Back pain is an all-consuming experience. You will not realize how much you depend on your back on a daily basis until it is “injured”. And when it is, you will feel crippled. It is also an emotionally intimidating experience, especially for people who use movement to turn down or turn off their negative emotions. The current medicine of our day does not yet recognize the relationship between the mind, emotions and body. All physical ailments have a mental and emotional root… even ailments that at face value are caused by physical accidents. To leave out the mental and emotional dimension of physical ailment is to practice poor medicine. The resolution of physical ailments is often dependent upon the resolving of those mental and emotional elements. But back pain is special in that if you are going to resolve your back pain, you are going to have to get ahead of the current times and really get that if you have back pain, it is about an emotional issue.
Injury can obviously occur to cause back pain, people can break their back in an accident for example. But this is by far and away the exception. And, there is also an emotional reason for someone getting into an accident. Unless someone has no idea why they have back pain because it simply came on seemingly out of nowhere, people who suffer with back pain, believe they were hurt or that the pain was brought on by some physical activity. This is not actually the case. This ‘moment’ of onset is simply when the pain started. You can think of it as the trigger. There is always a reason why THAT moment was when it started, and it is related to the emotional/mental root of the issue. The reality is that because of this mental/emotional root, there was stress that caused the tension in that area before that moment. This tension makes the blood flow constrict and muscles and nerves and bones and tendons and ligaments in that area susceptible to setting off pain signals as well as more susceptible to injury. You could consider this moment of onset the crisis point of escalation of the underlying mental and emotional issue.
For example, let’s say that a woman feels totally unsupported and burdened with the full responsibility of the household and children. She needs support and she needs her husband to take his fair share of responsibility relative to the kids. Her daughter has to be driven to soccer practice. She knows her husband will stay in the chair watching TV. So, she feels obligated and resentful and bulldozes herself to be the one to get her daughter ready and in the car and drive her to practice herself. This causes tension to occur in the muscles in her back. When she pulls into the parking lot, and lifts the soccer equipment out of the car, she “tweaks” her back and tells the story “the pain is about me lifting the equipment out wrong”. The pain is actually about feeling totally unsupported and unfairly burdened with responsibility in her home life. This moment is simply the moment that this repressed emotional problem in her life has reached a threshold at which point the symptom of that underlying problem begins.
Some experts will tell you that back pain is your body’s way of converting psychological pain to physical pain as a way of covering up, distracting or repressing the emotional pain. It is true that this may be the protection strategy belonging to one or more of your parts, because it is terrified of facing the reality of the psychological and emotional stress it is in. You must consider that potentially the physical pain is serving as an avoidance or deflection strategy from emotional distress. But physical pain occurs when the emotional and mental pain is repressed (which is to subconsciously feed it with energy) for so long, that it escalates into a physical manifestation. And it does this so that you can no longer repress it and are forced to face and resolve it instead. The faster and more willingly you do this, the faster the physical manifestation, which is a symptom (in this case the back pain) goes away.
Pain exists to draw our attention to what needs attention in order for resolution to occur. In fact, you could say that pain stands for; Pay Attention Integrate Now. Pain increases to make suppressing, denying, escaping or avoiding a problem impossible to do. Pain can be thought of as a child that is screaming and crying for you to resolve something that is causing it pain. If you are in pain, something in your life on a mental, emotional or physical level needs to be changed so that you can be in alignment and feel good. If you are not putting energy into recognizing and resolving the actual root issue causing that pain, simply taking pain medications is like silencing that small child by drugging it to sleep. All pain has a cause. You have to find and resolve that cause for the pain to go away. The pain is not the problem. It’s the alarm bell alerting you to the problem.
You’re going to have to talk to your back to find the mental/emotional root of your back pain. A while back, I did a video titled: Parts Work, What Is Parts Work and How To Do It. In this episode, I explained that when you have a physical ailment, you have to talk to the part of your body that is having a problem. When it comes to back pain, you can talk to your back and you can talk to your back pain specifically (they may be two different parts). To learn specifically how to do this, watch that video. I must mention here that consciousness exists separate of the brain. Pain originates in consciousness. But on a physiological level, pain originates in the brain. For this reason, another ‘part’ of yourself that is good to become familiar with and talk to in order to find resolution when you are suffering any kind of pain, is your brain.
When it comes to back pain, you must take a look at whatever situation in your life seems “unworkable”. When something is unworkable, it implies that you are powerless to it staying the way it is. If you perceive something to be causing you pain or threatening to cause you pain on an emotional, mental or physical level, you need to change the situation so you can feel good again. If you believed that could happen and knew how to do it, you would feel empowered and so, you wouldn’t become stressed and tense. But if you perceive whatever is causing you that pain or posing that threat to be unworkable, you feel immediately powerless. The perception of unworkability leads to a feeling of powerlessness and this creates the emotional experience of pressure, anxiety and anger. With back pain, this entire emotional experience is what becomes repressed. What in your current life do you feel is totally unworkable? Name it directly. From there, all your energy should go towards consciously figuring out what to do about that perception of unworkability specifically. First of all, is it really unworkable? Maybe you can tell whoever is involved in the situation what you feel is totally unworkable so that you draw their attention to it so that they can problem solve that unworkability with you. Ask yourself, what could I try to do so that the situation that feels unworkable is workable instead? Only if it is truly unworkable… you can ask yourself: if I accepted that unworkability, instead of simply accepting that my life will be pain, what would I do instead? Because so many unworkable situations are lose-lose situations, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: How to Win at Lose-Lose (No Win) Scenarios.
Consider that your back pain is your physical body screaming “I can’t” when you refuse to do it... That perhaps it is expressing a boundary that you refuse to acknowledge or assert. Back pain often suggests you have a limit you are not acknowledging. What can’t you do or can’t you say yes to? What is really a No for you? What is that personal truth you feel you can’t admit to or own or express because of fear of consequence for doing so? Or can’t admit to or express because you feel it doesn’t matter if you have a limit, you don’t get to have that limit? The reality is, a limit is not weakness. It is as unhealthy to ignore your limits as it is to never stretch them or invent ones that don’t exist. You can’t live a healthy life and bulldoze your actual limits.
People experiencing back pain are TENSE in their current life. People with chronic back pain are tense people personality wise. So it would benefit you to recognize the tense-ness of yourself, especially the why behind that tension. As well as to figure out and resolve the factors contributing to that tension. For example, if you find yourself in a crisis where suddenly there is a threat to something important in your life, you will become tense as a way of guarding yourself or buffering yourself against others. For another example, you might be a person who has a deep attachment to success. You put constant pressure on yourself to achieve and excel and work hard to accomplish everything by yourself so as to avoid feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. When you become aware of the tension in your life specifically, ask yourself: How could I let go of that tension? How could that tension be changed into ‘release”?
If you struggle with back pain, you have to take a look at control. Tension, which is the physiological root of back pain, occurs when we are trying to control something. And we tend to try to control situations to avoid a perceived consequence. What might happen if you had no ability to control the current situation in your life that is causing you stress? Are you telling yourself that you are lending help or support to other people, when in reality it is just disguised attempt to control them or the situation so as to avoid a consequence? Is there any way you could bring about what you want without resorting to control behaviors?
Back pain always happens when you are bulldozing yourself. You are doing something despite the fact that you don’t want to. And so often with back pain, this bulldozing is related to doing something for others (like serving or helping) that you don’t want to do… In other words, a burden. This back pain tends to increase when you perceive that serving or helping or the responsibility you are taking should not be “on you”, but it is. This leaves you carrying the weight of the world. To visualize this, imagine you are on a walk with 5 other people. Each has a back pack with critical supplies for the trip. But with an excuse, each person eventually decides to drop their backpacks. They ask you to carry the backpack for them. You don’t want to. But leaving their backpacks behind means consequences for you and for everyone else too. So, you put their backpacks on one by one… Until you buckle under the weight of the backpacks and the self-betrayal and the unfairness. The two most common frequencies I see in conjunction with back pain are obligation and resented responsibility. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Bulldozing (The Way to Ruin Your Relationship with Yourself). To resolve back pain, you’ve got to understand clearly why you are saying YES to burdens that are a NO for you and find another way to resolve the situation that is putting that burden on you, other than just taking on the burden.
If you were to sum up the energy of the back on a metaphysical level, it would be: Support. Anytime you experience back pain, you need to consider how unsupported you feel. Do you have support? Are you being enabled? Or are people in your life doing the opposite? Are you bending over backwards for other people? Are you afraid of or resistant to getting or accepting support? What support do you need?
A while back, I did a video titled: The Hidden Positive Intention, The Key To Letting go. I that video, I explained that often inherent in negative symptoms or behaviors, there is a positive intention for them to exist. Some people call this a secondary or back-door gain. If you are a person who feels burdened and unfairly responsible with no support, back pain can manifest as an ‘excuse’ to do things like have a boundary you don’t feel like you can have, get people “off your back” or to rest or make time for yourself (without feeling the usual guilt you feel for doing so) or to get out of obligations or to solicit support from people or to force people to take back the responsibilities they should have already been carrying in the first place. Take the time to see if you’re so afraid of directly confronting this “problem” in your life that is causing the back pain, that the back pain itself may in fact be a back-door solution. Resolve your fear about confronting and resolving the problem directly and with others instead.
Breathe into your back, especially the specific area where you feel pain. You can do this as a visualization. Breath is life force energy. It also carries oxygen. Both of which are desperately needed to release “stuck-ness” and restore movement to an area where tension or injury has occurred. Many experts on back pain believe that on a physiological level, back pain is caused by oxygen deprivation to the specific tissues effected due to a lack of blood flow to them. Many have even succeeded in linking that it is the mind and subsequent emotions that signal the biological reaction that creates this reduction in blood flow and oxygen. You may even want to consider oxygen treatment if it is available in your area.
Don’t stay in bed and don’t use a brace. This is the thing you may be tempted to do. But this can actually have the opposite effect. It can increase pain and stiffness and weakness as well as prolong recovery. Your back needs blood flow to heal and blood flow occurs with movement and muscle contraction and release, not staying still. You can begin with things like stretching and walking, gradually resuming normal activity in conjunction with the decrease in your pain. The fear of physical activity is common when it comes to back pain and you need to work with that fear instead of bulldoze it.
But as counterintuitive as it may sound, it may be beneficial for you to look into the theory that several experts have, which is that the solution to overcoming back pain is to do all of your normal activities and act as if nothing is abnormal at all so as to stop playing into the the psychological pain conversion pattern that is so often at the root of back pain. At the very least, I want you to imagine that today, you simply acted as if nothing was going on and resumed your normal activities and as a result, your pain went away entirely. What would you be afraid would or wouldn’t happen? For example, I asked one of my clients this question and to his surprise, he felt afraid and let down. His answer was, I’m afraid that if my back pain just goes away just like that right now, I will go right back to saying yes to financially supporting my ex- girlfriend and helping her whenever she asks and keep putting up with, instead of changing this dysfunctional dynamic we have going.
In order to introduce the experience of ‘support’ to your system, you can try physical treatments you feel called to. Things like relaxation techniques, magnet therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, stretching, nerve stimulation, heat or cold therapy, physical manipulation or massage. Simply be aware that physical treatments do not resolve the underlying root of the problem and that many experts even go so far as to say that when no structural problem is present, physical treatments of any kind are either placebo or perpetuate the problem due to it feeding the psychological to physical pain conversion pattern.
Back pain may just be the physical ailment to lead people into the awareness of the mind-body connection. Part of developing that relationship is to trust your back. When we are faced with back pain, we begin to doubt in our own backs. We believe they are fragile, vulnerable and injury prone. Society for some reason has perpetuated this idea. This is not the case. Your back is being used constantly. It is in fact a very tough part of the body that is constantly in use in your day to day life and is perfectly capable of handling all of the activities that you are warned that it cannot handle. It is perfectly capable of imposing limits and setting boundaries and asserting your personal truth, when you cannot. By consciously integrating this rather rugged aspect of your being, you can live a life of integrity that is in-alignment with your personal truth, without back pain.
People ask me every day why other people in their life won’t change and why no matter what they do, they can’t change certain things. The answer is actually very simple. The answer is because there is resistance to the change. In other words, not all energies involved are a ‘yes’ to the change, some are a ‘no’ to the change. This is very hard to recognize when you are not conscious of the resistance. For example, let’s imagine that what you really, really want is to have a loving partner. You may not be conscious of parts of yourself that think having a loving partner would mean losing your sense of autonomy. And so you may consciously be doing everything to get a partner while in the background, the other parts of you are sabotaging every effort you make relative to finding a partner and are keeping you single on purpose.
Our failure to recognize and work with resistance that is present, is what really keeps us stuck in a pattern the way it is. To understand resistance, I want you to imagine a stream with a fast-moving current. In this current, there is a boat. This boat has 6 oarsmen in it, each of whom have a paddle. Some of the oarsmen are paddling downstream with the current. Some of them are paddling upstream, against the current. These oarsmen who are trying to paddle the boat upstream are in resistance. They are in resistance to the current itself. They are in resistance to the oarsmen who are also trying to paddle the boat downstream. Resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force.
We can meet with opposition from the outside and we can meet with opposition from the inside. Obviously resistance from the outside is external people, events and circumstances opposing you. But internal and external resistance go hand in hand. The resistance we encounter on the outside is a reflection of internal resistance that exists, usually internal resistance that we are unaware of. The main source of internal opposition, the source of our resistant thoughts, words and actions is the splits within our consciousness. The rule of thumb is this: If you have any resistance taking place within your being, you must directly deal with the resistance first before doing anything else. For more information about resistance and what to do about it, watch my video titled: Urgent! Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else!
Change is something that people tend to resist. In fact, when most people are faced with change, they go through a cycle of denial, anger, confusion and sadness before accepting the change and most especially finding a new confidence within the change. There are multiple reasons why people resist change. I’m going to list some of these reasons for you.
Our sense of safety is all wound up in the way things are and the way that we are. Any change, destabilizes this sense of safety and security. It completely messes with our sense of control. For example, imagine that a strategy that we have found for staying safe in relation to other people is to be independent. If suddenly we find ourselves having to be dependent or having to let go of our independency in any way, we immediately feel unsafe. Or let’s say that whatever change we make, will make us different than other people. Suddenly, we feel we don’t belong and may be treated as an outcast, which would hurt us emotionally and threaten our closeness with others. Immediately we feel unsafe. The need for a routine, which is pretty much the opposite of change, falls into this category. Our routine is familiar and makes us feel secure. When we have to do something differently and our routine gets disturbed, we lose that sense of security. Perceiving ourselves to be unsafe or vulnerable, activates our primal centers for survival, which tell us: This change is to be avoided at all costs.
Change makes us lose our confidence. This goes hand in hand with our sense of safety, security and control. Because a change requires us to step into the new, we suddenly feel vulnerable and incompetent and out of control. Many changes make us feel like what we know and all the skills we have built up are suddenly obsolete. We also feel more at the mercy of others who are more competent in the new scenario than we are. In this way, change tends to make us feel bad about ourselves and most people want to avoid this feeling at all costs.
We don’t understand or misunderstand the need for the change. This is especially true if we were not consulted about the change, included in the decision to make the change or don’t see or feel that the change is in our best interests. If we do not get why a change is happening or why it is needed, we will fight hard for what we already do. Sometimes, a change seems like a bad change and therefore not something that we consciously chose, but something that was forced on us instead. When this is the case, we resist change the very most. It may be of interest to understand that most drastic change in fact arises from crisis for this reason. Because people have so much resistance to change, people usually won’t choose change, instead the forces that be in this universe often end up forcing it upon them. When this happens, the first thing we do is to refuse to accept that a change has been forced upon us. In fact, it is change that we are trying to prevent. All the ways we try to gain control over the situation are an attempt to get things to go back to normal. We become desperate to get things to go back to normal. It takes a while for the reality to sink in and to accept that the change is happening whether all of ourself consents to it or not.
Fear of what we project into the unknown. And insecurity relative to the new. Uncertainty puts the worrying mind into high gear. People don’t actually fear the unknown. They fear what they imagine the unknown could contain. Also, our confidence is rooted in what we do know. This is why the sayings “better known pain than unknown pleasure” or “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” exists. What it means is that we tend to choose to stay in a situation and not make a change even if we know that not changing is painful. Most of us would rather do this than take the risk that by making a change, things could be better. We feel confident in our ability to handle the pain of what we already know. Many times, when faced with making a change, we don’t know if that change will be better or worse. We feel no confidence that it will be better and we have no confidence in our ability to handle it if it is worse. You can even see this fear in the fact that when we are threatened, we tend to want to be in a familiar environment, even if it is more dangerous because we feel less vulnerable in an environment that we know the most about.
We have emotional connection to what we think the change is threatening to make us lose. If we perceive any loss in conjunction with a change, we do not accept the change. This could be the loss of a person or a place or a thing. It could also be the loss of an idea or feeling or experience. For example, if a person gets so old that they are no longer allowed to drive, they may resist this change because it causes them to feel a loss of a sense of autonomy that they cherish.
Low levels of trust. This is especially the case when a change is invoked by someone or something else. We live in a world where people do not take each other as a part of themselves. As a result, many people really are out for themselves and their own best interests. This means they cannot be trusted because to trust is to rely upon someone to capitalize your best interests. To the degree that a person has grown up to expect this behavior and to the degree that they have been hurt by this, they will resist change that is imposed on them or asked of them by anyone else because of this lack of trust.
Also, growing up in an environment where people cannot be trusted causes a person’s own consciousness to fragment. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. Many of their own internal parts will be engaged in a zero-sum game and will mirror their external environment in terms of their strategies that destroy trust. So a person will also not trust themselves. Not trusting yourself also makes you resistant to change because you’re not sure if you can trust the part of you that is on board with that change.
We don’t clearly see the reward and benefit of the change. If we did see the rewards, we would have most likely made the change already. If we don’t see the reward or benefit of a change, we don’t feel like we chose the change, we feel it is forced upon us. This makes us feel totally out of control. This also makes recognizing the benefit or reward of the change almost impossible to see. Instead, it feels like the change is against us. It is not what we want and we feel it is the opposite of our best interests. No one is going to get on board with a change that they feel will leave them worse off. In the same vein, if the rewards for making change do not justify the difficulty of making a change, we will resist the change.
Even the least conscious people can feel the reality of ripple effects. We avoid a change because we don’t want that change to effect other areas of our life. We live an existence that is highly, highly interdependent. One change can lead to many, many other changes. It can bring about a whole new set of problems along with possibilities. Most of us intuitively sense that our lives are a game of dominoes. We have some of those dominoes that we are ok with watching fall and others that we are not ok with watching fall. Imagine making a change, pushing one domino over, and watching a whole chain of them go down, including ones you didn’t want to have fall. For example, a woman might avoid leaving her husband because she knows that doing so would force her to have to get a job and doing that would mean that she would have to put her kids in daycare and doing that may make them feel negatively towards her. We are especially afraid of making a change if we can feel the potential of a change to affect many areas of life, but don’t have clear vision of exactly how or in what ways. For more information about this, watch my video titled: The Catch-Up Effect, Why We Really Fear Change.
A critical thing to understand about the resistance to change is that it doesn’t come from a bad place. Other people and parts of yourself resist change when they think that the change is going to lead them to pain instead of pleasure. Their perception may be wrong, but they genuinely believe that they are acting in alignment with best interests in saying NO to the change. For example, a person who is anti-abortion, genuinely believes they are preventing murder and preserving life. To them, anyone who wants to change an abortion law so that it is legal, is literally voting to legalize murder. A part of you that does not want to lose weight may believe that if it loses weight, it will no longer be able to buffer you from the world and stay safe by staying hidden and invisible. To this part, any part of you that wants to lose weight, is literally trying to blindly walk you into an interpersonal battlefield without any armor. To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage.
If we feel a change will bring about something that is positive, needed and wanted and will not cause us to lose anything that we can’t afford to lose, we feel it is safe. We will then willingly accept any discomfort that comes with change. There will either be no resistance to the change or the resistance will be so minimal that the change will not be a hard no. There is a big difference vibrationally between “I’m scared and it’s a NO for me” and “it’s a YES for me but I’m scared!” This means, if a change isn’t happening, you have to work with instead of against the resistance to the change. You must do this with an open mind that is not already fixed on the idea that the change must happen no matter what. You have to work to resolve the resistance. And you must do that with both understanding and compassion. Hopefully, now that you know the main reasons that people resist change, that will be easier to do.
I have to say that for me to decide to write an article on kindness, things have to be really, really bad in the world. Plenty of spiritual leaders have talked about kindness. It is already a social value. It is that trite, Pollyanna, sunshine, gumdrops and roses concept they teach us in kindergarten. It’s a roll your eyes concept that we all think we get by now. But the thing is, we don’t get it.
Though this article is valid in the current human society no matter what is happening, I am writing this as a pandemic crisis, anti-racism/police brutality protests and rioting as well as a recession are what currently defines human society. The shadow of human society today can be summed up in one word: Hostile. And we are suffering from it greatly. And it just so happens that the antidote is: Kindness.
By the time that most people in the world reach adulthood, they have become acclimatized and desensitized to the hostility and harshness of the world and human society. Everyone falls somewhere on the scale of personal experience with the harshness and hostility in the world. They have adapted to it. You may not remember that adaptation process, but it was an incredibly painful process for you. And that adaptation process was full to the brim with things like shame, aloneness, disappointment, disillusionment, the acceptance of the reality of many painful truths and the reality of unsafety, the development of distrust and fragmenting internally as a coping mechanism.
But the saddest part in all of this process is that you split as a result of it. You buried your vulnerability. You underwent a process of hardening. Many of you became harsh and hostile in certain ways so as to exist in a harsh and hostile world. But by doing so, you became part of the problem and made the world even more harsh. If you haven’t done so already, I want you to watch my video titled Fragmentation, the Worldwide Disease. In that video, I explain this process of splitting so as to hide vulnerable parts of your consciousness, while pushing protector parts of your consciousness to the surface. You hide the vulnerable parts of you that need and so desperately crave kindness. You present whatever parts of yourself to the world that kept you the safest. When the priority is personal safety, it becomes a very inauthentic, narcissistic world. It becomes a world in which everyone is doing things for their own best interests. It becomes a society of strategy and zero-sum games.
Any time someone feels threatened, the sensations that occur within their body trigger their protector aspects to come to the forefront. So what you are seeing in the spike of hostility in the world today is that everyone’s protector aspects are interacting with one another. Think of the typical archetypes of people that have a specific strategy for staying safe. I’ll give you a few examples: A war general who goes to war with others, a manager that starts to boss everyone around and control everyone, a person who plays a victim so that others protect them, a cynic who prevents themselves from disappointment by filling the world with negativity, a loner who withdraws from everyone to be nowhere near the threat. Now imagine that when people are threatened, they change into any one of these archetypes. What we have in a time of unsafety is a world full of war generals and managers and cynics and avoidants. This is a problem because each one perceives themselves to be being made unsafe by others, not the one making others unsafe. They are in defense mode. But defense mode is perceived as offense to others. So it becomes a vicious cycle.
