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How To Create Repair in a Relationship (Part Two)

In every relationship, at some point we will experience a breach or damage to the connection between us and them. At some point conflict will happen. At some point frustration will happen. At some point, the trust we had in them or they had in us will suffer a hit. These ruptures can either be what breaks the relationship, or what makes it stronger. But all that depends on our ability to repair ruptures with someone when they occur. Today, I’m going to walk you through how to participate in creating repair when someone else has done something to create rupture in the relationship step by step. In addition to this article, I highly suggest that you also read the part one article on this subject, which is about how to create repair when you are the one that created a rupture in a relationship.
Ruptures in relationships are very similar to wounds in the body. If ignored or put off, they fester and get worse. So, the strongest relationships are between people who don’t have tolerance for the feeling of rupture and who put energy into creating repair as quickly as possible, if not immediately when they occur. Keep in mind that repair in a relationship, is a process. So, let’s dive in.
You have to recognize that the rupture occurred. When a rupture occurs, it feels like a hit or a rip to the fabric of trust, commitment and security that makes up your connection to that other person. You suddenly feel out of alignment with them. Disharmony and anxiety and dissatisfaction start to bleed through the rupture. It feels really bad. You may be someone that immediately recognizes it when this occurs. This is a really good thing. On the other hand, you might be someone who is normalized to relationship rupture. You might be someone for whom the people in your early life experience created rupture with you and never bothered to acknowledge that, much less create any repair. As a result, you may have learned to suppress, deny, disown, ignore, negate, try to explain away, keep to yourself or just put up with the experience of rupture and the feelings that come with it. This is a recipe for a relationship to fall apart. It’s important to think of a relationship like a dance that two people are doing. There will be times during the dance that what the other person does, doesn’t work for you. For the two of you to be a stronger dance team, you need to bring that up so as to create effective adjustments. When you don’t acknowledge ruptures, you are actually making the other person alone. You are turning a tango into an unchoreographed 2-person solo dance. You are failing to recognize and expose areas of potential workability and areas of potential incompatibility. You are also saying yes to whatever your partner is doing. Only, you can’t actually and genuinely do this with ruptures. Your truth will leak out in the form of passive aggression or resentment. You must acknowledge that you feel a relationship rupture because of what the other person has done or not done.
So that you can understand this better, let’s use an example. Marie was out to dinner with Jonah. Jonah caught sight of a waitress that he found very attractive. He stopped focusing on Marie when she was speaking mid-sentence to turn around when the waitress passed him and stare at her as she walked by. Marie must recognize that the feeling of pain in her chest, indicates that for her, Jonah’s action caused a relationship rupture to happen. She must recognize that the way she is feeling is important and it is necessary for there to be a repair between them in order to move forward in the relationship.       Clarify what your issue with it was, for yourself. It’s very easy to feel confused and lost when a rupture has happened. It is disorienting. You may feel thrown into the confused pain of loss of relationship security. You may immediately start trying to figure out if they are the problem or your expectations are the problem. Instead of getting lost in trying to figure out who is to blame, you need to recognize that what the other person did or failed to do made you experience a rupture. And inherent in that experience is some very juicy self-awareness which needs to be extracted. 
Your job is to find out what the real issue is for you and why. All too often, we get lost in the surface happenings, without going deeper. Deeper into what meaning we are adding to an experience and what needs and wants it is making us aware of. Some questions you can ask yourself is: What am I not liking about this situation or what about it is making me irritated? What is my partner doing that is different to what I expect them to do? What about what happened scares me? What is the pain for me in this situation? If nothing ever changes and this keeps happening, what need would not be met? If I was to make it so this person was an automaton and did exactly what made me feel good, because it makes them happy to do so, what would I prefer them to do, and what would them doing that give me that I am not getting now? There needs to be a deep understanding of self to know what the actual issue is, so that you can recognize an actual solution that answers to the actual issue.   
