Over the course of our lives, we develop a sense of self. We discover what we like and don’t like. What we value. What we think and feel. What we really want. What other people think about us, etc. We form our self-concept. But sometimes this process of development is interrupted. And when this happens, we never form a strong sense of self. It is as if our core is missing. And this creates all kinds of problems in our life, most especially in our relationships.
In childhood, some people grow up in environments where the reality is to have a self that differs from others is unacceptable. It implies unsafety, rejection, disapproval, isolation, the withholding of needs, punishment etc. They adapt to this environment and cope with it by giving up any aspect of themselves that is in conflict with the person they need to feel aligned with. They suppress, deny, disown, reject and try to change these parts of themselves so as to establish confluence with that specific person… Usually the one who holds the power regarding their needs.
To imagine confluence, think about two separate streams of water coming together to flow together as one stream. As the waters mix, you can no longer tell which stream is which stream. In this state of being, the two waters are relaxed, in accord, in harmony and are flowing in an easy-going kind of way. The opposite of conflict. Confluence is a blissful state of being. A profound togetherness. And to generalize, people desire and seek confluence. But not no matter the cost. When confluence becomes dangerous is when it becomes a coping mechanism or social strategy that a person uses, no matter the cost to themselves. They develop the pattern of feigning confluence where confluence does not actually exist, simply to avoid what they fear will be the result of conflict. They become inauthentic and give up their personal thoughts, feelings, desires, needs, preferences, values and whatever else for the sake of achieving confluence. Which is not true confluence. And it is by doing this that they slip into the Human Hyphen Pattern.
The Human Hyphen Pattern is when a person is so committed to confluence as a coping mechanism and relational style that their persona changes in accordance with whoever their primary attachment figure is. Therefore, you will see many different versions of them and not know what the truth of them actually is, separate from whomever their current primary attachment figure is. They are like a living breathing hyphen. For example, if Justin exhibits this pattern and he is with Rachel, you will not be meeting Justin. You will be meeting Rachel-Justin. And if he is with Sarah, you will be meeting Sarah-Justin. And Rachel-Justin and Sarah-Justin are VERY different men. Because each is simply a reflection of the specific woman he is with. Each is what she wants him to be and what he must be in order to be in confluence with her, even though he will fight you that each new version of him is the “real him”. The reality is, with the Human Hyphen Pattern, the only access a person has to a sense of self is when they are alone. The minute they are with another person, especially someone they want togetherness and harmony with, their lines between ‘me’ and ‘you’ begin to blend.
So that you can understand this pattern better, I’m going to give you two examples. Brody grew up in a household with an incredibly domineering mother. She had mirrors and paintings that she had drawn of herself all over the house. She had no interest in children. In fact, the reason she had children was to secure the specific man that she wanted. Brody grew up knowing that the universe revolved around his mother. It was her way or the highway. She ignored Brody. The reality is that the only way he could ever get her attention or stay safe was if he was doing something that met her needs or enhanced her ego. As a result, he wore the clothes that she picked out for him. He behaved exactly how she wanted him to behave. He adopted her views on everything. He stopped doing anything he liked that she didn’t approve of. He validated her, even when a little voice inside said that he didn’t agree. He said yes, even when he wanted to say no. He made himself into a male version mini-me, despite considerable pain to himself. But as a result, unlike his brother who failed to find a way to please her and who committed suicide, some of his needs were met by her. It was his only chance at emotional survival.
Subconsciously, Brody has learned that he has to choose conformity to have a relationship. And he does this so naturally, it is terrifying to watch. But to Brody, the belief that conformity is what is necessary to have a relationship is so painful, he lies to himself. Each time he ends up in a relationship with a woman and he changes like a chameleon, he tells himself and everyone else that the new version is who he really is. That he is getting more authentic to who he really is with this new woman and that anyone who can’t accept that, can’t accept the real him. But his friends have been through this with him so many times, they know it is BS.
Brody was in a relationship with Tori. Tori was a very driven girl. She was obsessed with self-help and had big goals for herself. She was a super social go-getter with leadership qualities who loved skiing and cooking. When Brody was with Tori, he was business oriented. He wore his hair short with no facial hair and dressed in business attire. He spent time self-reflecting and figuring out his own patterns. He was a very positive and easy-going man. He was very social and spent lots of time in the kitchen and reveled in living in the snow.
When Tori ended the relationship with Brody, he ended up in a relationship with Jocelyn. Jocelyn loved travel, leisure time and horses. She had a strong sense of right and wrong, should and shouldn’t. She believed that people should be approved of exactly as they are, not changed. She had a small group of friends, but preferred to spend most of her time one on one with him. When Brody got into a relationship with Jocelyn, he grew out his beard, gave up his business attire for outdoor clothing, cut off all his friendships to focus solely on her and her friends, started looking after her horse, despite having a severe allergy to horses, quit his business-oriented job to start his own business in the travel industry where he could take weeks off at a time to do leisure activities with Jocelyn. He started suddenly expressing strong ideas of what is right and wrong, despite having been such an easy-going person before. And he suddenly got into intense conflicts with the people he knew from his time with Tori over their belief that life is about growth and change. Suddenly, his new belief was that he should be loved and approved of exactly as he is and that personal development was both abusive and a waste of precious time on earth. He told himself that because they kept trying to tell him that this new version of him was not ok, they never really loved him and he never really belonged with them. In fact, his time with them was abusive to himself. Seeing them as the bad guys with Jocelyn and himself united against them only served to further enhance the feeling of confluence he so desired to have with her.
Brody has paid a heavy price for that confluence. And of course Jocelyn has no idea that he is so lost in a detrimental and inauthentic relationship pattern that one day, she herself will fall victim to. Instead, she thinks she has finally found a compatible man. Brody becomes some version of whomever he is in a primary relationship with. So no one, including himself, really knows what the actual truth of Brody is.
Cindy grew up in a very large family. A family with so many siblings and with such busy parents that life was chaos. And there was no way to feel like she mattered and no way to gain a sense of intimacy with anyone. She had no reflection and so, she did not develop a strong sense of self. As a result of all of this, she was emotionally deprived. When she was seven years old, she finally met a friend and for the first time, she had someone who cared about her. This friend wanted to be close to Cindy and wanted to make Cindy just like her. This friend encouraged Cindy to get the same hair cut as her, to get into girl scouts just like her and to become obsessed with cats just like her. Cindy did so and felt a kind of heaven in being just like someone. She modeled her movements and mannerisms and speech patterns and interests and everything after her friend. She finally had someone to do this life with. She had figured out how to be able to get someone to be intimate with her and be together with her and pay attention to her. She had figured out how to matter to someone… Be just like them.
Cindy now exhibits this pattern in her relationships with men in her adult life. Derek was a red neck from Nevada. When she was with Derek, she was a proper red neck woman who got into spin fishing, wore camo pants, a trucker hat and bleached the tips of her hair. She picked up smoking. She listened to country music and she temporarily gave her daughter over to her mother’s care.
Then, Cindy got into a relationship with Camden. Camden was a good Mormon boy from southern Utah. When she was with Camden, suddenly she was dressing in conservative blouses and skirts. She died her hair a tasteful blonde and curled it to make herself look classier. She moved into a family-oriented neighborhood with him and didn’t just start going to church. She decided that her life revolved around relief society meetings. She no longer listened to music. She brought her daughter to live with her again and modeled her behavior after the perfect stay at home mom. Baking cookies and doing crafts and making sure to teach her daughter about morally appropriate behavior.
Then, Cindy got into a relationship with Seth. Seth was a Harley rider from Colorado. When she was with Seth, suddenly she had died her hair black. She wore tight jeans and midriff shirts. She went from adhering to Mormon values and judging everyone who didn’t, to being a self-proclaimed beer connoisseur. She quit her job and started working for Seth at his garage brewery. She used to be a volleyball player. But her volleyball team learned they could no longer depend on her showing up because she was busy riding motorcycles most nights and, on the weekends, instead. And her daughter found herself alone in the house with her new step sister (Seth’s daughter) while their parents were out of the road.
Cindy’s family has distanced themselves from Cindy. She doesn’t have any long-term friends. Her entire social group gets replaced every time she is in a new relationship. And her family has learned that there is nothing you can count on with Cindy. It is better to just watch the charade from a distance. Cindy loves to tell herself that every man she gets into a relationship with is a Narcissist because she always ends up feeling like she can’t “be herself” with them. But the reality is that they aren’t actually Narcissistic. And all a man has to do to be considered a Narcissist by Cindy, is to have a solid identity. Because Cindy immediately conforms to any man she is with so as to feel a sense of confluence. But then later blames them for having lost herself, when they never pressured her into changing in the first place. They simply reveled in how compatible to them she initially appeared to be.
The reason that the Human Hyphen Pattern is so difficult to break free from is because of this: When you develop a codependent relational style, which the Human Hyphen Pattern is part of, you genuinely want that sense of closeness and harmony and confluence with someone. That is authentic. You want it so badly that you are willing to be inauthentic to get it. Therefore, when you are inauthentic, but get what you authentically want as a result of being inauthentic, your internal guidance system will tell you that you are in alignment with your authenticity, even if you are lying. To understand more about Codependency, watch my video titled: The Truth about Narcissism and Codependency.
Relational styles are so second nature to us, they are difficult to change. They become a kind of default for us and we slip into them without really realizing it on a conscious level. But realize it we must. Because staying stuck in the Human Hyphen Pattern will prevent us from every truly being authentic and honest with ourselves and others. It will make finding a truly compatible partner impossible. It will make it impossible to create a life that is right for us. And it will make it so that we will leave a trail of tears in our wake.
Consider that if you are giving something up or are suppressing, rejecting, denying or disowning something in order to feel that sensation of confluence with someone, you may very well be slipping into the Human Hyphen Pattern. You may be setting yourself and other people up for pain. The confluence that you feel, is not true confluence. It is illusion. And it is deception. And your relationships will only progress if you learn how to have yourself and have other people too.
When we are children, we are completely relationally dependent. What I mean by this is that we are dependent on other people to get what we need and what we want. We are born into a social system where we learn that our best chance of getting other people to meet our needs and fulfill our wants is to create incentive for them to do so. We learn that we must please them. If the people in our lives are displeased with us, if they don’t like us and don’t love us, they don’t act as allies to our wellbeing. They either ignore us or act as adversaries to our wellbeing. Because of this, we adopt the subconscious belief very early on in our lives that being approved of, liked and loved by others is the pre-requisite for getting what we need and want.
The process of socialization trains us that the most important thing is to be perceived as good. If we are perceived as good, we will be approved of. People will like us and as a result, we will get what we want for it. For example, being a good girl or good boy = getting that cookie you want. I like you = I will invest in your success by giving you the support you need to succeed at that goal you have.
By the time most of us reach adulthood, the concept of being liked and the concept of getting what we want is so linked in our heads that we spend a lot of our energy in our adult life trying to be liked by other people, specifically so that we can get what we want. But a key step we must take in order to succeed, is to separate these concepts from one another.
So that you can understand what I mean, I will give you an example.
Jake is an aerospace engineer. He is so interested in aviation that his entire existence revolves around it. Many years ago, Jake was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. He struggles to understand emotional situations and tends to say the wrong thing whenever someone is upset. People don’t find him empathetic. He is also very hypersensitive and controlling about his environment and this uptight behavior means they can’t relax around him. Jake is not what many people would consider to be a generally likable person.
Since Jake was 12 years old, he has always had his heart set at getting a job as a propulsion engineer at NASA. At his current company, he works as team lead on a large team with other aerospace and mechanical engineers. Recently a team conflict has arisen around a new design concept. Jake acts no different than usual during this conflict. He starts acting robotic and spaces off instead of listens. He becomes argumentative and inflexible and starts throwing facts in people’s faces. In response, his entire team organizes to escalate the conflict and complain about Jake to Jake’s boss. They have a team meeting with his boss behind Jake’s back. When Jake is called in to talk with his boss about the way that the team feels about him, Jake experiences a complete existential doom. He feels like his future is suddenly bleak and he has a meltdown. He storms out of the building and rushes home and ends up curled up under the table in his kitchen wanting to die.
What is happening with Jake is that the conflict made him feel like he will never be liked by people. And if he will never be liked by people, he will not be recommended to NASA and the people at NASA will never see enough value in him to say yes to having him on their team. He has adopted this belief from his life experience. Jake doesn’t realize that likability is not the pre-requisite for him being such a good aerospace engineer that he will be recommended and valued enough to achieve the position he has his sights set on. His desire to be liked must be separated from his desire to be a propulsion engineer at NASA. Separating them will make it so he can see all the ways for him to get what he wants, rather than sinking into the powerlessness of thinking that what he wants is at the mercy of other people linking him; which is something he does not excel at. If Jake realized that he could get what he wanted even if people didn’t like him, he would feel immediate, deep relief.
Think about what you want in your life, especially think about that thing you want desperately. And I want you to ask yourself: Am I making being approved of, liked or loved the pre-requisite for getting that thing? What if being approved of, liked or loved is NOT the prerequisite for getting that thing?
Being approved of, liked or loved and getting what you want are two separate things. There is the potential of course that what you want is to be approved of or to be liked or to be loved. And if this is the case, you can go directly for it, as a separate desire from the other things you want in your life. You can pursue it as if that is the end goal in and of itself. But so often, when you ask the question: Why do I want to be approved of or liked or loved, it is because you think that being approved of, liked or loved will get you something else that you want. You will find that you are making it the pre-requisite for that thing you want. So often, wanting to be approved of, liked and loved is a “so that”. To understand more about the problem with “so that” thinking, watch my video titled: If You Want To Be Happy, Don’t Do This!
You don’t need to worry that dropping the need to be approved of, liked or loved, as your venue for getting what you want, will make you a total asshole that no longer cares about being nice to others. That only happens if don’t care about other people and are only being nice to others so that you can get what you want, which is a totally separate topic. You also don’t need to worry that separating the concept of love from the concept of getting what you want will make you an unloving person. The practice of love is the practice of taking another person as a part of yourself. It has nothing to do with getting what you want. Love is also a whole separate topic.
There is an incredible freedom and empowerment to be found in questioning whether being approved of, liked or loved is the pre-requisite for getting what you want or not. Considering that it isn’t. If you knew that it wasn’t, how might you go about getting what you want instead? As a result of doing this, your options for getting what you want open up and multiply significantly. Trying to make other people approve of, like and love you ceases to be your only venue for the actualization of what you want and at the same time, it ceases to become the barrier preventing you from what you want. It starts looking like simply a bonus.
Let me take a moment to explain my process to you. In other words, my method for helping people to improve their life experience. It is my hope that by understanding my process, you can decide whether or not it is something that you are ready for and whether it is right for you.
Let’s say that someone wants to improve some aspect of themselves or their life experience. The first thing we do is to identify what the problem is. We identify what is not working for them. Usually this will be a thing that is creating pain or suffering in their life. Sometimes, it can be hard for people to identify and admit to what the problem is, even when it is causing them pain. Some people may even be in denial about it and attend my seminars and seek help despite saying things like “My life is fine. I have a great life.” When this is the case, I will help someone to admit to what the problem is and help them to come out of denial about it. And depending on the person, this may involve some confrontation. The first part of the process requires a person getting to the point where they are able to own what their problem is and look at it directly.
Next, we will identify the cause of whatever is not working for them. The cause of the problem. There is always an origin to our problems. There is a “when this started and why it started”. You can’t hope to solve a problem unless you understand when and how and why it started. I approach a person with the attitude of: It isn’t what is wrong with you, it is what happened to you. Usually, this process of identifying the origin of the problem involves a person looking deep into what happened to them over the course of their individual past histories and seeing clearly how these key experiences led to them making specific decisions and adopting specific beliefs and behaviors and taking specific actions. All of which may be contributing to their problem today. During this part of the process, we find the root of the symptoms that are manifesting in a person’s current life.
The root cause of the problems we face in our adult life almost always occur before we exit the time period of our childhood where we are operating from a state of felt perception and enter a phase where we begin thinking about the world. This transition happens for most children around age eight. So, this means that my process involves looking at your childhood experiences, and primary relationships, including the ones that are negative and traumatic. If you are afraid about the danger of false or implanted memory, I want you to be aware that you do not need to worry about false memory and you do not need to worry about implanted memory when you are engaging with my process. Memory can be extremely reliable, a veritable recording of the past. Memory can also be distorted, contaminated, constructed and destructed. Human memory is both more capable and more incapable than we would like to make it out to be. It is incredibly complex. This is why, when it comes to my process, I encourage people to stop thinking in terms of true of false all together and instead, think in terms of VALID. Regardless of whether or not a memory is a perfect replica of what happened, it is valid. It means the mind is trying to communicate to us through actual memory or through symbolic memory about what is unhealed within us and what needs to be resolved either way. Memories don’t come up for no reason. Relative to your memories, it is no one else’s place to decide what is true and what is false. That is for you, yourself to come to terms with. But figuring out what your being feels is unresolved and bringing resolution to it is essential, otherwise, we remain stuck in the past, we operate from determinism rather than from our free will and our past will simply repeat itself in our adult lives until we resolve it.
