealing with a polarity. This means two opposed parts. There can be an exception, when a vulnerable part has two protector parts that are opposed to one another. This is much more rare and I call it a three way split. But here is the good news, you don’t need to know both parts to do parts work. You can start with one, such as “the part of me that is committed to my relationship” and when you go into the other one, it can simply be as loose as “the one on the other side of this one or the one behind this one”. Doing parts work in this way can be quite effective because when you go into the perspective, you are staying totally open to what it actually is, instead of projecting that it is the part that isn’t committed to your relationship. The opposing part in this example could be the part of you that is in a state of learned powerlessness and that is convinced the relationship will end no matter what you do.
If someone is facilitating you in parts work, the difference here is that they are acting as a kind of guide and mediator of the entire process. They become the ultimate relationship therapist between your parts.
Until you go into your parts, you have as much awareness about yourself as your neighbor has about you… Mostly a mix of paltry observations, judgments and projections. You never know what the truth and actual perspective can be until you dive deep into a part. It will shock you and surprise you how incredibly different it can be from what you expect. It will bring a whole new meaning to the phrase “until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”.
There are a million tips and tools and suggestions to make your parts work more effective. There are a million awarenesses you will gain about parts work and the psyche and consciousness itself and the universe at large by doing parts work. But consider this your crash course. As with anything, the more you practice, the better and better you’ll get at it. Just be aware that the part of you that is doing the parts work, may just be a ‘part’ in and of itself!
The vast majority of people on the planet earth feel trapped in their lives. They feel overwhelmed by stress and pressure. But the underlying cause of this negative feeling is not something that most people are consciously aware of. That underlying cause is the feeling that they have to do things that they don’t want to do.
Before I explain this pattern in depth, I need to throw a universal truth at you. It is a universal truth that is going to take you way out on a scary limb of freedom. There is no such thing as a ‘have to’ in this universe. You could decide to walk out your front door, throw the keys down a sewage grate, leave your car wherever it is forever, walk to a different country and not tell anyone where you have gone and live an entirely different life. You could never get out of bed, pee and crap the bed when you have to use the restroom, never eat again and simply wait for death to happen. You need to realize that you have free will. No one can actually take that away from you. All they can do is use their free will to escalate consequences or reward for your choices. If someone has a knife to your throat wanting something from you, you can choose to die rather than to give them what they want. But most people in this position want to live and so they give the person what he or she wants. Here is the problem, if we find ourselves in this kind of situation, we don’t tell the story of “I consciously chose to give them what they want because I wanted to live.” We tell the story “I had to give them what they wanted, they made me.” We disown our free will. We do this because we don’t want the pain or pressure of the responsibility of having done something bad or wrong.
Every decision you make comes with a consequence. It’s nothing personal; it’s simply the law of cause and effect in the universe. And it is usually those potential consequences that cause you to decide to do something, even when you don’t want to do it. In this very minute a split occurs within you between the part of you that doesn’t want to do that thing and the part of you that does want to do that thing in order to avoid consequences. The thing is this immediately makes that thing a “have to” instead of a “want to”. We feel like we ‘have to’ do things when we are doing to them in order to avoid a consequence rather than when we are doing them in order to create or bring about something that we want.
We are trained from a very early age that doing what we want to do is selfish. We are often punished for it. On the other hand, we are rewarded for doing things that other people want us to do, but that we don’t want to do. Our wires become crossed. We believe there is virtue in “have to” and that the only life that is right is one entirely made up of “have tos”, duty and obligation. To understand more about this pattern, watch my video titled: The Freedom/Connection Split within Humanity.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this but ‘have to’ has become a way of avoiding social consequences. It isn’t socially acceptable to tell someone who invites you to a party “I don’t want to go to the party.” Instead we say things like “I can’t”. The truth is, we can. We are choosing not to because we have another priority. If someone asks us to join him or her for an activity, we say, “I have to work”. The truth is, you don’t have to work. You want to work because you want an excuse to avoid them or it’s a higher priority to keep your boss happy than to see them or you want money more than you want closeness with that person for example. For the sake of today’s conversation, the problem isn’t that you’re lying to them. It’s that you’re telling yourself the story that you have to and because of that, you are losing your access to free will and the feeling of agency.
Long story short, before we know it we have a job we have to go to, bills that have to be paid, a partner we have to please, kids we have to take care of, dogs we have to walk, a gym we have to go to, healthy food we have to eat etc. We even manage to turn things that were once a ‘want to’ into a ‘have to’. This causes the pressure to build and build. We feel stress because not all parts of us are on board with what we are doing. We don’t feel free. We feel like a trapped slave in our own life.
Here are some suggestions for what to do if you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you ‘have to’.
How you speak has the capacity to affect your mentality greatly. Every time you are going to say “I have to” change it to “I want to”. This is going to mess with your brain at first. You will become conscious of the ways you are in opposition to your own sense of free will and why you are in that state of opposition. You will be forced to face your actual feelings about the things you are doing in your life. You will be forced to acknowledge the truth within the universe that nothing is a have to. It is also easier to feel and recognize the parts of you that aren’t on board with what you are doing. If you are choosing to do something that you feel is a ‘have to’, say, “I want to” and ask yourself why… Why am I doing it? For example, “I want to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles”. You will feel instant resistance to that statement inside. Then “why am I choosing to go? Because I want to feel the relief of the pressure of having to renew my driver’s license when I can scratch it off of my to-do list”. Saying ‘I want to’ connects you to your free will, your desires, values and motives. It will help you to see that you really shouldn’t be doing some things you are doing. On top of this, “I have to” is a word that the mind has a negative association with. This will cause a negative feeling chemical release in the body, which will in turn cause you to form a negative association with whatever thing you are doing or considering doing. Saying the word ‘have to’ relative to something decreases your motivation towards that thing every single time you say it.