To use our example, Marie could make the issue about the surface thing that happened. She could get immediately defensive and make the problem about Jonah looking at other girls. But this is not the actual problem. When she really looks deeper at the cause of the rupture, she realizes that when Jonah looks at other women, it makes her feel disrespected, like Jonah does not consider her and thinks very little about her. Down deep, she sees his behavior as a reflection of the fact that he sees little value in her and thus, she is terrified that he would abandon her if a woman he perceived to be more valuable came along. She is not getting the experience of being valued by him. And she is not getting the experience of security that he will not abandon her.      Bring it up as a problem for you, but speaking from vulnerability. When a relationship rupture occurs, the best-case scenario is that the other person is attuned enough to you, that they notice the rupture, and they bring it up. However, it isn’t ok to simply wait for the other person to do this. Therefore, if they don’t notice or don’t bring it up, you need to do so. When a relationship rupture occurs, you usually feel hurt and afraid. The hurt and afraid part of you is very vulnerable and for most of us, when our vulnerable parts are wounded, our protector parts come up and do even more damage to our connection with the other person. We treat them like the enemy and engage in all kinds of anti-relationship behaviors because we begin to fight against them for our own best interests. 
There is nothing wrong with anger and if someone has created a rupture with you, you most likely have every right to be furious. But anger occurs in order to protect ourselves from vulnerable feelings and vulnerable experiences. It hides what is really going on. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Link Between Anger and Vulnerability. You must slow way down and attend to the vulnerability, the pain and the fear and the perceived powerlessness underneath your anger. And then, put that vulnerability on the table in front of the other person using I statements. Name what happened and then speak from and for that vulnerability underneath the pain… what you discovered in the previous step. Let them respond to it. Don’t come to the other person with a solution yet. Remember that you are in a dance in a relationship. The other person needs to learn how to dance. You can’t take 100% of the responsibility for the dance of the relationship. When you are doing this, it’s a good idea to remember that you can choose to say things to soothe each other, while still telling the truth or you can say things that hurt and provoke each other. If you say things that soothe each other, it will feel much more like you are together against a problem rather than against each other. A good question to have in mind is: What would make you both feel loved and safe, while you are in conflict?      
Using our example, Marie might say to Jonah “I want our relationship to feel strong and secure. At the same time, when you look at other women, I feel not considered by you and therefore like I am not valued by you, and afraid that you might abandon me if a woman who you think is more valuable crosses your path.” Obviously, you can elaborate much more and longer than this, so they really understand your pain and your fear and your feelings of powerlessness etc.              Seek understanding of their side of it. But not to negate your experience. In this step, you are really wanting to understand why the other person did what they did, or failed to do what they failed to do rather than project your assumptions onto them. The aim is to get into their perspective. To understand them better. This may confirm the meaning you have added to the experience, or it may show you that you assigned the wrong meaning to the experience. None of what you learn, negates the way you feel or the needs you have. Both can exist at the same time. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: I Can Have Me and I Can Have You Too. Ask them questions from a place of curiosity, not accusation. If you ask them questions from a space of accusation, it means you have already decided on the painful meaning of what happened and are seeking only to confirm it, rather than to be open to their side of what happened. 
To use our example, Marie might ask Jonah “Walk me through what happened for you when you turned around to look at that waitress. I need to understand the reason why you did that.” Or “Can you tell me what I should make it mean when you look at other women when I’m around.” Or “What are you feeling when you turn around to look at other women when I am there, is it because something is missing from our relationship?”. Or “What do you think women’s reactions should be when the men they are with look at other women and why?” 