Kindness is what people need in order to break free from that vicious cycle and to be able to allow their vulnerability to surface again. Therefore, we must make a practice of kindness and be the first to act kind, and not ask the world to be kind to us first. If we don’t do this, it will be a game of “you lay your shield down first… No you lay yours down first!” To help with this, I’m going to give you a list of things you can do to enhance your new practice of kindness.
Work with the parts of yourself that do not want to be kind or are only kind as a narcissistic strategy for the sake of personal best interests. In other words, work with your own protector parts that have developed ways of staying safe that enhance the harshness, coldness, separation, rigid thinking, violence, narcissism, stinginess, indifference and unfriendliness in the world. But work with them, with kindness. Kindness does not make you weak, vulnerable, permissive, stupid or naïve. But many of your parts do not know this. To understand this and also how to do this, I want you to watch two of my videos, Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It) and There is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage.
Start with yourself. It makes no sense in a mirror construct (which is what this time space reality is) to be unkind to you and kind to them. How could you be more gentle, soft, understanding, warm, compassionate, affectionate, friendly, generous and considerate with yourself? One way to figure out the answer is to think about ways to be kind to others and then do those things for yourself. Some examples are: Understand yourself instead of deprecate yourself. Help yourself or get help instead of shame yourself for needing help. Engage in activities that nourish you and make you feel soothed. Do things that bring you joy. Make sure parts of you are in alignment before taking an action rather than bulldozing yourself, take care of yourself and your needs. Remind yourself of your excellent qualities, treat every day like a fresh beginning etc.
It is easy to love and let your guard down around vulnerable things. It is harder around things that feel dangerous, threatening or hostile. This is why to take your enemy as a part of yourself is one of the hardest things to do. But, one trick you can use before mastering the art of doing that is to look past the protector part of people to see the vulnerable part that it is hiding. For example, if someone is avoiding contact with you and is not looking you in the eye and does not respond to you when you say hi, try to see the part of them that is terrified of people (including you) and is hiding in a corner not knowing what else to do other than isolate. If someone is screaming and angry at someone else, see the powerless, desperate part of them that is smashing against a door that will not open. When you are out in the world, make a practice of looking for that hidden part and living according to the question “what is the most effective and loving way to respond to that part of them instead”?
Commit to doing whatever it takes to understand people. We spend an inordinate amount of time in relationships trying to figure out how to make the other person happy. We want to love them in a way that they can really feel that love, but we don’t know how. To really love someone in a way where they will feel loved, you must understand that thing. I am going to go even further and say that you should stop trying to love them and start trying to understand them instead. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Stop Trying to Love Them and Start Trying to Understand them. When you do this, the answers to what they really need and want and what they would be disarmed by will surface and it is easy then to know how to interact with someone. Also, as a general rule, whatever you understand, you are less afraid of and therefore able to be more kind to. There is a reason that shark experts have no problem being kind to sharks.
Give to give, not to receive. Pure kindness is not dependent on an audience or on a return. It is true that if you take someone as a part of yourself, their happiness will be felt as your own. But we can be transactional about kindness and this makes it not kindness, but instead a way of manipulating to get our own needs met. For this reason, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: Cut the Invisible Strings. Find a way to compassionately and directly meet the needs of any part of you that may be trying to get its needs met indirectly this way.
In your day to day life, create and/or look for opportunities for kindness and take them. When you’re at the check-out counter, compliment or strike up conversation with the store clerk. Let someone pass in-front of you. Smile at people. Look to find a meeting of minds in a conflict, help someone out, offer a hug or embrace, lift them up with something you say or do, do a deed without taking a picture of yourself doing it or bragging about it, listen to people and ask questions with the energy of wanting to understand them, make a child feel seen by you, pick up litter you didn’t throw, make a donation etc. There are lists upon lists of random acts of kindness you can look at. Look for those opportunities and ways to be perceived as safe and friendly to others. When an opportunity presents itself, be gentle, soft, affectionate, understanding, warm, compassionate, friendly, generous and considerate with them. A good question to ask yourself is: How can I make myself safe for them?
There is a time and place for all energies within this universe, even the ones we might label unkind. For example, some people think brutal honesty is unkind. But there is incredible value in brutal honesty in the right situation. People think competition is unkind, but there is incredible value in competition in the right situation. The reality is our own protector parts cause us to misread the appropriateness of situations in which those energies that human society would label as unkind are in fact in-alignment or are in fact out of alignment. They cause is to act only in our own best interests instead of to find a win-win. But when kindness is our practice, we don’t banish or get rid of those energies within ourselves that we or others might deem to be unkind. We simply practice strengthening and developing the opposite energies. We practice really taking the best interests of others as a part of our own best interests and then act kind accordingly.
Mentally, kindness flood people. To do this, close your eyes or simply bring to mind someone or something that you feel the most overwhelmingly compassionate and loving and kind towards. Maybe it’s your cat or your son or daughter or starving children or your best friend or trees being deforested. Feel this sensation of overwhelming compassion and love and kindness inside your own being and mentally increase it so it floods you. You can imagine it having a color and texture and sound. Now when it is amplified to the degree that you are bursting at the seams from that energy, mentally see or sense yourself sending that energy towards the other person. Maybe that is towards other people you are passing in a store or on the street. Maybe it is towards your spouse or friend or child. And eventually, do this mentally towards a person or situation that you are struggling with. Continue holding and sending this kindness energy into the person or situation so as to flood them with it for as long as feels good to you personally. You can even do this with the whole world. Once you have finished, notice how you feel differently towards the other person or the situation. Stay open to any insight the exercise may give you about the situation.
Appreciation scan. Our minds scan the world for things that we don’t like, things that pose a threat and are unsafe. We are more likely to walk around noticing the differences between us and others as well as the things we dislike about them. When we practice kindness, in order to get into the energy of kindness, we can do the opposite. Play a game with yourself where you scan the world, the place you are in and every person you encounter for what you appreciate about them. What is excellent about them? What do you like about them? What is good about them? What is the same about you and them? Notice how this exercise makes you feel and act and how it makes others respond to you.
I am going to close this article with a thought I want you to consider. When we are not being kind, it is because we are wanting to survive. So many people are thinking things and saying things and acting in ways that they think will ‘keep them safe’ but in doing so, are creating a world that is not worth living in. You could live in a padded room. But is that really thriving? Is it really living? There comes a point where we must realize that to really live, means risk. If our protector aspects of consciousness are the ones making all the decisions and dictating our actions towards others, we will make a society that is even more unconducive to human health and wellbeing than the one we currently live in. So think and speak and act the way you want the world to be. There is no greater sense of reason than this.
A being cannot thrive in a hostile environment. A person cannot thrive in a hostile situation. The more aggressively we try to protect ourselves, the more hostile this world becomes. For us to create a world that we and that future generations can thrive in, we must care more about kindness than about personal safety. Ironically that is also the only way we can all become safe.
Kindness is something that is innate to every person. Being kind releases a cocktail of feel-good chemicals in our body. But that kindness potential must be developed as an interpersonal skill. It is a skill that requires serious strength and courage. This is the real meaning in the saying “forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it”. It does not mean have no boundaries and let yourself be stepped on. It does not mean don’t feel wronged if someone hurts you. It doesn’t mean kiss the foot that kicks you. It means be brave enough to meet hostile energy with the opposite energy. It means use your free will to choose what you offer to the world independent of what the world offers to you. If you can do this, if enough people can do this, it will be a changed world. It is going to be a hard thing to do… to be the kindness you wish to see in the world when you are being met with the opposite energy. But you are capable of it. It is time for each and every one of us to practice radical kindness and to lead this practice by example. Kindness is after all, the invisible cornerstone of human happiness. And remember that no act of kindness is too big, or too small.
One of the principal elements of awareness is thought, especially new thought… concepts. But relative to concepts, people have a tendency that is really dangerous… They ‘get them’ without ‘owning them’.
It is one thing to grasp a concept and another to say that a concept is your truth. For example, I may do a video in which I present the truth that ‘there is no such thing as self-sabotage’. People will listen to the concept and grasp the idea in and of itself. But not stop to find out if it is true for them yet. They don’t consciously figure out how it applies to themselves. They don’t stop to try it on for size and become aware of where and why it does or doesn’t fit for them specifically. Instead, they either reject the concept entirely, forfeiting the opportunity to really question and potentially shift their current truth. Or they accept the concept as the truth, even though parts of themselves don’t agree and so they bulldoze forward even when those parts aren’t on board and don’t actually agree. The first is a recipe for ignorance. The second is a recipe for the loss of selfhood in the realm of personal truth.
To really see this in practice, look no further than super religious households. When most children are born into a religious community, the adults in that community do not usually care if the concepts that are part of their religion align with the child’s personal truth or can be owned by the child. They are not open to any concept that contradicts their current concepts. They only care that the child swallows these concepts and accepts them as true whether they feel it or not. The child learns there are rewards for doing so and consequences for not doing so. When they reach an age where parts of them resist those concepts, that resistance is not directly worked with. It is shamed. So the child learns to let go of personal truth and instead parrots the adult. No aware adult should enjoy it when a child does this. It is critical that a child is able to find his or her truth and if you want what is best for your child, that should be far more important than feeling in confluence with and validated by your child.
Let’s look at both approaches a bit more in depth…
People who simply deny a concept and say it is not the truth straight out of the gate simply because parts of themselves are resisting it, tend to do this most when they perceive that a concept is going to threaten them in some way. For example, a co-dependent is someone who has high levels of shame and therefore is addicted to the feeling of being perceived as a ‘good guy’. When a co-dependent is presented with the idea that co-dependency is covert narcissism, they may immediately, defensively deny it. But in denying it, they will never become truly conscious of the manipulative strategies they have developed in order to get their needs met and will stay trapped in dysfunctional relationship behaviors. Or for example, a person says they were abused by someone else in the family. This contradicts the experience that other family members had with this accused person and threatens to disrupt their sense of a safe reality and concept that the family is ‘the best’ so, they immediately reject the validity of the claim. I don’t need to teach you a lot about this response to concepts or how damaging it can be to yourself and others, because most people really do ‘get’ this one and it is their truth that it isn’t a good response to have to concepts.
People who simply accept a concept as the truth, despite parts of themselves resisting its validity, tend to do this the most when they perceive the person giving them that concept to be superior. Such as more intelligent or excellent in whatever field that truth is coming from. For example, if they see a spiritual teacher as more aware than they are, they will take a spiritual concept and simply accept it as true, without trying it on for size so that concept becomes their truth.
People who do this, tend to keep telling themselves “One day I believe I will understand and embody this,” in essence, creating an ideal that they must grow into that truth because they believe it’s the right thing that a super aligned and integrated human must eventually embody. So, until they do, they see themselves as being in a state of imperfection and aim towards it someday being true for them too. People who do this believe a truth that is given to them by someone they see as superior has to be right for them, regardless of any other part of them protesting. They also tend to feel there is going to be a consequence or reward waiting for them as a result of either succumbing to or not succumbing to the concept they are presented with. In fact, right now, you see a lot of people doing this relative to the Covid-19 safety measures debate. Many people are simply going along with masks and social distancing because someone else said so. Or they feel so much fear and shame to “go against” the concept that masks and social distancing are necessary because people will think they’re an idiot or bad if they don’t just accept that concept as true.
But people who do this end up feeling controlled. They are playing a zero-sum game with themselves internally by suppressing resistant parts and so, they begin to feel unsafe and tend to deflect that unsafety onto the person who presented the concept to begin with.
Also, when things go wrong because of whatever concept they swallowed, instead of taking responsibility, they blame whoever gave them that concept in the first place for ruining their life. This pattern is rampant in spiritual and self-growth circles, especially when someone follows a specific guru. For example, if a psychologist or a spiritual teacher tells you that you’re in an abusive relationship, and you swallow it as true, even though you don’t really see, feel, hear and understand it to the degree that is is your truth that you are in an abusive relationship, you may end the relationship because you “should”. Later, when you miss having a partner and regret it, you will them blame the psychologist or spiritual teacher for causing the break up. To own a truth as your truth, is to take that truth from someone and to make it your own; so that any decisions you make based off of that truth, are your own responsibility. There is a personal solidness and a personal strength to it.
The pattern of accepting a concept as the truth, despite parts of yourself resisting its validity, tends to be a behavior in those who rely on a social strategy of confluence for safety. To comprehend confluence, imagine two streams flowing together, so they are merged as one and in harmony. Confluence feels good to people, however a person who relies on confluence for social safety, does not have a grasp of personal boundaries. For more information about boundaries, watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries Vs. Oneness (How to Create Healthy Boundaries). They are so afraid of any threat to their sense of togetherness and sameness, that they deny any truth that might put them in that position and won’t work with (so as to resolve) any resistance that might indicate opposition, difference or conflict. They tend to be children who coped through conformity with their parents and abandoned their self-hood to do so.
Neither denying a concept straight out of the gate nor accepting it straight out of the gate is healthy. Denying a concept and calling it wrong and false simply because parts of you say ‘it doesn’t resonate’ or isn’t true for you’, makes you stuck and makes you unaware. For more information about this, watch my video titled: The problem with “what resonates” with you. And guess what? Some people do see things you don’t see and are more excellent in a field than you are and are smarter and do know more. To not respect their knowledge enough to really ask “how might this be true” and try it on for size, is superbly unaware. That being said, you should not simply accept what’s supposed to be right and true as right and true. You need to check in with yourself and work with the resistance you have to a concept in order to own it as a truth or not for you personally first. This is the process of trying on a concept for size in order to decide whether or not to own that concept as part of your personal truth. This is what having an open mind is all about. It isn’t having no mind. It is having a mind that is open to change and to the adoption of new truths.
A while ago, I did a video on resistance. If you want to take a look at it, the title is: Urgent! Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else. In that video, I explained that resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force. What we do when we feel this opposition either internally or externally is that we either completely go along with our resistance or try to push through it. When we try to push thought it, we ignore it. We do not deal with the resistance directly. Because of this, we actually enhance the resistance because we are in fact resisting our resistance. The rule of thumb is this: If you have any resistance taking place within your being, you must directly deal with the resistance first before doing anything else. No action should be taken from a place of resistance. When you feel yourself putting the breaks on or when you feel yourself not being able to feel fully on board with something, you need to seek and find and understand and resolve your resistance. You have to be honest enough with yourself to admit to it, regardless of whether you feel shame or not.
So here is a concept to try on: Whenever someone presents a concept, you need to take the actual time to sit down with yourself and see if you can own it as true for you or not, before moving forward. It doesn’t work to hope that it is possible to one day succumb to truths that you are presented with by people who are more excellent than you are. For example, if you were to start to learn tennis, just because your tennis instructor is excellent and knows way more than you doesn’t mean that when he teaches you something that you get conceptually, that you need to just do as he says and accept what he says, even if you don’t really ‘get it’. In fact, you should stop and take the time to really get it, so you can own what he is trying to teach you and have you do… So you can make it yours. This way, you can proceed in a state of alignment instead of in a state of resistance. You can’t actually accept or succumb to a truth that you can’t own as your truth. When you try to, you don’t feel good. You feel out of alignment with yourself and whoever is presenting that truth.
It is not fun to try to convey a concept to someone who is simply fully giving into their resistance. But I can tell you that if your intention is to accept assistance in working directly with your own resistance to a concept that is presented, most people will have incredible patience for that process. People who expect you to simply accept what they are telling you, no matter how it lands with you can be very dangerous people.
Another reason that you need to really try concepts on for size rather than to simply accept them, is because you are disowning your own personal truth. When people say “he or she is brainwashed” it is usually because they feel that someone has not owned something as their personal truth and is instead simply repeating someone else’s concepts and ‘saying’ that it is their own, despite internal resistance that everyone else can clearly feel.
Own your free will. You have a self, and thus you have the intrinsic capacity and right to decide what’s really true for you. You are not meant to succumb to concepts or truths. You are meant to try them on so as to decide whether to own them. A truly wise person wants to try on new concepts and really, really work with their own resistance to them so as to arrive at a stronger sense of truth, which they can then own. A truly wise person will not accept a new concept unless they can really own that concept as part of their own truth. And this acts as a safety net.
It is a safety net to commit to not moving forward until you can own a truth as your own. It is to own your power instead of to give it away. It makes it so you are no longer vulnerable to ignorance, nor individuals who would love to have you accept a truth, no matter how it lands with you, so they can manipulate you in their favor, such as cults. If you say, “Teal Swan says” or “Eckhart Tolle says’ or “Jesus says” “Justin Bieber says” or “Donald Trump says”, you are presenting their truth instead of your truth. What people really care about and what you should really care about is: what is your truth and why.
Ask yourself, is it my truth or is it their truth? You should not care whether you ‘get’ a concept. You should care instead whether you ‘get’ that it is true. In other words, what is important isn’t that you ‘get it’ it’s that you ‘own it’. And you should not move forward emotionally, mentally or physically until you arrive at a concept that you can really own and take responsibility for; because in really seeing, feeling, hearing, recognizing and understanding it, you can say that it is your truth. When you try on a concept and work with it (as well as your resistance to it) you arrive at stronger and higher truth. This is what all great philosophers understand. If two people are genuinely interested in arriving at truth and one presents the other with a conflicting idea, either one lets go of their concept and owns the other, or a higher truth evolves out of objectively looking at both concepts. I expect you to open your mind to really try the concepts that I present on and to look deeply into resolving any resistance you have to them. I do not want you to accept what I am saying to you, if it isn’t your truth and if you cannot own it. After all, you can’t actually apply something to you, if you don’t recognize something as your truth!
People have a great many misconceptions about love. Because of this, we often think that we are being loving, when we are in fact not being loving. For example, parents may think that by controlling their child’s life in the direction that they think would be best for the child, that they are being loving. Actually, they are not taking the child’s own personal truth as a part of themselves and as such, they are practicing the opposite of love. But today, we’re going to talk about perhaps the biggest misconception about love and that is that love is approval. This concept sounds simple, but is a whole book in and of itself. But today, I’m going to give you an overview.
To love something is to take it as a part of yourself. Love is inclusive. It is the energetic movement towards oneness. When you love something, you energetically pull it towards you and include it as you. For a more in-depth understanding about this, you can watch my video titled: What is Love. When you truly take something as a part of yourself, you take their best interests in as a part of your own best interests. Now, their pain is a part of your pain and their joy is a part of your joy.
When we experience chronic disapproval and criticism in our childhood, to the degree where we feel rejected by one or both of our parents (and/or our siblings and/or our peers), we begin to develop trauma around the feeling of disapproval and critique. This experience feels like the opposite of being wanted and accepted and received. It feels like being pushed away instead of being pulled in. It feels like we are being disrespected. We sink into shame. And so, we begin to develop the idea that if someone loves us, they will approve of everything about us, including what we do. Also, since we can’t get actual love, we go for the next best thing: Approval.
To approve of something is to have a positive opinion about that thing. This naturally leads to an allowance of, acceptance of or agreement to that thing. Essentially, it means no objections. At face value, this sounds like a loving thing to do. It sounds like nonresistance. And it can be nonresistance in certain scenarios. But not in all scenarios. Remember how I said that when we are actually practicing love, we take their best interests in as a part of our own best interests… That now, their pain is a part of your pain and their joy is a part of your joy? Can you now approve of things that cause them pain and that are not in their best interests? The reality is, you can approve or disapprove of something without loving something and you can approve or disapprove of something because you love something. Approval and love are two different things. They can exist together or separate.
Let me put some situations before you where approval is not loving:
Someone decides to shoot up with heroin. In the name of acceptance and approval, you prep their needle for them. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
A woman you know has a belief that is making it impossible for her to change her relationship patterns, such as “the men who are attracted to me, are insane”. You can clearly see that the reason she can’t find relationships that work is because she is attracted to unstable men, that remind her of her father. You can see she is still trying to get love from him vicariously. But in the name of approving of her and therefore validating her thoughts, you validate that belief for her and agree with it. As a result, she continues to make it more and more about the men in her life, and ends up a spinster, despite really wanting a relationship.
A man has the goal of publishing his novel. An editor does not want the author to feel bad and so, he or she never gives the feedback that he used the wrong word somewhere and that he wrote a run-on sentence and that a section should be deleted because it slows the story down etc. By not doing so, the editor sets the author up to fail as a writer.
A sous chef works in an upscale restaurant. He aspires to be an executive chef one day. He prepares the bechamel sauce in a way that it becomes lumpy. When the executive chef samples it, not wanting to make the sous chef feel criticized, he says, “good job, I like the color of it.”
There is a fork in the road, left and right. You know that the road heading left leads to a sheer drop off because there was a landslide. The road leading right will lead a person to town. A person wanting to get to town comes by and wants to go left. You tell them not to. You don’t approve of their decision. They distrust your motives. So they yell at you that you are so controlling and critical because you don’t approve of their own choices and because it’s totally wrong for you to think that you know what is best for them. So you say, you’re right… I should stop thinking that I know what is best for people… and trust that you know what is best for you and agree to them going left.
A friend of yours is getting married, she wants a loving, exclusive, committed marriage more than anything in the world. You walk in on her fiance’ having sex with another woman. But you do not object to her marrying that man.
Someone is beating their kid. You can see that they need to be unconditionally loved and you think part of that is approval, so you don’t do anything to object to the beatings. As a result, the kid keeps getting beaten and the person ends up in jail.
Your spouse wants to have an open relationship. You agree, despite the fact that it is the opposite of what you want, because they say they can’t handle being judged negatively for their desires and needs anymore. They need your approval of their true needs… even if it is to your detriment.
We could consider these examples, the shadow form of approval… Holding a positive opinion that leads to an allowance of, acceptance of or agreement with what does not benefit someone. This is resistance in fact. It is resistance to including something as part of yourself to the degree that you align with the wellbeing of that thing. Or resistance to aligning with your desires/wellbeing.
If you are someone who equates approval with love, you can very easily find your way into validation-based relationships, where ‘everything is approved of and agreed to’ whether it is actually in the best interests of either person or not. For you, respect from others and self-esteem means approval. Instead of healthy, this becomes a dysfunctional relationship based on negative enabling. It becomes a relationship where either one or both people are out of alignment with their actual desires and actual best interests. Essentially, the motto in the relationships you feel good in is “Let me be free to do whatever I want and approve of everything I think, say and do and I’ll do the same for you!”. Whenever you experience disapproval, you feel as if it is an expectation and obligation to stop being and doing whatever is being disapproved of and this feels like losing yourself and being conditionally loved. When someone is approving of you unconditionally, it is the only time you are not trying to shape yourself to conform to what someone else wants you to be. You feel free! When someone expresses disapproval, you take it as an expressed expectation that you change yourself into something else for their best interest. So you start to feel controlled and resentful.
When love becomes approval for you mentally, you run around trying to do everything right and good by everyone else’s estimations and when you can’t get that to happen in a way that feels good, you look for people who will make you feel right and good no matter what you think, say and do.
As a child, you felt so controlled that love feels like the opposite of control. And since disapproval feels like a tool of control, you are looking for the opposite of that. You are looking for a relationship with no consequences and no pressure. That is also a form of resistance.