Remember that nothing is actually a ‘have to’. There is only want and don’t want. If you feel like something is a ‘don’t want’, there are two distinct options. The first is to find a way to not do it. The second is to change it or re-frame it so that you actually want to do it. For example, there is a sink full of dishes in the kitchen. If you take the road of finding a way not to do it, you could simply not do them and let them sit there until you feel the desire to do them… even if that means the food rots and your house is disgusting. You could swap days with your roommate, you could pay a cleaner to come in or you could invent a device that does it for you for example.
If you take the road of changing it or re-framing it so that you actually want to do it, you could decide to find something in cleaning the dishes that aligns with something you really consciously want, so you suddenly feel motivated to do them. For example, if you are really motivated to practice present moment meditation, the dishes could be a present moment mediation. For more information about this brilliant strategy, watch my video titled: Priceless Motivation Tip (Find The Self Serving Motive). You could figure out what you hate about doing the dishes and resolve those things so it is a more pleasant activity. You could focus on your desire to have a clean house and how good it will feel to have a clear living space, so suddenly doing the dishes is a part of creating something you really want for example.
Do parts work to address the two parts of you that are at odds, the one who wants to do it and the part that doesn’t want to do it, so as to create alignment between them. A decision or choice that both of them can be on board with and that create a harmony between their currently seemingly opposing desires. To understand the basics about how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It).
Take what you don’t want to do and completely play out not doing it mentally as far as you can. We don’t usually ‘stare the devil in the face’ of choosing not to do something. We loosely feel, but can’t consciously see, the consequences of that choice. If we can’t see the consequences of that choice, we can’t find ways to mitigate them and the part of us that is in resistance to doing whatever it is we don’t want to do, can’t be an active participant in the law of cause and effect. It simply stays in an attitude of rebellion. For example, you don’t want to go in to work. So imagine not going. Imagine how your colleagues and boss would respond; imagine what you would do instead. Imagine both the payoffs and consequences of doing so as far as you want to play them out. The unwanted parts of this experience will make you aware of what you really want and need. What are some other ways you could get those needs and desires met? When you do this exercise, you may just find your ‘have to’ changing into a ‘want to’.
Remember how I said that we feel like we ‘have to’ do things when we are doing them in order to avoid a consequence rather than when we are doing them in order to create or bring about something that we want? This means we can flip the way we are looking at something we don’t want to do so as to see how doing that thing creates what we really want. Why is doing this thing important? How is doing this thing a part of the vision of what you want? How is it good for you? What will it accomplish? Who is it helping? What good are you creating for yourself and/or others by doing it? Going back to the analogy of doing the dishes, you might not immediately think that cleaning dirty dishes matters, but those dishes are what you serve food to people on, and that food nourishes not only you, but also other people so that you and they can go out and do something good in the world in a healthy way. So connect whatever you are doing to the good that doing that thing does. Find a personal, meaningful why behind doing what you choose to do. Find a good enough because.
Professional athletes know what most people don’t know and that is that you can add any meaning to discomfort that you want to. Going for what you want is going to entail a certain amount of discomfort. The meaning we add to discomfort is everything. Most people assign the meaning ‘we need to stop’ or ‘not do what we are doing’ to discomfort. This greatly limits your life. It means when you are faced with the inevitable downside of things you want, you might just give up and not do them. Every other suggestion I have given you in this article has been about either not doing something or getting yourself to feel good about what you are doing. The hack I am suggesting as a final potential tool is to add different meaning to the discomfort of doing what you don’t want to do. You could consider this the ultimate re-frame. For example, the burn in my muscles means I am getting stronger. The discomfort I feel doing this thing that is not fun to me means I am developing self-discipline, which makes me feel less out of control relative to myself. Question the meaning you are adding to the discomfort inherent in something you don’t want to do. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button. From there, change the meaning you are adding to the discomfort. This tip simply must come with a warning; this could be used as a tool of suppression.
Life is about expansion. Expansion occurs as a result of following your desire. It is not virtuous to force yourself to do what you don’t want to do. But following what is wanted will always give rise to what is unwanted as well. This opens the door for things to be a ‘have to’. When you encounter these unwanted experiences, you have the choice to take them off of your plate (not do what you don’t want to do) or change them or your perception of them so that you want them on your plate (turn them into something you want to do). The unwanted can diminish motivation and inspiration. However, motivation and inspiration is not completely out of your control. You can live a motivated and fulfilling life if your life philosophy changes from “”I have to” to “I want to”.
For years I have been saying that the evolution which must occur within the human race is “I can have you and I can have me too.” This implies that autonomy and connection are not mutually exclusive, they are integrated. Most people today do not live in this state of integration between connection and autonomy. Instead, they are split into two parts, one who fights for connection at any cost and one who fights for its own independent best interests at any cost. It’s important to know that this part’s fight for its own best interests feels like a fight for freedom. Most people alive today have an internal split between the commitment to connection and the commitment to freedom. This means that humanity itself as a collective consciousness has this same split. To understand the concept of a split deeper, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. You can also keep a lookout for a video I’m going to do shortly that will be specifically about how to work with the individual aspects of consciousness, what most people call “parts”.
To understand this split, we have to go back to how it was made. I want you to think back on your childhood. Every child is an individual entity and therefore has a self. This means you had your our own thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, talents, shortcomings, preferences etc. Think back on the way your parents and family and teachers and peers and even community or society responded to those thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, talents, shortcomings and preferences. For example, were they acknowledged, accommodated, ignored or turned against? Were there consequences for them? Most parents up to this time period do not view a child as an individual being; they view children as something to be created or molded into what they want them to be.