It is especially effective when you ask questions that give the other person the opportunity to answer to your insecurity. On top of this being an opportunity for you to deeply know the other person, their answers will tell you a lot about their willingness to engage on the level of vulnerability and intimacy with you. Jonah’s answer might be something like “I just love beauty, it takes over my senses when I see it, but that doesn’t mean I would go be with some other woman because she’s beautiful. Lots of girls are beautiful.” Or “I wish we didn’t have to only be with one woman at a time. I like being able to act on my attraction to whoever I’m attracted to.” Or “It was super unconscious. It just made me feel good, like a natural high to look at her. It was just a natural reflex and it doesn’t mean I’d rather be with her, or that I would go with her even if she threw herself on me.” Or “I feel more alive when I can look at other women. To be honest, it makes me feel like I’m expected to be dead if I can’t feel attracted to other women just because I’m in a relationship with you or any other woman for that matter.” Or “I’ve been feeling like our relationship is becoming dead and I haven’t known how to bring it up directly.” A person’s answers might point to areas of workability in the relationship, or it might point to serious incompatibilities between you and them.              Own your part of the rupture if there is one and modify any behavior that may have contributed to the problem. Contrary to popular belief, it is absolutely possible for a person to destroy a relationship all on their own. But more often than not, when a rupture occurs in a relationship, both people contribute to it in some way. We may need to change our part of the relationship dance in order to improve things. This means taking a really hard look at how we may have contributed to the rupture, taking accountability for it and altering our behavior in the relationship. Using our example, Marie might realize that her part in it is that she has really low self-esteem and puts all of the pressure of her sense of value on Jonah. And so, she might tell Jonah this and acknowledge that this might feel like he is walking on egg shells around her. And she might decide to commit to proactively working on her own self esteem.  Put forth your needs. Put forth what needs to change for you to be able to move forward in the relationship. If a person is committed to security of connection with you, and to a feel-good relationship, they will initiate the step of trying to figure out what you need to feel better. But you can’t expect people to be masters of relationship already or to be psychic. This step is about making the other person aware of your needs and what would make you feel better.  
To use our example, Marie might say, “I really need to feel valued by you. I need to see effort being made by you that makes me feel valued.” Or “I need to feel more secure in our relationship so I don’t feel like you will abandon me.” Or “I need to feel like my partner is thrilled to be with me.”     Participate in the search for a solution which would create repair. The attitude to take on is “it’s us against the problem”. Not “it’s you against me”. The solution should account for both your truth AND the other person’s truth, which they will have shared when you were asking them to share their side of it. If a person is committed to security of connection with you and to a feel-good relationship (and especially if they are the one that created the rupture) the ball is in their court to offer ideas for resolve. If they are passive about this, or resistant to it, you are going to end up taking the responsibility for the relationship upon yourself and dancing the tango for the both of you. And this is a recipe for disaster. However, because a relationship is a dance, don’t just sit there, expecting them to do the dance alone for you either. Instead, proactively participate. Offer potential solutions that would allow for the two of you to move forward in the relationship… to repair. This step allows for serious creativity. Why? Because there can be so many solutions to a rupture in a relationship given the truth that belongs to both people in the relationship. What will absolutely work for one person might not work for another. For example, a solution might be Jonah committing to not focus on other girls when he is with Marie. Or, a solution might be Marie looking at beautiful women with Jonah, to feel like she is in on the appreciation of beauty with him. Or a solution might be to go to relationship counseling to try to re-ignite the relationship. Or a solution might be for Jonah to not stop looking at other women, but to change how often or long he looks at them. Or a solution might be for Jonah to show Marie he values her more consistently in other ways, like words of appreciation and by making time that is only for her, free from other distractions. Or a solution might be for Jonah to demonstrate small acts of thoughtfulness throughout the day such as helping her out with something or buying her something to brighten her day. Or a solution might be for him to find out what practical things she is afraid of in the case of his abandonment, and provide solutions to those things, so that she is less afraid of losing him on a practical, tangible level and they can focus only on the emotional element of their relationship.              
It is super important to know that a relationship rupture is a “don’t move forward” moment. And many people make the mistake of thinking that if someone acknowledges something they did or understands your pain, that counts as resolve. It doesn’t. That is not the resolve. The resolve must involve some kind of mutual agreement or change. Something that causes you to feel re-connected, on the same page and in alignment with the other person and more secure. The harmony needs to be restored. If all a person does is to acknowledge and apologize for what they did or understand your pain, this does not mean they will actually change anything for the better. And if a person sees your pain and acknowledges that they hurt you, but makes no change, or does the same thing again, it is a recipe for a trust disaster as well as emotional damage. Repeat offense, assuming it is not something that both people have agreed to, is a relationship killer.