Your past experiences are formative. They shape the structure of your personality, how you engage in relationships, how you behave in different situations and how you perceive and experience the world. When we are in pain because something is not working for us, we have to be willing to identify it and change it. To resolve the traumas and the thoughts, words and actions that we developed as a result of them that are keeping us stuck. And doing that changes everything.
All this being said, there is something important to understand. We live in a universe that is multidimensional. People are not straightforward. They are multifaceted. The process of identifying the root cause of a problem, so as to figure out how to fix it in a universe that is multi-dimensional and with a person who is multifaceted means that the problem someone is dealing with may be multilayered. It may be something we need to address in a specific dimension. There may be several elements feeding into one problem. And these elements may need to be addressed on many different levels as well.
For this reason, I use an unlimited amount of awarenesses, tools and methods and approaches to identify and gain awareness of the root of a problem. I also use an unlimited amount of awarenesses, tools and methods and approaches to solve that problem. This is because there is no “one size fits all” equation to a problem. What there is, is trends. So that you can understand what I mean, one person may have a problem that is the result of trans-generational trauma. Another person might have a problem that originated when they decided to adopt a specific protector personality in response to a trauma in their childhood. Another person might have a physical ailment that is manifesting because of a specific painful relationship pattern that is currently occurring in their life. Another person might be suffering because they simply lack a certain bit of information that would change the way they experienced life. If I approached each of these issues with the exact same tools and in the exact same way, it would lead to poor results. Some need to be addressed on a mental level. Some need to be addressed on an emotional level. Some need to be addressed on a physical level. Some problems need to be addressed on a spiritual level. The reality is that we are spiritual beings living a temporary, human experience. There may be problems that need to be addressed on a purely mental or physical level… Problems that don’t have anything to do with spirituality at face value. But there is no way to live an integrated life when we deny this entire dimension of our lives. And sometimes, the key to someone’s life improvement and healing can only be found on this level of reality.
To give you a very small taste of some of these tools and methods that I may choose to use to help someone either gain awareness of the problem or solve a problem, I may for example decide that they should use The Completion Process or any number of meditation techniques or shadow work exercises or somatic experiencing or parts work or breathwork or display work or The Connection Process or Trauma Release Exercises or core belief work or channeling or integration processes or work with subconscious patterns or stream of consciousness exercises or presence work or shamanic ceremony or therapeutic art or journeywork or discussion etc. etc. I offer many of these awareness’s, tools and methods to the public totally free through my free YouTube videos and also through my books, e-courses, products and workshops.
Once a person identifies what the problem is as well as the root cause, we identify what they want instead. This is like identifying point A and point B. It may sound hard to believe, but a lot of people struggle because they know what they don’t want. But they don’t know what it is that they do want. That is like having a map, but with no destination point, only a starting point. When people decide what it is that they want, there is a kind of gap between where they are now and where they want to be. I help people close that gap. And closing this gap implies identifying what it is that is preventing them from doing so. In my line of work, we call this ‘resistance’. I work with a person to help them to resolve their resistance to any part of this process of closing that gap between the current unwanted condition and their wanted state. At first, this may strike you as odd. When would anyone have resistance to what they want? The answer is: Any time you have not already achieved it. If a person has not already achieved something they want, there are oppositional forces at play. To give you just one tiny example, a person may say that they want a romantic relationship more than anything. But they may have a belief that they will lose themselves in a relationship and they may never really leave their house to socialize. In this case, the person’s belief and actions are in resistance to what they want. That resistance must be resolved and released for this person to actually be in a romantic relationship. During this part of the process, we look at the resistance to the change and resolve it, which is necessary to get from where they are to what they want. Doing this closes the gap between where they are and where they prefer to be via thoughts, words, and actions.
My process puts people in a point of conscious choice. They can choose to not change and to instead continue on as is, keeping their point of view, patterns, past dynamics, and the way they do things. Or they can choose to make a change and actually make those changes. Sometimes these changes simply happen spontaneously as a result of any step in this process. Sometimes, these changes require more conscious discipline.
We can use our awareness to make different decisions, change our beliefs, see the world in a different way, alter our behavior, and do different things. I don’t want people to engage in this process with the attitude that they must change themselves because something is bad or wrong about them. I want them to engage in this process of changing themselves and making changes to their life because doing so is self-loving. If something is causing you pain, it can be profoundly self-loving to change it. When done from this intention, changing things within yourself and in your life is something you do FOR yourself rather than against yourself. What all this means is that signing up to my process implies that you want to make a change to yourself and to your life and that you are willing to do so. If a person does not want to become aware of what their problem is and does not want to change themselves or make changes to their life, this work that I do is not the right choice for them to make. This process is only right for people who are willing to change themselves and who will own their choice to change themselves as being their choice. It requires you to take responsibility for what you want to change and what you are willing to change.
By making these changes, a person will then be standing in the improved state, having made different choices, seen a new perspective and taken different actions, thus changing themselves and their life for the better.
I want to mention that if at any point in this process, emotions come up, they are treated as valid, important and as messengers of personal truth.
Now that you have a better idea of my process, let me add a few things.
My process is a very deep healing process. It is not a process to simply make you feel good. Ultimately, we all want to feel good. But if you value feeling good above everything else, you will struggle with my process. The reason is, sometimes to get to a place of improvement, you have to face and do some pretty hard things. For example, imagine that a two people married each other out of obligation and their current life is miserable because of their relationship. A person may be able to come in and teach them a tapping technique to sedate their reactivity to one another or a therapist may be able to make them feel a little better by having them practice four positives for every negative. These are pain relieving techniques, a bit like Novocain. But there is a difference between pain relief and actual healing. For actual healing to occur, they would have to first look at the truth that they married each other out of obligation and that the marriage is what is making them unhappy. That is both scary and painful. Then, they would have to go through the process of deciding what to do about their relationship. Assuming that during this process they decided to evolve their relationship to something else rather than a marriage, there are several elements of their life that would have to change and that they would have to face. Things like dividing up assets, dealing with other people’s opinions and projections, stepping out into a different life etc. so that one day, they can officially say that they love their life so much more than they did before. Sometimes my process feels really good to do. But sometimes it is a hard and really uncomfortable journey to genuine improvement.
Another thing is, most people are smart enough to be able to change the things they see are not working for them. When people can’t seem to get improvement, it is because there is something that they don’t see and don’t know. There is something that is subconscious. My process requires you to venture into the realm of the subconscious. Deep into what you don’t know that you don’t know. Because of this, you will be challenged to consider things that you do not resonate with. For something to ‘resonate’ with you, it must be something that you are already somewhat conscious of. For example, imagine that a woman has deeply suppressed anger. Everyone else may be able to see that anger. But if I tell her that she is angry. She is likely to look at me and say “that just doesn’t resonate with me. I’m not an angry person.” She will feel like she is holding on to her sense of autonomy and personal truth by asserting that she is not angry. But by doing so, she doesn’t realize that she is forfeiting the opportunity to heal and get what she wants. It will feel scary, but to begin to explore anger when she gets this reflection from me, is to gain self-awareness and to come more into a place of consciousness and therefore free will and choice. It is for her to have the chance to actually heal.
My process is hard because it can challenge and change the narrative of yourself and your life. It can cause your worldview to change. It requires facing reality. It requires you to see things about yourself and your relationships and your life that may cause you to feel shame. The truth is not often easy to swallow or face. It causes you to see all the ways your current life has been built on inauthenticity. It implies changing yourself and your life, which is something that people naturally have a resistance to.
The reality is that everyone would benefit by this work. But that does not mean that everyone wants it. In fact, if you are not really wanting this kind of process I have described, engaging in it can feel traumatizing to you. If you are one of these people, who does not really want this kind of process, you can keep it on your list of options and try out other options instead.
All that being said, given that the process of genuine healing is different than pain relief, and is therefore sometimes painful before it is good, you may be asking why it is worth it. It is worth it because it will free you. It will make it so you are not stuck anymore. It will give you tons of awareness and knowledge, which will put you back on track and you can carry that awareness with you for the rest of your life. It will restore you to a state of congruence and wholeness. It will relieve you of the heavy weight of your past traumas. It will cause you to make changes so that your life is actually one you want to live, rather than one you need to develop coping skills to deal with. It will fill your life with meaning and cause you to live a life that is both real and in alignment with your values. It will line you up with the kinds of relationships you have always wanted to have in your life. It will cause you to create a life that is authentic to you. It will get you what you truly want in life and so much more.
As soon as people learn about the Law of Mirroring (what many call the Law of Attraction) they begin asking the question: How am I a match to this? They begin to recognize that their own personal vibratory energy field and consciousness brings in certain people, places, things and experiences that vibrate at the same frequency. Essentially, your external life experience is a reflection of something within you. For example, imagine that as a child, you were abandoned and that abandonment is not healed within your consciousness. That means you are still a vibrational match to abandonment later in your life. Or for example, imagine that you are someone who does not consider other people’s best interests, only your own. You will be a vibrational match to other living beings that do not consider your best interests, only their own.
You will also see it happen that when someone experiences something unfavorable, a person who knows about the Law of Mirroring will automatically ask them “how were you a match to this?” Of course, when you do this to someone else, it is unattuned and also has a connotation that as if the pain of the experience isn’t bad enough, on top of it, they somehow brought it on themselves and is therefore their fault. But, the tendency for people to ask this question has revealed that many people have a huge misunderstanding about the Law of Mirroring (also called the Law of Attraction).
With this idea that you must be a match to something in order to experience it, comes the idea that the more conscious you become, the more control you have over your reflection and therefore, the less unwanted things you experience. Essentially, people seem to think that the day will come when a person doesn’t have any negative experiences and if they do, it suggests that there is something un-healed in them or wrong with them or that they did something to bring it on. There is also an idea that if you are conscious enough and control and heal and purify your vibration enough, you will no longer be a match to negative experiences, only positive ones. As if the contrast of life somehow no longer applies to you. And this is not true.
Contrast is the breeding ground for expansion. With no contrast there is no expansion. And everything in life has contrast. What this means is, everything has an upside and a downside. Everything comes with wanted and unwanted elements. This does not change no matter how conscious you become.
At face value, the Law of Mirroring is simple. It’s just the principle of reflection at work. It is an exemplary construct for self-awareness and therefore awareness in general. However, people over simplify the Law of Mirroring by thinking that it is only one thing that is reflecting. For example, they think the only thing that is reflecting is what they, themselves are or do. When this is the case, when they say “how are you a match to this” they are implying that you are or you do the exact same thing as the other person does in whatever scenario you are in and are therefore ‘getting a taste of your own medicine’. Or for example, they think that the only thing that is reflecting is childhood trauma that is still active vibrationally speaking. When this is the case, when they say “how are you a match to this” they are implying that you have an unhealed childhood trauma that is un-healed and that is reflecting yet again in your adult life. Or for example, they think that the only thing that is reflecting is what they think and believe. When this is the case, when they say “how are you a match to this” they are implying that you have some core belief or way of thinking that is reflecting as an experience.
Any of these things could be the case. In fact, all of them could be the case. So many other things could be reflecting or said another way, could make you a match to what you are experiencing. To give you a short list, some of the things that could be reflecting both positive and negative as a specific experience are: Your beliefs, what you are currently thinking, your resistance, your desires, your feelings, the reality of the choices you made, unresolved traumas, positive memories, ancestral patterns, personal truths, lies you tell yourself and others, things you are avoiding, pre-birth intentions etc. It may be of interest to know that universal orchestration and assistance is a match to you by virtue of your desires being reflected. But the reason that your life experience is so complex and varied is because so many things are being reflected at once.
The intention for those who have projected into a time space reality based on the Law of Mirroring is that they use it to do a 1-2 step. The idea is that you look at and fully perceive these reflections and become more and more aware by doing so. And then with that awareness, decide what is consciously wanted and consciously create that. When this happens, the reflection changes. The problem is that you have a camp now of people who only use the Law of Mirroring construct to become more and more aware, but never use it to consciously create what they want and deprive themselves of happiness by doing so. And on the other side, a camp of people who ignore the reflection, depriving themselves of awareness and instead, only using it to create what they want to see.
And all that being said, you need to understand that having accepted that there will always be contrast that comes with anything, choices will make you a match to certain contrast whether those choices are conscious choices or not. And sometimes, the only way to ensure that you will not experience a certain contrast is to make a different choice all together. For example, making the decision to participate in life on planet earth, you are going to experience gravity. Or for example, making the choice to be a surfer means you are going to get cold and wet. Or for example, making the choice to be in the public eye means that you will experience projection, be critiqued and be judged. Or for example, making the choice to be a parent means you are going to experience the pressure of the wellbeing of another life depending on you.
I’m not saying that if you choose to be a surfer that you just need to accept that you will be cold and wet and leave it at that. In fact, expansion is so often about experiencing the specific unwanted thing that comes with a specific choice and working to alleviate that unwanted element. Meeting with the contrast that comes with a specific choice in this way creates improvement.
For example, this is why surfers have wet suits now. But a surfer should not get wet and cold and ask “why am I a match to this” as if it is expected that they could, if their vibration was high enough, still surf, but not get wet and cold. If this person decides they do not want to be wet or cold at all, it isn’t going to work to try to work on thoughts or beliefs or feelings or traumas or whatever so as to be able to surf and not get wet or cold. They must make the choice to no longer be a surfer. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Why You Should Consciously Choose Consequences.
It is important to understand what so many people do not understand about the Law of Mirroring (also called the Law of Attraction) … Choices make you a match to certain things. And so, even though it would benefit you to consider any and all things that may make you a match to a specific person, place, thing or experience, recognize what contrast you are experiencing simply because you made a choice that lined you up with it. When this is the case, often the only way to not have that experience is to make a different choice entirely.
I want to tell you about a man. This man was the son of an unwed mother. He was left at a home for unwed mothers until he was two months old, that is until his young mother’s father decided to bring him and his daughter to live with him. He was then raised to believe that his mother was his sister and subjected to physical and psychological abuse. He became a very shy child and he had a speech impediment. As a result, he was the target of bullying. Despite all this, he became the Methodist youth fellowship vice president at his church. He took jobs cutting lawns and delivering newspapers. As an adult, he aimed his sights at success. He made sure to dress professionally and develop a sense for high quality. He became friendly. He developed amazing social skills. He was incredibly intelligent. He had a swift sense of humor. He studied the law. He got a degree in psychology. He got heavily involved in politics. He saved the life of a friend’s nice when she nearly drowned. He also saved lives when he worked on a crisis hotline. He also became a good skier. This man is Ted Bundy. An American serial killer and rapist. One of the most notorious criminals of the late 20th century.
I want to tell you another story. This time about a woman who was dangerously devout. She would go on to demanded that a divorce and remarriage ban should be part of the constitution. And yet hypocritically, showed public support for the divorce of one of her powerful, influential supporters the same year. She was vehemently against contraception. As well as women’s rights to body sovereignty. She called abortion “The greatest destroyer of peace today”. She opened care homes where hygiene was terrible. Needles were re-used. And disabled children were often tied to their beds. She forced baptisms there regardless of the individual’s wishes. Her main goal was not to be a social worker, but to promote Christianity. In fact, she said “There is always the danger that we may become only social workers… Our works are only an expression of our love for Christ. Her charity, which got millions donated annually went to the catholic church rather than to her care homes, which stayed in extremely poor conditions. She was often criticized because despite not having money for supplies, the walls of the care homes were covered with her pictures, like a shrine to herself. She believed that suffering brought you closer to God. This is Mother Theresa, the prominent and revered humanitarian considered to be a female saint.
I want you to notice how in both cases, you were thrown into a state of cognitive dissonance. Notice how the minute that you learned it was Ted Bundy we were talking about, all of his compassion inducing and positive traits seemed to suddenly be negated and not count. Notice how the minute you learned it was Mother Theresa we were talking about; you became uncomfortable and suddenly the positive feelings you felt about her seemed to be poisoned?
The reason this happened is because all of us struggle with dichotomy. We have an inability to hold dichotomy. As people, we struggle with grey. We want things to be black and white so we know what to do with them. It is a coping mechanism. We can’t seem to wrap our minds around the idea that nothing and no one is all good or all bad. And one does not negate the other…
That there is contrast in everything.