Subconsciously what is going on is that if you simply approve of others, you don’t have to take responsibility for other people’s poor decisions and actions. In fact, you will not criticize unless you perceive that what something a person is thinking, saying or doing, will affect your life directly. It’s a “feel free to ruin your own life’ attitude. And if you simply get approval no matter what you do or don’t do, you don’t have to carry the responsibility of molding yourself into something that would make someone else happy and therefore carrying the responsibility for someone else’s wellbeing.
It is ironic, but people who have a desperate need for approval, secretly want zero responsibility for the wellbeing of others… You don’t want the pressure of having to mold yourself for their wellbeing and you don’t want the responsibility (also pressure) of making sure they make the right choices for their wellbeing. Your whole life has been carrying other people’s wellbeing and carrying it for people who took no responsibility for the way they felt and so, you are done and utterly exhausted with it. You don’t want to take responsibility for someone else feeling good at all. You want connection when it feels good to you, without having to have the pressure that comes with a ‘relationship’. But this feels selfish and you’ve been so socialized to see this truth as bad, that your shame keeps you from admitting it to yourself and others. You’d rather be alone or around people who unconditionally approve of you whenever it feels good to you to be around them. Which is why this form of approval you are looking for is in fact a ‘push away’. It is distancing by its very nature. Because you couldn’t get love, you could only get the next best thing (approval) you are longing for a relationship where unlike your childhood, approval is unconditional. You have suffered the wound of the loss of self/conformity. As a side note, many of the people who relate to this relationship with approval, were the golden child in a family system.
There is a difference between people who want approval and need approval. To people who want approval, approval feels like a closeness/intimacy and you want that closeness and intimacy. Maybe you’ve been pushed away in your childhood. So getting approval finally feels like not having opposition and finally being seen, felt, heard and understood. Approval feels like the opposite of a push away. It feels like people aren’t resisting you anymore. It seems like something that was reserved for ‘other people’ and not yourself. Approval feels good, it is natural to want, but do not confuse it with love. As a side note, many people who really want approval for this reason were scapegoats in the family system.
The immediate and biggest issue that you are going to have with the whole concept of disapproval being something that can be loving is this: When someone else disapproves in a loving way, it implies that someone else thinks they have an accurate assessment of what is actually good and right and in the best interests of themselves or someone else (maybe you). So I’m going to ask you the question. Do you believe that someone else can know what is good and right and therefore best for you? If your answer is no, why? If your answer is yes, why? And if your answer is “in certain circumstances”, how do you accurately determine when and when not?
‘Best interests’ is a philosophical debate in and of itself, for example you may see that a person getting into a car to drive drunk is not in the best interests of their safety or anyone else’s safety. But is safety in their best interests? Maybe getting in that car crash is what causes them to get sober and clear about what they want in life and change course and find the existence here on earth that makes their life worth living. But imagine that a person’s ‘objection’ in the form of disapproval is the universe’s first reflection to them of something that must change. Something is ‘out of alignment’ within them. Imagine that if they did change in order to find alignment in response to that first reflection, the universe would not have to escalate things and they would still line up with getting sober and clear about what they want in life and change course and find the existence here on earth that makes their life worth living without needing a car crash to get them to do that.
Taking your hand off of the steering wheel of creation by saying “I don’t ultimately know what’s best for me or for anyone”, is simply a cop out. In that same vein, some people love to take the ‘can be empowering’ saying “no one can know what is best for you, but you”. And believe that this is absolute truth. It isn’t. It is true in a given scenario that maybe other people do know what’s best for you more than you do. It is also true in a given scenario that maybe other people don’t know what’s best for you better than you do. Their capacity to accurately see this depends on their capacity for awareness (ability to see objective truth) and their capacity to take you as a part of themselves.
People who can’t do either of these things, tend to project and tend to have agendas. Instead of fully, objectively understanding a situation, they will project their subjective perspective, as well as their own best interests, over a situation and over your best interests. Their disapproval is resistant in nature. And chances are extremely high that this was the case with your parents, which is why you have trauma around the idea of someone knowing better than you do, what is and isn’t in your best interests. Which is why you are distrustful of feedback. So, here is the next question to ask yourself: How do you know whether someone is actually taking your best interests as a part of their own? How do you know whether they are or aren’t projecting? How do you know what their actual agenda is? How do you know when you can trust someone?
If you are on the receiving end of disapproval, ask yourself WHY a person is telling you what they are telling you. Why are they giving you a negative reflection? Why do they disapprove of something? Why is their objection in the form of a disapproval unloving, and why might it loving? Ask them directly too. Because you are not immune to lack of awareness and projection either. You might just be wrong about the WHY. And they should be able to tell you why they think something benefits you.
If you are on the giving end of disapproval, make the effort to first understand the other person’s perspective fully and to become as aware as possible of the situation as objectively as possible and communicate this understanding. Listen to what a person really wants and really needs as well as why they think something is in their best interests. Projection is not love. Include them in your process of coming to the conclusion that something is not benefitting them and your process of coming to the conclusion of what would benefit them and why.
What if when someone is disapproving of something, they are not objecting to you but instead are objecting to something that they think could be detrimental to you? If you’re honest, you want others to approve of something that benefits you and to disapprove of something that hurts you. And in fact, if they are doing that, their disapproval is a way of pulling you closer. In doing so, they are aligning with your best interests and desires. If someone really loves you, they should object to things that cause you pain and are not in your best interests. Are they always right when they think that something is going to cause you pain and is not in your best interests? No. Are there people who literally only think of their best interests? Yes. But is what you really want for people to approve of things that cause you pain and are also not in your best interests?
If you are looking out for someone’s best interests, you can’t be in a space of approval 24-7. This means you can’t be loving and be approving of everything. What you can do is to be in a space of understanding all the time. What you can do is to practice awareness and practice taking others as a part of yourself.
You can disapprove of something and by doing so, be with and for them instead of against them. And therefore, in alignment. You just have to be very, very sure that you are actually right about what is actually in their best interests, what will actually hurt or benefit them and what is actually wrong for them. Awareness must go hand in hand with love in order for it to truly be love and in order for your behaviors to be truly loving. And part of that awareness is to see that approval and love are two very different things.
Anger is an emotional response. It is probably the most vilified emotional response on the planet. Because it has been so vilified, people are desperate to know what to do about their anger and they are especially desperate to know how to not be angry anymore. The good news is that there is a hack you can use with anger and once you use it, you will no longer feel powerless to your anger itself.
Before I give you this hack, I will say that if you want to understand anger in depth, you can watch my video titled: How To Deal With Anger. I want you to remember the following statement. I want you to engrain it into your mind. Anger is about unworkability. If you feel anger, it means that you perceive something to be unworkable. When something is unworkable, it implies that you are powerless to it staying the way it is. And if there is anger present, you really need that particular something to change or else it is a “lifetime sentence of pain”. So think of it like this, if you perceive something to be causing you pain or threatening to cause you pain on an emotional, mental or physical level, you need to change the situation so you can feel good again. If you believed that could happen and knew how to do it, you would feel empowered and so, you wouldn’t get angry. But if you perceive whatever is causing you that pain or posing that threat to be unworkable, you feel immediately powerless.
I’ll give you some examples of how the perception of unworkability is what anger is about. A woman gets angry because her husband’s socks are on the floor, which is a chronic pattern of his, despite the fact that she has asked him not to do it. What really hurts her about it is that it makes her feel like he does not care about her. Maybe what she feels is unworkable is ‘getting her husband to consider her’. A working mother gets angry because she feels judged both ways, other mothers judge her for working when she has a child to prioritize and colleagues judge her for having a child when her priority should be work. What really hurts her about the situation is that it makes her feel like she’s never good enough. She’s afraid that her child will see her this way when he or she grows up. Maybe what she feels is unworkable is other peoples’ extreme and impossible standards… Her inability to change anyone’s mind about what she should do. A man gets angry at a friend of his when his friend gets into a specific college and he does not. What hurts him about the situation is that he feels inferior to his friend. It feels unfair that his friend had more support for getting in than he did and so, the odds were stacked for his friend and against him. Maybe what he feels is unworkable is getting support.
Your anger then comes in to try to rescue you from that powerlessness. In this way, your anger is a protector. It exists as a last-ditch effort to try to restore some semblance of empowerment within you. If you think of un-workability like a wall that is up in front of someone’s face and is solid, anger is similar to a grenade that looks to try to destroy the solid, unchanging nature of that wall.
If you listened closely, you would see that everything I just said suddenly makes the behavior of toddlers make more sense. Their anger is about not being able to bring about the things they want and need in order to feel good. Their anger is about a lack of empowerment. They are at an age of autonomy where they need to be able to develop their own desires and also experience the process of being able to bring their desires to fruition. Kids turn into angry kids because they feel zero empowerment to turn their lives into what they need their lives to be in order to feel good and so they are trapped in pain. Adults are the same. So many adults have simply grown up having been conditioned to believe that they have no capacity to make whatever situation they feel angry about change so that it feels good. They are disempowered relative to whatever area of their life they feel angry about.
When children experience pain or threat, their empowerment needs to be enabled by the adults in their life. But this does not usually happen. Usually, the adults in their life re-enforce their dis-empowerment. For example, a child really wants a bike, but their parents don’t have enough money. Instead of helping a child to brainstorm and take actions that may empower the child to be able to get that bike, they usually say something like “You can’t have the bike, we don’t have enough money”. If a child is in pain about something the adult is doing when they are together, instead of sitting down to help him or her to voice what is upsetting and come up with an alternative way of interacting, the parent will say “suck it up”. Parents reinforce the idea that the environment belongs to them, not the child. Therefore, the environment that the child is in, is unworkable. As a result, they grow up to believe that they are genuinely powerless. A person who struggles with chronic anger, is a person who learned that things were unworkable, even if things are workable.
Your anger always reveals what in life you feel dis-empowered about. But because anger is such an unconscious process, people almost never directly name and work with whatever feels unworkable so as to empower themselves more relative to whatever feels unworkable.
Whenever you are angry, use the anger as an alarm bell, alerting you to the fact that in whatever situation you are angry about, you feel there is something that is unworkable. Ask yourself this question: What in this situation do I feel is totally unworkable? Name it directly.
From there, all your energy should go towards consciously figuring out what to do about that perception of unworkability specifically. First of all, is it really unworkable? Maybe you can tell whoever is involved in the situation what you feel is totally unworkable so that you draw their attention to it so that they can problem solve that unworkability with you. What could I try to do so that the situation that feels unworkable is workable instead? Only if it is truly unworkable… you can ask yourself: if I accepted that unworkability, instead of simply accepting that my life will be pain, what would I do instead?
We have the tendency to make our anger about empowerment in the surface changes, when it is really about something deeper. For example, If the woman who is angry about her husband’s socks sees that the unworkability is about feeling like her husband cares about her and considers her, she is not going to pour her energy into how to get him to pick his socks up off of the floor. She is going to address the area of disempowerment in her life, which is feeling cared about and considered. Therefore, restoring workability to that area of her life may include things like communicating this to her husband, attending relationship counseling which may make the relationship better or make her aware that she is not in the right relationship, doing shadow work with her root wounds around not feeling loved in childhood, committing to the mastery of relationships and seeking out people to teach her about that, spending time around people who consider her in what they do etc.
When you are able to identify the true perception of unworkability underneath your anger, your anger will dissipate. It will dissipate because it is no longer trying to rescue you from that threat because you have consciously chosen to be empowered by going directly towards it instead. You will instead drop down into the way that unworkability makes you feel such as pain, sadness or fear. You are staring at the resistance directly. And doing so puts you squarely in the empowered seat of strategy. If you are looking directly at the unworkability, suddenly you can begin to see what strategies will and wont work for creating workability in it. It will cause you to do totally different things to resolve the situation than you would have done originally. You may even see how the things that anger may cause you to do to create workability, like raising your voice or getting violent or walking out the door is the wrong strategy and might instead make what is already unworkable, even more unworkable.
You did not come here to put up with things the way they are. You are meant to be empowered. Anger directly reveals those areas where empowerment needs to come back into your life, as long as you are willing to see the unworkability that your anger is trying to call your attention to directly, so as to strategize how to make it workable instead. In other words, your empowerment is about facing your disempowerment. Finding workability is about calling out what doesn’t seem workable and doing so, renders anger… obsolete.
In the context of what we are talking about today, generalizing is a conceptual process whereby common properties of the individuals comprising a group are identified and then formulated in order to make a general claim about the group. A stereotype is a generalization about the members of a group. It is often a widely held impression or belief relative to a type of thing. In today’s world, generalizing and stereotyping is generally considered to be a bad, ignorant and even shameful thing to do. It is not politically correct. For more information about this, you should watch my video titled: Political Correctness. But today, I’m going to explain why the baby of generalizing shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater of generalizing.
The mind identifies patterns and it groups things together. It works rather like a computer in this way. In many ways, this helps you to make quick decisions and survive. So here is painful truth #1: You may think and say that you are capable of not generalizing and that you never stereotype, but actually your brain can’t not do it. It is designed to do it. The truth is really just that you don’t support prejudice or discrimination or ignorance. Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of the hurt caused by generalizing and prejudice. So you say things like “I don’t see color, only people” or “to generalize is to be an idiot” or “I don’t believe in stereotypes”. The problem is, your mind does. So you spend your time denying commonalities and identifying exceptions so you are nothing like those shameful, hurtful, ignorant people who you don’t want to have anything to do with.
Seeing patterns and commonalities that exist within the members of a group create expectations. For example, if you see someone die because of being bitten by a red, yellow and black snake, you’re going to quickly generalize that red, yellow and black snakes are lethal. This (just like any expectation) is both a good thing and also not such a good thing. Good because you are more likely to survive if that yellow, black and red snake is a coral snake (which is poisonous) and because of your generalization, you don’t touch it. Not so good because if that yellow, black and red snake is a king snake (which is not poisonous) and you flip out and kill it, it will be for no good reason. Here is a list of generalizations so you can get the idea:
Superheroes wear capes
It snows in the winter months
Men are stronger than women
Asians are awesome at math
Potatoes have brown skin
Jews are greedy
Babies can’t walk
Humpback whales give birth in Hawaii
Blacks are poor
You have ulcers if you have stomach pain, weight loss, nausea, heartburn and dark, tarry stools
Homework is hard
Criminals come from troubled backgrounds
Americans are loud and arrogant
Dogs are nicer than cats
Family is always there for you
Teens are rebellious
If you want to be successful you have to go to college
Pretty girls are bitches
Everyone can heal
Oh… and my favorite… Generalizations are false.
If you want to enhance your own awareness, I ask you to stop this video and truthfully make a list of the generalizations and stereotypes that you hold, especially the ones you have formed because of personal experience, before continuing with the rest of this episode.
What you should have noticed about the examples of generalizing is that most people only care about generalizing or stereotyping when they perceive it to hurt themselves or someone else. You will have felt a cringy emotional charge relative to some of these examples and not others. We can all come up with stereotypes that we feel are mostly true despite there being some exceptions and we can all come up with stereotypes we feel are unfair or untrue.
Generalization is a conceptual tool. It is a tool that can be quite beneficial and can be quite detrimental, therefore it is a tool that should be used with caution instead of thrown out. Generalizing is one of the principal measures by which knowledge proceeds. It allows us to identify and recognize commonalities and therefore patterns within a group. Generalizations can be thought of as a polarity to individuality and difference. A spiritual teacher or philosopher could argue that generalizations and the recognition of same-nesses are less egotistical than individuality and difference because the ego is after all the ‘sense of separate self’. I bet none of you who consider yourself to be against generalizing and stereotyping see yourselves as having much stronger egos. The reality is that you are different in some ways and in other ways, exactly like others.
Without generalization, we could never talk about commonalities, trends, tendencies or patterns and all three are critical when it comes to awareness. It is as important when it comes to awareness to identify commonalities, trends, tendencies and patterns as it is to be aware that there are exceptions. For example, it is important to see the reality of “I am avoidant of intimacy” based off of the common behavioral trend that you exhibit from day to day. Not to say, “actually last Tuesday I shared how I felt with my wife, so It isn’t true that I’m intimacy avoidant… that’s a generalization”. It is important to see generalizations such as “Christians value modesty” so you don’t go to the deep south and strip down to a bikini cause it’s hot and wonder why everyone is looking at you with disgust. It’s important that we can see patterns such as “blacks are poor” even if there are some black people who are extremely wealthy. Why? Unless we recognize the commonality in the first place, we will not look into the why behind it or even see it as a societal issue in the first place. I also chose this last highly triggering example specifically to make you aware of how a stereotype or generalization may be something that we fight against in one minute and demand that others accept, the next. For example, if it’s a normal day and a white person walks into a fancy restaurant and thinks “why the hell is a black person in here, cause they are poor”, people will fight against that stereotype because it’s ignorant. But if it is a day that the government puts an economic law into place that effects low income citizens, and therefore the black demographic, harder people will fight for the public to accept the stereotype that blacks are poor, so as to highlight the injustice and doing so is suddenly considered educated.
People also tend to fight stereotypes with stereotypes. For example, one person could say “Women are terrible drivers”. And someone might say “Men don’t let women drive when a car is a shared asset and they criticize women when they drive, both of which leads to a loss of confidence behind the wheel and less practice.” Both arguments are in fact examples of stereotyping.
All generalizations and stereotypes exist for a reason. The question is what reason? I didn’t say they all exist for a good reason or because they are all right. For example, the stereotype that Latino people are super family oriented exists because culturally, they believe that the family is both the source of identity and also of protection against hardship and so they act like it. The stereotype that witches worship the devil exists because the early Catholic/Christian churches wanted to enforce cultural control by turning citizens against (and justifying their punishment of) women who did not conform to their ideals of womanhood. Some stereotypes are false. Some have been intentionally created despite inaccuracy to cause harm. But many stereotypes are in fact accurate assessments of the commonalities, trends, tendencies and patterns. It is not particularly aware to say that stereotypes are bad and wrong. The bottom line is, to be truly aware, you need to be able to see patterns in yourself and patterns in groups of people too, not just individual patterns. You need to see BOTH.
Generalizing and Stereotyping have a bad reputation for good reason. If you look at the etymology of the word stereotype, it is: “Firm or solid impression”. This is where you can get into trouble with generalizing and stereotyping. Where there is firmness and solidness, there is a risk for a disowning of flexibility and openness. Not being aware that there are exceptions and differences can make you unaware and closeminded. It is not that generalizations are un true. It is that they can open you up to the danger of making one story the only story. And that can hurt you and everything else around you.
Generalizations and stereotypes can open the door for pain, ignorance, discrimination, prejudice, the justification of injustice, enabling, the destruction of relationships, and the stifling of individual freedom and success. In fact, there is a thing called a “stereotype threat”. If you have tattoos and you show up at a conservative party and you know that the people around you hold a negative stereotype of people with tattoos such as “immoral, promiscuous, unprofessional and dangerous”, you will be afraid of inadvertently confirming that stereotype. It will aversely effect your confidence and make you defensive and unfriendly (thus perpetuating the stereotype).
The main thing that is causing you to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to generalizing and stereotyping is that you don't want people to fail to see, hear, feel and understand you and your individual reality or truth because they have simply assumed you fit with a pattern. You don’t want to be judged by those who you have decided don’t know you well. You feel hurt when your complexity is denied and you are robbed of your rich, nuanced, uniqueness. You want to be known. You want others who you identify with to be known. You also don’t want to see other people (or beings or things) suffer from not being known. A person who loves sharks and is therefore identified with them, has a real problem when people make sweeping generalizations about sharks. All this boils down to the fact that if you detest the idea of generalizing or stereotyping, you perceive that if a person does not recognize differences that do or can exist, that there will be painful consequences for you or them, or something involved. And there very well might be.
Contrary to popular opinion, generalizing and stereotyping is an essential and natural feature of your mind. It is not a cultural, unnatural glitch in your mind. If you did not have this natural feature, you could not think things like “Japanese people speak Japanese” and so you would go to Japan and start speaking to someone on the street in your own language. You would not think things like “babies aren’t strong enough to hold the weight of adults” so you might roll over on one and wonder why it died. You would not recognize things like “I am an addict” and so, you would never face that addiction you have head on. We need to be able to discern the accuracy or inaccuracy of a general statement rather than to say that all general statements are untrue because they are general.
We need to develop the capacity to accept the truth of a generalization or stereotype, even if and knowing that it is not the whole truth or nothing but the truth and exceptions exist. Otherwise, we are throwing awareness away for the sake of a sense of our own personal goodness and rightness. An aware person generalizes but with the awareness that there are exceptions and differences. They can make a statement such as “Jelly Fish Sting” without that implying that all jellyfish of every type and everywhere always sting humans that they come into contact with. The stereotype is still true without it being the whole truth with no exceptions. Generalizations can be inaccurate and harmful. Conversely, they can also be accurate and useful… A critical tool for learning, comprehension and communication. Therefore, question your generalizations and the why they exist. And make your generalizations flexible instead of being determined to not make them at all. And never forget, the wise words of Mark Twain, “All generalizations are false, including this one”.
The millennial generation is a game changer generation. However, to get to the place where the game is changed, the existing rules of the game had to have proved to be detrimental. And the trauma of experiencing those detrimental aspects of the game have led the millennial generation to a cross roads. Either the millennial generation heals and invests its energy in creating the new rules. Or they pull their energy out of the system and give up on the game entirely. Many members of the millennial generation are on the fast track to destruction, both because of what has happened to them and what is happening in the world today. But a course correction can always be made. A different road can always be taken. I could write an entire book on how to heal the primary wounds that belong to the millennial generation. But in this episode, my intention is to put forth several key elements for healing the millennial wounds. I am going to write the rest of this episode directly to millennials, hoping that anyone who is not a millennial can ascertain what to do and not do (relative to the millennials in their life) from what I am saying. If you haven’t done so already, it is a good idea to watch my video titled: What Is Wrong with Millennials? Before you continue watching this video.
The first thing I must say is that as a millennial, the first thing you will feel in response to this entire topic is angry. Why? Because of how unfair it is to be put in the position of being painted as a problem that needs to somehow be fixed. While some of you may worry deep down that there is something wrong with you, you also know somewhere inside you that this is a huge gaslight. Looking back at your life, you may find that members of the previous generations first messed you up and set you up to fail and then made you the problem for being messed up or failing. For this reason, I want you to understand that when I say that the millennial generation must heal, what I mean is that the millennial generation must experience the opposite of the trauma that it has experienced. And for this to happen, you may need to alter your perspective about certain things and subsequently change some of the things you are doing. I have no interest in participating in making you a scapegoat for previous generations. So, I simply offer the following list as a tool box with which you can pull forth tools to put yourself into a better position than the one you currently find yourself in.