It's at this point that you must know that ruptures highlight where there is workability in a relationship and where there is not, because incompatibility exists. This will require you to be very honest about where you can be workable and where you cannot. Agreeing upon a resolution is not the same as a compromising. You’re going to need to agree to a resolution that makes it so that you and the other person are actually resolved, not that you aren’t and so, it’s going to come out in passive aggressive ways or be used against the person in later fights or lead to resentment or bitterness. In a relationship, you may find yourself needing to choose a specific contrast. But you can only do so if doing so will not lead to resentment or genuine life dissatisfaction. For this reason, it is a really good idea for you to watch four of my videos, The first is: The Biggest Lie You Were Ever Told About Relationships. The second is: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships. The third is: The Most Important Element of Compatibility in a Relationship. And the fourth is: The Difference Between Compromise and Workability in a Relationship.
Using our example, if Jonah’s truth is that he wishes he didn’t have to only be with one woman at a time because he would like to be able to act on his attraction to whoever he is attracted to. And Marie’s truth is that what she has always wanted and still deeply wants, is to be in a relationship with a man who wants romantic and sexual exclusivity with her, this is a point of unworkability. This will be a conflict that comes up over and over again, corroding the relationship. They are likely to have to face the reality of incompatibility as partners. Every person will have different areas and levels of workability and unworkability. What is important is that you are in reality about what is and is not workable for you specifically.
This step usually causes people to come face to face with just how willing or unwilling they are to adjust their own behavior according to someone else’s insecurities and needs. And this willingness or lack thereof should have to do with to what degree it is beneficial to do so and to what degree it is detrimental to do so. Be receptive to the solution. Fully experience and resource the agreement or change when it is demonstrated. This means be receptive to and positively reinforce the other person when they are doing what it takes to repair a rupture. Sometimes, we can feel so hurt that we close ourselves to the other person’s genuine effort to repair. This is building a wall between ourselves and the other person. This prevents re-connection. If we have agreed to a course of repair, we can’t act like nothing they do is going to work to take the chip off of our shoulder or take the walls down or make us trust them again. Where there is no actual willingness, there is no way. When someone tries to repair with us, for the repair to take place, we need to actually let that repair take place. A relationship only works if both people are in it.  
Using our example, if Jonah shows Marie he values her more consistently in other ways, like words of appreciation and by making time that is only for her, and she has agreed to this being the way to repair, she needs to respond positively to those bids for connection and security rather than rejecting them. She needs to really let herself feel his efforts as her being valued.  Ruptures without repair is a recipe for a painful, resentful and bitter relationship, all of which leads to the ruin of a relationship. But rupture does not have to be the thing that ruins a relationship. To the contrary, it can be the thing that makes your relationship both strong and long lasting. If you and the other person learn to expect that you are both committed to repair and experience being able to do it whenever a rupture occurs, what you are left with is rock solid trust. Repair is the part of a relationship where you come to understand each other better, build a stronger, more resilient connection and to come back together.       

How To Create Repair in a Relationship (Part One)

We want to believe that we can find a relationship where all that occurs is connection and harmony. But the reality about relationships is that rupture is inevitable. In every relationship, at some point we will experience a breach or damage to the connection between us and them. At some point conflict will happen. At some point we will hit points of frustration. At some point, they may do something or fail to do something and that will cause us to suffer a hit to the trust that we have in them. Or we might do something or fail to do something and that will cause them to suffer a hit to the trust that they had in us. These ruptures can either be what ultimately breaks the relationship, or what makes it stronger and stronger. But all that depends on our ability to repair ruptures with someone when they occur. Today, I’m going to walk you through how to create repair when you are the one that created a rupture in a relationship step by step. 
Before I walk you through the steps, it’s very important to understand two things. The first is that, even though ruptures are inevitable in relationships, we should be doing our best in our relationships to prevent them. When we demonstrate the care enough for a relationship that we are active about preventing ruptures, we are building and building trust in a relationship and are adding to the health of the relationship. It’s not fine to create ruptures. To give you an analogy, it’s inevitable that a car will break down and have to go to the mechanic shop. But knowing that should not make you go “Oh -well, since it will happen one, day, I’m not gonna prevent my car from breaking down. It’s not as big a deal to not change the oil and let the tire pressure run down and not replace the brakes etc”.      