Part of awakening and expanding one’s consciousness is developing “And Consciousness”. To acknowledge nuances. To be able to perceive and integrate dichotomies. Doing so, evokes the feeling of being torn between two extremes or seemingly opposing truths. It feels a lot like being stretched. This stretching is a feeling that often implies that personal expansion is occurring. In the moment that we acknowledge a contradictory truth or state of being and expand wide enough to be able to hold both, as if holding both is ok, we have dis-identified with both extremes. We have ceased to become either or and instead have become the thing that is holding both. By holding both, instead of aspects of our self being separated by them, we have created a state of integration or wholeness within our being. To learn more about this, I encourage you to watch my video titled: And Consciousness (The Modern Day Replacement For The Middle Way).
Until people have made a practice and mastery of this, and are able to hold dichotomy, you will see this all good or all bad thinking. You will see it in every biased and slanted media story. You will hear it in the way people describe other people in their life. You will notice it in your own perception. People will continue to demonize and glorify, condemn and praise. And twist any information they come across to suit a black or white narrative.
This tendency can even go so far as “splitting”. Splitting is simply a magnification of this protection mechanism that people have, where they view things as all bad or all good. Splitting is the result of the perceived inability to manage all of the positive and negative qualities of others, yourself, situations, life and the world. When we can’t manage the mixed feelings, confusion and anxiety inducing chaos of positives and negatives (especially dichotomies) we ‘split’ things into ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ camps in our own consciousness. It is a form of fragmentation relative to our own perception. In a moment that we do this, we see a thing, ourselves, another person, a situation, the world, or life as all good or all bad. We slip into all or nothing thinking. Either we are amazing or garbage. Someone else is either a monster or a saint. Things are either always or never happening. We love something or hate it. We start to see things as absolutes, with no middle ground. And what makes splitting so incredibly obnoxious as a coping mechanism is that it is so inconsistent. It tends to swing from one extreme to the other. We may be perceiving that a person is wonderful and good and then one thing happens and it is as if that perception is entirely washed away and suddenly, all of that positive experience is gone. We have no access to it anymore. And instead, we perceive them as entirely destructive and bad. To the opposite, we may be perceiving that life is always a completely negative nightmare. And then something happens and it is as if the sunlight enters our perception and suddenly, we feel good about life. And life is going great.
Splitting often involves our memory. This means when we are in “all good mode” relative to something, we only have access to positive memories about it. And when we are in “all bad mode” relative to something, we only have access to negative memories about it. A variation of this is that we may twist our positive memories into negative ones or twist our negative ones into positive ones in order to fit our ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ narrative.
If you find yourself struggling with dichotomies or contradictory information or mixed feelings, ask yourself and answer honestly: What would be so bad if both were true? What would it mean? And why would that be so scary? For example, if a person was faced with negative information about someone that they consider a really good friend, they might ask themselves this question and the answer might be: I won’t know what I can and can’t trust them with. I can’t keep myself safe if I can’t predict them. Then ask yourself, How might you accommodate for or alleviate that fear?
If a person chooses one extreme or the other, it is because something is keeping them safe in being in that extreme. Looking at the other perspective invites the perception of unsafety. For example, seeing a person as a monster and not looking at the positive aspects of them, may keep a person feeling safe because it means that by contrast, they are good. If they are good, it means they are lovable and will line up with positive things instead of meaning that they are defective and will line up with painful things. Or for example, seeing your mother as all good, makes you feel safe because it means you can trust her and you don’t have to be on guard or feel the pain of separation from her that often occurs when you notice negative things about someone. So, figuring out how being stuck in a specific extreme keeps you feeling good/safe is an important part of developing AND Consciousness.
If you catch yourself slipping into black or white thinking, for example if you notice that you feel that someone is all bad or all good. Or if you start to perceive your world as going totally black. Or if you hear yourself say “always” or “never”, consciously look for whatever information brings you to a more objective, complete and whole view. For example, if you have been sucked into a negative view of yourself, deliberately look for positive things about yourself. If you hear yourself say always, deliberately remember times that were an exception to the rule. Not to negate your current perception, but to add to it.
You may need to do something to bring yourself out of fight or flight mode first. When we are in fight or flight mode, the part of our brains and bodies that can execute objective thinking is disabled. We need to notice how we really feel and from there, regulate our nervous system in order to not let our distress trap us in an all-negative thinking state. Or alternatively, we need to notice the reality of the unsafety we feel and regulate it, so as to not let ourselves be trapped in an all-positive denial state because we are trying to cope with our distress.
Black or white thinking is a form of cognitive distortion. It is to miss the whole, objective view of something. So, challenge yourself to hold dichotomy.
Knowing your truth and being and living in alignment with your truth is a critical part of creating a happy life. If you don’t know your truth and live according to it, you will never create a life that is right for you. You won’t make the right choices for yourself, you won’t find people who are actually compatible to you, you won’t speak the truth, you won’t do what is right for you to do. And you will unintentionally gaslight everyone.
The downside of the process of socialization, which all of us go through when we are young, is that it teaches us that some things are acceptable and some things are unacceptable. This includes truths. When there is something that is true for us or true about us that falls into that unacceptable category for the specific social system that we are born into, we feel shame about it. We are trained to suppress, ignore, disown, reject, hide and deny that truth. We do this so effectively for the sake of our own survival, that we don’t just hide our truth from other people, we hide it from ourselves. And by doing so, we lose touch with our own truth.
The thing is, just because we do this with a truth doesn’t mean that truth goes away for us. In fact, it still shows through in different ways, causing us to send conflicting messages to others. Throwing them into a state of cognitive dissonance and even causing them to feel gaslit by us.
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 learn more about gaslighting, you can watch my video titled: Gaslighting (What is Gaslighting and How to Heal From It).
If we are ashamed of a truth we have, we will go to great lengths to suppress, ignore, disown, reject, hide and deny it. We will fail to do so completely. And so that truth will still shine through. As a result, we will be a walking contradiction. We will gaslight people with what we say vs. what we do and how they see and experience us.
To help you understand this dynamic, I will give you a couple of examples. Joel was the son of a single mother who was very young when she had him. She had a pattern of getting into a new relationship and getting pregnant each time, only to be abandoned by the new man. As a result, Joel ended up with 5 siblings, each with a different father. Joel’s mother lived off of the government. As a result of all of this, Joel spent his childhood taking on responsibilities that were not age appropriate. His childhood experience gave rise to an extreme desire to not have any responsibility, most especially for anyone else. The truth is, as an adult, he wants to be guided, provided for, protected, taken care of and for someone to take responsibility for him. But Joel lives in a society that says this desire is wrong. That the only way to be a real man and to be respected, is to be responsible and to guide, protect, provide for and take care of others. So, Joel is ashamed of his truth to the degree that he tries to deny this truth.
In the beginning of his relationships, he does this quite well. But he can’t keep it up for long. Eventually, the façade of the responsible man can’t be maintained because it isn’t the truth. And he starts acting passive, manipulatively setting up situations where he has to be taken care of, refusing to step up and take responsibility for things and making other people provide for him. People soon experience the truth about Joel. But because he continues to say that responsibility is everything and that he wants to take care of others and protect them and provide for them, everyone around him starts to feel gaslit.
Cala is a woman who was raised and lives in a Muslim community. Cala has never fit in very well. The truth is that she is opinionated, driven, competitive, strategic and achievement oriented. She loves the feeling of personal success and she loves wealth and money. But, her society frowns upon these character traits in a woman. Cala feels ashamed of who she really is. So, she does her best to become the model woman according to her society. She does her best to practice charity, be obedient, devote her time to helping other people succeed and tell herself and her children that money must not be a distraction from what truly matters. Because this isn’t the truth of her, Cala is a very confusing person to be around.
One minute, Cala will show up to someone else’s house with food when they are going through a tough time. The next, she will erupt in exasperation about having done it. She chose a life with a husband and had two little girls. But she resents parenting them and once she gets them off to school, she spends most of her time trying to be the best at her own personal hobby, singing. Cala professes to not care about money or status. But she swoons over designer hand bags and gets into conflicts with her husband often over her tendency to buy only the highest status products, regardless of their unjustified cost. She is constantly competing with the other women in her community regarding how she looks and what she has that they don’t and what she knows that they don’t who she knows that they don’t. Cala’s husband is constantly confused and frustrated by her. She acts like she hates their life together, but leads him to believe the opposite. The other women in her community often talk behind Cala’s back about how “snake-like” she is. Mostly because it feels to them like she simply feigns friendship, when really, she is treacherous.
The reality is that Cala would be much happier and a much better person if she simply owned the truth of who she really is and found an environment and social setting that welcomed that truth. The truth is that Cala would make a kick ass business woman and would excel in a setting that celebrated her strategic, achievement-oriented character. In fact, people would find her much less frightening if she were unapologetically the way she really is, as opposed to her trying to cover up who she really is and coming across deceptive. Because Cala is ashamed of the truth of herself, she unintentionally gaslights other people. People can tell she is one way, but she goes to great lengths to have you believe she is another way.
All this being said, there is such a thing as intentional, conscious gaslighting, which is a form of psychological abuse. But there is also such a thing as unintentional gaslighting. When two people are stuck in a parallel perceptual reality, this unintentional gaslighting can happen. To understand more about that, you can watch my video titled: The Most Dangerous Parallel Reality. But unintentional gaslighting can also occur when someone is so ashamed of a truth that even though you may be able to see it, they are still in the process of trying to deny it. Therefore, if you find yourself in a situation where you start to feel like someone else is gaslighting you about themselves, consider that this might be what is happening. And that you won’t get the actual truth unless 1. You make the truth they are trying to deny ok for them to have. Or 2. They get brave enough to own that truth, regardless of potential consequences.
In modern society, anger is the emotion that is disapproved of the very most. In fact, it is so disapproved of that if someone gets angry, people do not see it as an emotion that the person is experiencing and expressing. People see it as a character or personality defect. The reason that people disapprove of anger is because anger implies conflict. And so many people see conflict as bad and wrong.
The thing is, people are wrong about anger. Anger is a reaction to perceived powerlessness. It occurs when someone opposes a boundary you have (a boundary being a personal truth of yours, a feeling of yours, a desire of yours, a need of yours or one of your best interests). This opposition induces pain. And for those of you who have recognized fear as being related to anger, fear is one form of pain. The anger will escalate to rage when the person who has opposed the boundary shows unworkability and therefore increases the person’s powerlessness regarding being able to get out of pain.
For example, imagine that one of your personal boundaries is that you need a partner who is available. But your partner withdraws. This will cause you to feel pain. If you feel powerless to getting your partner to be available, you will then get angry. And if your anger does nothing to discourage their behavior and encourage a positive change in their behavior, and they continue to be unavailable, they are demonstrating unworkability. It is then likely that the anger will escalate to rage. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Anger Hack (What To Do When You’re Upset).
When a child is little, the child needs to know that mom or dad is an ally, not an adversary. If the child’s desires, needs or best interests are opposed by something the parent does or doesn’t do, the child gets very scared and feels especially powerless to their life experience. The child does what he or she can to make sure that his or her parent is allied with him or her. The child gets angry to discourage future opposition, disconnection, unavailability or whatever other behavior the parent is exhibiting, which is threatening to the child. Knowing this, what is interesting is that if you look closely at the genuine purpose behind anger, you will see that it acts to promote a social bond, not to disrupt it.
If a parent loves the child and does a good job parenting, he or she will feel a deep motivation to make the child feel good and secure. Therefore, the parent will respond to a child’s anger by re-establishing alignment with the child, and by being an ally regarding restoring the child’s sense of security and wellbeing. This child grows up with a healthy relationship to their own anger and sense of self. This child will grow up to have healthy boundaries. However, if a parent does not love the child or does a bad job parenting, he or she will turn against or withdraw from the child’s anger. A hostile parent will use the child’s anger against them. This parent will become defensive, belittle or punish the child for being angry in the first place and make it clear that the child’s anger has nothing to do with something they are doing to oppose the child’s boundaries. Instead, the child’s anger means something is wrong with the child. An unavailable parent will use the child’s anger as a reason to withdraw further and to become even less available. The message to children in these kinds of households is clear: You can do nothing to get me to behave differently, no matter how much it hurts you or scares you… You just have to put up with whatever I do or don’t do. Or else, YOU are the problem.
The person who grows up in this kind of household will learn that anger itself is the problem, that it destroys relationships and weakens bonds, that anger is bad and wrong, and that whoever is angry is the bad guy. And this opens the door for a very upsetting pattern within human society.
There is a rule of thumb currently that the one that gets angry is seen as the problem. The one that gets angry is seen as the one who started the conflict. The one who gets angry is seen as the one that is bad and wrong. And the one that gets angry is the one that loses in the end. No matter whether this is actually the reality or not. And the sad reality is that other people can use this rule of thumb as a smokescreen for themselves. A person can employ all kinds of dysfunctional, destructive behaviors and be seen as the good guy no matter what, as long as they don’t get angry and the other person does. In today’s society, anger can make a person who is not the actual problem in a situation be seen as the problem. It can make a person who is not in the wrong be seen as the one in the wrong. It can make a person who did not start the conflict be seen as the one who started the conflict. It can make a person who is the true victim in a situation be seen as the villain instead. And I call this ‘The False Villain Dynamic’.
So that you can understand this dynamic better, I’m going to give you a couple of examples.
Jodie runs a salon. She is a driven, assertive, intense personality by nature. This personality is what allowed her to get so much success. Tatiana has just taken a job at the salon. Tatiana isn’t actually content being on the bottom of any totem pole. She wants to run her own salon. But she hasn’t yet done what it takes to strike out on her own. She doesn’t like the idea of Jodie or anyone calling the shots, even in her own salon. Tatiana wants to do things her own way, even if doing so goes against the best interests of Jodie and her salon. The reality is that Tatiana took a job at the salon and immediately started a power struggle with Jodie. She started being two faced. She was friendly to Jodie’s face but behind Jodie’s back, she went to work complaining to all the other employees about Jodie and doing her best to find out whatever small grievances the other employees had about Jodie, so she could fan the flames of those grievances and triangulate them against her. She would also play power games in other ways, like going over Jodie’s head to negotiate taking certain clients for herself that Jodie had given to other stylists. And confronting Jodie in front of every other employee about the idea that Jodie should offer them all better benefits. And generously helping herself to the beverage refrigerator intended for salon guests at the end of the day.
One day, this entire situation came to a head when Jodie and one of the other head stylists confronted Tatiana before the salon opened about her defiant behavior. Tatiana immediately took the opportunity to run out of the office and out into the salon, where the other stylists were prepping their stations. She picked a place where everyone could hear what was going on. She started crying and explaining through her sobs about how much she was going through in her life and about how unfair it is that everyone’s needs and feelings and ideas come second to Jodie’s. Jodie could see the compassion and defense that Tatiana was trying to elicit from the rest of the stylists. The manipulative power tactic behind the move made Jodie furious. So, she blew up. Instead of acting sympathetic to Tatiana’s tears, as the other stylists expected, she started yelling at Tatiana and confronting her further on her damaging behavior. The rest of the stylists fell for it. They saw Jodie as a narcissistic tyrant and Tatiana as the obvious underdog that was getting picked on. A few of them even stepped in to defend Tatiana against Jodie. The tactic had worked. Tatiana was able to use Jodie’s totally justified anger as a smokescreen for her own problem behavior. And the rest of the stylists had fallen prey to the false villain dynamic. As a result of Tatiana’s behavior, three of Jodie’s stylists quit. Her relationship with several others remained tense for years. And when Tatiana quit, she got to walk out the door feeling justified that she was Jodie’s victim and keep telling the story like that to everyone she met. When the truth is in fact the other way around. To understand more about this dynamic, you may want to watch my video titled: The Victim Control Dynamic (Escaping Control Drama in Relationships).
Another example is that Mason is in court in the middle of a custody dispute. Mason’s ex-wife still feels so personally insulted by the fact that Mason wanted a divorce that she wants to get back at him in any way she can. She has decided that the best strategy for doing so is to try to get full custody of their children. So, she starts to create a parental alienation dynamic between Mason and the two children they share. Soon, both of his kids become hostile and spiteful towards him and start criticizing him despite the fact that neither of the children can rationally justify the way they feel towards him. They start using adult language and phrases to describe their issue with their father because those are the things they are being told by their mother. On the other hand, they start to think that their mother can do no wrong and is both the victim and the saint in the scenario. They also reject every extended relative that is related to their dad’s side of the family. Mason’s ex-wife is brilliant at strategically making sure that she comes across in a way that makes her look like a good person. She has already managed to dupe the court appointed family therapist this way. At one point, when Mason is confronted about a new untrue allegation that his wife has made, he can’t take it anymore and he loses his temper. He yells in the courtroom “This is complete bullshit. She’s just making this shit up.” His ex-wife celebrates. In fact, she smiles. But the Judge misses it. He is distracted and upset at the outburst. It takes his ex-wife’s lawyer two seconds to jump on the opportunity to reinforce in the judges’ mind that his client’s desire to take the children away from Mason is justified and also what any good mother would do, given that Mason is prone to endangering the children with his rageful outbursts and uncontrolled behavior. And the courtroom actually falls for it. Their resistance to anger has made them fall for the false victim dynamic. The judge now has doubts about Mason’s emotional and mental stability as a father. And the outburst confirms the false narrative that Mason’s ex-wife has conveyed to the court appointed therapist. The outburst has made both the judge and the court appointed therapist biased, which will affect Mason’s future court appearances as well as the outcome of the case.