To heal is to experience the opposite. To understand this concept fully, I want you to watch my video titled: What Is Healing? You have experienced things like working hard for a pot at the end of a rainbow that was never there, feeling like you have to (and are expected to) put up with things that hurt you, disillusionment, disappointment, powerlessness, the feeling of being enslaved etc. To heal from these painful experiences is simply to experience the opposite of them… Things like reaching your goals, feeling free, developing empowerment, successfully creating something that is better rather than putting up with what doesn’t work. I want you to keep this in mind in your life because it will give you a better picture and therefore point you in the right direction of what it is that you are wanting and needing to choose and do. Part of doing this is to face these experiences and the deep wounds they left you with that reside within you. I created a process for doing this. It is called The Completion Process. To learn how to do this process, you can pick up a copy of my book titled The Completion Process or go to www.completionprocess.com and find a practitioner to lead you through it. Doing so will reveal what you specifically need to do in the here and now to experience the opposite.
You need to own and caretake your hatred, rage and anger. In fact, you need to let yourself grieve the life-let down and disillusionment that you have experienced. This is not going to happen if you continue to listen to the world which is telling you that you have no reason or right to feel that way. You need to make room for your own pain about the things you are facing as a result of being a part of your generation, especially as a result of what the generation before you has done or not done. Instead of seeing this pain, people are constantly invalidating and minimizing and gaslighting you and calling you lazy and entitled. Don’t do this to yourself too. Much of your behavior is misunderstood by others and also by you. I want you to do an expression process relative to being a millennial. To learn how to do this process, watch my video titled: How To Express Your Emotion.
Most millennials (you might be one of them) are in a place of “what is the point?” What you have learned in life is powerlessness and futility. You have learned that you have no impact. You have learned that it doesn’t matter how hard you work or how many things you try to do right, you’re not in control of any of it. They (others) can just make a decision that makes you totally powerless to never being able to achieve something or powerless to it being taken away just like that. Actually, you have every reason and right to think like that. You were born and brought into a fundamentally flawed system. And it is within your rights to give up. In fact, I want you to imagine giving up. I mean fully. Do a meditation where you imagine totally giving up. Maybe you just spend the rest of your life in bed. Maybe you do nothing but play video games. Maybe you throw your apartment keys away and go live on a beach under a coconut tree. Allow yourself to play out the reality of giving up as far as you can. Let yourself experience the relief and eventual dead end of it. Do this now before you continue with the rest of this episode.
Now that you have done the exercise, what did you learn? What was your take away from this exercise? There is relief in no longer trying to beat down a door that will never open. There is relief in getting off of the hamster wheel. But if you give up on finding any open door; and stop moving forever, it is a 100% guarantee that your life will not be what you want. Realize that you are trying to self-preserve by not investing yourself or committing to things. It is so painful to put all of yourself into things and have them not pan out, that you are self-preserving by simply not putting yourself into them in the first place. You’re remaining detached. But living your life trying to avoid disappointment is not life. Throw away what your parents tried to teach you. It isn’t actually about hard work. It is simply a universal truth that only focused energy creates anything. To commit is to put your energy into something. This means that you cannot create a life that feels good if you are not committed to life. For there to be something on the canvas, you must put your paintbrush into the paint and onto the canvas. So work with the part of you that is committed to creating a life that you want and the part that wants to give up on trying. To learn how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It). I must warn you that if you don’t begin to consciously figure out what you want to commit to creating in your life and in society, (as if you were in charge of both) you will be forced to figure it out and commit to it out of necessity instead.
What do you stand for? This is an answer you need to have for yourself. It is not about what your parents stand for or what anyone else stands for. What is your thing to stand for? What are you going to live your life for? What do you value and find to be the most important? What matters so much to you that you would die for it? What do you really want? You are the generation that is meant to bring in the truth of purpose. With genuine purpose, it is not about working hard at what you don’t want to do so that you can achieve some future goal that you do want. Instead a goal exists as an intention. I say intention because you will continue to go in the direction of that goal, but if it were certain that you would never achieve that goal, it wouldn’t change the fact that you would continue doing it because it is in the doing of it that you find purpose, meaning, fulfillment and joy. You know you have found this when there is nothing else for you to choose in terms of a path. This is the opposite of living your life for something you want to achieve in the future and if you don’t get that thing, wanting to give up. For example, for a person who lives for surfing, there is no other life than surfing. Even if he or she never makes it into the hall of fame, life is paddling out. Life is communion with the ocean. He or she stands for that place where human and element dance.
It’s time to stop coping. You have become very good at coping. To cope is to make a specific alteration mentally, emotionally or physically so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you stress. To cope is the opposite of to change. It implies futility in terms of changing the stressor itself. You are the game changer generation. You didn’t come here to adapt to the game that exists. You came to change the game itself. If you manage to cope with the game, you’re trying to become comfortable in the very thing that is hurting you. What do you honestly have to lose? You have either been prevented from what you want or achieved it, only to have it taken away. So what do you honestly have to lose? Stop coping. To know how to do this, watch my video titled: How To Let Go Of A Coping Mechanism.
You need to feel you are getting somewhere and have gotten somewhere. One exercise you can adopt is to start a daily list of accomplishments. These lists can include things you have accomplished in the past. They can also include things you accomplish on a daily basis. They can be big or small. From getting a PHD to baking a loaf of banana bread that tasted good. You need to restore an awareness of accomplishment. And you need to remember that even if someone manages to destroy what you have built, it doesn’t take away the accomplishment of having built it in the first place. You still have that accomplishment.
Stop playing zero-sum games. Get out of your narcissistic bubble. Master the art of relationship instead. You learned very early that no one actually had your best interests in mind. They had their own in mind. This is why you were set up to fail. It is a bit like being born into a shark pit and realizing that everyone else was not going to caretake you, in fact they expected you to fend for yourself and to stay safe by doing what pleased them. So you coped by becoming one of them. You turned into a shark too. Notice the ways in which you are out for yourself only. Notice how instead of thinking of we, you think of I. Notice how you are concerned only with your individual life and not with ‘them’. Notice yourself agreeing to disagree and not taking other people’s best interests as a part of your own best interests. Notice how you separate yourself from others. Notice how you go for a win and don’t care if your win means others in a situation will lose. What you really want is a society that feels safe. It will be impossible to achieve if you stay a shark. Because you being a shark will give people no other choice but to be a shark too. You cannot create a society you want to live in, if all you are concerned with is your own pleasure in your own individual life because society implies that others exist. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Create a Safe Relationship.
Re-establish your sense of connection and contribution. All people have an intrinsic need to contribute. But many millennials have disowned this need. One of the most tragic things to watch within the millennial generation is how each member of the generation feels it is them alone against the world. The millennial generation is a generation of islands. Many millennials hate millennials. It is a generation where its members are fragmented from one another. Essentially, millennials lack team spirit and tend to have a sense that there is nothing to be gained from gathering and collaboration. Many millennials feel that finding a meeting of minds is impossible. Because of this and other factors, many report that being together makes them feel more alone. For this reason, you must ask yourself, why am I getting nothing out of coming together? Look around and see how many there are of you that feel the exact same way. What values do you share? Begin to advocate for each other. It isn’t just you against the world. What could happen if you all came together and co-created this new world you envision? What could you do that would have some impact on others and the world? Now is the time for millennials to learn the vibration of ‘rally’. Millennials struggle with a sense of loneliness and isolation more so than any other generation. If you want to find a way out of this loneliness and isolation back to a sense of connection, pick up a copy of my book titled: The Anatomy of Loneliness (How to Find Your Way Back to Connection).
You have suffered so much from disempowerment that you need to feel empowerment again. In fact, you need to take back your power. You are an adult now even if it doesn’t feel like it. Never forget that Alexander the great conquered countries at 18 years old. Mozart wrote his first symphony at age 8. William Pitt became prime minister of England at 24. Joan of Arc turned a war at 17 and was executed at 19. At 28, Mark Zuckerberg floated Facebook on the stock market and became an instant billionaire. You have not been given a chance to take over society from the generation before you. And guess what? That chance will never be given to you any more than it was given to any game changer that came before you. You need to take the reins instead. How can you do take the reigns? Freedom is a deep desire for you. But what is true freedom? It is not fighting against oppression. That is nothing more than pushing against prison bars. It is not waiting for someone to grant you freedom. That is just more powerlessness. What does freedom really look like to you? How can you be in that state of freedom without demanding that someone else creates that freedom for you? Speaking of feeling like other people must create things for you, you have most likely heard people calling you entitled. But what if I told you that entitlement is caused by a person feeling powerless and incapable and therefore believing that the actualization of their desires are in someone else’s hands? For this reason, I suggest you watch two of my videos. The first is: Entitlement and the second is: Take Your Power Back.
You have got to create something new. This was your calling when you came in. The way the human world was set up when you came in was so flawed that you didn’t even need to crash it. It fell of its own weight. You knew this collapse would happen before you came into this life. The boomers are used to putting their energy into something and it happens. For example, I work hard and pay off my house. You have had trauma around this experience. For example, I work my ass off and will never be able to even afford a house, much less pay it off. You are in the opposite energy that it doesn’t matter how hard you work, it doesn’t happen. You experienced this because the way things had always been done no longer worked. Instead of accept this, you have sunk into a depression. Depression only happens when you are resisting futility. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Depression (the Truth About Depression that No One Sees or Understands). What have you learned is futile? If you accepted that futility, what would you do instead? How could you put yourself into a position of cause instead of staying in the position of being at the effect of others? How could you create what you want instead of being at the mercy of other people creating what you want for you? Reinvention and redefinition is all that there is to do. Be at the causation instead of at the effect of human existence. How this looks will be different depending on your specific calling as an individual.
Embrace the disillusionment and let go of the cynicism. As a millennial, you have been seriously disillusioned. This has created serious distrust in you. And you may find yourself coping by becoming cynical. You can’t just force yourself to trust again. In fact, to try to do this when your life experience has proven situations and things to be untrustworthy, is abusive. Instead, learn about trust and learn how to create it. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Trust (What is Trust and How to Build Trust in Relationships). Disillusionment is better than ignorance. You have broken out of ignorance and falsehood and discovered more of what is real and you have seen the genuine problems in the world. This knowledge can give you power in fact. After all, your only axis of power is to be in reality. What have you become disillusioned with and why? What is that disillusionment showing you that you do want? How could you put your energy into it and take action?
In order to let go of cynicism, you first need to see what it is doing for you and what it is getting you. Cynicism is a defense mechanism. You use it to try to stay safe. When we feel hurt and afraid and disappointed, but we can’t face those emotions directly, we turn against the world and begin to push things away. When did you experience a trauma in which your positive hopes or expectations were dashed? We use cynicism to make sure we never ever get our hopes up only to be let down again. Essentially we disappoint ourselves before the world can ever do it for us. But cynicism paints the lens you see the world through dark and it also separates you from genuine awareness.
As a cynic, you are trying harder to buffer yourself from suffering and pain than you are trying to see truth or to see things as they are. To be aware you must see that the two polarities of positive and negative inherently exist in any circumstance. To be aware, you must see both polarities. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness, The Modern Day Replacement For The Middle Way. What you really want is kindness. But you would never dare reveal your vulnerability or set yourself up to have your hopes dashed again and so you would never admit to it or ask for kindness directly. And your cynicism invites the opposite from people. What all millennials secretly want is kindness. So, what would a kind world look like? If you had to be the one to show people by example what it looked like to be kind, what would you think, say and do. Now Do That!
So many millennials are asking the question, what’s the point? The thing is, that question is the best question you will ever ask yourself. Not as a statement that there is no point. But instead to decide what the point of life actually is for you personally. And beyond that, what the point of the existence of humanity is. The meaning in your life is something you must put there. It is not something that can be handed to you… After all, the last time you took someone’s word for it, it didn’t work out so well.
If you were to enter a room full of the most excellent people in the world, regardless of what their field of excellence is, they would all have key things in common. One of those key things that they would all have in common is that their sense of self-esteem is fed by the competence, substance, care, excellence and quality of what they create or do. To half ass something is to do it with little effort or care. People who are excellent, never half ass anything they do, no matter what it is and no matter if it something they feel minimal motivation to do. Either they give it their best or they don’t do it at all. And the sense of pride they feel as a result, is a form of self-esteem that no one can give to them and no one can take away from them.
People who derive a sense of self-esteem from the pride they feel in never half-assing anything tend to be very successful. Successful people invest their energy into whatever they decide to do or create to the degree that the outcome becomes a reflection of them. They can’t feel good about themselves if they do something just good enough to get by. And therefore, the competence, substance, care, excellence and quality of what they create or do matters more to them than anything. And they do not have to be motivated to put forth that effort to produce excellence.
For example, a truly excellent pastry chef’s sense of self-esteem is derived by just how perfect their sugar work or chocolate tempering is. It would not matter whether you paid him thousands to do a pastry or nothing at all, he would own his craft and the excellence of his craft and the energy he dedicates to his craft to the degree that the result (pastry) would be the same.
For another example, if you took a professional athlete with this character trait and asked him or her to clean a bathroom, if he or she decided to clean it, he or she would not half-ass the cleaning job. Instead, he or she would give it their absolute best, their 100% and clean it impeccably. What did they get out of doing this? The unshakable boost to his or her self-esteem that competence, care and producing an outcome of substance, excellence and quality gives. Essentially, they are fed energy by anything that they do because of this.
Of course many of you are hearing this and feeling resistance within yourself. There are plenty of shadows that make a person resistant to this idea. For example, some people think that self-esteem should have nothing to do with what you do. Some people want to be loved for who they are, not what they do and so this idea just seems like one step closer to having to perform for love. Some people are not doing what they really want to be doing so they have no motive to do what they don’t want to do well. Some people feel that if they put their 100% into something and the result still fell short of other people’s expectations or their own expectations, it would be a confirmation of their worthlessness; and therefore that it is safer to just never give 100% so they can always say “I could have”. Some people feel like nothing will work out no matter how much effort they put into something and so it’s just asking for worse disappointment. Ask yourself, why does the idea of putting 100% into what I do if I say yes to doing it (no matter what it is) bother me? Why does the idea of deriving my self-esteem from competence, substance, care, excellence and quality bother me? Consider that your answer to these questions is revealing something that is in the way of your personal success and self-esteem.
Look at your life. Do you take pride in what you do? Are you putting effort and care into the things that you do so as to make the outcome excellent or of quality? If not, why? What things are you half-assing? Why are you half-assing them? Why are they not worth the effort?
If you want unshakable self-esteem, you must take pride in what you do. And if you want to be truly successful, you must take pride in anything that you decide to do. So many people do not give the things they do in the physical their 100%. So many more are picky and choosy relative to the things they will give 100% to and the things where they will do just enough to get by. Not only is this a waste of personal energy, it is also a slippery slope into the habit of half-assing. Vibrationally speaking, if you are not committed to doing everything you choose to do well, it will be hard to do anything well. To the opposite, if you are committed to doing everything well, you become a person who can do anything well. When you half-ass, you will slip into the space of “less than 100% effort is ok for me”. You slip into the existence and vibrational space of ‘good enough’. And this will for sure make your life ‘just good enough’. You will find yourself in just good enough relationships, just good enough jobs, a just good enough house and surrounded by people who also do just enough, including just enough relative to you. Your quality of life will slip because you have indicated through your thoughts, words and actions that quality does not matter to you. You’re also going to lose relationships and jobs because to half-ass is to say “I’m fine doing the bare minimum and calling it done and leaving other people who care more to pick up the pieces”. When you half-ass things, you are saying to the universe: I am worthy of half-assing and others are worthy of me half-assing. That is not loving to yourself or to them. To commit is to put all of your energy into a thing. You cannot create a good life if you don’t commit to the elements of your life. Half-assing is the opposite of committing. Unfortunately this means that if you become ok with half-assing, you will one day wake up and wonder why your life sucks.
When it comes to half-assing, you have to keep your ear out for the word try. In that room full of highly excellent and successful people, you aren’t going to hear that word being said. When you say “I’m going to try” you’re already giving yourself an out. You’ve entered failure into a situation where it doesn’t inherently exist. It also means there is a big part of you that is either un-committed to making it happen no matter what or is already convinced that it isn’t going to happen. You can’t think that way and be committed at the same time. What is your excuse for why something is not happening? What are the ways that you are not actually doing what you say you are trying to do? Try is an illusion in the universe at large. Notice how often you say try. Eliminate try from your vocabulary and mentality. There is only do and do not. Your excuses are justifications for having not done.
If you want unshakable self-esteem, take pride in every single thing you decide to do from making your bed to brushing your teeth to what you buy to what you eat to every work-related task to caring for your appearance to having that conversation to writing that e-mail to cleaning those dishes to staying close to that person etc. If you want to learn a great hack for doing this, watch my video titled: Priceless Motivation Tip. And if you can’t, you have to face why you can’t. It may just indicate that a change must be made to what you’re doing with your personal energy and therefore life.
It does better things for your self-esteem and success to consciously decide not to do a task than to half ass it. It’s better to say no than to say yes but not act like it is a hell yes. To grasp this concept, watch the movie Office Space. It’s hilarious. It is also a perfect example of half-assing. However the fact that so many people relate to the characters in that movie is a rather sad commentary regarding how many people are choosing to do things that they don’t have any intrinsic motivation to do.
It is not possible to put your 100% into something and see no improvement. If you stop half-assing anything and take pride in anything you do, you will see improvement in your relationships, personal growth, finances, health, success etc. You can only have a truly great life if you really invest in life and everything you do. You can only feel truly great about your life if you take pride in everything you do.
In your physical existence, you are experiencing and sorting through the contrast of wanted and unwanted all day long. If space and time and therefore movement is added to the equation, you will naturally go towards those things that you want and away from those things that you don’t want. Experiencing the unwanted is meant to crystalize what you do want to think and say and have and do and create in your life. In this way, it is meant to serve as a necessary part of your personal expansion. But some people don’t use the contrast of unwanted and unwanted in this way. Instead they simply begin to let what is unwanted control their life. They live their lives with the primary intention of avoiding the unwanted.
Pushing against what is unwanted and trying to avoid the unwanted is a very different thing than going in the direction of what you do want. To comprehend this, I want you to think of the face of a compass. Imagine that South represents the unwanted. And due North represents what you really want. When you have a clear idea of what South is, you can use that awareness to then define what direction true North is and start taking actions in that direction instead. But many people don’t do this. They see South and don’t want to go South and so they go East or West simply to avoid going South. Or they keep going South, hoping that it will magically turn into North. Or they keep pointing South, screaming that the South should change into the North because it is so wrong for being the South. Essentially, they live their life fighting South or avoiding it. Some people spend their lives fighting the unwanted or avoiding it. Neither is actually going in the direction of what they DO want.
I want you to look at your life and relationships and ask yourself this question: Am I doing the things I am doing to avoid a consequence or am I doing them because I want to?
For example, am I doing the dishes because I want a clean house? Or am I doing the dishes to avoid getting in trouble for not doing them? Am I saving money in my account because I want to feel financially free or because I want to avoid being cashless in a calamity? Am I saying yes because I want to help that person or because I want to avoid them turning against me if I say no? Am I doing this job because I want to be doing this job or am I doing this job to avoid the feeling of financial risk or insecurity? Am I staying in this relationship because I want to be with this person or am I staying in this relationship because of how scary life might be without them? Am I not telling someone the truth about how I feel because doing so really does not serve me/my desires or am I not telling someone the truth about how I feel because I want to avoid the feeling of being rejected, invalidated or ignored? Am I exercising to have the body and physical feeling I want or am I exercising to not be fat? Do I spend time with my kids because I want to be around them or because I want to avoid the feeling of guilt and the potential that one day they will grow up to hate me?
Keep in mind that one person may do something because they want to avoid a consequence and another person might do that exact same thing because they want to. We may do something at one time because we really want to and at another time do that same thing because we want to avoid a consequence. For example, I may rub my wife’s feet one day because I really want to and another day because I feel like if I don’t, she will start a fight about how un-attentive I am to her.
You may argue that these things are two sides of the same coin. But really, they are two different directions on a compass. You will think different thoughts and make different decisions and take different actions if you are doing things to avoid unwanted as opposed to if you are doing things to get you closer to what you do want. For example, let’s say that a person doesn’t want to feel poor. They might get a job they hate simply because it provides financial security or start hiding money under the mattresses or start buying clothes that makes them feel rich even though they can’t afford it etc. On the other hand, if this person realized that they wanted to feel financially free, they may start to educate themselves on economics and finance and investing. They might decide to do shadow work relative to the experiences and beliefs that are keeping them poor. They might find an outfit at an affordable price which allows them to feel opulent but without the purchase being a bad financial decision and therefore taking them further away from their desire.
For another example, if a person doesn’t want to be alone and lose the security of their relationship despite it not being what they want, they might decide to become more and more codependent in their relationship. They might start to have extramarital affairs. They might cope by going into denial or continually look for proof for why they should stay in their current relationship. On the other hand, if they realized they want a different kind of relationship, they may choose to be honest with their partner. They may insist upon marriage counseling with their current partner and leave if their partner refuses. They may begin to develop security outside the relationship. They may put energy into strengthening other relationships so they won’t feel alone. They may start to act in a way that is authentic so as to increase the odds that a new relationship will be based off of what is real.
Sometimes if we really want something, we will be sure to act in a way that prevents unwanted consequences. But its’ not going to feel the same way as it does when you are doing something purely to avoid consequence. It will feel like taking a preventative measure brings you closer to what you really want and is therefore chosen with your free will. It will feel like an accessory action to what you want. When we do things simply to avoid the unwanted, we will feel controlled or forced into taking actions to prevent or avoid. Subconsciously, self-preservation will become our top need and priority and all of our other desires will be thrown on the backburner and deprioritized. We will then begin to feel really, really resentful of whatever or whoever is making us feel like we must self-preserve to the detriment of all of our other desires. We will see those people and situations like the bad guy and feel controlled by them. Really, we are being controlled by our own unexamined priorities and fears.
Become clear about what you don’t want. What is that consequence you are trying to avoid or fight? Knowing that, what does that indicate that you powerfully want instead? If you pivoted towards those things, what could you think and say and decide and do that would bring you in the direction of what you are wanting instead?
For example, imagine that you hate the fact that the environment is being destroyed. You don’t want that. This means you want a healthy earth where people live in harmony with the planet. In what ways could you put your energy into bringing about that vision? How might you stop pushing against environmental collapse and pour your energy into a healthy planet instead? You might plant a garden. You might vote for policy makers that have a similar vision. You might make solar panels to power your home. You might start riding a bike everywhere or take public transportation. You might show cool new environmentally friendly products to people you know… or even buy those products for them. You might start posting things that educate people about environmental awareness on your social media accounts.
When you are facing in the direction of what you want, when you are thinking and saying and deciding and doing things that bring you in the direction of what you are wanting, you will not feel the sensation of resistance or stuck-ness in your body. You will not feel like you are running away from anything or pushing against anything. Instead, you will feel that expansive, empowering feeling of bringing about what you want and putting your energy into what is right for you. A life that is lived simply to avoid what you don’t want, is not a life. It is not what you came here for. There is no way to feel happy or fulfilled or on the right path if you live your life to avoid what you don’t want. Live your life for what you DO want. Let your awareness of South define what North is for you personally and then GO NORTH by thinking thoughts and saying things and making decisions and taking actions that actually take you directly North.