It's also important to know that ruptures in relationships are very similar to wounds in the body. If ignored or put off, they fester and get worse. So, the strongest relationships are between people who don’t have tolerance for the feeling of rupture and who put energy into creating repair as quickly as possible, if not immediately when they occur. 
It is WAY, WAY easier to repair things when they are very, very small, than it is when they are big. People teaching about relationships will often say, “To make a relationship work, you gotta let some things slide” or “don’t get upset over the little things”. And there is a real danger to this. The danger is that when what occurs is a little rupture, no matter how little it is, it will become big. And by not bringing it up to repair, the opportunity to repair is missed. And believe me, it is complete hell when you or the other person realizes, after a relationship is so damaged that it has fully broken, that everything could have been avoided if all those months or years ago, some initial rupture you or they didn’t even realize happened, could have been brought up for repair. Repair is a process. So, let’s dive in shall we?
You have to recognize that the rupture occurred. There is an ease, a connectedness, a completeness and a harmony to a relationship that is doing well. The connection feels strong. It feels “on”. This is a feeling that will occur in your body. This is the feeling of being in alignment with the other person. When a rupture occurs, this feeling will be disrupted. It will feel like tension, discord, angst, anxiety, unresolve, and incompleteness instead. The connection will feel weakened, if not damaged. It feels “off”. When you get this feeling, this is your indication that something has happened to the connection. It may be really obvious what the rupture is about. But, if it isn’t, you need to investigate what happened. This should not immediately involve the other person because when you have done something obviously damaging to the relationship and you didn’t even notice, demonstrating that you didn’t notice, makes the rupture even worse. Start with a mental play back regarding what happened or didn’t happen that day, especially in the relationship. Ask yourself, Why Might This Person Be Upset? It’s a good idea to look for when that feeling of rupture started to occur and what was or wasn’t happening at that time. To repair a rupture, you must know exactly what the issue is.  To give you an example, let’s imagine that Jason was late to drive Eliza to her prenatal appointment after promising to do so. He must recognize that this is a trust breach that is destructive to the relationship. And that Eliza is likely to feel bad towards him. He will feel that feeling of tension, discord, angst, unresolve, incompleteness and anxiety in his body. He recognizes that a rupture has occurred.   
You have to bring the rupture up to the other person with the intention of creating repair. You start this by acknowledging verbally to the other person that you see that a rupture happened. It’s even better if you can acknowledge what it was. Name what happened and name your part in it. And it’s even better if you can acknowledge how they might have been hurt by it. If you don’t have the foggiest clue what happened, you need to ask the other person. This must be done in a sincere way, not a way that suggests that the other person is wrong for their upset. Something like “Hey, I can tell that something isn’t right. I really want to know what it is, so I can do something about it.” Or, “Hey, I noticed ever since lunch time, I’ve been feeling like we’re on two different pages and you don’t seem very happy. Can you tell me what’s up?”  If you know what the rupture is, then you bring up that you noticed what happened.  Using our example, Jason would say “I know you’re upset because I didn’t pick you up on time, like I promised I would do. And that probably made you feel unimportant, unconsidered and alone.” The goal is to get out ahead of the why behind the other person’s upset. This actually builds trust, even during the conflict because it demonstrates to the other person that we are attuned to them enough to know them, which is the opposite of how people feel when there is a rupture. When a rupture occurs, people often feel like they aren’t seen, heard, felt, understood and cared about. They feel like if you did see, feel, hear and understand them, you would not do what you did. After all, the underlying contract in any relationship is: If you love me, you won’t hurt me. So, you must demonstrate that you do see, hear, feel and understand them. Or at the very least, put effort into doing so when a rupture arises and you don’t understand why. It’s important to know that when you’ve created a relationship rupture, it is YOUR job to repair it. 