In our society today, a person can get away with all kinds of negative things by capitalizing on society’s collective resistance to anger. Our dysfunctional relationship with anger can make us blind to the actual problem and to seeing who is creating the actual problem. And this will continue as long as people continue to have such a dysfunctional relationship with anger. It will continue as long as people allow themselves to be duped by the False Villain Dynamic.
I’m going to start out this teaching with a story. Logan is a man in his 30s. He was born to parents whose marriage was not a good one. Neither of his parents wanted to look at their own dysfunction or unsavory personal truths. As a result, they focused on what was wrong with Logan. For example, when his father didn’t feel inclined to dedicate any quality time to Logan and spent time in his garage working on cars, instead of seeing that the issue was his lack of desire to show up as a father, he made Logan the problem for being needy of his time and attention. And when Logan’s dad would get explosively angry at him, his mother would make excuses for it and tell Logan he had to change so as to not make his father upset. Instead of seeing that the issue was her own relationship insecurities and how they led to chronic conflict aversion and enabling of really destructive behavior in her husband, she made Logan the problem for not tiptoeing around his father and not preventing family conflict. Logan became the family problem. As a result, his self-concept went into the trash can. He saw himself as inherently bad and because he couldn’t seem to change that about himself, he spent his life torn between really wanting to be light and good but at the same time, embracing his darkness and badness as if that were the truth of who he was. He fell into the only crowd he related to. He covered his body in dark and aggressive tattoos. He spent his time listening to heavy metal music. He hung out every day at a grungy motorcycle repair shop. He got into fights regularly. And he got addicted to meth.
Logan made an appearance one day in his twenties to a family camping holiday. He was dreading it. Sure enough, about one hour after arriving, Logan’s dad started criticizing his life choices and they got into a verbal yelling match. The argument got so heated that Logan’s father got into his caravan to drive off. Everyone was so focused on the intensity of the conflict that they had not noticed that Logan’s two-year-old niece, Josie was playing in puddles in back of the caravan. When Logan’s father angrily put the car in reverse, he backed over his own granddaughter. They tried to give her CPR and mouth to mouth. But she was declared dead on the scene.
Needless to say, this tragedy ripped the family even farther apart. Logan blamed himself for what happened. He could never get over what happened. He spent the next ten plus years of his life pushing against the past. I mean all of it. He obsessed over what he should have done differently as a child and in his teens and on that day that his niece died. He obsessed over how his family should have been different and what every person should have done differently. The sense that something needed to have been different about the past filled him with a desperate need to change the past. He fantasized about a different life he could have had. Any time he would communicate with his family he would get furious at them for things they had done. He could not accept that what happened in his life had actually happened and that it could not be un-done. As a result, he grew more and more unwell on a physical, mental and emotional level. And all he experienced was utter powerlessness. Logan increased his use of drugs to try to mitigate that pain.
When something unwanted happens, especially if what happens is life altering in what a person perceives to be a bad way, he or she will usually immediately enter into resistance with what is and what was. The refusal to accept what has happened and that what was done cannot be undone, leads us to a mental, emotional and even physical obsession with trying to change what has happened. It leads to denial. It leads to fury. It leads to slipping into protector personalities. It leads to depression. It leads to confusion. It leads to bargaining. Acceptance does not mean that you are ok with something. It does not mean that you approve of it. It means that instead of pushing against something, you let it in (own it) and recognize it as real, valid or true.
The problem with pushing against anything that has already happened, is that it is wasted energy. It is futile. No amount of effort you put towards it will ever lead to any results. It will not cause any wanted change. And it will keep you fixated on what was, where you are powerless, preventing you from making any positive change to the here and now. And seeing as how no one else can change what already happened either, you trap them in a desperate powerlessness to being able to make anything better when you expect them to change something about what they did or didn’t do. Doing this is one of the hardest things to do in life. But doing this is also one of the most freeing and empowering things you can do.
To stop pushing against the past, accept it instead and re-orient yourself towards what to do from here going forward is one of the hardest things to do because it means you have to admit to truths you don’t want to have be true. Look at realities that are so hard to look at that you don’t trust yourself to be able to deal with them. Swallow the fact that you have lost something and that it is gone. That something specific that you wanted for your future will never be. And recognize that some things will never be the same going forward, and in ways that you would never have wanted. Doing so seems to run up against the truth that you are a creator of your life experience and that you can prevent what you don’t want and bring about what you want.
But there is empowerment to be found in accepting that what has happened has in fact happened and that you can do nothing to change what has already occurred. In that place of incredible simplicity, all you are left with is what can be done now and what can be done going forward to make things different than they were. All you are left with is: What now?
The value of becoming aware of what could have been different and what you or someone else should have said or done differently is that it gives you an answer about what to say and do differently from this point on. And it gives you a picture of what you need to change or need other people to change from this point forward. What now? Reality is really your only axis of power. It is the place where your focus and energy will actually lead to results and cause positive change.
To use our previous example, Logan would have to accept a great many things. Such as the fact that his father didn’t want to be a father. And that his father was violent and not there for him. And that they had a terrible relationship and still have a terrible relationship. That his mother is a codependent, who was more concerned with her own security than his wellbeing. That he had no one to protect him. That he was the family scapegoat. That he formed his identity around that role he played in his family. That his family is dysfunctional and as a result, he coped with that in ways that only enhanced that pain. He would have to accept that his niece is dead. That his terrible relationship with his father and the family dysfunction was a huge contributing factor in the fact that she died. That she is never coming back no matter what anyone does. His childhood, which is gone, was a suffering one.
Logan would then have to accept that what has happened thus far in his life has in fact happened and that he can do nothing to change what has already occurred. He cannot go back and un-do or change anything. He has to let go.
Logan would then re-orient himself towards: What now? He would pour his thoughts, words, time, energy and action into how to change things for the better going forward. For example, he might become aware of what he needs from his father going forward and clearly communicate that to him. He may ask his father the same thing. He might devote his focus to changing the way he sees himself and challenging the bad guy/problem person narrative he adopted and has been maintaining so far. He might deliberately seek out relationships with people who live a healthy lifestyle and who are into self-growth so that he is influenced to live a healthy lifestyle too. And so that he can experience people looking at their own dysfunctions rather than simply avoiding that self-reflection by focusing on him being the only problem. He might decide to keep a picture of his niece in a locket as a reminder to try to understand what another person is really perceiving, feeling and needing and why when a conflict occurs, rather than to simply slip into defense. He might make people aware to make sure they know where the kids are at all times, especially before moving any vehicle. He may use the completion process to go back and create a sense of resolve for what happened, as well as to become aware of what unmet needs he had then, that he can now meet from today forward.
Notice when you are pushing against what happened or what is, as if all of your energy is going towards trying to make something that already happened, unhappen or be different. What do you need to accept? And once you accept it, what now? Where should your energy go now to make things more like how you know you want them to be?
Use your awareness of what you should have done differently to clearly define how you want to act differently today and in the future. Use your awareness of how you needed people to act differently in the past to clearly define how you want or need them to act today and going forward. Use your awareness of what was unwanted about what was and what is to re-orient yourself towards putting your thoughts, words and actions towards what you want the rest of today and the future to be like instead.
This time space reality that you call life on earth is a consensus reality. What that means is that it is a co-creative experience. Even though many guides will tell you that you create your own reality, because it is empowering and important to realize your power as a creator of your experience, you did not actually come here to create your own reality made for one. In a consensus reality, the mastery of relationships so as to reach a chosen state of oneness is really the ultimate goal. Because that is really the only way to co-create something pleasing to all individual creators participating in such a construct. You could say that you came to this time space reality to do parts work in an externalized way, knowing that at the end of the day, every “other” thing you interact with, is ultimately you.
The law of mirroring (what many call the law of attraction) does not just apply to you. It applies to everything else in this particular universe as well. It applies to the collective, not just to the individual. Which is why for example, humanity might collectively hold a vibration that reflects as a certain traumatic experience within the overall timeline of mankind. You knew this before coming into this life. You chose it specifically or lined up with it vibrationally as a result of your previous incarnations, both of which imply that this is exactly what you needed and even wanted for your own expansion and for the expansion of the universe at large (what many call Source or God).
The trouble with a consensus reality is that it can feel incredibly disempowering. Most especially if you do not recognize others as a part of yourself. The way to understand this, is to imagine sitting down with five other people with one canvas and several paints. Every person has a paintbrush. You may be loving the cocreation for a minute, until someone picks up what you perceive to be an ugly paint color and draws something unwanted on that canvas. This is a metaphor for life on earth. There are so many unwanted things that “others” do here in this construct. Things that negatively impact other beings participating in this construct. And this can make you feel powerless. For example, someone can raise their child abusively. Someone can decide to build a highway straight through an animal migration route and then society can decide to leave the carcasses on the side of the road to rot. Someone can break into a house and steel from someone else. Someone can put a monopoly on a certain business. Someone can declare war. And the list goes on and on forever.
The powerlessness of this experience of being so influenced and effected by the choices of others in this consensus construct causes people to lose sight of the power that they do have. It causes them to lose their awareness that they are conscious creators. For this reason, a great many teachers and guides would have you disconnect from the consensus and try to manipulate the law of mirroring so as to create your own reality. This is only beneficial so far as to get you back to your knowing that you are a conscious creator. And so far as it puts you back in touch with your personal power. If you take it further than this, this way of thinking will cause you to become trapped in a narcissistic bubble reality, disconnected from others and disconnected from the awareness of your influence and impact on them. The real task of awakening is to awaken to the fact that you are a conscious creator and therefore have incredible power over the co-creative experience here. The real task is to recognize all the “other” things in this construct as parts of yourself. The real task is to commit to using your creative capacities and your power to positively influence and positively impact everything you come into contact with in this consensus reality. The real task is to master relationship so as to intentionally integrate with all other things in this time space reality. Doing so, is what causes the collective reflection to change.
All this being said, the most empowering decision you can make in life is to become as aware as you possibly can, and then to cast your vote. When we commit to becoming aware, we are open to and we seek out information. We commit to seeing, listening to, feeling, perceiving, understanding and knowing anything we encounter. Knowing that doing so will change our perspective. It will bring us closer to a truly objective (rather than purely subjective) perspective. And from that space of expanded perception, we vote for what is wanted. But in this time space reality, you vote with your thoughts, your words and your actions. If you feel especially powerless, I encourage you to watch two of my videos titled: All People Want Power. And How To Take Your Power Back.
You can see the danger in someone being so fixated on their own agenda that there is no way to reach them and so, you end up getting bulldozed by them. You can also see the danger in a person being so wrapped up in the thoughts, words and actions of others that they live their entire life in a state of powerless reactivity. A truly empowered person is both deeply connected to all else that is, while at the same time, is able to make autonomous choices regardless of what everyone else is doing or not doing.
Every individual that as a society, you revere, is ultimately an individual who has held a vision for the bigger picture regarding what they wanted the overall picture of life to be like; not just for themselves, but also for others. And they have made their thoughts, words and actions a pledge to that vision. Regardless of what anyone else was doing or not doing. For example, in a world dominated by cruelty and hate, Jesus Christ wanted kindness and love. And so, he made his thoughts, words and actions a pledge to this vision; no matter what other people did in his time and no matter what others did to him. In a world dominated by ignorance and suffering, the Buddha wanted awareness and true joy. And so, he made his thoughts, words and actions a pledge to that vision, no matter what other people did or did not do in his time. In a world dominated by poverty and immorality, Muhammad wanted charity and morality. And so, he made his thoughts, words and actions a pledge to that vision, no matter what other people did or did not do in his time. In a world of discrimination and segregation, Martin Luther King wanted fairness and unity. And so, he made his thoughts, words and actions a pledge to that vision, no matter what other people did or did not do in his time.
Your thoughts, words and actions are a vote in this consensus reality. They have immense influence and impact on every other thing that exists. Most especially anything you come into contact with. And this vote does not only matter for your limited life span. It is a vote regarding the future, long after you are gone. It is a vote for what comes next. For this reason, as so many impactful people throughout history have proven, casting your vote by powerfully living according to what you want to see for this world is more important than your own safety and survival. Therefore, if you ultimately want a world of kindness, you have to be that kindness. You have to be the person who talks to strangers and is open to everyone you pass on the street. Even if they are not. If you want freedom, you have to be that freedom. You have to set yourself free and set others free, even as they try to restrict you and restrict themselves. If what you want is truth, you have to be that truth. You have to seek truth and speak truth, even though it is difficult to face and challenging to express. And even if there are consequences for doing so.
For this reason, the practice I want to give you today, aside from mastering relationships (which is what I am helping you to master most often) is the practice of consciously casting your autonomous vote. This is the most direct way to exact your personal power on the world. And nothing and no one can prevent you from doing it. All they can ever do is to try to influence you regarding how you vote. Think about the bigger picture regarding what you want life to be like, not just for yourself, but also for others. And make your thoughts, words and actions a pledge to that vision. No matter what anyone else does or does not do. Cast your vote with the universe at large for what you want to see become the collective reality.
For the sake of this conversation, lets define trauma as an experience that is deeply distressing and even potentially disturbing. It’s not just what we judge as the big stuff, like being abused or experiencing a natural disaster or a war or losing a loved one. It’s also what we normalize, like growing up poor enough to not be able to have what we desire or being weaned from the breast before we are ready to participate in that decision or having to be the responsible one in our family system etc.
For so many of us, the trauma that we experience goes without resolve and as such, it keeps repeating. We must heal from our trauma. In fact, a big part of personal growth and expansion is healing from the trauma that every person experiences in their lifetime. Usually, to heal means to experience something different and antidotal (usually the opposite). For example, to heal from loneliness one might need to experience reliable, consistent connection. Or to heal from powerlessness, one might need to experience personal empowerment. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: What Is Healing?
But for today’s conversation, it is important to know that even though it is good to simplify complex concepts, the process of simplification can sometimes lead to over simplification and rigid thinking. This is especially true regarding trauma and healing. Because trauma is an unwanted experience, it is tempting to make it wrong. It is also tempting to make anything causally related to the trauma that someone experienced wrong too… Such as a protective adaptation for example. And when we do this, we miss a powerful truth about life itself and we mentally limit ourselves about our healing options.
Something people are slow to accept is that trauma doesn’t only play a role in the dysfunctionality, weakness and problems of people. It also plays a role in the functionality, strengths and advantages of people. Essentially, it causes polarization within a person. For this reason, trauma is often at the root of people’s failures. It is also often at the root of their success.
To explain this, I’m going to give you a couple of examples. Jane had a mother who was very young. In fact, she was only 15 when she had Jane. Jane’s mother was lacking support in a very real way. When Jane was young, because of the very real needs her mother had and her lack of awareness of the implications of doing so, her mother flipped their roles so that Jane was taking care of her every whim. In order to avoid consequences, Jane had to make her entire life about supporting her mother; from being her mother’s shoulder to cry on to rubbing her back, which was always sore. To working with her mother at her house cleaning job even as a small child. To giving her birthday money to her mother for bills etc. Jane was literally custom trained to perfectly support another person’s success, regardless of whether she wanted this or not. This trauma led to Jane having a codependent relational style, not really knowing who she was or what she wanted, being soft-spoken and disempowered. However, it also led to an incredible capacity to perceive the needs of others, a perfectly honed skill set regarding assisting others, the ability to emotionally regulate anyone, the capacity to dedicate herself to another person and to work towards success together and the rare personality trait of taking the back seat and letting someone else shine rather than vying for attention.
Bret grew up in a wealthy household. His parents, most especially his father, was all about public perception. They put a ton of pressure on Brett from a very young age to be excellent, so that his family could use him as a kind of trophy. Bret learned that the only way he could get any approval from his family and the only way to avoid being ostracized, like his sister was, was to step into that family pressure and to dedicate himself to being excellent. He chose golf as his venue for excellence. This trauma caused Bret to feel like he had to justify his value and worth in his family and earn love. It caused him to have a core self-concept of shame. It caused him to obsessively perfect his golf game to the degree that he would stay on a course for hours, sobbing from rotator cuff pain until he got the stroke exactly how he wanted it. However, this trauma also led to an incredible level of discipline, a superhuman capacity to focus, an achievement-oriented personality, the achievement of greatness, incredible financial success a professional golf career that most people could only dream of.
It is tempting when you are limited in your view of trauma and healing to think that you know immediately what the right thing in terms of personal growth and healing is for both Jane and Bret. For Jane, you are probably jumping to the conclusion that she needs to be more selfish and independent, get to know who she is and what she really wants. That she needs to make her life about her own personal success and stop orienting her life around other people. She needs to go for the limelight in her own unique way. But this is only one potential healing option. It may be the case that this is what is genuinely in alignment for Jane. Or, it may in fact not be the case.