Power is energy. It is the inherent capacity to create, direct, influence or do something so as to bring about what we want. Power in and of itself is wonderful. And it is something that all beings have. How that power is used is what matters most, because like anything, it can be used for harm and it can be used for good. We will all find ourselves in certain situations where we feel incapable of creating, directing, influencing or doing anything so as to bring about what we want. We feel out of control, disempowered at the mercy of others. At times like this, it is super infuriating to hear people say, “you’ve given away too much of your power”. It is an invalidation of the reality of the powerlessness inherent in situations where many of the elements involved are beyond your control. It also doesn’t make immediate sense. You weren’t aware of giving (and therefore didn’t consciously choose to give) anything away. Which is why “taking your power back” is much more about becoming aware that you have power to begin with than it is about taking back something you gave away. So here is how to realize you have power and how to own it.
You have to get that free will is an absolute of your existence. No one can take that away. They cannot take away choice itself, only choices. All other people can do is to put intense amounts of pressure on you in the hopes that you will use your free will to choose to comply to what they are wanting. They can’t take your free will away, only put pressure on it. You can’t actually give your free will away even if you wanted to. Even if you comply, that is because you’ve decided to use your free will to choose in favor of what appears to be the lesser of consequences for you. This means, in every situation, you must challenge your assumptions about where you think the power lies.
Some of you know and some of you don’t know that I was tortured in my younger years. I mean deliberate torture, not metaphorical torture. And so what I’m about to tell you is coming from the mouth of someone who absolutely knows what it is for someone else to put you in a position where they are able to cause so much pain that you will use your free will to choose to comply. This is coming from someone who knows how they may use your point of greatest weakness and therefore greatest need as leverage. We have the tendency of telling the story: They made me do it. But they didn’t. I’m going to get super extreme with you so you can see what I mean. Throughout history, when people have been unwilling to bend to the will of someone else, they tell them the penalty for non-compliance is death. This is still just narrowing the choices. Many people have chosen throughout history to choose death rather than to comply. Many people have been put in dungeons or concentration camps to find out that their captors had no control over their mind, so they still have the choice of what to do with their thoughts. The point is, they still had choice. Because of this, they cannot actually control you. Compared to these extreme situations, you should be able to see your free will inherent in any less extreme a situation that involves someone putting pressure on you to choose what they want you to choose.
Something most people don’t know is that even death itself is a choice. No matter how destroyed your physical body might be, your temporal self must align with your non temporal self in order to die. If the body is destroyed enough, your two points of perspective will often agree upon death. But comas are so often really about this lack of alignment of will between the physical and nonphysical.
There may very well be situations where the pressure they use their power to put you under will cause you to use your free will to choose to comply with what they want you to choose. There are situations where no one can even fault you for making that choice because anyone would. You have every right to feel however you feel about how unfair and immoral it is for them to put that pressure on your free will. The point is you must never, ever confuse the pressure and force they use with taking away your free will.
Get into reality and accept what needs to be accepted as quickly as possible. When we are using our free will to resist what is, we have no power. It is wasted energy. We are always at the effect of others and are fighting the situation we are in, instead of making immediate adjustments in response to it. For example, if someone refuses to accept the reality that the economy is collapsing, the decisions and actions they will take will absolutely not serve them. It is as pointless as playing a chess game and spending your energy denying that someone has just made a move instead of seeing it, accepting it and based off of that, making a counter move . Reality is your only axis for power. But often we will not see, feel, hear or accept reality. You have got to surrender to the truth of the situation at hand. That is very different than surrendering to the situation itself. If you surrender to truth, you are able to start making decisions and start taking actions relative to the actuality of what is occurring. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: How to Call BullS#!t on Denial. And my video titled: Reality.
When we feel powerless, all we are focused on is what we can’t do. It is as if the situation itself is closing doors and windows in our face. We tend to bang against those doors and windows, hoping that if we do that, someone will somehow take mercy on us and decide to open them. That’s not going to happen unless somehow the people who currently have power over those doors and windows decide that it is in their best interests to do so. You might be able to own your power by trying to convince them it is in their best interests to do so. This is the power of influence and persuasion at work. But it may just benefit you much more to put your energy towards looking for other doors and windows that might be open. Long story short, to own your power in any situation, you have to shift focus towards what you CAN do. In whatever situation you find yourself in, ask yourself: How and in what ways can I create, direct, influence or do something so as to bring about what I want?
Be true no matter what. To do this, you have to be honest with yourself. No one can control where you put your energy. Again, they can only put pressure on you to try to get you to decide with your free will to put your energy towards what they want you to put in towards. You have the control over what to put your energy and focus towards and into. You have control over your commitment because all commitment is, is to put your energy into something. Put your energy into what is true for you. Put it into what matters to you, what is meaningful and important to you. Commit your energy to your specific and individual values. Another way of saying this is that your power is really about staying as true as you possibly can to your values and what is important and meaningful to you specifically. This requires powerful authenticity. To understand more about authenticity, watch my video titled: How to be Authentic.
Realize that this is a fractal-based universe. And every single thing is imbued with consciousness. If you really, really get this, you have the ultimate answer to personal power. Everything that is outside you in this universe, is also inside you. Every conflict that exists externally is also a conflict that exists inside you. And everything has a consciousness that you can access. If you turn your attention towards feeling, seeing, hearing and knowing these parts inside you, and towards resolving those internal conflicts, you will no longer feel powerless. If you feel powerless relative to serial killers, find and integrate the serial killer in you and to the opposite, the part of you that is a match to being killed by one. If you feel powerless to viruses, find and integrate the part of you that is a virus and to the opposite, the part of you that is a match to being destroyed by a virus. If you feel powerless to narcissists, find and integrate the narcissist within you and find and integrate the part of you that is in resistance to the narcissist within you. This time space reality is a mirror dimension. Watch how this integration shifts the reflection, which is the external world. Watch how it changes your external approach to things you felt powerless to before. If you want more information on this, watch my videos titled: Fragmentation, the Worldwide Disease and Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How to Do It). If you perceive yourself to have no power relative to that which is on the outside, find that same thing within you and integrate it.
Put yourself in your own hands. To understand this concept, I want you to imagine yourself in the middle of a deep pool with a bunch of larger people. Because you don’t want to be responsible for swimming yourself and you see them as having more power in the situation than you do, you swim from person to person and with each one, you climb on top of them so that they can keep you afloat. The reason this diminishes your power is because you are now in their hands. It is up to them whether you sink or swim. You have made yourself their responsibility. If you sink, you can now make it their fault. This absolves you of pressure, but at the cost of your own power. See where you are doing this in your life. See where you are expecting them to be responsible for you and therefore putting yourself in their hands and simply hoping they do the right thing with you. For example, you might be doing this if you expect your abundance to come through a pay check from your boss instead of seeing your own skills as your venue for achieving abundance. You might be doing this if you expect your doctor to heal you instead of taking responsibility for your own health. You might be doing this if you expect other people to make decisions that affect your life. You might be doing this if you make your partner responsible for changing to be whatever way makes you feel good and powerlessly sinking into unhappiness in the relationship you are in, instead of actively taking steps to change the dynamic or choosing another partner. How can things related to your wellbeing be in your hands instead? Where do you think the power lies in this situation? How can you switch the situation so that it lies with you? People who intensely embrace responsibility have the most individual power.
Words have incredible power. Start using ones that honor you power instead of take it away. For example, change “I can’t” to “I choose not to” or “I wont”. So often when we say “I can’t”, we are recognizing a limit that doesn’t actually exist or not owning and taking responsibility for an actual limit we have. Change “he made me” to “he put pressure on me” or “I chose to”. Your words shape the way you think about yourself and the world around you on a deeply subconscious level. This includes language where you are blaming or making excuses. When we are not owning our power, we always have an excuse for why something we want did not come about or is not coming about. Pay attention to the language you are using to convey your reasons for doing or not doing something, your choices and decisions. You might be surprised how many excuses you make. Whenever your language absolves you of responsibility or ability, it absolves you of power as well.
Recognize, feel and build your confidence. If you don’t feel your personal power, it is because you are focused on what you have no confidence in, relative to the situation you are in. What do you have no confidence in relative to the situation that is causing you to feel you have no power? How could you increase your confidence in that situation? In what ways could you learn and grow in that area so as to build your confidence in the areas causing that lack of confidence? What do you have confidence in? Make a list. If you recognize where you have confidence in your life, the areas where you don’t won’t feel like they diminish you. For example, you may feel totally confident with cooking or being able to work with someone’s emotions or fix a car or paint or understand complex concepts or clean and organize. Really resource the confidence that you currently take for granted relative to those things. And remember, at one point in time, none of us felt confident walking. Now we are so confident about it that we take it so much for granted that we would not even think of putting it on the list of things we are confident about.
Get out of the position of the victim. The reality is that people are raped and murdered and taken advantage of and lied to and all of those things that fit into the category of being a victim. Those who hurt others were hurt themselves, so we are all victims of victims. You were the one who was hurt in the situation, but the rub of it is that doesn’t change anything. It still happened and it can’t un-happen. The only question you are left with is what are you going to do about it now? There is great value in expressing the emotions around being victimized and caretaking the part of you who has been victimized and continues to see itself as unable to get out of the position of being the one who is powerless and wronged. But once that has happened, complaining won’t actually change anything at all. In fact, it keeps you powerless because it is a cry for mercy from others. It is an attempt to put yourself in their hands. It is an attempt to cause them to see you as innocent and good so that you can gain their sympathy. You want to gain their sympathy to the degree that they will put their energy towards creating, directing, influencing or doing something so as to bring about what you need and want. Face the very hard question of what positive thing do I get or am I trying to get out of complaining to people or telling them how badly I was hurt by someone else? There has been so much badness attached to considering yourself a victim or victim mentality now that it is very hard for people to resolve the very real parts of themselves that have been victimized and it is very hard for people to look at and admit to their emotional attachment to staying in this role. I completely disagree with this shaming. There is no shame in whatever answer you get when you ask this question. There is only a decision to make about whether you want to maintain that position or whether a different approach serves you better. How might you have power in the matter instead?
We assume that fault implies responsibility. Perhaps one of the most important things to accept about life is that it doesn’t. Fault and responsibility don’t necessarily go together in a world where every being has power. And taking responsibility is not an admission of guilt. It is not letting someone who hurt you off the hook. It is a recognition of your personal power. It is an act of emotional self-preservation and empowerment. It isn’t a man’s fault that he had an abusive, alcoholic father. But even if it is his father’s fault, this doesn’t mean his father will ever take responsibility for picking up the pieces and righting his wrongs and fixing the son he abused. This means that if he wants a life that feels good, the ball is only in his court to pick up the pieces of himself and find new, fulfilling relationships and heal. It doesn’t matter if something in your life is someone else’s fault, you can’t guarantee that they will take responsibility for fixing it. This means the power and therefore the responsibility is in your hands even if it isn’t your fault to change the situation into what you want it to be instead. If you look at the word responsibility as if it is response-ability. You can ask yourself the question, how is it within my ability to respond? How do I have the ability and opportunity and capacity to respond to this situation so as to bring about what I want?
Wherever possible, commit to being in the position of cause instead of effect. This requires a mindset shift. We live in a universe based on the law of cause and effect. This means we will do things that affect others and others will do things that affect us. One of the best ways to own your power is to choose out of the position of being at the effect of others. This is something that entrepreneurs have figured out. If you are in the position to be fired, you are at the effect of your company and boss. Therefore, entrepreneurs have chosen to remove themselves from that position and be at the effect of themselves. A person who simply blames their partner in a relationship for the negative relationship pattern that is occurring, is at the effect of their partner. If however they recognize their own role in that pattern and change it, they have switched into the cause position in the universe, instead of staying in the effect position. Any time you are in a situation that feels like you are at the effect of someone or something else, ask how could I adapt to the reality of this situation so as to switch back into the position of cause instead of effect?
Follow the north star of your desires. Commit your energy to your desires, values, what is meaningful and what is important to you. Follow those things like a compass pointing you due north. As I’ve said earlier, to fully commit to something is to put all of your energy into something. This means mental, emotional and physical focus and actions. Your personal power is about being able to bring about what you want. This means commitment to following the north star of what you want, what is meaningful, important and what you value, is central to personal power. Doing this makes you a driver of your life instead of a passenger. This means being willing to be different, go in a different direction and stand out from the crowd. This means staying pointed towards your north star when people put pressure on you to stray from your course or try to make you wrong for what you want.
There are plenty of situations in life where it is in alignment to take a back seat with your power and to give others people’s power the drivers seat in a situation. Obsessing over having all the power implies relationship dysfunction in and of itself. There are plenty of situations where power isn’t about having the front seat or the back seat. But for the sake of your understanding about personal power, the final thing I ask you to see is that you can choose where and where not to give other people the power in any given situation. And this, in and of itself is power, because it is a choice!
When we perceive someone or something to have more power than we do; especially if that power gives them control or the right to make decisions, give orders or enforce obedience, we call it authority. Encountering authority, immediately makes us aware of our vulnerability. And the way we react to authority relates directly to the experiences we have had when we have been in that vulnerable position before. This is why so many people have “issues with authority and hierarchy.” For information on hierarchy, I suggest you watch my video titled: Hierarchy, Should We Accept It?
Before I continue with this lesson, I want you to take out a piece of paper and write down “what I could expect from my parents” on the top of the page. Underneath that, you’re going to make a list of what you could expect from them. Some examples may be: Caretaking, to have to fend for myself, to be guilted, to be praised, to be protected, to not be protected, to be valued and wanted, to be seen and treated like a burden and unwanted, to be invisible, honesty, for there to be dark truths underneath the surface of what was said and even done, disappointment, for them to take responsibility for me, for them to mess up, for them to make the right decisions, lots of mixed messages, for them to act in my best interests, for them to screw me for their best interests, to be supported, to be exploited etc. Write this list before you continue this video.
Now that you have written your list, make a short list of authority figures you have in your life, for example: The president, the monarchy, the government, someone with higher social status, someone with more knowledge, my boss, coaches, Teal Swan, any other spiritual leader, my professor, my doctor, police men, corporate executives etc. And see how closely your expectations or fears relative to them match this list that you just wrote. Do this comparison before you continue this video.
When we are born, our first authority figures are our parents. Beyond that, older siblings or older extended family members and beyond that, teachers and the parents of our peers. Essentially, our first imprinting relative to authority occurs within our interactions with the adults that were around us in our childhood. We learn to recognize and remember patterns by virtue of association. In our minds, however our first interactions went with our primary authority figures, is what we associate with authority in general. And this is where we become unconscious.
If you want to understand people’s very different reactions to what the powers that be in the world today are doing, simply know that people project their experiences with their primary authority figures onto any authority figures that they encounter in their adulthood. They expect the same experiences. To understand projection, watch my video titled: Projection (Understanding the Psychology of Projecting). For example, in response to this most recent Covid-19 crisis, a person who perceives themselves to have a loving, trusting relationship with their primary authority figures that they can rely on, will tend to say things like “the president is doing the very best job he can, we have to trust him to know what’s best for us.” Where as a person who perceives themselves to have an oppositional, distrusting relationship with their primary authority figures that they could not rely on will tend to say things like “this asshole is just in it for his own pocketbook no matter the cost to the average citizen, may god have mercy on us all.”
If what you are wanting is truth and clarity, it lies beyond projection. That is to say, all projection obscures the truth. For example, it opens the door for the possibility that we are projecting mal intent where there is actually mal intent, or we could be projecting mal intent where there is actually benevolence. We could also just as easily be projecting benevolence where there is actual benevolence as we could be projecting benevolence where there is actually mal intent.
Those of us who were much more fortunate in our experiences with authority figures in childhood, tend to project positive where it may or may not actually exist. Whereas those of us who were not so fortunate, tend to project negative where it may or may not actually exist. And we argue violently to preserve the validity of our own associations.
Perhaps the ultimate authority we have is the universe at large, what many call source or god. You will notice that your expectations of the universe mirror your expectations of your childhood authority figures. This has serious implications if you felt that one or more of the authority figures were adversaries. It means you feel the universe is against you. It also has serious implications if you had an un-predictable parent. It means you expect the universe to sometimes support you and sometimes destroy you. For more information about this, watch my video titled: I Can’t Trust the Universe, I Feel Like God is Against Me).
Our unconsciously held attitudes, and more than that feelings, towards authority figures can make a real mess of our ability to perceive and see things clearly as well as a real mess of our lives in general because of how it makes us respond to authority. It causes us to polarize towards hostility or over-compliance. It causes us to unconsciously play out the same experience in adulthood that we had with our primary authority figures as a child. It often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
For this reason, it is important to recognize this pattern of projecting your primary authority figures in childhood onto authority figures in your adult life and to remember that the more in control of your own life you feel, the less of an issue you will have with authority.
Before you read the totality of this episode, I want you to go get your phone. Open up your contacts list and scroll through the names and relative to every name on that list, I want you to ask yourself “Do I feel like I have to placate this person?” Before you do this, let me explain what placation is. To placate someone is to make a person less hostile or to prevent potential hostility by doing something that appeases them. To understand placation, all you need to think of is a hostile situation. For example, a restaurant gives a refund to a customer who threatens to write a bad review. A civilian in war time pretends to be a member of the opposite side so as to not get killed. It is essentially any action taken with the specific intention of calming or preventing hostility. This means placation can be done in a situation where hostility is already present or where it is preemptively done because hostility is anticipated.
I’m going to give you some examples of how it might apply to your life. You buy someone something in order to prevent them turning against you. You compliment someone to calm them down when they react aggressively to something you did that they perceived as an insult. You get your work assignment done on time without ever asking any questions when you get stuck on it, so you never have to face the wrath or scrutiny of your bosses. You change your plans to attend something you don’t want to attend so as to avoid losing the friend who invited you. You put yourself down to prevent them from seeing you as a threat and all those consequences that would come as a result of them seeing you that way. You stay silent and deliberately don’t take the attention away from someone to prevent them from getting jealous of you and becoming an antagonist. You make sure to check in with a person and ask how they are doing to make sure you’re still ok with them and to make them feel like you care, so you never wander into the territory of being seen as an adversary. You tell them lies instead of the truth in order to avoid being ostracized.
Placation is felt as a tension and fear in the body. It is an incredible form of social pressure. The way you can tell if you are placating someone vs. connecting with them and doing things for them out of love is that you will be doing them with this background fear that if you don’t, they will turn hostile towards you and there will be a painful consequence because of that hostility.
Ok… keep this in mind while you feel for that emotional note of fear (fear that if you don’t do whatever appeasing thing, they will turn hostile) pause this video and do this exercise of scanning each person in your contacts list to see if you feel you have to placate them before you resume this video.
What did you find out? Are you really connecting with people? Are you doing things that please them out of love or out of fear about what will happen if you don’t? Do you feel really safe and secure in your relationships? Or are you spending the majority of your social energy placating the people in your life and feeling like it is impossible to be honest or authentic without them turning into enemies?
Some of you are probably feeling relieved to understand why you are under so much stress relative to the people in your life. Some of you are probably feeling pretty sick to your stomach about this realization right about now.
Why did you not notice this pattern so as to be able to name it before? Because you have become as acclimatized to living in dangerous, hostile environments and holding a hostile world view as a fish has become acclimatized to water. You’re used to it.
Don’t listen to what many psychologists and social experts say when they say that dysfunctional relationships and families are the rarity. They are in fact the vast majority relative to human social behavior. The fact that dysfunction is the norm is why we don’t call it dysfunctional any more than we called heads being put on a spike dysfunctional in the 1500s. At this point in time, families and relationships simply fall somewhere on the scale of dysfunction. Unfortunately/fortunately the more aware and conscious you become, the more you will recognize this.
In a dysfunctional family or in a dysfunctional relationship, there is a subconscious principal that governs the group or pair: Every man for himself. You can literally boil all the behaviors belonging to all the people that are part of a dysfunctional social system (such as manipulating, intimidating, triangulating, punishing, codependent strategies, narcissistic strategies and yes, this includes placating) to this: Everyone must find their own creative strategies to meet their own needs and to avoid harm in an environment where it is a guarantee that no one is going to take anyone else’s best interests as a part of their own best interests. It is the opposite of a safe and authentic relationship.
A dysfunctional relationship takes place in an atmosphere of hostility. But there are all kinds of words and behaviors employed to cover this truth up. Words like “I love you” and “we’re family and no matter what, we’re here for each other”. This is one of society’s main gaslights. To understand more about gaslighting, watch my video titled: Gaslighting.
Humans are a socially dependent species. And don’t think this is simply because of species evolution. It’s not only because being without a tribe that felt they wanted or needed us, meant death for millions of years. It’s because we are still relationally dependent. If you leave a human baby (and even child) out on its own, it is dead. End of story. And even when we grow up, whether you like to admit to it or not, there are needs that every person needs in order to thrive that in fact depend on being connected to and belonging with other people. This means we are put in a serious double bind when the very thing we need to survive and thrive is the very thing that we perceive as being hostile or potentially hostile to us. It means we have to develop strategies to stay aligned with and wanted by people who we feel could turn against us on a dime if we do anything to displease them.
I’m not going to gaslight you. You do not live in a world that is socially safe. People are not to a place yet where they have comprehended oneness at all levels. They are not at a place yet where they get that they need each other (and this includes everyone, not just ‘some people and not others’. Most people are operating from a narcissistic perspective without realizing it. Meaning “everything I’m doing, I do for my own best interests and I see you as ‘other’, so your best interests are not included in mine”. You know what that means? It means that some people are absolutely going to put you in a position to have to placate them. Even our government is set up to have to be placated by the civilian. But until we make this placation dynamic conscious and name it for what it is, we will have no hope of creating relationships that are different or a society that is different.
Until we make placation conscious, we will be staying in relationship arrangements that we shouldn’t, living inauthentic and dishonest lives that are out of alignment with our own integrity, placating in situations that placation is not actually required, because hostility is something that is being projected. And we will be doing it in subconscious, deterministic ways rather than conscious ways that are effective.
If placation is your norm, you become accustomed to unsafe relationships and not only perpetuate them, but stay in ones that are detrimental. Maybe you even stay in them because it’s safer than leaving. You do all this as opposed to creating safe relationships and finding people who are dedicated to creating safe relationships as well. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: How to Create a Safe Relationship.
If placation is your norm, your highest priority will not be honesty. In fact either lack of integrity, dishonesty and inauthenticity will be your way of placating people and you will self-sacrifice constantly or you will be walking a tight rope in a minefield trying to somehow placate people into to becoming ok with your truth so you don’t have to sacrifice your best interests completely. For this reason, you would benefit by watching my videos titled: How To Be Authentic, Integrity, What is Integrity and How to Build Integrity and Self Sacrifice, The Most Self Centered Thing In The World.