I’ll give you a seemingly benign example so you can get just how prevalent this issue is in the human race. A mom is sitting with a child who is in a high chair. It is lunchtime. Mom says, “You need to eat your food”. The child’s truth is that he or she is not hungry so the child refuses to eat. Mom does not acknowledge the child’s truth and so she force feeds the child or tells the child that he or she can’t come down out of the highchair until the food is finished. Not only has moms’ anger been felt as a loss of closeness, which is acutely painful, the message is: I will not accept that part of you (the truth that you are not hungry). Therefore, to maintain closeness with me, you must abandon that truth and be what I tell you to be which is hungry, or at the very least, eat even if you aren’t hungry. The child is at a crossroads. The child gets to choose to abandon his or her sense of self in that moment for the sake of feeling close to mom or fight for his or her sense of self and as a consequence, lose closeness with mom. This is the kind of scenario that causes a child’s boundaries to become unhealthy. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries vs. Oneness (How To Develop Healthy Boundaries).
Let’s say that this belief that a child is to be molded, exists as a sliding scale. Everyone’s parents and teachers and society falls somewhere on that sliding scale. To differing degrees of severity, we are trained that in order to have connection and closeness and belonging with other people (which is a bigger need than even food and water for a physical human) we must lose or let go of our self. We must abandon or let go of or betray our own thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, preferences, and best interests. To have them, we can’t have ourselves or at the very least, parts of ourselves. This is the only context we have for relationships and maintaining social harmony. We woefully accept this truth but learn to associate connection with other people with things like self-sacrifice, duty, being controlled, being imprisoned, obligation and the constant effort of inauthenticity. This is the origin of the belief in me vs. them. Does this mean that this is the reality? No. It’s simply a belief we have been trained into. So you can understand this split deeper, let’s look at both parts that are born from this belief.
The part of you that wants connection understands that so many needs (mental, emotional and physical) are dependent on connection and closeness with other people. This part of you does not carry the pain that comes with connection, the other one does. It carries the pain of the lack of connection. It is acutely aware of and does not want the starvation or pain of aloneness. It is constantly bidding for connection in the things it says and does. It is not guarded. It is open. If this part cannot get enough connection from people, it will connect with food, animals, objects or anything else where it can. This part holds the universal truth of interdependence, that it is connected to everything. It understands that it has to be attuned to other people and that aloneness is the result of not considering others.
This part will slip into all kinds of coping mechanisms if it runs the risk of loosing connection with someone. This part will not acknowledge anything that threatens its sense of closeness with someone. This includes incompatibility. For this reason, it often suffers from denial and enables dysfunctional behavior and gaslights itself and others. This is the part that is always going to tell the story in favor of the positive. It’s the one who will say, “He’s such a hard worker” to cover over the fact that he is really passed out because he is drunk. If this part runs the risk of separation, it will do whatever it takes to re-establish a perception of closeness and is not going to see doing so as self-sacrifice. Really it isn’t self-sacrifice for this part of it gives up its own best interests because it sees its highest best interest as connection. Therefore, self-sacrifice is self-centered, because it is done to meet its own primary need. This co-dependent part of you really embodies the truth that there is no such thing as philanthropy, even if someone is acting like they are always doing things for others.
This part of you is never going to give up on being connected to others. No matter how messed up and abusive your family is, it will stay around them. It will tell the story that a dysfunctional family is “such a great family”. This part is the one making the Hollywood films about “all you need is love” and “where there is a will to be in a relationship, there is way.” This part of you gets connection with others by disconnecting from other parts of you that might threaten connection. But by doing that, you are never bringing the totality of yourself into a relationship so you are never actually in a relationship. The sad truth is that its connection with others is in fact an overlay. It is alone in its perception of connection. This part of you is rather like Buddy from the movie Elf.
The part of you that wants freedom is really not after freedom. It is after autonomy, which is nothing more than the desire to exist in alignment with one’s sense of self. This part has been really, really hurt and disillusioned by relationships. It wants to live in accordance with your truth, how you feel and think, what you want, your innate talents, your actual interests and to be able to do what is right and best for yourself. It is in fact being controlled by the other connection-committed part more so than it is being controlled by other people. It feels like everything about relationships is too complicated. It feels like relationships are like Faberge eggs, they are fragile and if something goes wrong, there is no repair because no matter what you do, you can’t put it back together again. It holds the pain of constantly being suppressed. It is conscious that if you have to change yourself to gain love and closeness, you are not actually close and you are not actually loved. This part is conscious of the extreme pressure of everyone’s needs of it. It sees its existence as a never-ending toil of being used by people. It doesn’t feel like a person, it feels like a tool to be used by people. Responsibility is a huge pressure belonging to this part. It believes “I have to be responsible for me and them”, which it resents. So it says “NO” to taking responsibility for others. The reason it says “YES” to taking responsibility for itself is that it wants to find a way to not depend on anyone… To be able to have everything that it needs without it coming from anyone else. For this reason, it is hugely interested in spirituality and self-development. It also sees that it is incredibly alone already so it is not in denial and risks nothing by admitting to reality. It doesn’t have an answer to remedy the powerlessness it feels in all of this painful “way it is” relative to relationships.
This part thinks that if there is a conflict between you and another person, you are always loosing the fight. What this part cannot stand is the feeling of pushing itself sideways. It doesn’t want to have to take in or owe anyone anything. For this reason, it does not bid for connection because if it bids, the other person is in control of how he or she responds or not. Control is very important to this part, because control seems like the only way it can avoid compromising itself and thus, ending up in pain. The closest it can get to the idea that a relationship is safe, is transaction. The safe, clear lines of transaction make it the best option. Its worldview is that everyone is only out for himself or herself. It’s like living in a shark tank. Its truth is that everyone around it is completely self-centered. But here’s the stumbling block. Because it feels like everyone else is self-centered, it decides that it is just going to have to think about itself because no one else will. And by deciding this, it repeats the cycle.