Invite the other person to speak to how they feel. See how it impacted them. For this step, instead of being defensive, since you acknowledged that you created a rupture, you are going to roll out the red carpet for them to express. Using our example, Jason might say to Eliza “Tell me more about how it made you feel that I was late picking you up.” And he would ask questions to understand it even deeper. But these questions are so that he can completely see, hear, feel and understand her. So, he can completely and accurately assess the situation. Say for example that Eliza says “I feel like you don’t give a damn about this family.” He would notice that anger as a protector for her fear and ask a question like “What does that make you afraid of, or afraid will happen?” And don’t ask these questions with a tone that suggests they are wrong for feeling how they feel. When you have created a relationship rupture, you need to hold a strong container for THEIR feelings.         Demonstrate understanding for the way they feel with empathy. Emotions need to feel understood and people need to feel that you are genuinely empathetic to them in order for them to trust you. This can take the form of validation or sympathizing or mirroring or apologizing or all of the above. For example, using our example, Jason might say, “Eliza, I see that you felt very alone today and you have every right to be upset. It’s not acceptable for a man to make you feel uncared for.” Or “I understand exactly why you felt afraid and not considered today. I don’t want you to feel that way”. This is not the time to give any excuse as to why you caused the rupture. Explain yourself regarding what happened in a way that does not suggest that you should be or expect to be let off the hook. This is not the same as coming up with excuses. An excuse is an attempt to lessen the blame, fault or level of offense. It is a defensive strategy. It is a self-centered strategy. Why this is really bad is because you have hurt someone, but now, you are the one acting like the victim. When you explain yourself, the intention of doing so, must be to help the other person to not make it mean what they are making it mean, unless it does mean that. Using our example, and only after Jason has empathized with how Eliza feels, he might say “The reason I was late is that I popped into the phone shop and thought it would only take 20 minutes, but it ended up taking them nearly an hour. It’s not because I don’t care about you and I will not leave you alone, even though today made you feel that way.” Notice that Jason expects of himself to be there for Eliza to make the relationship strong. So, he isn’t putting the blame on the phone shop, so as to take it off of himself. He expects himself to not put Eliza in a position where she and their relationship is at the mercy of the phone shop.  You might have to face some painful things about yourself when you look at the real reason that you created a rupture in a relationship. It is essential to become aware of the real reason why you do the things you do. If you are unaware of the why, you might be able to repair a rupture in a moment, only to create that rupture again in the future. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: The Secret To Self-Awareness, Becoming Aware of The Why. Also, people can feel when you are not being genuine. For example, if Jason’s real reason he was late was that he prioritizes the status of having the newest model of phone over making sure his relationship is strong and his wife feels cared about, Eliza will be able to feel that. And his explanation will be empty. And Jason will have to seriously consider what kind of man he is, what kind of man he wants to be and what priorities he wants to align himself with. Because if he prioritizes status over the security of their relationship, having gotten into a relationship with Eliza, who prioritizes relationship security (and expects him to do the same) this is a recipe for constant rupture in his relationship with Eliza. They would have to confront workability or potential incompatibility if this was indeed the case.  
Based on what happened, you find a way forward by settling on a way to fix or mend the problem that presented itself in the relationship so that the ease, connectedness, completeness, harmony and trust is restored in the relationship. This means, you cannot do what caused the rupture again. You must prove that you won’t. There is no “try” when it comes to repair. You either do it or you don’t. Whatever you choose to do to make it good with a person, fix the problem or re-establish trust, the goal is to demonstrate to the person that you deserve their trust because you are unwilling to leave them in pain and are committed to them feeling good in the relationship with you.  Some examples might be that you set a new expectation in the relationship that makes them feel good and hold yourself to it. It might look like cleaning up a mess you made. It might look like making a new agreement with a person. It might look like empowering the other person in some way. Using our example, Jason might say, “I never want you to feel that way again. And while I may not be able to control every little thing that happens, I’m never going to try to fit everything I have to do into my schedule, when I have something important to do with you. What I should have done and will do going forward is to schedule ample time before our important appointments.” Or, he might say, “I don’t want to take any chances that you feel dropped by me. So, I’d really like to re-schedule these appointments for my off days.” 
He would also make sure to demonstrate the OPPOSITE of the pain that he put her through. So, he would step up regarding being extra present to her at the prenatal appointment. And being attentive to considering her regarding what food that would please her to eat or activity she would enjoy doing with him. Whatever he decides on as a repair and she agrees to as a repair, he is going to follow through. He’s looking to make the relationship predictable. And predictably feel good. This rupture just became an opportunity to strengthen the security of the relationship. Think of it like adding to the relationship security bank. 