For Bret, you are probably jumping to the conclusion that he needs to find someone who really loves him for “him” (whatever that means) and that he needs to quit golf or anything else he may be doing to earn approval. Approval needs to be something he gets, even when he is lounging on the couch. He needs the pressure to perform taken off of him. And he needs to learn how to be gentle with himself and have fun. But this is only one potential healing option. It may be the case that this is what is genuinely in alignment for Bret. Or, it may in fact not be the case.
What if I told you that trauma plays a role in your destiny? In fact, you are perfectly molded for your destiny based off of not only the positive things you experienced in your life, but also by your trauma. This is part of why you choose into a specific life experience at this specific time and in this specific place and in this specific way and around these specific people. When we make trauma wrong and make anything causally related to trauma wrong, we fail to recognize that without the trauma of insignificance and poor reflection in childhood, the best actors in Hollywood are not actors. This means those game changing movies that are absolute works of art and altered the way society thinks, don’t exist. Neither does that great quality entertainment you love so much.
Without the trauma of injustice and middle child syndrome and the guilt and separation of having more resources and opportunities than most other people that looked like him, while at the same time not being allowed to play and connect with kids that didn’t look like him, there is no Martin Luther King Jr. Without your trauma, you would be a very, very different person. In some ways potentially to the positive. But in some ways, potentially to the negative.
Do you see the danger of jumping to the conclusion that if what drives a person to want to act is all this trauma around significance and if acting causes a person to slip in and out of different identities, to heal they must stop acting? Do you see the danger of jumping to the conclusion that if the trauma of feeling invisible and being excluded and being separated and feeling guilty is a big part of what fueled Martin Luther King to step into the public eye and create the movement that ultimately led to his death, that it somehow diminishes the “rightness” or “in alignment-ness” of his career?
The most empowering thing you can do regarding your trauma is to fully become aware of it. Recognize the trauma and recognize what that trauma caused within you and within your life. Become aware of your trauma and how you responded to it on a mental, emotional and physical level. You could consider this the ABC of trauma experience. This awareness process includes seeing both the beneficial and detrimental elements of it. From there, you consider what resolution would look like. What is the antidote? This awareness includes consideration of the beneficial and detrimental consequences of each option you might choose as a healing step. And from that place of awareness, the most empowering thing you can do regarding your trauma is to make a conscious decision with your own free will about what you will ultimately choose to do with it, knowing that the right answer for you may be to experience or be the logical opposite. Or it may be to consciously choose to align with and own something your trauma created in you, rather than to be in a pattern of determinism relative to that thing. You may in fact decide that what is healing is to consciously choose to embrace something that your trauma created in you. And that doing so in a conscious way is what will change the detrimental pattern into a beneficial one. To the outside, this may appear like a person is consciously choosing to align with their trauma.
For example, Jane decided to put serious time and energy into finding out what she really wanted and what her personal truths were. In that regard, to heal was to experience the opposite. But what came out of that process was the realization that she really loved to dedicate her life to the success of another person; that the feeling of putting her energy towards them and the result being that they then achieved tangible results, made her feel like she could impact the world. And that she really hated the pressure of being the center of attention. As a result, the healing choice for her really came as a result of embracing the fact that her mother custom molded her for her destiny of being a personal assistant to a political figure. And that by making the conscious choice to dedicate her life to another person’s success healed the pattern of feeling forced to dedicate her life to another person (her mother) without her free will. It was also more healing and more in alignment with her life purpose and also personal truth than going for the limelight herself and living an independent life and chasing personal success would have been.
Brett decided that to heal was to do all kinds of work on his patterns in relationships, so he didn’t continue to line up with women who simply loved him and put pressure on him to succeed because he was their trophy. He chose a rather passive wife that really loved play and leisure time with him and who didn’t push him to succeed in any particular way. But, on the other hand Brett decided that the most healing thing he could do was to own his achievement drive and embrace his extreme discipline and welcome the pressure intentionally. He made the decision to keep going for greatness regarding his golf career. And as a result of making that conscious choice, he experienced the entire game of golf in a better way.
Trauma can seriously prevent what you really want. But also, seemingly paradoxically, (especially regarding your destiny) it can seriously custom forge you for what you really want. It can bend you for failure and it can bend you for success. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Your trauma took from you, but it also gave to you. Seeing reality means seeing both sides of this full picture. The moral of the story here is that conscious choice is what matters. When it comes to trauma and to resolving and healing your trauma, scrap what isn’t working for you. Scrap what is detrimental or at odds with what you really want. And powerfully own what is working for you. Powerfully own what is beneficial and in alignment with what you really want.
As people, we have a nasty habit of not recognizing the resources that are all around us. Because this is the case, we miss the benefit they offer us and we end up feeling an unnecessary sense of lack. And this is especially true when it comes to other people.
For the sake of this conversation, let’s say that a resource is something that can be drawn on when wanted or needed, especially to enhance your wellbeing. When we “resource” something, what this means is that we recognize what it is that is of value that we want or need. And then, we actively draw upon it and use it or take it in; fully experiencing (seeing, hearing, feeling, and receiving) its full benefit.
Every person holds within them a powerful resource, or many. This means that every person is a resource of some kind. If you really come to understand this, the world becomes a place that is overflowing with prosperity and abundance. Different people definitely hold very different resources within their being. And this means that different people and different relationships provide very different things.
For example, one person (and therefore relationship) might not be a resource for communication, information or advice. But they might be an incredible resource for adventure, fun and joint experiences. One person (and therefore relationship) might be a powerful resource for honesty and understanding. But not a resource for dependability or encouragement. One person (and therefore relationship) might be a resource for physical affection. Another might be a resource for security. Another might be a resource for information on a specific topic. Another might be a resource for mutual enjoyment of similar interests. Another might be a resource for a helping hand. Another might be a resource for contacts. Another might be a resource for new ideas. Another might be a resource for emotional availability. Another might be a resource for being pushed towards personal growth. Another might be a resource for good food. Another might be a resource for acceptance. Another might be a resource for entertainment. You get the picture.
Every single person is a resource for something, even many things. The question is: Can you recognize what that resource is and the value of it; even if it is not something that you, yourself specifically want and need?
When we get into trouble with regards to resourcing others, is when:
We refuse to accept that literally every person is a resource for something potentially very valuable to us; and because of this, we limit ourselves socially. And end up in a state of lack, angry at the people around us for what they do not provide for us.
We try to meet our needs and get what we want by trying to draw things from specific people when they do not have or offer that specific resource. And end up in a state of lack, angry at the people around us for what they do not provide for us.
Here are a couple of examples of this. Maggie has always disliked Hector’s personality. He is rather cold and impersonal. They disagree on just about everything. As far as Maggie is concerned, Hector offers nothing and adds nothing to her life. She would rather cut him out of her life all together. But Maggie is so fixated on what Hector lacks, that she is not even looking for what he can provide; his strengths. What she has totally missed is that Hector is analytical. Maggie has plenty of problems. And Hector is the person in her life that could perhaps help her most by making an unbiased assessment of these problems, look at all the different angles of these problems and then offering very effective, efficient and logical solutions for each one of them. She would definitely feel better towards him if she recognized that Hector could be the one that could tell her how to get out of the situations that have been causing her to suffer for so many years, not just be warm and sympathetic that she is in them. And she could go to someone else for the warmth and sympathy she is needing. But because Maggie refuses to look for and recognize Hector’s resource, she is angry that no one has an answer for how to get out from under the intolerable weight of her problems.
Hector is a homosexual man. He had 11 siblings growing up and as a result, he always felt like his existence didn’t matter. He has been desperate to matter to someone and to be someone’s priority for his whole life. He wants security and availability most of all. Currently, he is fixated on his friend Max as being the one that is a resource for these things. But Max is a heterosexual man, who is currently single and who has the tendency to drop every friendship he has once he’s in a romantic relationship. Max is not actually a reliable resource for the security, availability and prioritization that Hector is looking for. When Max found another woman to be in a romantic relationship with, suddenly he stopped being available to and stopped prioritizing Hector, causing Hector to be retraumatized. And Hector is now furious at Max that he is not providing him with the security and availability and prioritization that he desperately needs.
Outside of simply lacking the awareness of what resources someone actually has within them, there are several reasons why we might have resistance to recognizing the resource that someone can provide and/or resourcing a person. Here are just some examples of why: In human culture, so many people believe that it is not ok to use people for your own benefit. This is why we don’t like to ask people for help. We tend to worry that asking people for what we need and want is “using” them. But it isn’t using people that is the problem. We use each other every single day. And guess what? People want the resources they hold to be recognized for their value. And people want those resources to be used. What they don’t want is for you to use them as a resource, to their own detriment. And when we say “I feel used”, this is what we mean. We don’t mean that someone sees our value and is positively resourcing us. We mean that they don’t really care about our wellbeing and are simply taking advantage of us. But using people and creating a mutually beneficial symbiosis with them does not have to be a contradiction in terms. Using someone and loving them does not have to be a contradiction in terms. If you want to understand more about this in depth, watch my video titled: Using People. Ask Teal Episode about Interdependence.
Another reason that we may have resistance to recognizing the resource that someone can provide and/or resourcing a person is that we may not want to see the value in someone because we perceive that doing so causes us to have to expand into ‘And Consciousness’. We are also afraid that doing so will cause us to come closer to someone whom we want to push away in order to feel good or stay safe. As people, we like to make things black and white. We feel safer that way. But the reality is not black and white. The reality is that a person can have so many valuable resources within them alongside behaviors that cause us pain. For example, we may have had a parent that was so painful to us in our childhood that we want to write them off as “all bad” and as “having no value or resource”. But the reality is that while they may not be a resource for love or connection, they may be a powerful resource for information on a specific subject or financial abundance. If you walk down a Jail house corridor, every person you pass is a well of powerfully valuable resources. From skills to knowledge to abilities to talents to character traits. You may have resistance to seeing that because it scares you to stop seeing them as “all bad”.
Another reason why we might have resistance to recognizing the resource that someone can provide and/or resourcing a person is because we have serious fear of taking a resource in from someone else. We tend to end up like this when accepting, using or taking in anything from someone else caused us pain. For example, we may have resourced our mother for caretaking as a child, only to end up trapped in guilt and indebted to her because of it. Or, we might have resourced someone for belonging, only to have them die. And therefore, we don’t want to resource anyone for anything so we can avoid the pain of suddenly losing something valuable to us that we were being provided. Or we might have been indoctrinated with the idea that if we need anyone else, we are weak and a burden and worthless. We may have been shamed for trying to resource someone in the past. And as a result, we feel we can only have worth if we are completely independent and associate resourcing others with shame. If you are someone who is afraid to resource others, you would benefit by watching four of my videos. The first is: How To Receive. The second is: Cut the Invisible Strings (How to Detach from Manipulation in Relationships). The third is: Dependence vs. Independence. And the Fourth is: Be Consciously Transactional (Why Every Relationship is Transactional).
Another reason why we might have resistance to recognizing the resource that someone can provide and/or resourcing a person is that we may limit ourselves with narrow thinking regarding relationships because we think that doing so is going to keep us safe. In line with this, we may also have a rigid social idea of how our social life must look, and therefore not be creative enough when it comes to crafting a social structure where our needs can actually be met. Here are some examples: We might be afraid that if we recognize a person as a resource for something, we might threaten another person in our life. And if threatened, they could withdraw the resource that they are currently providing us. Or for example, we think the only acceptable structure for our social life is a single-family home. As a result, we don’t have enough resources for our needs by any stretch of the imagination. But we are too afraid of the potential consequences of breaking outside the social norm. Or for example, we may think that the only way we can guarantee that we can use someone as a resource is if we are in a romantic relationship with them. Therefore, we look to our romantic partner to be the resource for everything for us. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: A Romantic Relationship is Not All There Is!
Don’t be that person who misses the value that is right in front of them. Accept that every single person (including you) is a resource for something valuable. Recognize that resource. And resourcing it. You will have much more energy and power and your life will be so much more abundant and so much richer as a result of it.
As a species, people are in the process of progressing towards the actualization of the awareness that in a relationship, there is a you and there is a me. People tend to think that in any moment, it is either you or me. Meaning that people tend to feel like in any situation, they get to act in the best interest of the other party or in the best interest of themselves, which makes their relationships either an exercise in self-sacrifice or a zero-sum game. Either way, it is a guarantee that relationships are painful. We need to master the me and the you too in the relationship equation with regards to best interests. And today, that means becoming aware of the you element of relationships.
There are a great many patterns that can cause a person to lose sight of the “you” in a relationship. To give you just a few examples: If you felt like no one was ever going to act in your best interests, you may have decided that the only way to survive in your life and to get your needs met was to do the same thing that they do, but in reverse. To stop caring about their best interests and simply fight against them for your own best interests. When we do this, we go into a narcissistic perceptual reality where we only ever think about ourselves.
Or for example, you can be indoctrinated into not caring about something that is “other”. A person growing up in a culture with an enemy is often taught to disconnect from that enemy and see them as other and have no concern for their best interests at all. Or a person growing up in a religion that teaches that only people have a soul, learn to relate to other living beings as objects that exist for their pleasure alone. They become normalized to having NO consideration of anything except themselves and maybe other humans.
Or for example, you may have felt totally powerless in your childhood and as if nothing you ever said or did had any impact on anyone or anything in your life. When this is the case, you adopt the false belief that you have no power to impact or affect anyone. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do. As a result, it may feel like the ripples of effect only go out from other people to you, not the other way around. Therefore, you don’t even consider the impact that something you do has on someone else, only the impact it has on you.
You may not like to hear this, but everything you think, say and do has an impact on everything else in existence. Most especially on those things closest to you in any system that you are a part of. You need to see this power that you have, rather than to minimize it. To not see one’s power is a very dangerous thing. Lack of awareness of your power relative to other people and things will lead to negative results. To understand this, imagine a surgeon. When a surgeon is performing a surgery, he or she absolutely must be aware of the power that he or she has in that situation. If the surgeon does not realize that he or she has as much power to kill as to save a life, the surgeon himself or herself is dangerous. The surgeon would approach the situation from outside reality. And because of this, he or she might approach the situation from the wrong perspective, with the wrong energy and make choices that have severe negative impact and influence on other people as well as themselves.
Another example is to imagine that we have no awareness of the fact that someone is very connected and attached to us. If we don’t realize this and if we don’t realize that this gives us incredible power to harm them, we may simply leave them because we are chasing something that we think is best for us; without understanding the incredible negative impact we are having on them and their life trajectory.
It is a guarantee if you think back on your life, especially those times when you were the most vulnerable (such as in childhood) you have experienced what it is to feel like the other person only had a “me” and not a “you”. It is easy to see just how impacted we were by that. It is also easy to see when someone had a “you”, not just a “me”, how safe that made us and how positively impacted we were by it.
It is also a guarantee that if you think back on your life, you have experienced the horror of watching someone who did not have a “you” and the amount that narcissistic state of being damaged another living thing. For example, you may have watched a person drag their crying child into a store by one arm, not caring about the child’s experience, only about how they want their child to behave for their sake. Or you might have watched a person smash a spider simply to feel safer themselves. Or you might have watched a person have fun putting salt on a slug to watch it dissolve. Or you might have seen people injured, killed or separated from those they love in a war time, all because some leader somewhere wanted more power and didn’t care about the collateral damage.
The people who do not want to recognize the “you” in a relationship usually deeply fear that if they take responsibility for their impact on other things, they will lose their “me”. And as a result, their life will always be painful. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Am I Responsible for How Other People Feel?
To have a “me” is to have awareness of your own personal feelings, personal thoughts, personal integrity, personal desires, personal needs and therefore most importantly, your personal best interests and personal truth. And to care about it. To have a “you” is to have awareness of the other being’s personal feelings, personal thoughts, personal integrity, personal desires, personal needs and therefore most importantly, their personal best interests and personal truth. And to care about it. When you have committed to conscious living and to awakening, both must matter to you, regardless of whether they matter to the other person. But for a relationship to be a truly mutually beneficial one, both must matter to you and to the other person as well. If both the me and the you matter to both people in a relationship, the door is open to identify what the highest and best option for both parties is. From there, the action you take will be the most in alignment with a win-win possible in the given situation.
All this being said, an important step in your personal progression is to develop an awareness of “you”. To consciously consider what the positive and negative impact is, of anything you think, say and do, on anything around you.
To be completely honest with you, the survival of mankind is dependent on the development of a “you” within human consciousness. And that is a truth that I want you to sit with this week!