This part is the one that was separated from (rejected) in order to be in a relationship. After all, the message it received forever and still does is: If I go into a relationship as the real me, no one will ever want me and instead, they will hurt me. Because of this, it sees relationships as pain. If it were convinced that never having a relationship was the best answer, it would have gone there long ago. For this part, having a relationship with people is like eating poisoned water. It’s a “fuck you for the fact that I need this”. Unlike the other one, it feels like being alone is better than being trapped, but being alone sucks. Unlike the other part, this one will viciously fight for its needs and best interests. It will fight for its “self”. It will also criticize the hell out of a person and relationship in the hope that the other person will change so as to put it out of pain. The criticism is an attempt to control the other person’s behavior. Its orientation is towards what it doesn’t want in a relationship where as the other part is oriented towards what it does want. This part of you is rather like Scrooge from a Christmas carol.
When you have this split, relationships are a downward spiral that goes like this: The connection part of you is the one that takes control and seeks a relationship because you feel alone. You get into a relationship quickly because you are doing anything it takes to secure a relationship. And to do so, you have to disown parts of yourself that might cause separation or rejection. This means you are not going into a relationship with the truth or the totality of yourself. You show only what the other need and wants to see; only what you know will guarantee you closeness. You look so good and so tempting to the other person it is almost too good to be true. Then when the connection is secure, the pain of that suppression and inauthenticity causes the other part that is committed to autonomy to come forward and take over instead. This part contains all the parts that you decided to disown. Those parts now come forward because they were suppressed in order for the other one to secure the relationship. They start screaming for freedom. They start demanding for their needs to be met and for the other person to act in their best interests. They fight for themselves against the person they love. The other person now feels duped. For example, suddenly you go from a person who says you are responsible to being not responsible. You go from being gorgeous to letting yourself go. You go from saying you are a financial provider to suddenly expecting your partner to financially provide for you. You go from loving to constantly critical. The person you are now is nothing like the person you entered into the relationship as. All of the ways you actually think and feel and what you really want and the ways you go about trying to get your actual needs met, destroy the relationship which was in fact built on pretense. The relationship now becomes oppositional so ruptures are created. And both people think, “Where did my perfect relationship go”?
You can see this split clearly in yourself any time you feel you have to choose connection or closeness or social harmony vs. your own best interests. It is tempting to think that this type of scenario is always about your best interests vs. another person’s best interests. But it isn’t. It’s the best interest belonging to your own two parts being pitted against each other. In other words, you feel this split any time your own best interest of (fill in the blank) conflicts with your own best interest of connection.
This split was created to accommodate for uncomplimentary needs. In the past, your need for autonomy could not exist in the same place and time as your need for connection. Each part of you also keeps you safe from the opposite threat. Your connection part keeps you safe from isolation. Your freedom part keeps you safe from the loss of self. But the time has come to recognize this split within yourself and within humanity so that we may integrate them and create a world in which freedom and connection are one… A world in which all of our relationships are relationships where we can have ourselves and have each other at the very same time.
Most of the videos that I create are aimed at helping you to recognize and change patterns that are detrimental to you in your adult life. In order to fully understand these patterns, we have to go back to why and how they were installed in the first place. Inevitably, this brings us back to your early childhood environment, most especially to the relationship and interaction with your primary caregivers. For most people, this is your parents and beyond that, family of origin.
For the pure sake of comprehension, I ask you to not engage in a philosophical debate on the concept of right and wrong in this minute. The path of awakening and awareness will lead you to becoming conscious of what your parents did “wrong”. If you are unable to see what they did wrong, you will adopt and pass on the detrimental patterns they unconsciously instilled in you. Many people are terrified that by seeing this “wrongness” and changing the patterns, they will somehow lose love and connection and belonging and closeness with their parents. This means that social cohesion becomes the excuse to make excuses for detrimental patterns and the excuse not to change. This also unfortunately means that the majority of people who are drawn to awakening in the first place had parents with whom they felt no real love, belonging, connection and closeness. In other words, they have less to lose.
I must say here that it is not inevitable that you will lose connection and closeness with your parents by becoming aware. In fact, multi generational shifts are only possible when one questions one’s own family patterns. This means it is possible to get closer with your family by becoming aware. There are many factors involved. For anyone who is determined to maintain those family connections at any cost, for those of you that have a hard time looking at what your parents did wrong, you will have no issue with this exercise. However, for those of you who feel so damaged by your parents and family that any closeness feels painful, this exercise will be a real challenge.
People are black and white thinkers. There are many reasons for this. The state of cognitive dissonance that is caused by holding contradictory beliefs, ideas, values or perceptions, causes us distress. It makes it very heard for us to feel in-alignment and make decisions that feel right. Here are some examples: We love to smoke cigarettes, but we know they could cause us to develop cancer. We think blacks are poor but then we run into one at a five star resort. We love a political candidate and find out they have sexual kinks that contradict our sense of their character. We find out that someone murdered someone else, but they also run one of the most successful non-profit companies, which has saved hundreds of lives.
If we see our parents as all-good, we have established mental and emotional harmony. We can go to thanksgiving dinner and excuse away or justify any negative pattern we see and feel great about our family. If we see our parents as all-bad, we have also established a kind of mental and emotional harmony. We can refuse to go to thanksgiving dinner and invalidate any positive pattern we see and consider ourselves justified in cutting them off from our life entirely. We begin to feel torn when we see both the positive and negative about them.
Awareness is a two-sided coin. We live in a universe of polarity and contrast. This means that in order to become fully aware, we must develop AND Consciousness. The feeling of being torn between two extremes or seemingly opposing truths feels a lot like being stretched. And this stretching is in fact a feeling often experienced in conjunction with personal expansion. True awakening requires you to expand wide enough to be able to accommodate extremes and contradictions. This in fact makes the contradictions complimentary.