If placation is your norm, you most likely grew up in an environment where you adopted the perspective that the world is hostile and people are hostile. You had to placate one or more of the people in your early life and now because of this, you run the very real risk of projecting hostility or projecting the risk of hostility where it doesn’t actually exist. This tends to be especially noticeable with people who you perceive as having more power than you, such as authorities. This puts other people in a lose - lose situation. They are not all the things you are telling yourself they are, but it doesn’t matter. They are cast in the role of the dangerous guy in your head anyway.
If placation is your norm, you will not even be conscious that you are doing it. You will simply feel tension, anxiety, stress or even the panic of threat. You will then unconsciously experience a subconscious take over. You will begin to go into ‘placation autopilot’ and begin to do things to appease them or calm down potential or existing tension subconsciously. You will placate using the very same strategies you learned in your early childhood. There is no room to stop and realize what you are actually doing. If you stop and see what you are actually doing, you are in a place of free will and choice. Then you can decide if the situation actually requires placation or not. If not, you can relax. If so, you can decide how to best go about it in a conscious way. This may include finding effective placation strategies or finding ways to release resistance to and become more ok with the social consequence that the other person is giving you or potentially will give you. You can also decide what to do about the fact that you have a situation or person in your life where placation is required.
One thing that will totally change your relationship to placation is to realize that it is a narcissistic strategy. It is done for one person and one person only and that’s you (you includes things you’re identified with). You are placating to stay safe in a situation where you perceive the other person to be unsafe. For example, if you give that person a gift from a position of trying to placate them, you didn’t give them that gift so that they would feel good. You gave it to them so that you could be safe. It was a gift given for you, a lie told for your own sake, a concession made for your benefit, not theirs. You’re operating from the old paradigm: It’s every man out for himself.
You will most likely get confused when it comes to placation because placation involves so many loving gestures. When is it in-alignment to show love and not? You will ask. All you need to remember is that if you’re placating, you are doing things that some other parts of you might do to show love or to connect but there is fear present. Your motive for doing it is to calm down hostility or avoid hostility. You are doing it out of fear that there will be a consequence if you don’t do it. Or you are not doing it out of fear that there will be a consequence if you do do it. This is one reason why being aware of your actual motivation in any given situation (no matter how much of a bad person it makes you feel like you are) is so important. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening.
Another element that I must add here is that there is a shadow lurking in those who placate. That shadow is a lack of self-worth. People who have a chronic pattern of placating, have the understanding that people only turn hostile when they have decided they do not want or need the closeness or alliance of the person they are turning hostile towards. For example, if you really want or need closeness with a person because you love their company or because they have something you need, you are going to do everything to avoid a conflict with them. You will do this because you recognize value in them. If you have a pattern of placation, you feel that you must be the one who does the placating in every relationship because no one recognizes your value and so they don’t perceive themselves to need or want you and so they lack the motive to stay in alignment and close and on good terms with you. You personalize the hostility of your environment as being a comment on your own value and worth. For this reason, it will benefit you to watch my video titled: The Value Realization (A Realization That Can Completely Change Your Self Worth). And seeing as how you most likely got to this idea as a result of trauma from your childhood, such as living with a parent who was an adversary, it would benefit you to do a process that I created called The Completion Process. To learn this process, you can buy a copy of my book titled: The Completion Process or visit www.completionprocess.com and select a practitioner who can lead you through it.
If your social life is about placating, it is a serious issue. If you break it down, all life really is, is a collection of relationships with different things. If your life therefore is about placation, you will be living a stressed, tense, fearful, exhausting, in-authentic, dishonest, thousands of pounds of pressure life and wondering why you’re not doing ok. Your life will be non-stop assessment and obsession over whether you need to smooth anything over or prevent potential hostility.
There will always be some people who don’t mind putting you in a situation where you have to placate. But most people don’t want this. Most people would hate to know that the people around them were doing things that please them because of placation. This means that more people will be on board with helping you to end this dynamic than not. The ability to placate is an important social skill. But placation should never be your relationship style. You need to re-arrange your social life according to what your personal truth is relative to being around people who you need to placate. In my opinion, it should definitely not be your partner and it should not be the people whom you consider family or friends. If you feel you have to placate certain people, you need to have some serious heart to heart conversations with those people in your life about that feeling and collaborate with them about how to change that dynamic between you. The good and bad news is that you will be able to tell who you actually have to placate based on that conversation. Just be careful that in that conversation, you aren’t demonstrating that you are the one need to be placated.
Pay attention to your posture and notice those feelings of resentment, stress, obligation, anger, sadness or frustration when you think about doing something to establish rapport with someone else. Use those painful feelings as an alarm bell alerting you to the fact that you are in placation mode.
Be committed to directly naming it and talking about it when you feel that you are about to take an action to placate or have to do something to placate someone in order to stay safe and avoid hostility. For example, “I’m afraid that I have to placate you by coming to that party, because if I don’t come to that party, I am afraid that you’ll decide that I’m a crappy friend and abandon me.” And remember if you are committed to ending this pattern of placation, you should be asking yourself: How can I make people feel safe with me? How can I make people feel like they don’t have to placate me?
The human ego is so sensitive that an honest conversation that is safe is definitely a practice to master. But we should at least be trying to master it. Otherwise, we will be having relationships that are painful and not real. And that is exactly what a relationship based on placation is: Painful and not real.
Placation is currently a relationship style for people on earth. People so often feel the way to create a good relationship is to placate each other. But my question for you is: Is this what we want for our relationships? Is this what we want for our society and world?
Rejection is one of the most painful experiences that a person can go through. And it is also something that all people have experienced and will experience. Rejection can apply to all kinds of things. But when it comes to dealing with rejection on a personal level, what we’re really talking about is situations in which YOU or something about you is the thing being dismissed as inadequate, inappropriate or unwanted. It is essentially a NO relative to YOU in a situation where you want or need them to say yes to you; because them saying yes would feel like you are accepted and taken in by them as appropriate, wanted, and valued.
The biggest question you’re going to have if you struggle with rejection is: Why Me? Why am I the one not being accepted, wanted or valued? You will begin to subconsciously think things like: Why should I value me, if no one else does? The first thing to know about rejection is that it is perfectly normal to personalize things and to feel like crap when you’re in situations where you perceive yourself to have been rejected.
All pain boils down to some form of separation. When someone says NO to you or something about you, it is felt as a push away. The deepest need of the physical human is closeness and connection. We are biologically wired to maintain closeness with tribe, our survival depends on it, and so we are wired to feel actual physical pain when we are at risk of ostracization. So it would stand to reason that the deepest pain is to be pushed away by someone. It usually causes us to go into fight or flight mode, doubt our own value, to fear that we may never get our needs met and to feel and really, really lonely. This is compounded by the fact that when our self-esteem dips, in order to avoid the pain of more rejection and feelings of inadequacy, we tend to isolate ourselves.
You are not going to be able to get rid of the need for social acceptance. That is as ridiculous as a fish trying to get rid of the need to be part of a school of fish. What you can do is to recognize this need within yourself and respond to that need consciously and with your free will. For this reason, if you are struggling with rejection or the fear of rejection, you would benefit immensely by reading my book, the Anatomy of Loneliness (How To Find Your Way Back To Connection).
Instead of spending a long time helping you to understand rejection, I’m going to give you a list of points that will help you to change your perspective about rejection and overcome the pain of it.
Rejection is not a validation. Being rejected does not prove the validity or accuracy of something. For example, someone might reject something about you because they think it is bad or wrong. That does not mean that it is in fact bad or wrong. For example, if you were a blonde who was raised in a society that believed all blonde people were cursed by the devil and so you shouldn’t be near them, you would be rejected for being blonde. Would that rejection be a confirmation that being blonde is in fact bad and wrong? Stop taking rejection as validation that there is absolutely something bad or wrong about you.
Face your emotions about the rejection. There is nothing more worthless when it comes to the topic of rejection than ideas like “stop caring what other people think”. You are not going to get anywhere by telling yourself it is no big deal. All forms of rejection are immediately painful to a physical human. What makes the difference in recovery, is how a person deals with that pain or doesn’t deal with that pain. If you suppress, deny, ignore or bulldoze emotions, you will only amplify the problem. So admit to how you feel. Having feelings does not make you weak. Quite the opposite. If you need help with this, you can watch my videos titled: How To Feel and How to Express Your Emotion. And when you find these emotions, treat yourself with compassion.
When we believe that there is something wrong or bad about us and that is why we have been rejected, we slip into shame and make that shame worse by starting to beat ourselves up. We think that doing so will cause us to change something about ourselves so we will be valued one day. Our aggression turns towards ourselves. We begin to find fault with ourselves, kick ourselves when were already down and bemoan our perceived short comings. This only backfires in the end. We become furious because we feel powerless to beat ourselves into becoming whatever we believe would make us lovable.
The fear we feel because of this powerlessness converts itself into aggression and rage. We in essence begin to reject ourselves in response to rejection. We need to practice the opposite behavior… Self-valuing, self-acceptance, self-love and compassion towards ourselves. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Compassion and How To Cultivate Compassion. You may benefit by doing ‘parts work’ with the part of you that is rejecting you and the part within you that it is doing the rejecting. To learn how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work, What is Parts Work and How To Do It.
So many people are suffering from terribly low self-esteem. The core of this poor self-esteem is the feeling of not being valued. This is especially the case if they perceive themselves to have not been valued by their family members and/or peers in childhood. When we value something, we regard it as having worth to us because it is useful, important and beneficial. The realization however that can change your self-esteem completely is that. Value is entirely based on needs. “Worth” is a completely abstract concept. You cannot objectively determine the value of something. Worth has no basis in reality because it’s entirely subjective. It is a guarantee that you or the things about you will be seen as valuable to someone. If value were entirely based on needs. The most important questions to ask yourself are: Who needs me? And what do I need about me? To understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: The Value Realization.
When we struggle with rejection in our adult life, it is a guarantee that we have experienced rejection in our childhood and that the “rejection wound” has not healed. For this reason, resolution work relative to the original wounding is important. It is akin to facing and healing the cracked foundation of the house of your self concept. For this reason, you would benefit by doing a process that I created called The Completion Process. I have a book that I have written that details the process that is quite literally titled: The Completion Process. You can also visit www.completionprocess.com and select a practitioner to take you through the process.
People who really suffer from rejection and the fear of rejection tend to have fixed mindsets and not believe that things are changeable. This is to say that they suffer from a sense of powerlessness and futility even relative to things they absolutely do have power over and absolutely can change. This is why rejection tends to make them feel hopeless about the future. It is really important that you change to a ‘growth’ mindset. A mindset that does not see things as set in stone, most especially the self. Our personalities and behaviors are in essence, adaptations to our environment. This means, authenticity and integration and healing will change your personality and behaviors. Life is flexible and you are flexible. Face and seek to understand and change your perspectives regarding your own perceptions of powerlessness and your perceptions that things are fixed and unchangeable and therefore inevitable.
So much about the fear of rejection and the pain of rejection is because we do not have close and intimate enough relationships with people. We aren’t asking them enough questions. We are not really taking the initiative to see into, feel into, listen to and understand them. Instead, we are stuck with ourselves and our own needs. We tell ourselves a story about why people are rejecting us. We add meaning that actually does not exist. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button. Essentially, most of us aren’t brave enough to discover the real reason why.
We need to be brave enough and initiate putting energy forth towards learning from the rejection. Spending the time and energy in order to totally understand the real reason behind WHY we are being rejected by them can do one of two things. 1. It can make us self-aware. This puts us in a place of choice. We often do not understand how we are being perceived by others. We all have that friend who has a behavior that hurts people. We know this is why we don’t invite them to get togethers etc. But we are too afraid to tell him. If you were him, would you want to know so that you could decide to change it or not? 2. It can help us to understand that so often them saying NO to us has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with them… their own traumas and needs and wants. It can even have to do with things we would never have thought of, things that are in no way related to us or our value. Remember, really nice and valuable things are rejected every day by people who can’t afford them.
It can also bring to the surface the fact that what is really happening is incompatibility. Incompatibility can happen in a business setting, a family setting, a romantic setting and anything in between. To understand this concept in depth, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, A Harsh Reality in Relationships. Be brave enough to stop telling yourself stories about the rejection and directly talk to them instead. Tell them you really, really want the brutal, honest truth. And develop enough intimacy and ask enough questions to discover the real why.
Something that most people don’t know is that out of rejection comes your biggest sense of direction. I often talk about emotions serving as a kind of compass. Rejection can be a compass as well. This is even more the case when you are brave enough to discover the real reasons why. For example, I know a man who discovered that the real reason he was being rejected by women shortly after they became his girlfriend was because they all felt he was unavailable. He looked deeply into himself for his personal truth. He could have put tons of effort into learning how to be available in relationships. But he was a journalist. He decided that his real priority was his work, not a romantic relationship. So instead, he decided to do a course correction and specifically look for and date women who were extremely busy themselves and who wanted casual romance in their lives instead of a committed relationship where he would be needed.
To use myself as another example, in the beginning of my career, I was rejected more than a few times by people in the business of hiring spiritual teachers to speak. When I had direct conversations with them, they told me that they were interested in hiring empowering speakers, who left the audience feeling amazing and empowered after attending the speech. As opposed to me, who got up on stage and told them the truth, even if it was painful. They said people don’t return the next year, unless the speakers make them feel amazing. This feedback made my direction very clear. When I really looked deep inside myself, I realized that my calling is to be a truth teller, no matter if the truth feels good or bad. This realization directed me towards rebranding, as well as towards doing my own events catered towards people who wanted the truth and real healing based off of that truth, as opposed to people who wanted inspiration or simply to feel relief. Another person, given the same feedback might have realized that their compass was pointing them in the direction of creating more feel-good speeches. The point is, rejection can give you a strong sense of direction, if you let it. You can turn rejection into something that dramatically benefits your life.
Reach out to people or groups where you do feel valued and accepted and to people whom you feel an affinity with. Really initiate learning how to develop deep, meaningful friendships with people. When we feel afraid of rejection or experience the pain of rejection, we compound our own ostracization by isolating ourselves and by adopting behaviors that guarantee further ostracization. When we really need to do the opposite. When we experience the pain of rejection, we become “inflamed” emotionally and physically. Being near people who accept and value you will help this inflammation to die down and this pain to be soothed. Part of this is because it secures our currently highly unstable need to belong. If we have been rejected, our need for belonging is threatened. You need to meet this need. For this reason, you would benefit by watching my videos titled: Belonging and How To Belong as well as Instant Belonging.
Pain tries to convince you that you’re the only one in it, that you’re the only one who is being rejected when everyone else is being valued and loved and accepted. But it isn’t the truth. Everyone gets rejected for something. The most valuable people in history, people like Jesus and Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King were rejected to the degree that some of them were jailed and even killed. So rejection says nothing about your actual value. And everyone feels pain when they get rejected. Whether that pain turns into suffering or not depends upon how that pain is dealt with. It depends on whether we use it to find deeper awareness, personal truth and direction. And consider that when you feel you are being rejected and therefore prevented from having something good, that might just be the universe re-directing you towards something better.
People have a very hard time expanding wide enough to be able to hold dichotomy. Essentially, in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, people tend to globalize and see things as all bad or all good. They want one answer or one cure for all situations. But it is critical if you are on the path of awareness to understand that all things can heal and all things can also damage. This means that any teaching or practice can be beneficial and it can also be detrimental depending on the circumstance.
There is an old wiccan principal, that which can poison can also heal and nothing can heal without also being able to poison. So you can understand what I mean by this, I’m going to give you some examples.
Take the teaching “you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step”. This teaching is super beneficial for people who are paralyzed by the overwhelm of the “how” of reaching their goals. However, this teaching is super detrimental for people who do not like the pressure of having to make the right decisions based on big picture awareness… People who would prefer to follow the whims of their emotions. It can cause them to justify ignoring red flags and to justify getting into shark infested water until by the time they realize it is sharky water, it’s too late to turn around.
Affirmations and gratitude lists can be a really good tool for decreasing stress, improving your personal mentality and frequency and developing awareness of the positive polarity of your life. They can also be methods of coping with situations that need to be changed instead of coped with, methods of lying to oneself and methods of avoidance and escapism and denial.
The universal truth “There is no death” can help both people afraid of death and people who have lost a loved one to not fear ended-ness and to feel connection even when someone is no longer physically with us. It can also cause someone pain when they are grappling with the fact that in the physical dimension, death absolutely is a reality and so their feelings of loss are valid. This truth can make people stuck and unable to work through their grief because if there is no death, they shouldn’t be feeling grief and something must be wrong or unevolved with them to not be able to feel the reality of ‘no loss’. It can also remove some of the fear about death and someone might use that comfort to justify committing suicide.
Meditation is one of the most powerful tools available to humans. There are so many beneficial things it can do, the list would be five miles long. But let’s condense this list to say that it can be an especially powerful way to become aware and present. But meditation can also be a method of unawareness, suppression, resistance and escapism. For example, some people use it to escape the physical dimension because they perceived it to be unevolved and think it should be transcended. This is the opposite of presence. Some people use it to suppress their emotions. Any time they feel a strong negative emotion, instead of listening to it so as to becoming aware of the personal truth underneath it, they simply ‘meditate it away’. Some people use meditation as an addiction to avoid facing the wounding that they have.
One person may have reached the point in their personal growth process, where they are ready to let go of identity and begin to actualize the concept of oneness. Another person, who was enmeshed in childhood and never found their authenticity and never felt a solid core, might become unhealthier if they did the same things as the first person in this scenario. He or she would benefit better by developing healthy boundaries and a core.
Shadow work can be used as a tool of self-love. It can help you to develop intimacy with and awareness of and acceptance for parts of yourself that you suppressed, denied and disowned. It can also be used as a tool of self-hate. You can use to try to become aware of parts of yourself so that you can fix them into changing, thereby sending yourself the message from the inside that you are bad as you are.
‘Mind creates reality’ is a powerful concept that teaches you the power of your mind and also empowers you relative to a reality that most people feel powerless to. It can also be a fast track to causing pain, being ignorant and justifying denial. It can serve as a justification to slip into a narcissistic bubble. A person can speak the truth about reality and someone can use this concept as an excuse to deny it because “if they don’t choose to see it, it doesn’t exist”. This can also be a way of causing extreme pain to someone suffering by essentially blaming them for whatever painful thing happened in their life.
The teaching “choose yourself, even when others refuse to… because choosing yourself is self-love and self-love is self-care” can be something that people use to stop their codependency patterns, make the right choices for themselves and get out of abusive situations. It can also be something that people use to justify their narcissism and fail to take others as a part of themselves and enhance separation and a fend for yourself attitude within the human race.
So often when someone is contesting one of my quotes or is taking issues with one of my teachings or is suffering as a result of doing one of my processes, it is because they have taken something I have said out of context or found a scenario in which “that which heals can poison” or they are applying one of my teachings or processes to a situation that requires a different one. The misapplication of a teaching or technique is a serious problem in any field.
You get the point. It doesn’t take a genius to see that the fact that if any teaching or practice can be beneficial or detrimental, teaching to a group is difficult. Also, it blows the door open for people to be using the wrong concepts and practices for them at a given time or the right concepts at the wrong time or in the wrong circumstances. It can be compared to trying to nail something in with a screwdriver or trying to use an axe in a situation that requires tender loving care.
The level of awareness you need to have to be able to clearly and objectively see what teaching or practice is right in any given situation and at any given time is far beyond most people. The reason that “follow your feelings” isn’t a fail-safe answer is because you will feel better in several situations that are the opposite of good for you. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Why Follow Your Joy Doesn’t Always Work. Also, some things that are very right for you, do not feel great. For example, removing a thorn from your foot feels like crap in the short term.
The safest thing you can do is to be aware that right and wrong are not unchanging commandments. Whether something is right or wrong varies from situation to situation. Be aware of the potential healing and the potential poison of any given concept, teaching or practice. Therefore, relative to anything, you can ask yourself, in what situations or ways could this be detrimental and in what situations or ways could this be beneficial?
It is easy to assume that people have the same motive for doing things that you have. Psychologists have called this false consensus bias. Essentially, we tend to expect and project that people have the same beliefs, thoughts, motives, desires, values, aversions and preferences that we do, when sometimes they do not. When motives differ, it can create a lot of conflict and misunderstanding. One of these differences in motives can be seen clearly in the spiritual field.
To generalize, you can divide people who are into spirituality and self-help (which have now become comingled) into two camps. The first is people who practice spirituality and self-help in order to experience comfort. The second is people who practice spirituality and self-help in order to become aware and awaken. You have to really look deeply to see the difference because there are many gaslighting teachers and practices and tools in the spiritual/self-help field. There are many things that claim to be about truth and awareness and awakening that are only about instant pain relief and comfort. This motive split within the field is something that even people in the actual business of spirituality and self-help don’t recognize and really need to. People tend to project that other people who are interested in spirituality and self-help belong to the same camp as they do. This is part of what creates so much frustration amongst people in the field.
People who fit into the first camp, want to feel good. They see the knowledge and practices available in this field as a way to feel good. People who fit into the second camp, want to know what is true. They imagine that knowing the truth will enable them to make changes that will lead to feeling better. But they want to know the truth even if what they come to find out makes them feel really, really bad. It’s the classic matrix blue pill or red pill scenario.
Some people imagine themselves to be in the middle, with both motives. They are the ones who tend to suffer the most because they are caught in between interests that often compete. Not all truth is painful. But it is where truth is painful that this divide really appears. A person who is interested in spiritual practice in order to find comfort is unconcerned with whether those methods that create comfort reflect the truth or whether they are serving as a coping mechanism. A person who is caught in the middle wants to feel good, but is always worried about whether they are simply going into denial or avoidance or whether something that feels good that they are told is true or not.
While there are some teachers and practices that straddle the fence, most teachers tend to fit into either camp. Most practices tend to fit into either camp. Most spiritual events tend to fit into either camp. Indeed entire paths can fit into either camp.
I have deep understanding of the desire to feel comfort and to feel good. No one wants to be in pain and both spiritual practice and self-help techniques definitely offer some powerful tools for relief and coping. But I do wish to make people aware of these motives so that they can distinguish between the path of awareness and the path of simply feeling good. Only then can you truly be in a place of choice.
There are scenarios in which pain relief is beneficial. The path of awareness recognizes this. There are also scenarios where pain relief is detrimental. Comfort and feel-good based spiritual practice blows the door wide open for these detrimental aspects of pain relief. For example, if the barometer of whether something is true is whether it feels good, we will end up in the land of ignorance. For example, it is true that sex trafficking of children is happening. That does not feel good. If we follow our emotions like a compass, we must see that emotions are dictated by thoughts, most of which are programmed into you at a young age and have no real bearing on reality. So are we following our authentic compass or a compass that has been programmed by our family and culture? We may be in a situation where we really can do something to change the scenario we are in. But because of perceived helplessness, we may use a comforting spiritual practice to be able to cope with staying in the situation we should be changing or getting out of. We may use a comforting feeling concept to wash over the reality of a situation and by doing so, completely misinterpret what is actually happening. We may use feel good truths that belong to one dimension to negate uncomfortable truths that belong to other dimensions. We may defend truths that feel good to us if we have wounding around our truth being excluded from someone else’s reality. When our truth has not been acknowledged, especially in childhood, we fight for our own reality against other people’s. By fending for our own truth, we cope with the pain by becoming exactly like what hurt us… A person trapped in a perceptual bubble.