This earth that we call home, is a system. What that means is that all the things that make up life on earth (including ourselves) are part of a large interconnecting network. Every part of the system, effects every other part of the system. This is a realization that can make a person feel both powerless and powerful. Powerless because the demise of a part of this system can bring about our own demise. But powerful because it means that when we decide to act in the best interests of another part of this system, so as to cause it to thrive, we are ensuring that we will thrive as well.
And in today’s world, nowhere is this more evident than in our relationship to soil. I have not come here today to talk to you about yet another thing going wrong with our planet… another thing that you are powerless to stop. Instead, our relationship to soil, is the relationship where you will also find the most practical chance that we have at reversing the climate crisis we are facing today.
All over the planet today, we are facing soil degradation. This is a big deal because it is estimated that 87% of life depends on soil. 95% of the food that we eat comes from the soil. And 50% of the top soil in America is already gone. The implications of our mismanagement of soil over the years are so colossal that humans can look forward to only about 60 more years of agricultural harvests before the soil is completely destroyed.
And because this is a system, humanity will suffer the consequences of the demise of the soil. Food systems will fail. Poverty on a mass scale will be the result. From poverty comes social unrest and violence and mass population migrations. If we do not act fast as a collective, this planet that we call home, will become uninhabitable to us.
For this reason, aside from dedicating my life to teaching you how to master relationships with all other things in this system that we call life on earth, I have partnered up with the efforts of Sadhguru, who is currently on his journey of traveling 30,000 kilometers across 27 nations to raise awareness and make a difference with his global initiative savesoil.org. This mission that he is on, and that others are on with him, is one of the most important missions being undertaken on the world today. And so, today, I am issuing a call to action to all those who hear this message…
What I am going to offer you is a list of eleven practical ways you can make an actual positive impact on the world, today:
Visit savesoil.org to gain awareness about this initiative and about how YOU can play a role in saving our soil.
Watch the documentary Kiss The Ground. It’s available on Netflix and also https://kisstheground.com/ which will not only present to you the facts about the state of soil health on the planet, but propose to you the incredible solution to the climate crisis that we face today.
I also encourage you to post about this film and this issue on your social media accounts. Never forget that the power of word of mouth will be paramount in causing a shift in collective thought, which will cause positive changes in those power structures within society that have the most power to change things at a grander scale; such as governments.
Reduce all possible food waste, and contribute to creating compost. If your area doesn’t provide a compost pickup, google local companies in your area that you can hire to pick up your food scraps for you; or where you can drop off your food scraps.
Eat a plant-based diet. I cannot begin to stress how much of a negative impact that the meat and dairy industries have on the environment. To go more in-depth on the statistics of this impact, and how to transition into a more plant-based lifestyle, consider checking out the documentary titled: Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that cows or other livestock are bad for earth. They are not. It is the unnatural and detrimental ways that we are farming and handling them that is the problem.
Shop at farmer’s markets and get to know the food producers. Ask the farmers if they are using practices to rebuild soil health (regenerative farming) and get these conversations started. You can also search at https://regenerationinternational.org/ for regenerative farms near your location. Support the farmers and products from these farms.
Support organic, non-gmo food. We must stop the cycle of soil destruction, which toxic chemicals and pesticides play such a powerful role in. In line with this, choose to use fewer chemicals by purchasing natural, chemical-free hygiene products, household cleaners, and garden care products, etc. These chemicals go into our water which go into our soil which further depletes it and kills the microbes. Know that each and every one of you votes every day… You vote with your dollar. So make it a conscious vote for the future of earth.
Get involved with growing a garden at home or in a community garden near you. You can even make a difference by covering bare areas of your land with something like grass or wildflowers - Any inch of the earth that is planted with extra plant-life, draws down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, saves the future of soil and ensures the health of the system of life on earth.
Deforestation is a main contributor to soil erosion. To reduce deforestation, you can take steps such as using less paper, recycling, and purchasing recycled products. You can also support local resale and thrift stores, by donating and purchasing items there rather than purchasing something new; which is a vote against unnecessary production which puts stress on earth.
Plant trees or donate to organizations which plant trees to offset carbon emission. Some tree-planting organizations include One Tree Planted; Trees for the Future; Trees, Water & People, International Tree Foundation and Woodland Trust. You can also use the search engine Ecosia which is like a Google, but it plants trees when you search on the internet with their platform.
Purchase regenerative clothing. And wash your clothes less and in cold water. Some examples of regenerative textiles include hemp, linen, and organic cotton. When you do wash your clothes, wash your clothing in cold water. And know that doing two loads of laundry weekly in cold water instead of hot or warm water can save up to 500 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. Purchase regenerative clothing, for example made from bamboo and hemp.
Install a low-flow showerhead to reduce hot water use. Doing this can save 350 pounds of CO2. Taking shorter showers helps, too. And monitor your general water usage. This means, xeriscape wherever possible, don’t leave sprinklers on for unnecessary amounts of time, don’t leaving the hose running unattended, and deliberately buy and use high-efficiency appliances such as washers and dishwashers.
I am here today to ask you to take action wherever you can, and as soon as you can. When it comes to the climate crisis that we are facing today, it can feel hopeless. It can feel like the problem is so much bigger than you that no matter what you do, you cannot affect enough to make an actual difference. It can be tempting to give up. But if you commit to these steps I’ve listed for you above, you will be making an actual difference. And it is soil that holds the real promise, not just for overcoming the climate crisis that we face, but for ensuring that this system that we are such an integral part of will thrive. Please enlist your friends, family, and coworkers to be a part of these efforts along with you. Together we can actually cause the world to thrive. And our lives quite literally depend on it. Save the soil, let’s make it happen.
Most people don’t think about their life as a relationship that they are having. But it is. It is a relationship that they are having with the other people, places and things in existence. It is a relationship with the rest of the universe at large. If people saw it as a relationship that they are having, they would approach life very differently. And they would approach their relationship to the universe very differently.
So many people walking the earth think that the universe (what many call Source or God) created them and then dictates and controls everything that happens in their life; that as people, we are simply subject to God’s will. It is tempting to think this way because we sense the bigness and therefore power and therefore authority that the greater universe has. This is why when we talk to the universe at large, we are usually praying to it or requesting something from it; like we would talk to a parent who has the ultimate authority to either give us what we want or deny us what we want. But this is a very immature perception and this is a very immature idea of the universe we live in. What we miss when we think this way, is that we actually have a very dynamic relationship with the universe. We also have a very two-way relationship with the universe. The universe perceives you to be a fragment of itself. One that is imbued with the very qualities that it, itself possesses. Such as free will. Such as the power to create etc.
What most people don’t understand is that free will actually goes hand in hand with destiny. It is not a contradiction. Before coming into this life, you chose with your free will into alignment with a certain plan for your life. This was the WHY of this life vs. any other one that you might have chosen. We call this bigger, more objective plan that is supported by the greater universe “destiny”. And therefore, using your free will to go in the direction of what is wanted by you in this life, will put you into alignment with your destiny.
You are doing this life hand in hand with the universe because your existence is a win-win. It helps your own personal expansion. It also helps the universe at large to know itself and to expand. It does this through you. You can consider your life a symbiosis with the universe, albeit not a very conscious one for most people.
To be in the best relationship possible with the universe, all you need to do is to apply all the rules of relationship success to your relationship with the universe at large. For example, you need to be attuned to the universe at large (including the people, places and things in your life) so as to develop understanding of it. You need to see, hear, feel and know it. You need to take its best interests as a part of your own best interests. You need to communicate with it. You need to build trust with it. In actuality, if you looked through any video that I have created about relationships and applied that to your relationship with the Universe at large, your relationship with the universe at large would improve. But today, we’re going to talk about boundaries.
Boundaries are very important for relationships. Boundaries are also important for your relationship to the universe at large. At one level, it is important to understand that all is one. When all is one, there are no boundaries. Also, at another level, it is important and useful to define yourself. Our individual perspective is a kind of boundary that defines us from everything else in existence. A boundary is the imaginary line that uniquely defines your personal happiness, your personal feelings, your personal thoughts, your personal integrity, your personal desires, your personal needs and therefore most importantly, your personal truth from the rest of the universe. And given that you have free will, you get to consciously choose what those are and you get to consciously live in alignment with them.
This is an especially big deal because we live in a time space reality managed by the law of mirroring (also called the law of attraction). Whatever boundary we have for ourselves, will be reflected in our lives. It is also a big deal because with the law of cause and effect, if we have a certain boundary or lack a certain boundary, that will cause us to think, say and do things that bring about very specific wanted or unwanted effects. Even though boundaries are about far more than what you will and won’t put up with, most people are primarily concerned with boundaries as they apply to how you want to be treated and what your limits are. Essentially, what you will say yes and what you will say no to.
Remember that boundaries are not about telling another thing, including the universe, what it can and can’t do with you. It’s about powerfully choosing and defining what you will and won’t say yes and no to, regardless of what it decides to do. And therefore, it is about how you will behave given that defined personal truth. For this reason, the universe wants and needs you to set boundaries for your life experience. And doing so, changes the reflection you are getting in your life.
So that you can understand what I mean, I’ll give you an example. Anna had a very hard life experience from a very young age. You could say that it didn’t matter how much she could or couldn’t handle, bad things kept happening and she had to keep on performing anyway. For example, when her father ended up paraplegic, the next day she still had to go to a gymnastics meet and do her best to win. And when she was sick with the flu and her first boyfriend broke up with her, the same day she still had to show up at work and cover her shift. This became a theme in her life… Having to keep on performing despite the circumstances of her life. She figured that this was just her unlucky lot in life. It was just that the universe was either against her, or was testing how much she could handle before breaking. But one day, she realized that if the universe wanted her to perform, it wasn’t fair for her to be expected to do that despite not being supported to do it. She was done with the “perform despite” pattern. So, she decided that this was her new boundary. That if she is going to perform, she would require to be supported to do it and that if things happened to put extra pressure on her instead, she would then refuse to perform. The universe was very pleased that this was her new boundary. And because she made this decision, she began acting differently. For example, she no longer put up with people being unsupportive around her. She went through a huge purge relative to her friendships. And when her coach showed up to a gymnastics meet and verbally berated her, she did something different. For the first time in her life, instead of just taking it and performing despite this, she refused to perform and walked out of the stadium. As a result of this powerful boundary setting with the universe and commitment to live in alignment with her new boundary, the entire universe began to reflect something entirely different: Support. Friends who took pressure off of her and enabled her performance. A new coach for her gymnastics team. Answers to improving her health that she’d been looking for. Even people canceling things before she had to, so she didn’t have too much on her plate.
What all this means is that one of the most powerful things you can do in your life in order to get the life experience you want, is to set boundaries for yourself… Boundaries with the universe at large. And then think, speak and act in alignment with those boundaries. Watch what happens when you do!
One of the most interesting things about traveling the world, is seeing just how similar and just how different the values are from culture to culture. And it is especially interesting to see what kinds of relationships are considered to be the most valuable from culture to culture. For certain Asian cultures, the most important relationship of all, is your relationship with your ancestors. For certain Hispanic cultures, the most important relationship is between a mother and daughter and father and son. For certain Native Cultures, the most important relationship is between you and your tribe and also with that extended tribe, which is the natural world. For many of you watching this, the most valued and important relationship is the romantic partnership… Finding your “other half”.
Given that no one can actually agree about what the most important relationship is, and we tend to get sucked into the trap of valuing and prioritizing whatever relationship our family and culture and society holds to be most important, it is time to question our own limited thinking relative to relationships.
In truth, if we glamorize any one type of relationship, while devaluing another, we can get ourselves into a whole heap of unnecessary trouble. But one of the biggest barriers to people getting their needs met and recognizing resources within relationships and being able to create feel-good relationships in the modern world, is that so many people glorify the romantic partnership while devaluing every other relationship. This creates a fixation on the romantic relationship and a de-prioritization of and even discarding of other relationships. And this creates a state of starvation within people.
The reason that people fixate on the romantic partnership is because many of us feel that this is the only relationship where we can guarantee that our needs will be met. There are two main reasons that we think a romantic relationship is the only one in which we can guarantee our needs will be met.
Pair bonding, even if established only temporarily, is something that evolved within humanity because it served to meet needs of the individuals within the pair bond as well as to secure greater individual and species success. You could consider it evolutionary. But the genuine need for humans to go from the evolution of pair bonding to marriage, took root when families that consisted of loosely organized groups of people, got to the point where the evolution of societal success required settling down into agrarian civilizations. Property ownership became a serious concern. Religions then embraced and started proselytizing the idea of marriage in order to establish social order.To begin with, the primary purpose of establishing the life-long pair bond that we call marriage, was to bind women to men, and thus guarantee that a man's children were truly his biological heirs.
For most of human history, couples were brought together into a partnership for practical reasons, not because they fell in love. But there were many “needs” that both people had (and even needs that their families had) that were met by forming such a partnership. The idea of romantic love, as a motivating force for pair bonding, does not go very far back. And yet the needs we have that are satisfied by romantic attachment, have become of paramount importance in the world today.
The most important take away from this is that for thousands of years, the structure of many societies across the globe have been literally founded on marriage. They still are today. This means citizens and families and cultures and religions and government organizations and educational sources and entertainment have all been indoctrinating you with the idea that marriage is the most important relationship you will have. And that the romantic pair bond is the relationship in which your needs will be met. Many societies have made it only acceptable for certain needs to come through a romantic partner. And they set the idea in people’s heads that by establishing a romantic pair bond, you can guarantee that your romantic partner will meet your needs and you will meet theirs. Which leads us to our next point.
If you look at the needs that most people are looking for today from a romantic partner, such as a sense of merging and closeness and importance and togetherness and belonging and oneness and focus and prioritization and availability, there is a belief that one can only guarantee the security of getting these needs met from a romantic partner. They don’t feel any other relationship can be relied upon to meet those needs, certainly not long term. There is a belief that the romantic partnership is the only relationship where both the feelings as well as the transactional element of the relationship are strong enough to be able to rely on the other person committing to providing those things that we need and want. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Be Consciously Transactional. We tend to feel like every other relationship is not secure. And the problem is, when we live in a society where people genuinely feel that what matters most is the romantic partnership, we have learned that other people will value and prioritize a romantic partner above all other relationships; therefore, you are only genuinely secure and only have leverage for getting your needs met in a relationship, if you are that person’s romantic partner.
This is especially compounded if a person did not get their needs met for things like a sense of merging and closeness and importance and togetherness and belonging and oneness and focus and prioritization and availability through their initial relationship with mom and then dad. The romantic partnership mimics the initial experience that one needs to have with their parent. And if this experience was lacking in some way, the romantic partnership is the one that we think will heal us from what was lacking and provide those needs that we are starving for.
There are so many problems with this fixation that we have developed on the romantic relationship. Perhaps the biggest problem though, is that we start to see the romantic partnership as the only relationship that promises to meet our needs… The only one that will make us happy. The only one in which we can feel secure and establish a sense of guarantee. As a result, we fail to recognize and we devalue all of the other forms of relationships around us, as well as the plentitude of resources that each one offers us. This causes us to obsessively hunt for our romantic partner as if this relationship is all that matters to us. Once we find it, this causes us to prioritize that relationship over all others and then de-prioritize and even discard our other relationships for the sake of that one. We also put all the pressure on that other person to be the one to meet all of our needs, which is impossible. No one person can meet all of your needs. So it is a set up for disappointment and pain.
We need to expand our idea of relationships beyond what it is today. One of the most beneficial steps you can take in relationships is to accept that we form relationships because of our needs and desires. We seek to establish a symbiosis whereby the relationship is mutually beneficial. And every relationship is a potential symbiosis. Every relationship offers different needs and lends to our desires. A romantic partner is not all there is. It is not your only hope of getting the needs that you have reliably met. It is not your only hope of happiness. A great many needs that you have, which you are convinced can only come in the form of a romantic partner, are actually not dependent on a romantic partner. And the more people that realize this, the more people will stop fixating on the value of this one kind of relationship over all others and begin to resource the value of all the other plethora of relationships there are in the world.
Every person (including you) and every type of relationship has so much value to provide. Each one is a powerful resource for something. The question is… Can you recognize that value? Can you recognize that resource? And can you be nourished by it?
At times in our life, all of us will choose to be strategic in terms of how we relate to the world. Because we are governed by the law of cause and effect, everything has a consequence. And so, to be successful, this means we must choose our consequences consciously. To understand more about this in depth, I urge you to watch my video titled: Why You Should Consciously Choose Consequences. But just like being honest and authentic sometimes comes with consequences, being strategic also comes with consequences. And we can’t choose between the negative and positive consequences of being honest or of being strategic unless we realize that we have this choice. And start to be conscious about making it.
For the sake of this conversation, you can imagine that in each situation and beyond that, in life in general, we have two ways of going about it.
We can be honest and authentic. If we are honest, we are thinking, speaking and acting in accordance with the truth and with what is real for us. We are being genuine, sincere and we are in a state of integrity. When we do this, we are engaging with life from the inside out. We are being straightforward in that we are bringing our truth out into the world.