In the moment that you acknowledge a contradictory truth or state of being and expand wide enough to be able to hold both, you have dis-identified with both extremes. You have ceased to become either-or and instead have become the thing that is holding both. By holding both, instead of aspects of your self being separated by them, you have created a state of integration or wholeness within your being. You have also stepped into the realm of choice. Essentially, ‘And Consciousness’ becomes the unifying factor. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness (The Modern Day Replacement For The Middle Way).
It is very damaging to not recognize and change the detrimental patterns you adopted because of your childhood with your parents and family and society. But guess what? It is also detrimental to not recognize and completely reject the positive patterns you adopted because of your childhood with your parents and family and society. The idea in terms of expansion is to continue patterns that are beneficial and change ones that are not. All things in existence contain both polarities of positive and negative. And even this is not black and white because a negative in one situation could be a positive in another and vice versa. I want you to understand that when you came into this embodiment, you opted into a deck of cards. I will debate you in the future about the value of those “low value cards”. But for the sake of really grasping this concept, understand that in that deck of cards you inherited upon your birth and upbringing, some of those cards are crap and some are awesome! For example, maybe you were born Mexican and this means you adopted a pattern of guilt. But because you were born Mexican, you also adopted a pattern of festivity.
Today, we are going to make a practice of deliberately looking for the awesome cards in the deck. Your assignment for this week is to become aware of the positive polarity of your parents and this includes what they did right. To take this further, just like you do with negative patterns, see how what they did right created a positive outcome in who you are and your life today.
For example, maybe your mother did awesome with holidays and so you always loved them growing up and so now, you are the person who decorates and leads celebrations and makes days special for others and who has something to look forward to every year. Maybe your father was very good with money and taught you the value of never being in debt and so today, you are one of those rare people who are not in debt and who feels financially stable instead.
I’ll give you some examples from my own life. Both my parents had insane work ethics. They instilled this in me very early and so today, that is a big reason why I have such an incredibly high work ethic. They were animal lovers who were also super knowledgeable about animals and worked for the humane society. I was surrounded in animals from the moment I was born. Not only do I have a deep knowledge of animals now, but I love them and feel super comfortable around them and this is a big reason my life is so rich today. Animals made me much less of a controlling and uptight person as well. Neither of my parents ever stood in my way if I wanted something. They both had a huge respect for personal purpose/calling. As a result, I am not burdened like so many people are by the perception of “can’t”. As an adult, I have nothing holding me back internally.
My mother, who is an activist, refused to have us grow up ignorant so whenever we went on trips to different places, she wouldn’t just let us live it up at luxury resorts. She’d drag us into the heart of the reality of the culture. I remember going to Mexico and walking through an collection of super poor venders, some of whom had their dying or sick babies or old relatives under their tables so they could sell things while taking care of them at the same time. I hated this growing up, but now I think it was the best thing she ever did. It is a big part of why I am a humanitarian who is not in a “bubble of a perceptual reality” today. My mother comes from an intellectual family. She is also a feminist. She always celebrated intellectual debate and congratulated me for forming strong opinions. This is a big reason why now, I am a woman in the world who is both leading and confidently offering my opinions, which is a big step for the empowerment of not only myself but also women.
My father comes from a diplomatic family and as such, he inherited a real talent and skill for oration. It was one of the main reasons I opted into his lineage to begin with. His speech patterns and diplomatic way of communicating is a big reason why I am able to convey such complex concepts in a way that people can understand it. He gifted me with the power of speech. My father is an incredible skier and used to be a competitive ski racer. He put me on skis when I was two years old. It was one of my favorite ways to bond with him growing up and I went on to become a professional skier. Skiing saved my life when I was 18 years old. It has made me fall in love with an entire season. It is one of my favorite things to do on earth and now, my own son skis so it is a way for us to connect as well.
Now it’s your turn. If it triggers you to even think about the positive of your parents or of what your parents did right, ask yourself why. Ask yourself: What bad thing might happen if I see the good or the right in them? To do this exercise, get a piece of paper and write down as many positives as you can come up with about your parents and all the things that they did right. Then become aware of how those things positively influenced you and positively impacted who you are and your life today. It can also work to do it backwards by looking at the positive traits you have today and to trace them backward to see if their origins might just be something your parents did right.
No matter who your parents are or were, the reality is that they had positives as well as negatives within them. If you become aware enough, you will see that they did things right and they did things wrong. If you’re able to see the both, you have the greatest chance of becoming aware of and drawing upon the positive resources you do have as well as discarding the patterns that no longer work for you. You have the greatest chance of truly awakening.
In English speaking cultures, we have a saying, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”. It is a saying that means to convey wisdom expressed as a warning. This expression means don’t unintentionally get rid of something good or useful because you recognize something as all bad or are trying to get rid of its negative aspects. It means don’t reject the favorable along with the unfavorable. But this is what so many of us do in our life and in our relationships and as a result, we end up in an all-negative world, unintentionally starving ourselves of resources.
A few examples of throwing the baby out with the bathwater are: A company has a very diligent accountant. This accountant is passive aggressive in company conflicts. As a result, the company fires him instead of keeping him on for his skills while finding ways to minimize or mitigate the impact of this flaw on his fellow employees. A woman has had a very close friend for years. Despite that friend having proven her loyalty and value, when they have a minor conflict over a difference of opinion, this woman ends the friendship. A teacher is full of all kinds of amazing information. The student perceives him to be off base when it comes to one or two of his teachings and as a result, the student begins to doubt all of his teachings and decides to not learn from him or listen to him anymore. A couple had a four-year relationship. During that time, they both gained a lot. But when they break up, they devalue the relationship and each other in entirety and say it was a waste of four years of their life.