I could make a list five miles long about the risks involved with belonging to the “comfort and feel good” camp of spirituality. To go deeper into this, you can watch my video titled: Novocain Spirituality. What I want you to be aware of is that the desire for pain relief and the desire for healing, often takes you in drastically opposite directions. Many of the tools that are taught by the “comfort and feel better” camp are valuable, they can also lead to incredible ignorance and destruction if used in the wrong ways.
In general, people don’t want to see the truth when they feel they can’t change something or don’t want to change something. Your only axis of power and true choice is to be in reality and to see the truth. But all this being said, a person has to want to see the truth. You can’t make someone want to see the truth. And so, one of the most important things you can do is to really decide what your motive is for practicing spirituality and self-help. If you honestly want comfort and to feel good and relief, really own it. And be aware that what you are going for is to feel good, not to know the truth. You are engaging in these practices so as to ‘get out of the dirt’. If you want awareness, be aware that there may be things that feel amazing and there may be things that feel so bad, you doubt your ability to swallow them. Part of awareness is to go directly into the dirt. If you choose the path of comfort, you should run away from me as fast as your legs can carry you. And return only if you are ready.
All this being said, if you look at people who are associated with the spirituality and self-help field through this awareness of the two camps, a lot more will begin to make sense to you.
The question to ask yourself now is: In what camp do I belong? Do I choose the blue pill or the red pill?
Connection and belonging with that connection is the strongest need for a physical human. We are after all a relationally dependent species. Some of us feel that belonging with the families we were born into. This allows for more room when it comes to selecting compatible friends and a compatible mate for ourselves. But some of us never felt it and some of us lost it. Even if our family is technically alive, this dynamic creates a kind of orphan complex. It creates a desperate sense of urgency to belong, regardless of whether compatibility actually exists or not. This allows for much less room to select a compatible situation and compatible people for ourselves, which is a recipe for suffering.
If we have this pattern, we are on the lookout for similarities with others. Once we see these similarities, we do not go slowly in order to see if we are in fact a fit to them. We decide they are a fit. The beginning of the relationship usually feels like heaven. We finally have our deepest need met and we feel deep satiation. But what we don’t see is that our sense of belonging is in fact an overlay. An overlay is a pretend reality that sits over actual reality like an overlay. Overlays make it so we commit to something that isn’t real, especially in relationships. And eventually, when that overlay begins to corrode and we notice some of the incompatibilities that exist, we end up in a reality that is the opposite of what we would choose. To understand overlays in depth, watch my video titled: Overlay (What Prevents You from Having a Real Relationship).
Some of us move on to another situation or another relationship and then another and then another and repeat this cycle again and again and again until one day, we have healed enough to find or create belonging. Others fall into what I call the “modified puzzle piece pattern”. When they recognize the incompatibilities that exist and the ways they don’t belong, they begin to try to modify themselves so that they are a fit. The best way to imagine this is to imagine a little puzzle piece realizing that it doesn’t actually fit in the spot in the puzzle that it thought it did and so it finds a pocketknife and begins cutting away at itself in the hope that it can make the shape out of itself that will enable it to fit perfectly. It’s heartbreaking to watch.
The problem with this pattern is, it isn’t possible for a puzzle piece to modify itself in this way and be ok at the same time. It is always obvious that it is not a real fit. It had to cut away parts of itself that are intrinsic to it, which crates severe pain that does not go away. It got the message that it had to be different to belong, which destroys its self-esteem. Switching back to the human experience, I’m going to give you some real-life examples of people with this pattern and how it does not work.
A woman with this pattern has a deep need to be the priority in a relationship. She also has a deep need to live a ‘big life’, with lots of success and financial abundance and a man who takes care of her financially. She meets a nice man who is there for her emotionally, which is another need of hers. But this man has a child from another relationship and it becomes obvious to her that his child is the priority for him. Also, he is a simple man who loves a simple life and who has no ambition to ‘make it big’ or be rich. It causes her intense pain every time his child is around. She suffers realizing that she is on her own to make money and create success and that it will be her carrying him financially in the end, which makes her stressed out and lose respect for him. But she is so unwilling to face the fact that she does not actually fit with him that she begins to try to alter her truth. She attends seminars about simple living to try to talk herself into seeing her desire for a big life as ego dysfunction. She tries to find and heal the trauma creating her need to be prioritized. Her truth of “I need to be the priority” changes to “I need to be the priority when your child isn’t around”. But this modified truth isn’t the actual truth because she still gets hurt and there is still a conflict every time the man prioritizes his child’s need when she has a need. Her truth of “I want a man who will financially take care of me” turns to “I can be the financial success if he supports me emotionally.” But this modified truth isn’t the actual truth because every time she has to pay for something, and every time she sees him prioritize playing sports or watching movies instead of trying to improve their financial position, she resents him.
A man with this pattern really wants to be in a certain job. He clearly sees the needs that the company has for someone in that position. Instead of really examining his authentic talents and personal desires, he simply dresses and acts the part and sells himself so well that he gets hired. He has to change and hide and deny all kinds of things about himself in order to fit in that position. In time, this not only leads to zero job satisfaction, he also isn’t doing a good job in his position and does not seem motivated, which makes HR feel duped.
A woman with this pattern has been in several relationships. Each time she gets into one, her entire personality and the way she dresses and the interests she has changes. Once, she was with a Harley Davidson biker and suddenly she was wearing black leather and cut off all her hair so it would fit in a helmet and bought a motorbike with money she didn’t have to spare and put her daughter in afterschool care and dropped all her other interests so she could fit in with him and his other biker friends every day. She did the same thing when she started dating a Christian. Suddenly, she stopped drinking alcohol and started dressing in conservative dresses and sending her family religious pamphlets and spending more time doing “good mom” things with her daughter. She did the same thing with a man who loved dogs. She got one and acted like she loved them but when the relationship ended, she left it in a pen in the yard with no attention for the next 5 years.
Sometimes both people in a couple have this pattern. This is where things get super confusing. They both modify their truth to try to fit to each other in different scenarios and imagine it to be a good thing because it is compromise, which they imagine is the way to make a relationship work. But compromise does not work because it is very different than finding a third option that genuinely works to meet the needs of two compatible people. Compromise is ‘I’ll take a little pain and you take a little pain”. If you do that over and over in a relationship, you will both simply end up in lots of pain in the relationship. Compromise is a form of ‘self-sacrifice’ and your being will not thank you for it.
Hopefully by this point, you get how this pattern works and maybe even have someone from your own life (maybe it’s you) that you can clearly see is caught in this pattern. The modified puzzle piece pattern makes you violate your own boundaries (including personal truth) for the sake of the relationship. To understand about boundaries, it would benefit you to watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries vs. Oneness (How to Create Healthy Boundaries). Part of your personal truth, which is part of what defines you and is therefore a boundary of yours, is desire. If you have this ‘modified puzzle piece pattern’ in relationships, you will try to modify your desires by changing or trying to get rid of them, which cannot be done. To understand this deeper, watch my video titled: You Can’t Heal Yourself Out of a Desire.
This pattern also really, really hurts other people too because they will feel duped and misled. We will sell them on the idea that we are compatible to them and say we are ok with things. But then, it will turn out that we are different, maybe even the opposite of what we said we were and it will turn out that we really aren’t ok with what we agreed to.
We are conditioned to believe that love triumphs over all. We have been conditioned to believe that if we are genuinely a good person, we should be able to have a feel-good relationship with anyone and everyone. There is a big difference between loving something and being compatible with something. To understand incompatibility, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality In Relationships. The modified puzzle piece pattern is a refusal to acknowledge and accept incompatibility because doing so, means losing connection and belonging. For people who do not have belonging elsewhere, they would rather modify themselves to fit than acknowledge incompatibility because they think doing so would mean having no belonging and having nowhere to connect and fit as opposed to having the tiny bit of connection and belonging they are getting with the incompatible situation. It is a starvation and desperation pattern. Most people would rather have scraps and be malnourished for their entire life rather than risk starvation, which is what people with this pattern genuinely feel they are facing.
If you have this pattern, know that it makes perfect sense. Anyone who had truly felt the starvation for belonging would do the same thing. The pain of not belonging is ineffable. But if you have to modify yourself out of alignment with your personal truth (and especially desires) in order to fit somewhere, it isn’t an actual fit. It means belonging did not actually exist. You cannot call it belonging if only your pinkie toe fits or if only half of you fits, any more than a puzzle piece fits if only one or half of its tabs or slots fit. Your real fear is that you do not belong anywhere. This is actually impossible universally speaking. This means in the physical dimension, your belonging exists and you can either find that belonging or you can create it by starting a puzzle of your own where people will come to belong with you. The only way to do this, is to be completely authentic instead of to try to modify yourself so you fit where you do not fit. For this reason, you would benefit by watching three of my videos. The first is: How To Be Authentic. The second is Belonging and How to Belong. And the third is The Zebra and The Watering Hole.
You can only be authentic to the degree that you currently know yourself. Better said, you can only be authentic to the degree that you are currently aware of yourself. And because so much of people is denied, rejected, disowned and suppressed into the subconscious, most people are not aware of very much of themselves at all. This means, the most important work you have ahead of you is to re-own and accept and admit to and express the parts of yourself that you pushed away long ago. You have to be brave to be authentic and brave to be willing to see yourself and admit the truth of yourself to others. But that bravery is worth it. It is worth it because the day will come that you can honestly say “This is where I belong. I am exactly where I am supposed to be”.
It is a trend within the human race that there is a feud between generations. Throughout history, the old and the young find fault with each other. And today is no exception. Previous generations despise the millennial generation and even millennials hate other millennials. But every generation contains both positive and negative. For this and many other reasons, I want to explain the millennial generation. I must first warn you that to talk about a group consciousness, I must generalize.
We are going to begin at a high level. If you were to look through the lens of objective universal consciousness, you would see that the millennial generation is a “game changer” generation. It exists to collapse one society and re-build another one. It exists to bring humanity into free will. This is part of why they have come to adulthood in the information age where there are so many choices. The opposite of free will is determinism. How determinism works in society is that causation takes one of two roads. Either the previous generation does something one way and the next does it the exact same way, or the previous generation does something one way and the next does it the exact opposite way. One is repeat and one is rebellion. Both are in fact determinism. Neither are a byproduct of free will. Both are simply a reaction. Determinism has played itself out for so many generations like a pendulum swing creating very slow progress in the human race. They create extremes, both of which create their own kind of dysfunction. For example, the silent generation felt it was unwise to speak out and the baby boomers spoke out violently against things, expecting that doing so would improve things.
The millennial generation was designed to get humanity out of that perpetual pendulum swing. It is best to think of them as the “cards are up in the air” generation. They are the generation that is meant to see the shadows and change them. They are the generation that gets that the way things have been done will not work anymore. However they ended up “opting out of the game” because of trauma and therefore contain shadows of their own. These shadows that exist in the millennial consciousness must be seen because they will make it impossible to build the new. And if millennials can’t see them and integrate them, they will go down in history as the wounded generation and that ‘building of the new society’ will have to be done by the subsequent generations. They will go through life and never really find deep fulfillment.
All this being said, we cannot constructively look at the wounds that created these negative outcomes without compassion. Lack of understanding and lack of compassion is what dominates the minds of most who correctly identify the problems with the millennial generation. So with compassion, I ask you to look at the causation of the millennial consciousness. By seeing the causation, it will be easier to view actual solutions. If you are a millennial watching this, seeing your own wounding and the potential shadows within that wounding is critical in order to create a future and society that you actually want instead of a life dictated by your wounding.
The millennials were born in the early 1980s to the mid 1990s. To understand them, you need to understand what happened in the world from 1980 to now. You must first understand childhood for the child growing up in the 1980s and 1990s. There is no way, (without writing multiple books) that I could explain the many failed parenting methods that reigned supreme in the 1980s and 1990s. But I’m going to hit some points. Children before the 1980s were exposed to all kinds of detrimental parenting methods and failed parenting strategies, but most parents were unconscious about this and simply put expectations on their children, assuming that the kids would magically meet those expectations and it would all pan out ok. And because of what was and wasn’t happening in society, there was still a chance that despite poor parenting methods, young adults could create a life that was ok.
In the 1980s, views about parenting changed. The boomers recognized some of the painful parenting techniques as the reason they had felt pain and instead of just repeating the way they were parented; they began looking for other opinions. It was the era of the parenting book. Some of the most detrimental parenting theories such as Parent Power and Sleep Training were born and employed at this time. And the detrimental parenting theories made into books only increased in the 1990s.
The single-family home became the norm and divorce sky rocketed. Because of this, children lost access to many of the emotional and self-esteem resources that previous generations had access to when it comes to meeting their needs. Boomers raised their children with a blend of ‘unconsciously exactly what their parents did’ and also ‘nothing like their parents did’. Unfortunately for them, instead of this leading to conscious parenting, this created a damaged generation with a lot of unmet needs.
Parenting in the 80’s and 90’s was a strange blend of careless and controlling. For example, in general, parents in the 1980s did not know what to feed their kids and therefore fed them all kind of things that destroy a child’s health. Kids were left unsupervised for large chunks of time because there was a lack of awareness about many of the dangers that parents are now all too aware of. This unsupervised play came with both benefits and dangers. At the same time, parents tended to be much more controlling in certain ways, hoping to be able to dictate the outcome of their child’s adult life. Parents were rigid about their children’s commitment to doing well at school, getting good grades, getting a good job, doing certain things with money, behaving in ways they thought would lead to social success etc. Millennials were also raised with the carrot and stick (punishment and reward) approach.
The most important thing to understand is that most parents in the 1980s and 1990s raised their children to believe that if the child did what he or she did or said to do, there would be a good life (a carrot) waiting for them at the end of that road and if they didn’t, there would be consequences and pain. The millennials jumped on that train, they tried to excel not only for approval but also believing that their closely guided efforts would yield positive results. And they didn’t. They didn’t big time!
The millennials were dumped out into the world as young adults with all forces against them. It’s akin to releasing a bird from its nest in a hailstorm that would last for its entire lifetime. Not only did failed parenting methods and childhood trauma mean that many of them had emotional development delays, they came into society at a time of financial collapse… One of the worst in history in fact. One we are still suffering from today. They were told that getting good grades, going to a good school, getting a good job and finding a good partner and having kids would be how to succeed at life. Instead, it did nothing for them. In fact, it created the very suffering they were told they could avoid by going down that road. Tuition cost so much that they had to take out massive student loans. They were told that having a job would soon take care of that. But even with a degree, they couldn’t get jobs because there was a backing up of the natural cycle of job progression to retirement. No one could retire. Overqualified people had to take jobs they would not have considered before. The millennials were now competing in the workplace against their parent’s generation and even grandparent’s generation. Not only could millennials not compete against their resumes, they had not been brought up for competition in the first place.
In the 1980s and 1990s, a huge push for equality had already taken place. A value established by the baby boomers. Parents and teachers encouraged this equality. They did things like give out participation awards and discourage competition. So now, they were in a highly competitive environment that they were unprepared for, had debt they could not pay back, no use for their degrees and had to go back into the entry level jobs they had held before and during college. These were jobs where many had to hold two jobs, just to pay the bills. They came to terms with the fact that they would most likely never be able to own a home or be able to afford to have kids. Many moved back in with their parents not because they wanted to, but because they felt it was either that or be on the street or be stuck on a hamster wheel working their asses off to afford the rent on a crappy apartment. Suddenly, the payoff or reward that they were promised would come as a result of all their hard work and investment looked like what it was… a pipe dream. A pipe dream, they are still expected to go for and criticized for not achieving.
And to make matters even worse, now in 2020, millennials are being hit by a repeat trauma. As we speak, the millennial generation is being retraumatized by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most especially, by the economic disaster caused by the shutdown/control measures that were put in place by members of the generations before them who are currently in power in the government. Many millennials who managed to defy the odds and start their own businesses, now find themselves in the same camp that those millennials who have been stuck in crappy entry level jobs have been in for a long time. Everything they worked so hard for, just got taken away. And those millennials that were worse off and stuck in the hamster wheel of society are even worse off now. The overwhelming meaning that they are all taking out of it… “I’ve been duped... What I was told is bullshit. It doesn’t matter how hard I work or how many things I try to do right, I’m not in control of any of it. They (generations above me) can just make a decision that makes me totally powerless to never being able to achieve something or powerless to it being taken away just like that”.
Many of the shadows that belong to millennials are the result of this feeling of having been “duped”. The generation before the millennials genuinely expected the world to improve with time. As a result, the millennials were sold an illusion of what would lead to a good life. They distrust authority because of this now. Many millennials feel that they were set up for failure. They were indoctrinated with ideas about how to succeed in a system that was in and of itself fundamentally flawed… A game rigged against them by the very generation who was supposed to guide them into further success. And because of this, where previous generations saw the things that their parents did wrong, most of them saw their parents as good enough to enable them to succeed in life at the very least. The millennial generation on the other hand feels totally set up for failure by their parents. There is a big difference between feeling like your parents did things wrong and feeling like your parents and/or their generation set you up to fail, hurt you and prevented you from success. Hatred springs from hurt. For this reason, there is actual hatred in the millennial generation towards the baby boomer generation. To the degree that when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, some millennials found themselves wishing that a virus would eradicate the previous generation so that they could stop being hurt and kept imprisoned in the hamster wheel by them.
Obviously, distrust is a natural reaction to being duped and set up for failure. As a result, the millennials are a distrustful group of people who have become obsessed with truth, what is real and authenticity. Millennials experience energy being invested in things as having no payoff whatsoever. For example, they put their energy into the family, only to have divorce ruin the family. They saw that no matter how hard their parents worked at marriage; marriage does not last. They put their energy into being the way that they were taught would guarantee them social success and saw that it only made them “better slaves”. They put their energy into school only to end up deeply in student debt and unable to get a job with their degree after graduation. They started small businesses only to lose them in this most recent pandemic. This is what burn out is all about. This is why the millennial generation is the burn out generation.
Burnout happens when no matter hard you work at something, it doesn’t work. If you believe that investing your energy and effort into something will never pay off, how committed and invested are you? The answer is not very. The laziness that most people attribute to the millennial generation isn’t laziness. It is lack of investment and engagement. Focus is also investment. The attention span and focus of millennials is very short in part because of this wound around investment. This is obviously an issue if it takes investment and commitment to make anything happen. Millennials have a very hard time recognizing or believing in a positive outcome as a result of their efforts. They tend to be impatient because they do not have the trust in future payoff. Would you? It is a deeply disillusioned and even cynical generation.
Along this same vein, professionalism is something that people need to have incentive for. There has to be a payoff to behaving professionally in order for someone to be professional. And so many of the elements of professionalism, like dressing well or doing a good job at a task or being reliable or keeping one’s emotions in control, simply seem like control tactics rather than anything that really gets them any particular pay off.
Seeing that nothing really panned out has thrown millennials into an existential crisis about what is true vs. false and about what truly matters vs. doesn’t. Millennials were thrust into a quarter life crisis. Very little that the previous generations valued is valued by the millennials. To generalize, they see good parenting as the most important thing, so much so that many of them will not be having children because they feel they cannot be good parents for any number of reasons ranging from emotional reasons to financial reasons to even the belief in a poor prognosis for the future of earth. They are divided relative to relationship. Many have given up on it entirely and opted for casual sex or serial monogamy. And many are determined to solve the Rubik’s Cube of how to have a good relationship no matter how impossible it seems. They care about finding work that is meaningful and fulfilling while they are actually doing it as opposed to putting forth effort now (even if it is not enjoyable) so as to experience a payoff later.
Because they were promised that putting their effort forth in a certain way would yield positive returns and it didn’t, they could see that those things they were guided to be and do, were not actually in their best interests. They were in other people’s best interests. If everyone is out for his or her own best interests, then they subconsciously decided that the law of the land on earth is: Every man for himself. Naturally, they became hyper focused on their own best interests and also withdrew their loyalty to others. They became “me, me, me” thinking this was the only way to ever get their needs met. This is a narcissistic way of being that makes it very hard for a millennial to be a functional member of a team. This is a drastic contrast to previous generations. Previous generations have held the perspective that to be a success and to feel good, they had to work hard at creating and preserving relationships no matter the cost. The millennials have seen this as exactly what screwed them. So they have the reverse mentality. To be a success and feel good, you have to fight for your own best interests and keep loose connection to people and things.
Looking at all of this, we come to the second major wounding for the millennial generation. They worked hard for no positive outcome or return. Do you know who else works hard for no return? Slaves. Millennials truly feel as though they were duped into becoming a slave to the system. They see that they are on a hamster wheel that will actually take them nowhere and all for the benefit of ‘someone else’ other than them. They see workforce competition and incentives programs as a ploy on behalf of authority figures to simply make them become even better slaves. Most of the “shadows” that have been ascribed to millennials like entitlement, the demand to be seen as important and to be recognized, the complete rejection of hierarchy and their lack of loyalty and investment within companies, are a result of this perception that they hold.
The life experience of the millennial has imbued them with a fundamental belief in their own powerlessness, incapacity and therefore low self-esteem. When someone feels powerless and incapable and therefore believes that the actualization of their desires truly is out of their own hands, they put the pressure and responsibility of their desires and needs on whoever they perceive as having more power than they do in a given situation. This is what other people then call ‘entitled’.
To understand millennials in the workplace, I want you to imagine feeling you are a slave and are expected to stay a slave and see yourself walking into a company where you perceive a boss to be a slave owner. What would you be sensitive to? How would you act? Either you will enter a company and fight for your own best interests and expect your needs to be the responsibility of your boss and always be on the lookout for how you are being used and exploited (and remain unattached and uninvested because there’s nothing in it for you) OR you will exit the system entirely and become your own boss. Millennials play a serious zero-sum game with companies that hire them because they perceive those companies to already be playing a zero-sum game with them by trying to make them a slave. Remember a slave is someone who works for almost no (and therefore an unfair) return. There is no work life balance for millennials. They desire a real re-working of what is fair exchange for their time and energy as well as a re-working of the economy so as to feel that they can afford life and the things they want, without killing themselves on a hamster wheel that never gets them anywhere.
Millennials are freedom obsessed because of this wounding. They refuse hierarchy and many perceive commitment, especially when commitment becomes hard, to be fruitless and restrictive. They also tend to hate rules. “Because this is the way things are done” and “because I said so” are not going to cut it for the millennial generation, especially in the information age. They operate with a mentality of “the rules don’t apply to me”. Obviously, this has an up-side and a downside. People who question the rules, can be unconventional innovators or they can wreak societal havoc.
As a result of this, millennials have embraced shadow freedom. Shadow freedoms or out of alignment freedoms are all reactions to feeling not free, but that are not true free will and are instead detrimental to a person. Some examples of shadow freedom are: Refusing to commit to anything or better said, committing to non-commitment. Refusing to assume responsibility for anything. Remaining unattached and uninvested so you can change course at the drop of a hat. Choosing to be a king of a country with only one citizen rather than a lower ranking member of a large kingdom etc.