We can be strategic. If we are being strategic, we are thinking, speaking and acting in accordance with a plan or method that guarantees us to be able to avoid something we don’t want or gain something we want. When we do this, we are engaging with the world from the outside in. We first assess the outside world so as to come up with a plan for what it would take to avoid what we want to avoid or get what we want to get; and then we adjust ourselves as necessary.
It is difficult to preserve the truth of yourself and be honest in a society where the process of socialization teaches you that certain things are acceptable and certain things are unacceptable. In many families and cultures, the consequences are so high for a child being or not being a certain way or for their truth being or not being a certain thing, that they give up their sense of self in order to avoid those consequences and in order to get what they want and need. They learn that strategy is the way to avoid pain and get what they want and need.
As a result of all of this, in adulthood, so many of us are living from strategy instead of from authenticity. So many of us are being strategic instead of honest; both with ourselves and with others. But so many of us began to relate to other people and to life itself in a strategic way so early that we do this subconsciously. So many people are living in this state of constant strategy, and they don’t even realize it; it is only obvious to the people around them. The reason that we can continue to do this subconsciously is because we decided long ago that what we value most is being able to control the experiences we have. If we can think and speak and act in a way that guarantees that we will avoid what we want to avoid and get what we want to get, we are acting in accordance with our core value. And therefore, in being strategic, we feel like we are being true to ourselves, even if we are being inauthentic and dishonest.
So that you can further understand what I mean, I will give you two examples.
Debbie grew up in a home with a very domineering and controlling single mother. When her father divorced her mother, he moved to a different city. Whenever she behaved in an authentic way as a child that did not please her mother, such as expressing emotion that her mother didn’t like or sharing an opinion that didn’t agree with her, the punishment was isolation. Her best interests were not considered in any decision that was made by either her mother or her father. Therefore, she felt very out of control. Feeling unaccepted by her mother and unloved by her father, she developed so much shame that Debbie decided the most important thing was to prove to herself that she was a good person and to be able to control her life. In order to feel like a good person and to get what she wanted with other people and avoid pain, Debbie became a very, very strategic person.
Debbie blocked out any awareness of any personal truth that might make her feel bad about herself. She refused to accept any reflections that other people gave her that would cause her to feel bad about herself and instead would come up with a reason why they were the one that was wrong/bad instead. She decided to do humanitarian work with her time and energy; so that she could see herself as a good person and get other people to see her as a good person. She hated the work itself, so when she wasn’t shown enough praise, gratitude or credit for what she did, she would quit and join a different humanitarian organization. Debbie was fully locked into the “So That Pattern”. If you want to know more about this pattern, you can watch my video titled: If You Want to Be Happy, Don’t Do This.
Debbie became a very two-faced person. She was insincere and deceitful. Saying pleasant things about a person when she was in front of them and unpleasant things about them when she wasn’t. Even when other people accurately pin pointed her truth based on her actions or on things they had heard she had said behind their backs, she would refuse to admit to it or to reveal that truth. She would deliberately manipulate people to believe that she was completely aligned with them, when the reality is, she was not. She would be openly considerate of other people and meet their needs, so as to obligate them to be considerate of her and meet her needs in return. She would only enter into relationships with men who did not know themselves and strategically help them to realize that their truth was actually the same as her truth and their desires were actually the same as her desires.
Debbie had lost touch with her personal truth and refused to face it. She would refuse to share what personal truth she did know if there were any negative consequences for doing so. So, no one was ever really in a relationship with Debbie. They were in a relationship with a carefully crafted façade, designed to be able to control her environment, avoid pain and get what she wanted and needed. Ultimately, she caused herself and everyone around her incredible pain because of it.
Eric was raised by a transient stream of nannies. His mother had died and his father was a man who had no space or time for a child, unless that child’s accomplishments or behavior was somehow fed his own ego. Eric realized early on that he would never be loved or get his needs met unless he pleased his father. So, he gave up on being true to himself in favor of employing whatever strategy guaranteed him this. He dressed in a way that would please his father, he was praising and affectionate with him, he took up his father’s favorite sport. He joined in on political rallies that belonged to his father’s favorite political party. He told himself that he and his father were best friends. He married the girl he knew his father would love. And then he repeated the same pattern with her. He adopted her life. He wore what she wanted him to wear. He convinced himself that her interests were his interests. He wrote down his dark thoughts and feelings in a journal and never shared them with anyone. He agreed to getting married when she started putting pressure on him to do so. He agreed to having kids with her when she wanted them and told her that he wanted them too. Ultimately, Eric got what he wanted. But at the cost of ever finding out what his personal truth was beyond “I want this person to love me”.
When Eric was 40 years old, he had a mid-life crisis. Because he had been subconsciously making such a strategic game out of his life, he couldn’t keep it up and feel good in his life. And so, he completely flipped on the people in his life. He began to treat them like they had forced him into a life that wasn’t his… That they had controlled him for their own best interests. He cheated on his wife. And he stopped engaging with his kids because his actual truth was that he always wanted an open relationship and he didn’t really want kids in the first place. He just thought that if he said so, his wife would end the relationship. Of course, when he finally did tell his wife this, she had a nervous breakdown and moved back in with her mother. Eric joined the opposite political party from the one he had supported all his life. He stopped going to his father’s house for holidays and became estranged from him, something that severely affected his father’s health. He expressed problems he had with the past with both his father and with his wife years after those situations had occurred, and now that neither of them could do anything about it. He blew up every relationship in his life, causing himself and all of them immeasurable pain.
There are consequences for honesty. I don’t need to tell you about those consequences in this episode because you’ve lived long enough on earth to see what those consequences are. But there are consequences for strategy too. And those consequences I assure you, are severe. To understand more about this in depth, I ask you to watch my video titled: Are you Only Honest When You Feel Like There Are No Consequences?
I can’t say to you that strategy is always a bad idea and that honesty is always better. What I can say is that because we are so unconscious about our choice to be either honest or to be strategic, all too often honesty/authenticity and strategy are diametrically opposed. What I can say is that it is not possible to be stuck in this condition of being constantly strategic and to be happy or to have real relationships at the same time. And so, if you want a life worth living, you’ve got to know what your truth is. See the positive and negative consequences for being honest and see the positive and negative consequences for being strategic. And based off of that awareness, consciously decide what to do with your truth.
Resistance is one of those words that you will hear all the time in healing, spiritual, self-help circles. Resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force. We can experience opposition on the outside and we can experience opposition from the inside. When there is resistance external to us or within us, what it means is that we are out of alignment. Either we are out of alignment with someone or something external to us. Or two aspects of ourselves are out of alignment with each other. There are always negative consequences for not being in alignment, especially when we make a decision or take an action when we are not in alignment. Because of this, when we meet with any form of resistance, we must directly face that resistance and resolve the mis-alignment that it suggests, so as to reach a state of alignment before we make a decision or take an action. To learn more about this in-depth, you can watch my video titled: Urgent! Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else.
All this being said, there is a misconception that many people hold that resistance is always a bad thing. That whatever is in resistance is the problem. And that whatever is being resistant is always in the wrong. Therefore, the resistance is the thing that always must be released, gotten rid of or bulldozed. You’ll hear people say things like: “It’s just their resistance or It’s just my resistance”. And it is easy to assume. For example, let’s say that what you want is a lifelong relationship. A resistant thought to that might be the image of you sitting by yourself in a nursing home at 70 years old. Resistant words may be “there’s no point because all relationships end anyway”. A resistant action might be never going out to meet people and spending all your time alone at home instead. This thought and these words and this action are in resistance to your desire because they are oppositional to it. It is easy to see in this scenario that if the person really wants a lifelong relationship, this resistance is the problem. If this resistance is not released, he or she has energy going towards the manifestation of a relationship and also energy preventing the manifestation of a relationship. But resistance is not this straightforward.
The truth is that resistance is not bad or wrong. It must be resolved, but it always exists for a very important reason and sometimes, it exists for a very good reason. For example, let’s imagine that you want a lifelong relationship and you meet someone that you really like, but you experience resistance to committing to them. That resistance may be there because you have been left before in relationships and the part of you that is in resistance is terrified of that ever happening again; even though in reality, this person will not leave you. Or, that resistance may be because while part of you is focused on all the positives about the person, another part of you is noticing all kinds of red flags. Red flags that you should be taking into account because this person is not capable of having a long-term relationship.
Two more examples of when whatever you perceive to be in resistance, is the one in the right are: Let’s say that you are about to go swim in a Crocodile infested river, you will feel resistance. This is resistance that should be heeded instead of treated as the problem.
Or for example, let’s say that you have to get somewhere fast. You come to a crossroads and you want to go right, but another person is there who knows that the right-side road is flooded and impassible. When this person tries to block your progress down the right-side road, you will perceive this person as being in resistance to you. But this external resistance you are meeting with is more in alignment with your desires than you are, because taking the right road means getting stuck.
Or for example, let’s say that a man has codependent tendencies. His current partner decides that she wants children. Being codependent, and because he automatically wants that sensation of confluence with her, he says “Yes, I definitely think it is time. I’d love to do that with you” and starts having unprotected sex. But his actual authentic truth, that he wont look at, is that he doesn’t want children. He just wants confluence with his partner. That nagging feeling of “no” that he keeps suppressing and the passive aggressive way he is always too busy or not in the mood for sex when she is ovulating, is resistance that actually represents his authentic truth.
Sometimes when we become aware of the aspects of us that are in resistance to each other, we find that instead of opposing our true desires, they point to even deeper desires and that going in the direction we were intent on going was in fact the opposite of what was best for us.
We have the tendency to identify with one side of the resistance equation. For example, If I consciously want to go to a party, I will Identify with that part of me and consider the part of me that doesn’t want to go, the one that is “in resistance”. The reality is that both are in resistance to each other. The part of me that doesn’t want to go to a party perceives the part that does, as being in resistance to it just as much as the part that does want to go to a party experiences the part that doesn’t, as being in resistance to it. Resistance is that oppositional force that is created by both of them not being aligned with each other. Resistance takes two.
If we want to genuinely resolve our resistance and find alignment, we need to let go of our strong identification with any part that is participating in or creating resistance and is therefore misaligned. Resistance always carries important information. We need to directly face, see, hear, feel and understand both sides of the equation of resistance. It is only by doing so that we can understand where this resistance is coming from and gain the information it contains and achieve a more objective perspective so as to be able to resolve the resistance and reach a state of genuine alignment instead.
There is always a WHY to resistance. It always exists for an important reason. If we don’t understand this, we will not be able to resolve the resistance so as to achieve a state of alignment. Your resistance deserves to be treated as valid and important regardless of whether it is about something true or real or not. If you do not treat it this way, if you approach resistance with resistance (by having already decided that it is stupid or shouldn’t be there or needs to change its stance) you will not be able to see, listen to, feel and understand that resistance enough to be able to arrive at your personal higher truth in any given situation and resolve that resistance so as to reach a state of alignment instead.
Compatibility is one of the most important elements of any relationship. And it is only by accurately assessing compatibility that you can figure out what the right type of relationship is and what the right relationship arrangement is between yourself and another person.
Simply put, compatibility is when two things are able to exist or occur together in a state of harmony and without conflict. If two things are compatible, their co-existence is beneficial and ads to the wellbeing of each of them. Incompatibility is when two things cannot exist or occur together without creating conflict and without being a detriment to one or to both of them.
To understand more about why it is so incredibly important to consider compatibility in your relationships, you can watch two of my videos. The first is: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships. The second is: Accept Incompatibility to Avoid Relationship Hell.
One of the most common misunderstandings people have about compatibility is that they confuse compatibility with sameness. What I mean by this is that people assume that they are compatible to someone if they are the same as that person. For example, if they have the same interests, opinions, strengths, likes and dislikes, goals, personality, priorities, beliefs, ambition, passions, philosophies etc. This is not true. Compatibility is more complex than this. Two things being the same might spell compatibility or two things being the same might spell incompatibility. Likewise, two things being different might spell compatibility or they might spell incompatibility.
To give you some simple examples of differences that could spell compatibility or incompatibility, if one person in a relationship wants to have a lot of alone time in a relationship and the other wants a lot of together time, this is a difference that is incompatible. If one person in a relationship loves to cook but hates to clean and the other likes to clean but hates to cook, this is a difference that is compatible. If one person values personal development and change the other values stability and likes things to stay the way they are, this is a difference that is incompatible. If one person likes to be dominant sexually and the other loves to be submissive sexually, this is a difference that is compatible.
To give you some simple examples of sameness that could spell compatibility or incompatibility, if two people have the same religion, this could be a similarity that is compatible. If two people want to be the one in charge of their environment, this could be a similarity that is incompatible. If two people both love dogs, this could be a similarity that is compatible. If two people struggle with intimacy, this could be a similarity that is incompatible.
Now that you can understand in a simplified way how both differences and similarities can spell either compatibility or incompatibility, let’s look deeper at how similarity can imply incompatibility. For this, I will give you a couple of examples from real life. Greg and Melissa are both completely into fitness. Their life revolves around it. It was a big deal to both of them to meet someone who was just as committed to staying healthy and in shape as they are and who will become a work out partner. At face value, they seemed to be very compatible in this way. But Greg is a gym rat who loves weightlifting. He is a big believer that loading calories in the morning and working out at night gives the best results. And he spends 3 hours at the gym every night. Melissa is a runner. She loves to get up early and go out and catch the sunrise. She wants a partner to run with. Even though they both love fitness, this similarity between them leads to constant conflicts. They hardly see each other because their work out schedules are opposite. And Melissa is just as deeply dissatisfied when she joins Greg to do weightlifting as Greg is when he tries to go running with her.
Jennifer and Nora are both super achiever personality types. They are driven, ambitious, disciplined, precise, demanding and love being the center of attention. They were very excited to meet someone else who is like them, especially because people have reflected to each of them separately that they are too hard to get along with because of the way they are. Given this similarity, Jennifer and Nora could have been compatible as allies who sometimes spend quality time together, exchange ideas and resources, and make each other feel “gotten”. But Jennifer and Nora decided to start a business together instead. And because of their sameness, in this arrangement, they ended up in constant conflicts. Each wanted to be in the number one position. Each wanted to make the executive decisions and so each one fought for the other to be the one to make compromises. They both wanted the glory and the limelight, so they both felt the other was in their way rather than being supportive. They both gave underhanded compliments to each other when talking to associates and clients. The entire relationship became a complex power struggle. And when they decided to go their separate ways, Jennifer ended up trying to sue Nora for intellectual rights. Obviously Nora lawyered the hell up in response to that and they went to war.
One of the biggest issues that you will run into if you don’t recognize that compatibility is different than sameness, and if you don’t see that sameness can spell incompatibilities, is that you might end up in relationships where you have nothing to offer someone and they have nothing to offer you. When this is the case, you might not end up in conflicts, but it will feel like you contribute nothing to a person’s life and they contribute nothing towards yours. It feels like this because you both offer the same things in a relationship. And sometimes, the most compatible relationships are those where people offer different things in a relationship.
There is a transactional element in every relationship, whether it is a business relationship, a relationship with the government, a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a familial relationship etc. A transaction at its essence, is nothing more than an energy exchange. It means each person receives something and each person provides something. What makes a transaction a good one, is if each person gets something that is valued. And value, especially with regards to what we value most, is based on what that person needs and wants. A person has to need and want something to truly value it. Therefore, it is usually more difficult to value something you already have an abundance of.
Sameness can lead to a weak transactional element in a relationship. To give you an example, Sean and Lydia are a power couple. They are both very successful people in their own lives. Because of this, they have the same things to offer in a relationship. For example, they offer status, luxury, novel experiences, high energy levels, travel, exclusivity, VIP treatment, respect, entertainment, business savvy, access to resources, impressive contacts, motivation etc. But because they have the same thing to offer, neither of them feels the other really brings something of value to act as magnetic pull between them in the relationship. Lydia doesn’t value the financial power that Sean brings to the table because she already has enough to last a lifetime. Sean doesn’t value Lydia’s high energy levels; his own energy level is so high that he just feels like he is burning the candle at both ends. And in the relationship, the struggle is always whether what Sean needs for his success or what Lydia needs for her success should be the priority. All too often they end up deciding that both should be the priority and so, instead of supporting one another’s success, they just part ways to go pursue their own respective success alone, but with the support of other people rather than each other. They are alone in the relationship with one another.
In reality, Sean would be much more compatible with a woman who valued him for what he brought to the relationship, but whom could offer things like nurturing, support, admiration, relaxation, deep conversation and someone who would be happy making her life about supporting his success because she felt that doing so made her feel fulfilled. In reality, Lydia would be much happier with a man who valued her excellence. A man who could commit to being her ‘safe place to land’. A man that would enable her to achieve her goals, a man who would want to be available to her whenever she needed him, help her to slow down when she needs to slow down and who would be very physically affectionate. To understand more about this, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Be Consciously Transactional (Why Every Relationship Is Transactional).