What people don’t know is that this pattern does not only cause us to lose valuable things in our life, it causes us to not even take them in or use them as resources in the first place. And it is this aspect of this pattern that causes us to unintentionally starve ourselves. Some examples of this are: A company is in the process of hiring a new manager. They are looking at hiring an accomplished and overqualified man who is deaf. They worry that the other employees will not take him seriously as a leader on account of the way that he occasionally mispronounces his words. So they don’t hire him. A woman is dating a man. He is affectionate and committed and it is the best time she has ever had with a man, but he is still a friend to his ex girlfriend and this woman can’t live with his refusal to end that friendship, so she decides not to get into a committed relationship with him. A man needs friendship badly. Every person he meets seems to meet some of his criteria for friendship, but not others. For example, one person is super fun to hang out with, but is flaky. The other is incredible at having deep, reflective conversation but isn’t very helpful when he needs her to actually lend a hand. The other is really helpful, but is dumb as a stump. Instead of simply valuing them for what each is good at and going to one vs. another when he has a specific need, he writes them all off and says he has no friends. Here’s another example that most people might not catch. A woman has a friend who gives her compliments often. This friend gives her one negative reflection and suddenly, she feels like all of the positive feedback she has been given was a lie and so she disqualifies all of it and therefore it is no longer a resource for her self esteem. She also can’t take any further compliments she is given by this friend seriously.
When we are stuck in this pattern, we are stuck in a pattern of subconscious disqualification and rejection. The thing is, we will always, always be able to find something that disqualifies someone or something or that allows us to justify rejecting the totality of something because of an aspect of it. I have a really good example of this. On the first day of one of my events, a woman stood up and said “I can’t take anything that you are saying seriously… I mean, you are supposed to be a spiritual guru or something, but here you are wearing high heels on grass. How am I supposed to take a woman seriously who wears high heels on grass?” And she vindictively thanked me for being the person who made her aware that she was ready to step up and be a spiritual teacher herself and literally walked out of the retreat demanding a refund.
When we are stuck in this pattern, what we are really doing is trying to avoid fear and pain. When we have been hurt in our interpersonal relationships, we become ‘guillotine happy”. Any little thing that even mildly suggests that it could lead to us getting hurt, makes us reject something or even cut it off in its entirety. People who struggle with this in close relationships often struggle with intimacy phobia. For this reason, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: Fear of Intimacy (How to Overcome Your Fear Of Intimacy).
When we are afraid something may hurt us, we don’t want to keep it or let it in to begin with. Receiving any part of something is dependent upon something being completely safe in its entirety. But very few things in life (if any) actually meet this qualification. So we end up starving. Because shadows around receiving are such a key element of this dynamic, I suggest you watch my video titled: How to Receive.
Also, when we have this pattern, we tend to not be able to clearly see and hold space for people’s excellence and deficiencies at the same time. Because of this, we fail to put them in the proper place in our lives. For example, a man in a woman’s life is super sexy and adventurous. But he is more committed to his own fun than to the happiness of other people so he is unreliable when he is needed by others. Because of what she needs in a partner, he is incompatible to her as a partner. But if she cuts him off entirely, she may be losing someone who can add incredible zest to her life and someone who is able to offer her tons of adventure as a friend. It may be beneficial to think of people in your life like puzzle pieces. Instead of disqualifying a person for not being every piece in the entire puzzle, you need to consider each person to be a valuable part of the overall puzzle. If you put them in the right place considering their specific areas of excellence and intrinsic nature and gifts, all of them suddenly represent incredible value to the overall picture of your life. You will experience an abundant life where you can actually recognize which need of yours can be met where, because you will suddenly recognize yourself to be surrounded with valuable resources. We need to recognize compatibilities and incompatibilities in order to figure out where to fit someone into the puzzle of our lives and what to resource them for. For this reason, it would greatly benefit you to watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality In Relationships.
The reality is that you will always be able to find negatives and unfavorable things about anything you look at. If that causes you to get rid of everything or not take anything in, you will end up feeling alone and unsupported in a desert of a world where none of your needs can be met. You will miss the gift inherent in every single living and non-living thing. The time has come to adopt the challenge of recognizing and keeping and taking in the value of each thing in existence.
Holidays are supposed to be those times of the year that we enjoy the most, times of celebration and pleasure and togetherness. Even if people love holidays, nearly everyone gets stressed out on the holidays and this decreases the overall enjoyment of them. But for some of us, holidays can be the absolute worst times of the year. Many of us have so much pain around holidays that we have learned to hate them. The problem is that the holidays never stop coming and so for many of us; they are just something that we have to get through as fast as we can. If you are one of these people, this video is for you.
Today, I’m not just going to teach you from a transcendental or objective perspective. I’m going to also teach you from personal experience. I spent the first half of my life hating holidays. They were the most painful times of year. But today, I can officially say that Holidays (especially Christmas) are now my favorite times of year. And with a shift in perspective and action, you might just begin to love them too. This is how you can come to enjoy the holidays:
Don’t buy into that “just focus positive” or “you’re just being a negative Nancy or a humbug” rhetoric. Changing your perspective about the holidays is about deep healing. It is not as simple and just putting on a smile or focusing positive. The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved. One of the best ways to make yourself miserable during any holiday if you have had negative experiences with them before is to expect yourself to be happy or put on a happy face or even worse, to enjoy the holiday. You will fail. This is no more unrealistic than it is to expect someone who had been bitten by a shark to feel happy and carefree swimming. Be honest about where you are with yourself. The reality is you hate holidays and you want to like them. So go towards them with that desire and a commitment to openness and curiosity about how to change your relationship with them instead.