Many millennials have gotten to a point where they see that nothing they are doing or are expected to do will ever get them to a life that feels good or where they can have those things that guarantee a good life. As a result, instead of stay on the hamster wheel and try to make something work that will never work, some give up. They develop an attitude of “what’s the point” and instead of put effort in for a future payoff, simply go for whatever instant gratification they can get in the moment. Including distractions and addictions. Millennials who have reached this point can feel quite lost and fickle and float from one job to the next and from one passion to the next and one relationship to the next.
Millennials are angry. Really, really angry. They feel like their education hasn’t gotten them any life satisfaction which makes them feel hopeless because it is assumed that knowledge gives you the tools for a better life. But it hasn’t worked. They perceive the message from other people to be “put up with it”. This is why they are so easily triggered. They feel they are being told to put up with being a slave, put up with things being unfair, put up with insult, put up with a flawed system staying the same, put up with never having your needs met, put up with inequality etc. The millennial generation isn’t going to put up with anything.
They are also exhausted, suffering the burnout of feeling lied to and taken advantage of and of having so fully committed to a pipe dream, only to figure out it was a pipe dream too late… A pipe dream that they are still expected to be committed to, despite the fact that it is never going to pan out. Most feel they will be paying the consequences for believing their parents and getting on that hamster wheel forever. The level of distress in the average millennial’s life is not sustainable and they have turned to all kinds of detrimental coping mechanisms, including addictions, as a result.
On top of this, they are also shamed and guilted for turning out distrustful, entitled (which they see as simply fighting to not be taken advantage of), impatient, self-concerned (which they see as just common sense in a world where everyone is in it for themselves), uninvested, demanding equality and truth etc. Many millennials are struggling. The baby boom generation has not handed off the baton to them so they can create society the way that they want it to look. As a result, they feel they are told to be an adult in a society that they perceive themselves having no control over. That is a gaslight in and of itself. They are told to vote for a system that they feel they can’t change or even effect. They perceive themselves to be on a hamster wheel to becoming a slave and many do not know how to get off. Their mentality is to win the game or get out of the game or stand up to the slave drivers rigging the game. So many of the millennials that have succeeded, have ‘gone rogue’. And this is now the aspiration of many millennials. Their mentality is, you can’t fix or win in the system, you have to pull out of it and destroy it.
And on top of this, they essentially created social media. Technology is a whole other conversation we could have around millennials. But social media reinforces many of the millennial shadows like the tendency to not form deep, meaningful relationships and coping through social media addiction. And it means that not only are millennials suffering from everything I have just described; they have the illusion that they are alone in not being able to make anything work. People’s social media accounts give the impression that “everything is awesome” for everyone else. So millennials are struggling with loneliness and the shame of perceived failure in a big way.
Millennials are struggling to try to stay in a society they were meant to replace. They have one foot in and one foot out. Millennials must understand the wounds they carry and seek to heal them so their life is not simply a reaction and so they can step into their universal purpose. Anyone who works with millennials must understand these wounds and help them to develop the skills they have disowned because of those wounds. Essentially, society must accept that these wounds must be worked with, instead of simply expecting millennials to act differently. Until they heal those wounds, so as to not be controlled by them, they will struggle to build a healthy new society, which is what the world so desperately needs.
If you are interested in how to heal the millennial wounding, I will be doing an episode next week on how to heal the millennial generation.
Chances are if you have spent any time in psychological, self-help or spiritual circles, you have heard the term gaslighting. In today’s episode, I’m going to up-pack and break down the concept of gaslighting for you so that you understand it.
In the 1930s there was a play that was later adapted into a film. Both the play and the film were named Gaslight. The play and film were about a woman whose husband abusively manipulates her into believing that she is insane. For example, he manipulates small elements in their home and insists to her and others that she is mistaken, delusional or not remembering things correctly when she points out these changes. One of which is that he dims the gaslights in their home, insisting that nothing has changed.
It is because of the title of this play and film that we now call this form of psychological manipulation and/or experience that I’m about to describe ‘gaslighting’. To gaslight someone is to sow seeds of doubt in their mind that makes them question their own sense of personal truth and reality (things like memory, judgement, perception, feelings etc). It is to try to convince someone that what they see, they didn’t see, what they hear they didn’t hear and what they feel they have no reason to feel.
To give you an example, imagine that I hit you in the leg with a 2x4 and your leg broke. Then when you were rolling around on the floor in pain, I kneeled down and said… “Wow…. Sweetheart… something must be really wrong with you because you have no reason to be in so much pain. Nothing happened and you just fell down like that. In fact, because I love you so much, I’m going to spend my own money to get you a doctor to figure out what is wrong with you because it’s not normal for people to just fall over like that and be in this much pain”. And if you tried to re-establish the reality that the reason you are in pain is because I hit you with a 2x4, I’d then say. “Oh my god… after everything I do for you every day and after how much I love you, I can’t believe that is what you think happened. Maybe we should see a psychologist.” At some point in that process, especially if I was someone you loved and trusted, you would begin to doubt your perception of what happened and that would make you feel insane.
People who gaslight use things like denial, contradiction, misinformation, misdirection and even true information and facts to destabilize, disorient and delegitimize a person’s sense of reality. When someone is gaslit, they end up in a state of extreme cognitive dissonance. Doubting one’s own sense of sanity leads to a severe decrease in self-esteem. They learn to distrust their own mind and thus defer to the perceptions and control of the person gaslighting them. But the distress caused by gaslighting is not a minor thing. It is so detrimental that it causes a mental and emotional breakdown that can lead people to the psych ward and even to commit suicide.
Something interesting to understand about gaslighting is that it so often involves the projection and transfer of things that belong to the gas-lighter onto the person being gaslit. For example, imagine that a gas-lighter is self-centered (what a psychologist would call a narcissist even). The gaslighting will involve the gas-lighter convincing the person being gas lit that he or she is so narcissistic and self-centered. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Projection (Understanding the Psychology of Projecting).
Gaslighting can be consciously done and deliberate as a means of interpersonal control. We could consider this conscious gaslighting. Conscious in the sense that a person is aware they are doing it and choosing to do it, not that they are an awakened being and are doing it. But by far, the most common type of gaslighting is unconscious. Meaning that a person is not aware of what they are doing and therefore are not doing it deliberately but are doing it none the less. This happens because most people are not completely conscious and most people are not self-aware. But this is not a reason to make it ok or less bad. This unconscious gaslighting is the kind of gaslighting that usually takes place in families.
For example, a mother might say a direct insult to a child. But this insult is not something she can consciously own up to because she is smart enough to know that only a bad mother would say that. It is critical that she avoid shame and see herself as a good mother and so she will suppress the memory of having said the insult and later when she is confronted about it say “I never said that, in fact I am not the kind of person who ever would say that, you must be inventing things or you must have heard me wrong.”
For another example, maybe there is zero tolerance for emotions in a family. When a child tries to express his or her pain, that child is shamed for it. This child knows and feels and sees that there is only a surface relationship taking place between themselves and their parents and even siblings because no one acknowledges anyone else’s emotional truth. But if he or she says that, the response may be “No… we are the best family. We love each other and we are all super close with each other, unlike so many other families in the world”. The parents are actually convinced this is the case, they learned to suppress emotions and deny them so long ago, they have no idea that acknowledging and directly coaching emotions is critical to relationships. This child is actually being gaslit. But it is gaslighting taking place because this child and the parents are in two different realities.
Where two people have two different perceptions of reality, there is always the risk of gaslighting, which is why in a relationship, usually both people feel they are the victim of gaslighting. When someone’s sense of reality completely contradicts our own, we tend to doubt our own sanity, especially if we have been heavily gaslit as a child and already doubt our ability to sense reality. To understand this dynamic in-depth, watch my video titled: The Most Dangerous Parallel Reality.
If we were heavily gaslit in our childhood, we will develop an internal fragment or part of our own consciousness whose job it is to gaslight us from the inside… An internal gas-lighter so to speak. It is constantly sowing seeds of doubt in our own sense of reality and sanity. It is constantly trying to convince us that maybe we aren’t remembering things right. Maybe what we see, we didn’t actually see, maybe what we heard we didn’t hear and what we feel, we have no reason to feel. This internal part is the one creating a lot of the condition experienced by what mainstream psychology calls “the borderline personality”. This part is usually committed to making us safe by doing two seemingly contradictory things. The first is making us doubt ourselves and live in uncertainty so we can create closeness or alignment with whoever was gaslighting us or held a different perception of reality than we did. The second is making us nothing like them. We were so hurt by their rigid certainty and saw at some level that they were committed to a reality that was false. So, this part wants to keep you in uncertainty and self-doubt so as to not be anything like that person who was gaslighting you. The result is, you are living in the feeling of confusion and insecurity about your own perceptions and sense of reality. It is critical to integrate this part of you so as to un-gaslight yourself in order to be able to heal from gaslighting and not fall prey to it if someone else is gaslighting you. To understand how to do this watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It).
There is an obvious issue when it comes to un-doing gaslighting. If you have been gaslit in your life and have committed to healing it instead of simply succumbing to it and perpetuating it, you will become a truth seeker. You will develop an obsession with truth and reality. This obsession will lead you to the understanding that when it comes to awareness, awakening and self-development, questioning your own perceptions is critical. After all, you don’t want to end up like the people who hurt you because they never questioned their reality, which part of you could see was totally false.
To understand why questioning your own perceptions is critical all you need to do is to talk to any scientist. They will tell you that perception can be very false. For example, you don’t see any radio waves and yet, you’re in a virtual soup of them all day every day. If you hold a warm cup of liquid in your hands, you will describe your relationship as closer and better than you will if you hold a cup of cold liquid. Talk to any psychologist who will tell you that you perceive the world through the lens of your social conditioning, which is often not reflective of what is true or healthy. Talk to a spiritual teacher who will tell you that your physical senses are limited and you are perceiving through the ego, not the non-physical self and are therefore not seeing the truth of the universe at large. You can watch my videos titled: Meaning, The Self-Destruct Button or How to Call Bull$#it on Denial or Deflection The Coping Mechanism From Hell. We all get that it is absolutely possible to not perceive truth and reality accurately and that the only way to really heal and awaken is to change the way we are perceiving things. But this awareness then serves as an excuse to doubt our own reality further. The fact that it is possible to not perceive truth and reality accurately does not get to serve as an excuse to gaslight yourself or make gaslighting ok.
Gaslighting is non accommodative by nature. It is designed to completely invalidate one person’s perspective because it serves the other person somehow to be right. And when we are gaslit, it is our own perspective we are allowing to be completely invalidated. We suffer from self-distrust. If you have been gaslit, you need to learn to trust yourself again. Only then can you engage in a look at the concept of truth or perception in a healthy way.
If you have worked on self-trust, I want you to remember that the objective truth or ‘reality’ is an amalgamation of all subjective perspectives. This means it must account for why someone’s subjective truth is what it is. I can promise you that the truth is not “it is what it is… because the person is insane (and therefore invalid).”
The way to get out of a gaslight is to first practice profound compassion and radical acceptance for your own inner experiences and then to work on seeing the objective truth. You can also heal immensely by experiencing other people having profound compassion and radical acceptance for your inner experience. When you are ready to work on seeing objective truth, you have to see the angle you have and the angle they have as a part of the bigger picture. You have to see the why of why they see it the way that they do and the why of why you see it the way that you do. But you must realize that if you presented the objective truth to someone, it would require them to stretch their perspective and they would therefore feel their limited perceptual reality change. This means that if a being presented the objective truth to a person who is holding onto their limited subjective perspective, this person would perceive it as a complete invalidation.
Questioning your perception is about questioning whether and where your perception is limited, not invalid. Humanity must expand past either-or mentality. We must develop AND consciousness. For more information about this, watch my video titled: And Consciousness (The Modern Day Replacement for The Middle Way). This is very different than agree to disagree. Agree to disagree is a commitment to the rightness of one’s own perspective. It is to commit to staying fragmented and also limited.
A powerful question you can use is: How does it serve them to be right? How does it serve them to completely undermine my reality? Ask yourself what their motive is and maybe in certain situations you can even directly ask them what their motive is. Don’t automatically assume the motive is bad. Motive is a big part of gaslighting. There must be a motive for gaslighting, both conscious or subconscious. This is why true gaslighting is used as a manipulative control tactic. Of course you must consider that you could be wrong about the motive. But it is nonetheless important to see what the motive could be. For example, in the movie Gaslight, the husband wanted to get rid of his wife in a way that put the fault on her instead of him, which would be accomplished by her being diagnosed as insane and being put in a psych ward. A parent could want your reality to be different because if it isn’t, they will not get the appreciation and care in their later life that they want from you. A partner could want your reality to be different because they get to be seen as the victim and therefore the good guy in the relationship. A therapist could want your reality to be different because they see that your perspective is ruining your relationships. A friend could want your reality to be different because they are feeling like you do not see the truth of them. Why is someone wanting your reality to be different than it is? How does it serve them? Why are you wanting someone’s reality to be different than it is? How does it serve you? Asking this question may just unearth some powerful needs that you can meet much more directly.
Gas lighting undermines self-trust. It especially undermines your trust in your own mind and senses. Self-trust is a very different thing than being fixed and rigid in your truth and rightness no matter what, which is what you’re afraid of because it is what hurt you so badly. That fear of being exactly like what hurt you may make you commit to self-doubt and uncertainty when what hurt you is gaslighting. It will make it so that you do not have that solid core of personal truth and of self-trust. This is an acutely painful state. There is an alternative. The alternative is to be solid but open. Open to awareness that may make you decide to change. The best analogy I have for this is to remember the sky. The sky is solid. It is always there and yet it is vast and open and it is open to change. It is possible to question your own perceptions and question reality without losing that ‘core’ just like it is possible for the sky to change and yet, to remain the sky.
Humans are a social species where survival and wellbeing depend upon cohesion with the social group. People are programmed from a young age to see that when they do bad or are bad according to the social group, their survival and needs are threatened. The only way to survive and to get one’s needs met is to do and be good according to the social group. These opinions about rightness and goodness become morals and ethics, which exist as a way for people to keep social order. From the very get go, we are trained to be good for the sake of our own survival and wellbeing. And it becomes rather ironic because we begin to engage in what would seemingly be self-less and altruistic behavior for purely self-centered reasons. Self-sacrifice is considered to be a human virtue. It is considered to be the ultimate act of selfless altruism. But what if self-sacrifice was in fact self-centered?
A basic definition of self-sacrifice is the giving up of one’s own best interests for the sake of someone or something else’s. This is where we run into a problem right here. It is not actually possible to give up your own best interests. People only think it is. Therefore, there is actually no such thing as self-sacrifice. It is only possible to be more or less inclusive of the wellbeing of others by taking their best interests as a part of your own best interests. When you do this, acting in their best interests becomes self-serving and does not feel like you are giving yourself up in any way. For example, a person who takes the best interests of a cause as a part of their own best interests will act in the best interests of that cause, even putting his or her own life on the line and not see or feel that as a sacrifice because they ARE acting in their own best interests by doing so. In other words, the minute you take someone or something’s best interests as a part of your own, there is no giving up of your own best interests when you act in theirs.
We think it is possible to give up our own best interests because we are taught as children that to be good, we must give up what we want or need for what our parents and siblings want and need. We are rewarded for doing so and conversely punished for being selfish. But even when we do this as a child, we are actually doing this for the sake of our own self-preservation and to get closeness and approval from them, so even that is a self-centered act of prioritization. So basically because we believe it is wrong to be self-motivated, we can’t see or admit to the self-motivation behind our altruism.
The only reason anyone does anything is because they think it will make them feel better if they do it. This is not bad. This does not mean that the entire universe is narcissistic. The truth of this universe is oneness. So the most enlightened being will be moved towards acts of altruism because they experience all things in the world as themselves. In a universe that is one, you could say that every act is self-centered because there is nothing that is not you. So, swallow the truth that there is nothing wrong with self-centered motives and that you can’t escape them even if you try and that the more enlightened you become, the more you experience that everything is you and so the more motivated you become to do things to increase the wellbeing of “others”. But you won’t really see it or feel it as altruism because you see the self-service in all of your actions relative to others.
To use an example, other people would have seen Jesus’s death on the cross as a sacrifice. But if he was enlightened, he would not have. He would have seen it as self-serving. He would have seen it as a risk he would have to take in accordance with the prioritization of what mattered most to him specifically. There are times when people find that the loss of their own life in the name of something they believe in would make them feel better than living out of alignment with their own values and beliefs. This is part of what makes people so fascinating and inspiring.
There are times that what we call “self-sacrifice” (but that is actually not) can be a free and loving choice and there are also times that what we call “self-sacrifice” can be morally reprehensible, a disowning of one’s free will and abusive. We could debate each case until the cows come home. But for the sake of your understanding, it could be said that canceling your tennis match to stay home and take care of your sick child can be a loving act as long as you see that doing so is acting in your own best interests rather than holding your sacrifice over the child’s head.
But now that you have accepted that there is in fact no such thing as self-sacrifice, I want to focus your awareness on how seemingly self-sacrificing behavior can be self-serving in incredibly destructive ways. I’m going to list some of these ways for you now.
Self-sacrifice can be used as an alibi in order to avoid taking responsibility for your life choices. When this happens, you abandon your own personal compass for the sake of closeness with people; where remaining close to them and meeting their needs would cause you to go in a different direction than your personal north star. This can be seen very clearly in co-dependency. This occurs when someone gives up all other personal desires and needs and purpose in exchange for the feeling of being close, wanted, needed and approved of by serving other’s needs and wants. When doing so does not pay off because they do not get the closeness or approval or most especially, the recognition or appreciation for their sacrifice, they grow resentful and bitter and even depressed. They lose the meaning in their life. They blame the other people for the reason they are not living according to their true wants and needs and purpose. They disown their free will. They have to swallow that what they really did was prioritize. They prioritized the feeling of being close, wanted, needed and approved of by serving other’s needs and wants to the detriment of everything else in their life and it may not have been a prioritization that paid off.
The best example of this is probably mothers. Many mothers prioritize caretaking their kid’s needs and desires and purpose. They ‘sacrifice’ their own needs, desires, goals and career purpose to do so. There are many self-centered reasons why they tend do this that range all the way from wanting to be seen as good by a society that considers career-oriented women to take away from or deprive their children. To wanting validation, praise and gratitude from their child for their ‘service’ to them. But when they don’t see that they are doing it for their own sake, if they don’t get enough closeness, validation, praise, gratitude and recognition for their sacrifice, they detest their life and turn against their own children. They use their self-sacrifice for their children as an alibi to avoid taking responsibility for not having chosen a life that was truly reflective of their actual desires, dreams, hopes, needs and purpose.
Dovetailing off of this last point, self-sacrifice can lead to martyr complex which hurts people. Martyrs are people who must feel victimized and persecuted and as if they have given up their own best interests to fulfill an emotional and psychological need. This is an extreme addiction to the feeling of rightness and goodness. As such, martyr complex is a coping mechanism. Martyrs sacrifice what does not need to be sacrificed just so they can see themselves as a good person and be seen by others as a good person. They put themselves in situations where they are seen as the victim just so they can see themselves and be seen as a good person. They also do this to avoid responsibility in any situation where responsibility would make them feel like a bad person. They must make everyone around them into a villain and selfish in order to feed this personal need. Self-sacrifice and being in situations where they can see themselves as a victim becomes a consistent and reliable way to avoid their deep, lifelong feelings of shame and guilt. The worse people feel about themselves, the more they tend to try to cover it up by making believe that they are kind, loving, compassionate and caring. Seeing ourselves as the victim who sacrificed our self for others removes the need for us to take responsibility for our lives by scapegoating other people as the cause of our pain, failures and disappointments.
Self-sacrifice can be used as a means of emotional manipulation. When people see themselves as self-sacrificing, they can portray themselves as the “noble sufferer”. This makes other people feel guilt and bend to their will in order to avoid their own feelings of guilt and shame. Self-sacrifice becomes a way of “buying” your needs and wants from others. For example, a child did not ask their parent to be born and yet some parents act as if parenting in and of itself is an act of altruism rather than love. Some parents consider clothing and housing and feeding and giving their child opportunities an act of self-sacrifice. They then hold that over their child’s head as a form of leverage. Any time they want the child to do something, like go to a specific school or get a specific job or marry a specific person or give them money or take care of them when they are older, they remind the child that he or she owes them because of how they sacrificed for him or her over the years. It’s actually a form of abusive entrapment. Self-sacrifice can be used as a form of manipulation and control in any relationship. For more information about this watch my video titled: cut the invisible strings.
Self-Sacrifice feeds societal dysfunction. We need not look very far to see this. Talk to anyone about the impact that a draft for war has had on their family. Or look at suicide bombing. On a more day to day level, when we hold self-sacrifice as a virtue, we end up opening the door wide for individuals within that society to self-sacrifice as a means for manipulation. We create a society full of unfulfilled people who are depressed and resentful for having not followed their true hopes, dreams and purpose and who have to engage in all kinds of unhealthy coping mechanisms to put up with their lives. It opens the door wide for people to be stuck in the victim/martyr complex and to blame others and disown their free will and personal responsibility. It opens the door wide for poor relationships between parents and kids as well as co-workers, friends and married couples. It doesn’t take a genius to see the damage this does and the pressure this puts on our businesses, legal system, childcare system, healthcare system and interpersonal relationships.
Hopefully in these examples of destructive self-sacrifice, you can clearly see that what seems like self-sacrifice is entirely self-serving. If someone insinuates that they are self-sacrificing, they have not consciously examined their priorities and values and owned up to what they actually are. For example, if a mother sees herself as sacrificing her own hopes and dreams for her child, that is a mother who has not owned up to the fact that being seen as a good person/mother by a society (that does not see working women as good mothers) is a higher priority to her than personal career success. So she is making a choice with her free will to prioritize one over the other or to let go of one entirely for the other. If this leads her to an unhappy life, she is responsible for making the choice in response to societal pressure that led her to that unhappiness. The person who thinks they are self- sacrificing is often a person who does not feel free to choose even though he or she is actually subconsciously choosing all that time.
You can’t lose your free will. Even the choice to give up choice is a choice and therefore free will. When it comes to facing your personal priorities and values, what is really hard to face is the shame around it. We are taught that some priorities and values are good and right and others are bad and wrong. If we feel we have sacrificed, we feel that we have given something up because we could not choose that thing we gave up or prioritize that thing we gave up and feel good about ourselves at the same time. We have to face our shame about choosing what we are giving up or have given up instead.
Self-sacrifice does not actually exist in this universe. If we accepted that, there would be no more codependency in human society. But acts that seem self-sacrificing can only be in alignment when they are not accompanied by hard feelings or expectations. It can only be in alignment if you have taken someone’s best interests as a part of your own. And when you do this, any time it seems on the outside that you have chosen somebody else’s interest or a higher goal and lost something that is “yours” as an exchange, it is because that choice is more personally meaningful and more self-fulfilling for yourself.