What you should be going for is a relationship arrangement that is symbiotic. When a relationship is truly symbiotic in its compatibility, it enhances the wellbeing of any and all individuals in that relationship. And as such, you don’t become preoccupied with needing or wanting the other to change into something else in order to be able to feel good in the relationship.
Compatibility is really about seeing the reality of yourself and the reality of someone else, so that you can accurately assess what the right type of relationship is between you and them and what the right relationship arrangement or configuration is between you and them. For this reason, it is important to not confuse compatibility with sameness. Because sameness could in fact imply incompatibility.
The truth about narcissism and codependency is that they are not personality disorders. They are adaptive relationship strategies. Now that I have hit you with that truth straight out of the gate, let me explain.
Some people are aware that the household that they grew up in was dysfunctional. But most people who grew up in dysfunctional households, either don’t know that their family system was dysfunctional or are in denial that it was. We have the tendency to normalize whatever environment we grow up in. To understand more about this, I encourage you to watch my video titled: How Normalization is Hurting You and Hurting Society. When I say dysfunctional, what I mean is that the way the family system operates (and especially the way that the needs of each family member is met) is destructive to the individual members of the family. It diminishes instead of enhances the wellbeing of each member of the system. The way the relationships operate within the family system causes disturbances regarding the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of the individual members of the family. Therefore, we cannot say that the family system works well.
The hidden reality in a dysfunctional family system is this: Every member of the family is really out for themselves. Each person is pursuing their own interest and nobody is reliably interested in anyone else’s wellbeing but their own.” When I say hidden reality, I mean really hidden reality. Because some dysfunctional family dynamics are nauseatingly gaslighting in that they have the appearance of exactly the opposite of this truth. For example, let’s say that a parent dedicates their entire existence to their child succeeding at a specific sport. That child might grow up to have all kinds of disturbances to their mental, emotional and physical health. But not know why and maintain the story that their parent selflessly sacrificed everything for him or her success and dreams. In reality, this parent may have in fact been motivated to drive the success of their child for their own personal needs and desires the entire time; no matter the adverse effects on their child. Needs and desires like fueling their own positive self-concept, the desire to create invisible strings of indebtedness so that their child will support them in turn or success by proxy. And when this is the case, even though at a conscious level, the child often does not register the reality, at a subconscious level, they know something just isn’t right. They usually internalize it and tell themselves the story that something must be wrong with them. But they suffer none the less and experience the destructive effects of the dysfunctional relationship. So, it is important to know that in a dysfunctional social system, including a family, the fact that every person is out for themselves is the truth that everyone will try to cover up and deny.
If every person is really out for themselves, the relationships within a dysfunctional family are not reliably safe. The definition of an unsafe relationship is a relationship with someone who is not taking you as part of themselves and therefore is not taking your best interests as part of their own best interests. This is a state of disconnection and perceived separateness where they cannot see you, feel you, hear you and understand you to even know what your best interests really are. It is essentially a lack of attunement and a lack of love. A person in a dysfunctional family system can oppose your wellbeing for the sake of their own. In a dysfunctional family system, the members start to play zero sum games with each other. It is a recipe for pain, conflict, and even abuse.
When we find ourselves in a family system like this, in order to ensure our own wellbeing, we feel we only have one choice: To jump on the bandwagon of vying for our own best interests and to create adaptations to that family system, so that we can feel as safe as possible and so that we can have as much control as possible over getting our own needs met. There are so many different strategies that children can employ in order to do this. Just to give you just some examples, they can become oppositionally defiant, they can become hyper achievers, they can become cunning manipulators, they can make themselves invisible, they can become people pleasers, they can become cheerleaders, they can become caretakers, helpers or enablers, they can become peacemakers or mediators, they can become the one in the family that lightens the mood, they can become hyper responsible, they can become the household managers, they can become the martyrs or they can become the scapegoat or the golden child etc.
What is important to understand is that before a child selects these various strategies, what they are faced with in a dysfunctional family system is a choice. 1. They can go through the front door and fight the other members of the family system for their own best interests. Or 2. They can go through the backdoor and manipulate the other members of the family system for their own best interests. And it is here that people develop the relationship strategy of narcissism or codependency.
People who develop the relationship adaptation style of narcissism decide at a subconscious level that because no one is really concerned for their welfare, benefit and best interests (the world is a hostile place), they must survive by detaching from others, cutting themselves off from connection and affinity and being concerned only for their own welfare, benefit and interests; regardless of the impact on others.
For example, a child who develops this style of relating in their childhood may deny their dependence on their parents and enter into consistent conflict with them, refuse to reciprocate, struggle with empathy towards other people in the family system, monopolize conversations, and become preoccupied with their own successes. In their adulthood, they may not really see, hear or feel other people and therefore, will not consider them. They may exploit other people in order to meet their own needs and at the expense of others without perceiving the pain they are causing; they may be hyper focused on their own grandiose accomplishments to cover up for their low self-esteem. And they may dupe people by entering into a relationship with a person by showing the person excess attention, adoration and affection so as to influence the person to become committed, dependent and obligated to them; thus gaining power over the person at the same time as experiencing the self-esteem enduing personal success of “getting” them.
People who develop the relationship adaptation style of codependency decide at a subconscious level that because no one is really concerned for their welfare, benefit and best interests, the best way to survive is to get their own needs met by sacrificing parts of themselves so as to conform to other people’s interests and creating an attuned emotional contract with them, whereby their own needs are manipulatively met in exchange for doing so. You will hear pretty much everywhere that codependents place a lower priority on their own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. This is not true. It only looks like that on the outside. The reality is that the preoccupation with the needs of others is their method for getting their own needs met.
For example, a child who develops this style of relating in their childhood may simply never form an identity so as to conform themselves to being whatever pleases their parents, adopt the values of their parents, not make decisions for themselves, never assert themselves into conversation and try to fix every individual family member’s problems in order to try to create security and stability for themselves. In their adulthood, they may not be able to identify the difference between their own boundaries and other people’s boundaries, they may be passive aggressive and fail to communicate, they might sacrifice all of their other needs and desires for the sake of getting the approval of others, they might become obsessed with securing a sense of their own moral goodness. And they might dupe people by entering into a relationship with another person and mirroring them, leading the other person to perceive that a sameness or compatibility exists, which doesn’t actually exist.
Any member of a dysfunctional family system has a deep well of fear and grief regarding relationships in general. As well as a deep struggle with self-concept. Because there is no real experience of love in such a social system, only the facade of love, every member of such a system comes to believe that they are fundamentally unlovable. As a result, what unites the narcissist and the codependent is a core of shame. For this reason, both the narcissist and codependent embark on a lifelong mission to feel good about themselves. Both have learned that in an unloving world, they cannot get love and they cannot get their needs met freely from others. Therefore, they have to oppose people and/or manipulate people to get what they want and need.
Narcissism and codependency definitely exist on a scale of severity. And they are no different than any dysfunctional adaptation. They are both complex dysfunctional relationship strategies that people learned and adopted in order to be able to stay safe in their specific family system. And this way of being in their family system becomes their default way of being in relationships with other people in general. To understand more about this concept of behavioral dysfunction being nothing more than an adaptation, I would encourage you to watch my video titled: The Root of Mental Illness is Unsafety.
One huge tell that narcissism and codependency are relationship strategy styles rather than fixed character dysfunctions is that these behaviors arise specifically within the context of relationship. This is because they are a byproduct of relational trauma. And a person may alternate between these styles in relationships. For example, a person might act more like the narcissist in one relationship and more like the codependent in another. Or a person might be a codependent in a relationship until that strategy doesn’t work anymore and then flip into a narcissistic style of relating within that same relationship. This is because narcissism and codependency are both narcissistic relationship strategies. One is more overt and the other is more covert. You can say that each contains the seed of the other. Inside every narcissist is a covert codependent and inside every codependent is a covert narcissist. Both grow up watching these different and opposite strategies of relating in an unsafe social environment; which they believe all social environments are. Though they often have a better understanding of the drawbacks of employing the opposite strategy.
When we grow up in an ‘every man for himself’ social system, we adapt by employing all kinds of strategies for staying safe in and trying to get our needs met in that social system. When we look at a narcissist, all we are looking at is a collection of strategies for doing so. And when we are looking at a codependent, all we are looking at is a collection of strategies for doing so. And whether we choose to employ one set of strategies or another is down to so many specific details, elements, nuances and circumstances in whatever relationship, family, or social system that we find ourselves in. In a world where dysfunctional relationship is unfortunately the human norm, the work of our lives is to extricate ourselves from these dysfunctional patterns within relationships and to create relationships and relationship systems that enhance and secure the wellbeing of every individual member within them.
One could say that integration is the truest spiritual goal.For the universe to become one, as a fractal of the universe, we must become one. We will do that by integrating. We will integrate by “loving” all aspects of ourselves. We will integrate by pulling close and seeing value in the aspects of us that we have pushed away.
For most of us in the world, in the process that we go through in order to ‘grow up’, there is an element of pushing our child-self away. And this is a tragedy because when we push our child self away, we don’t simply gain all the positive attributes of maturity and adulthood. We lose all the positive attributes of youth and childhood. An essential part of integration is to re-own your child self. An essential spiritual practice is to ‘become like a child’.
Obviously one of the most straightforward ways to integrate the child self is to do inner child work. There are several methods for doing this. To learn my favorite methods, you can watch two of my videos. The first titled: A Letter from Your Inner Child – Inner child Work. And the second titled: Parts Work (What Is Parts Work and How to Do It). And you can start doing The Completion Process. To learn how to do this process, you can pick up a copy of my book that is quite literally titled: The Completion Process. Alternatively, you can go to www.completionprocess.com and select a practitioner to lead you through it.
But something that you can also do is to re-own and practice your child-like qualities by including the practice of ‘becoming like a child’ to your spiritual practice. Restore yourself to a child-like sense of life. And here are some ways that you can do that:
Spend time around children and join their world. This can take the form of sitting at a park and simply watching them, letting yourself become lost in their way of being in the world; or even meditating on the children at play there. It can take the form of deliberately spending quality time with a child, talking to them, asking them questions, and/or playing with them. But when you do this, instead of you bringing them into your world and way of seeing things, let them bring you into their world and into their way of seeing things. Your aim is simply to follow along.
Be in the present moment. One of the beautiful elements of the child is that the child is immersed in the present moment. As a result, they experience the full impact of life itself. The full taste and smell and feel and sound of things. Bring your attention back to what is happening in the moment regarding whatever it is that you are experiencing. And take it in fully. Really BE THERE.
Play. When we are children, we know how to have fun. We don’t have to be coerced into play. We don’t need a reward to give us incentive to play. Play is just a natural, intrinsic function of being human. Play is defined as engagement in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than for a serious or practical purpose. But this is where we have to stop and think. In the very definition of the word play, we find the dysfunction of the society we have co-created. We have all grown up thinking that play is not synonymous with any purpose. We grow up and wonder why we aren’t happy without realizing that it is because we don’t take the straight path to happiness by prioritizing enjoyment. Rather, we spend our lives beating around the bush, hoping that our happiness will come as the end result of other priorities like keeping a reliable job or reaching our goals.
Childhood is not the only time we need play. We need it just as much when we are adults, but we tend to get worse and worse at it. Most of us haven’t played for so long that we’ve forgotten how to do it. There is no right or wrong way to play. It can take the form of a game like poker. It could be playing a sport like volleyball. It can take the form of a leisure activity like taking a bath or it could be some kind of totally spontaneous action like climbing a tree. No matter what it is, the only criterion that the activity (or nonactivity) must meet in order to be considered play, is that you are doing it for one reason and one reason only: To enjoy yourself. Having fun isn’t just about the big “fun” things like skydiving—it’s also about the small things, like giving yourself permission to take a leisurely walk along a beach, go on a date, or even get totally wet instead of covering up when it rains one day.
Develop your awareness of the “spontaneous play impulse.” In the same way that someone might have to tune in to and recognize his or her emotions, you might have to tune in to and recognize your play impulse. For example, when you are walking on a beach, you may have the spontaneous inspiration to run into the surf regardless of whether you are wearing pants or shorts. A sensible person who has trained themselves to ignore and defy their play impulse would choose not to heed that inspiration to play and instead would immediately argue with the impulse by justifying why it’s a bad decision. Maybe they’d think about getting their pants wet and then getting their car seat wet and then having to do laundry. Whatever the case may be, they would not allow themselves to play. They may defy their play impulse so often that they no longer recognize the impulse at all. A person who has recognized the value in enjoyment, on the other hand, would recognize the impulse to play and heed that inspiration by running out into the surf for example. When that play impulse comes up, let yourself act on the impulse to play. Let yourself climb that tree if you suddenly get the impulse to climb it. Let yourself buy the finger paints you pass in the grocery- store aisle and paint with them. Give yourself permission to roll down a grassy hill in the park even if you’re wearing a skirt or a suit and tie. Sign up for scuba-diving lessons if you’ve always wanted to try it.
Try new things. And experience old things as if you are experiencing them for the very first time. One of the most intoxicating things about being around children is that they are experiencing everything for the first time. And when we show a child something, it is as if we get to re-experience it for the first time. And by doing so, we don’t take it for granted. Even simple things, like puddles, become things of wonder. To restore this sense of wonder, we need to put ourselves back in that place of trying new things. And learn new things. It doesn’t matter what it is. This keeps you young, no matter what your age is. Part of this practice is to do a mental exercise where you pretend that you are a walk in or an alien who, having suddenly been given a human body, are now going to experience things on earth for the first time. You may have eaten granola 1,000 times before. But this time, you are going to pretend that you have never eaten it before and try to experience granola as if it were the first time. You may have walked down a road 100 times before. But this time, you are going to pretend that you have never walked down it before. And try to experience that road as if it were the first time. This is a powerful way to restore your innocence.
Be curious. Keep your mind active instead of passive. For this practice, throw away whatever knowing that you think you have, including the idea of boredom. If you find something boring, you are not looking deep or close enough at it. Start from a place of: Nothing is boring. Start from a place of not knowing. Let go of all pre conceived ideas. Keep an open mind and an attitude of wanting to learn instead of judge. And also, connect to the fun in learning. Ask questions. You cannot ask too many questions. Question everything. Make it a habit to spend time in different worlds. What I mean by this is that a specific movie is a world. A specific social group is a world. A field of interest is a world. To develop curiosity, you’re going to have to stop sticking to only the worlds you know and you’re going to have to become a mental traveler, even if that means reading something you would never normally read or talking to someone from a totally different walk of life. Seek out different worlds. Do something or engage with something totally out of the norm. Search for the positive in anything you come across. And study everything you come across.
Be radically honest. Say what’s on your mind. And say how you feel. One of the greatest things about children is that they are so honest. They express themselves honestly and openly until they are trained not to. Whenever you encounter a situation where you are tempted to be strategic, be honest instead. Even if at first you are only called to practice being radically honest with yourself and in a journal, re-establishing that connection between your awareness and your immediate personal truth will take you a long way. Adults feel the pressure to behave in ways that are counter to their own truth. They say they aren’t hungry when they are. They act like they are fine alone, when they aren’t. They sit in positions their body doesn’t want to be in. To be like a child, there needs to be a congruence between your truth and the rest of you.
Let other people help you. Part of this is to re-connect to your needs. Draw on other people’s knowledge and capabilities and skills. And don’t pretend you don’t have a need when you do. For example, a child will not just keep on walking if they are thirsty. They act as if their needs are a crucial element of life. So, start to become aware of and meet those needs, including asking someone to help you meet those needs. Needing others does not mean anything negative about a child… It also doesn’t mean anything negative about you.
Identify the qualities of children that you would like to emulate and then emulate them. Observing how children do these things might help you. For example, if you identify that a quality of children that you’d like to emulate is creativity, then watch how a child creates. By watching how they create, you might then get messy. You might assume you’d be good at something and find out whether you are or not by trying it. You might do something hands on. You might let your imagination run free, uninhibited by ideas of what is possible and not possible. You might stop being inhibited by what other people will think of what you create. And you might create with things and in ways that could be considered wacky.
No matter what practice you select in order to become like a child, make sure to remember this: A child would not be serious about any of them. So, don’t be serious or disciplined about any one of these practices. And if you find yourself getting serious, instead of lighthearted about doing any one of them, drop it.
We have the tendency to minimize the power of the child. We love to think that the child represents what we will grow out of in the process of personal progression. But I have a little secret for you. The inner child is the disguise for the higher self. This is why awakened beings have many childlike qualities. In fact, the more awakened someone becomes, the more they become once again like a child; albeit a very wise one. And so, it only seems appropriate to end this article with a quote by Paula Poundstone:
“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.”