The pain around holidays must be acknowledged and resolved. This is something you’re going to have to face and work at, not just avoid or hope changes on its own. You are not wrong to hate holidays. You have every reason to hate them. You would not hate them unless they have been extremely painful for you. Why do you hate them? What are those painful memories or painful expectations associated with them? How could you make those different or create the opposite experience this time? I have created a process to resolve this kind of pain . It is called the Completion Process. To use the Completion Process to resolve the pain associated with holidays, just focus on what you hate about the holidays and what you expect to go wrong during them until you feel pain or resistance build somatically in your body and use that as your doorway to the unresolved experience from your past. To learn how to do this process, pick up a copy of my book that is literally titled The Completion Process. Doing this process will clearly show you what unmet need you had around the holidays and/or what you need to have be different. From there, you can consciously start to meet those needs and make the holidays different.
I know that many people who hate holidays don’t really care to prioritize resolving holiday trauma. But let me offer a perspective that may change this for you. Life throws enough negative curveballs. If you don’t resolve holiday trauma, what you have is guaranteed future pain. Holidays will not stop coming no matter what continent you’re on. So you have a guarantee that every year, multiple times a year, you’re going to feel disappointed, be hurt again, resent other people, be the bad guy for ruining everyone else’s cheery mood and feel alienated and like you don’t belong because everyone else seems to fit into society by loving the holidays and keeping up dumb traditions. I for one couldn’t live with that multiple times a year guarantee of re-traumatization hanging over my head.
Stop justifying your hate for the holidays with the shadows in holidays. People who have pain around holidays don’t want to face and resolve that vulnerability. The way they cover up that vulnerability and very personal pain is by justifying their hatred of the holidays using the unconscious or negative side of the holidays. For example: Valentines Day is just an excuse for card companies and candy companies to sell their products. It should be called singles awareness day instead. Christmas is just a time for consumerism and destroying the world with plastic toys that kids play with for three seconds. Besides, the only reason people even care about the homeless suddenly on Christmas is because they all want to feel good about themselves, so it’s actually disgustingly egotistical. Thanksgiving is just some dumb day where we over eat with people who annoy the hell out of us. I mean, we killed all the Native Americans anyway, we shouldn’t even be celebrating it… it’s like a bitch slap to an entire culture. Screw birthdays, people are too self-centered to actually care. Plus, I don’t need any more reminders of how old I’m getting etc. You get the point. The thing is, you are totally right about these shadows. There are lots of totally crap sides to holidays. And you are totally right that most people are totally unconscious of them. But focusing on the shadows in the holidays is just a cover for personal pain. If it weren’t, you’d simply not make those painful parts of holidays a part of the way that you celebrate them. And consider that awareness is two sided. You may just be totally unconscious of the positive side inherent in holidays. And continuing to focus on all those holiday shadows will continue to motivate you to reject them instead of resolve your pain about them and learn to love them and celebrate them in the way that is uniquely right for you.
Stop being passive about your holiday experience. Be active and involved instead. When life has gone crap for us because other people haven’t been super concerned with our actual best interests, we develop a ‘life happens to me’ perspective. Holidays happen to us. This keeps us in the cycle of disappointment. To get out of it, you need to initiate it actually being different. This means planning ahead. You’re going to have to be the one to change it into something other than what it is. Grab the bull by the horns and allow yourself to have some control over your experience. Make the experience what you want it to be. Be the one to get others on board with this too. It is empowering and once you do it, it will shock you to realize how many other people are just passively hoping that holidays will somehow magically go different each year for them. The reality is, they wont unless they actively change something.
Take a look at your holiday habits and actively take steps to change them. For example, you may know by now that you habitually confront everyone on their shadows and become the family scapegoat again, take all the responsibility for the entire holiday so everyone else just shows up, overspend, passively wait for others to make it a good holiday for you and get disappointed when they don’t, overeat, get drunk, say yes to everything and everyone and then feel depleted, take responsibility for bringing people together who don’t put in any energy into togetherness themselves. Get stressed doing everything last minute ect. Just like a chess game with yourself, get ahead of these habits and shortcut this subconscious momentum by planning so you don’t slip into these habits again. For example, plan how to avoid conflicts, commit to limiting yourself to one glass of wine, exercise the morning of the holiday, commit to the practice of saying no to what you don’t really want to do, give people a date to show up and don’t nag them to come after you have done that, let them take their part of the responsibility of being connected instead. Budget and don’t go over that budget. Ensure that other people share responsibility for the day. Simplify your holiday to do list. Start shopping months ahead of time etc.
Mine the coal for diamonds. Experiencing the positive in the holidays entails learning about the holidays, their origins and also how they evolved. Also how they are celebrated around the world. Also thinking about your own culture or family’s traditions. What you are going to do here is to mine the holidays for what the important parts of each holiday are for you. What does spark joy? What is worth celebrating? What do you love? There is nothing wrong with doing away with traditions that you don’t like, keeping or adding new ones you do like and borrowing from other cultures etc. For example, maybe you hate the tradition of the thanksgiving turkey, but you love the idea of potluck style feasts. Maybe don’t spent the holiday with people who you know hurt you every year. Spend it with close friends instead. Consider it like mining through coal for the collection of diamonds inherent in each holiday. Having done this, you’re going to move to the next step.
Create holidays that are like a cocktail of traditions and practices and experiences that you love and that feel right for you. The worst thing you can do is to simply go through the motions of holidays as if there is nothing you can do about it because it’s just the way things are done. This means you’re going to have to actively plan and seek out and create those diamond experiences. If it is your birthday, don’t wait for someone to mess up your birthday or test how much they love you by not telling anyone and seeing if someone calls. Instead, really actively plan and create a day that you want to have.
Get off the fence of obligation. Obligation is a kind of ‘sitting on the fence state’ whereby you wont say a full yes or a full no to an experience. The part of you that is subconsciously committed to doing something bulldozes the part of you that doesn’t want to do that thing. This is a form of self-betrayal. Work with those opposing parts of yourself to find a meeting of minds or a third option between them that feels good to them both. To understand more about how to do this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. I am also going to be doing a video soon specifically on parts work that you can look out for. Take a really serious look at those obligations and obligatory gatherings and decide to either fully commit to them with your free will or to not do it or to do something entirely different. Living at the mercy of obligation is no kind of life and it will make for a terrible holiday. In fact obligation has a similar vibration to indebtedness. Why are you committed to doing what you don’t want to do and why don’t you want to do it?
Don’t be afraid to celebrate holidays on different days than the actual holiday. This is a tip that can be one of the most life changing. Believe it or not, but the body holds memory and acts like a biological clock. If you’ve had trauma around holidays, your body memory is activated on those days. It takes time to un-do that programming. You can disrupt this programming by surprising your biology and celebrating Christmas on the 24th or your birthday on the weekend before or after the actual day. You have no association to those days, so you can build a new one. You are much more likely to be able to really enjoy it this way. Eventually if you want, once you’ve healed your relationship to holidays, you can go back to celebrating on the actual day and you won’t have the same reaction.
Celebrating holidays on different days than the actual holiday also helps with family problems. It is in your camp to decide whether it is healthy for you to be around your family or not. For some of you, it’s just an act of self-betrayal. But for those of you that hate the way holidays go with the family and know exactly what crap to expect each year, but who also have decided to continue celebrating with family, you have two options. The first is to try to get the family to adopt new traditions and/or ways of doing things. The second is to just play along with it all. If you play along with it all, celebrating the holiday your way on a different day means that you have already really enjoyed it your way. The family can’t ‘ruin’ your holiday cause you already did it. Instead, you’re going to show up for the traditional family experience and put your energy into giving them what they want on that day.
When it comes to the people in your family that ruin holidays for you and are not open to a vulnerable, authentic discussion about how to make that different, accept that the people in your family are not going to change. You will be surprised at how much this can reduce your holiday pain. Give up on them being the picture perfect family, the source of the perfect gift or the perfect experience. Separate your needs from them being the ones to meet those needs. After all, you’ve never been able to control them into being that have you? The expectation that magically one day it will be different is one of the biggest ways to hurt yourself. Your resistance to the way they are makes perfect sense, but it isn’t going to make them change. It is only going to leave you chronically disappointed and hurt. For example, if mom can be expected to get you something that you don’t even care about from the dollar store, go there expecting this and not hoping it will be different this year. If dad can be expected to interrogate you about what ‘not up to par’ things you’re doing with your life, surround yourself with people who see the value of what you’re doing and go there prepared with answers to give him beforehand.
Focus much more on the holiday experience you’re going to give people than on the holiday experience you’re going to get. When we have trauma around holidays, our pain is about the experiences we didn’t get. As a result, we become self-focused relative to holidays. This actually compounds the pain and causes us to give off an unconscious energy of ‘expecting and taking from and being disappointed by’ other people. This point is actually the reason that most ‘holiday haters’ start to like aspects of holidays once they have kids. But you don’t have to have children to change this orientation. It feels amazing to actively create enjoyment in other people’s lives. Throw them a party, take them to see the lights, surprise them with a great gift, bake them something, write them a letter, volunteer for a charity, make a child’s Christmas wish come true, organize a get together, offer them a holiday experience from another culture they’ve never tried. My holidays really started to change when I started baking all of my neighbors rum cakes and making them handmade candy every Christmas. It was then that I really experienced the opposite of being victimized by holidays. I could be the change I wanted to see in the world relative to them. And watching their faces light up was infinitely more empowering and felt better than any present anyone could give me. It was also profoundly healing to offer the holiday experiences I never got to have to other people.
Many people experience pain on the holidays because of lost loved ones. There is no doubt that the absence of loved ones on the holidays or even painful memories of losing loved ones on holidays can create a powerfully painful association relative to holidays. Something people don’t usually realize is that they hold onto pain as a token of love for whoever they have lost a sense of connection with. That pain becomes their way of staying connected. One of the biggest barriers to enjoying the holidays can be the fact that if this is what we are subconsciously doing, we suffer through the holidays without them instead of commit to enjoying them instead as a way of staying connected with them. For example, enjoying Christmas without them seems like a betrayal to them and suffering feels like you’re proving your love and commitment to them. If you think this might be the case for you, you would benefit by doing the guided meditation on my website that is titled: Replacing The Pain. Ask yourself what they would want for you? What is the best way to honor them or make them feel good if they were looking down on you on this holiday?
Try to expand your consciousness by seeking the beauty and positive in holidays in general. Ritual is an important part of human health. Humans have been creating holidays since the beginning of time. There has to be a valuable reason why. For example: They give people an excuse to celebrate and deliberately create enjoyment. They stimulate the senses. They mark and highlight what is important to us. They can imbue life with significance and specialness and meaning. They create certainty and predictability in pleasure. They are something to look forward to. They can enhance the gastronomical experience. They can create a sense of continuity, connection and nostalgia across generations. They are times to connect and gather which is vital to human health. They are times to consciously demonstrate love and enhance social ties and social glue. Group ritual also is critical for children’s developmental health. Look into what value they hold and ask people who love them to tell you why.
When it comes to the holidays, don’t expect that hallmark moment or try to force it. Even though people’s holiday albums may deceive you, no one’s family or actual experience is like that. Life (which just so happens to include triggers and needs and mistakes) doesn’t stop for the holidays unfortunately. Those perfect moments will come when you least expect it. And you can find new ways to keep each holiday meaningful and to take charge of creating ‘uniquely you holidays’ that you can look forward to every year.