When you are creating repair in a relationship, repeat offense is not an option. If Jason inspired the re-building of trust in Eliza and therefore created repair by guaranteeing her that it won’t happen again, and he does it again, he has damaged their relationship double or more so. He has demonstrated that his word is worth nothing. That he can see her pain, but not be moved enough by it to change because he can do it again. He has demonstrated that because of this, he can’t be trusted. And rather than keep the privilege of being able to soothe and reassure her, he has lost that privilege and is now demonstrating a pattern where she can expect to be hurt by him. This is why addictions ruin relationships so effectively. 
It's at this point that I need to mention the fact that if a rupture occurs and it becomes obvious that you can’t guarantee that the same thing won’t happen again, your repair has to accommodate for THAT. Your solution needs to be to find a way to take the other person out of the pain that you would cause them by continuing to do whatever it is that is causing the conflict. This might mean facing potential workability or even incompatibilities. Using our example, if Jason decides that status is more important to him than relationship security, he needs to recognize that this could put him in a pinch again regarding choosing between being there for Eliza and some opportunity to gain status, whether it is job related or activity related or object related or whatever. And he then needs to own up to that. He needs to explain that status is so important to him and why. From there, Jason needs to find a way to repair based on Eliza’s workability relative to this. Can she support him in this? Or will she forever be unhappy with a man for whom that is the reality? If she can, Jason might say something like “I see this really hurts you. And I’m not ok with you feeling that way. I will take it upon myself to arrange someone else that I trust and that you trust to take you to any appointment that I might miss on account of a status opportunity. And I will call you beforehand to tell you that is happening. It shouldn’t be your job to make up for my absence on account of my priority. That’s my job.” And reassure her that relationship security is still important to him, no matter how much he might care about status. 
If she can’t, then they have the very tough job of confronting their incompatibility. To learn more about this, you can watch three of my videos. The first is: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships. The second is: The Most Important Element of Compatibility in a Relationship. and the third is: The Difference Between Compromise and Workability in a Relationship.  
Rupture in a relationship is not pleasant to experience. But when you are committed to repair and begin to master the art of it, you will find that over time, you will no longer dread relationship conflict because it is an opportunity to grow the bond and the security and the trust between you.            
   

Avoid This Massive Relationship Mistake! (They’ll Change Because of Me)

There are mistakes that can and should be avoided from the get go when it comes to relationships. Mistakes that can doom a relationship no matter how much effort you put into it. Today, we’re going to look at one of them so that its one mistake that you don’t make.
When we are first getting into a relationship with someone, we are gradually confronted with things that we like about a person and things we don’t like about a person. Things that are compatible to us, and things that aren’t. It’s during this process that we decide where someone belongs in our life and doesn’t. It’s during this process that you can make a crucial mistake and that is to believe that a person will change into what you like and want and thus become more compatible, by virtue of being in the relationship with you. 
Without explaining further, I’m going to give you a couple examples of this. Emmanuel fell in love with Taylen. He had known Taylen for years because they ran in the same social circles and she had dated a friend of his. He observed Taylen in this previous relationship and had noticed how flirtatious she was with other men. He also noticed how often she openly revealed intimate details about her relationship and confronted his friend in front of everyone when she was upset. For Emmanuel, a feeling of exclusivity and privacy is very important in a relationship. But Emmanuel saw how poorly his friend treated Taylen. And he knew that he would be a better partner for her or to any woman for that matter. He told himself that the only reason she exhibited those behaviors is because she was in such a bad relationship. He told himself that with the right man, she would become faithful in her behavior, exclusive, discreet and happy. At first, they were happy together. That is, until one night at a party when Taylen started flirting with another man, despite there being nothing wrong with their relationship. Emmanuel started a downward spiral because of the incident. And that downward spiral caused him to withdraw in the relationship emotionally. And what do you think this led to? Yep… Taylen was soon complaining openly about Emmanuel to other people, confronting him in front of them and revealing intimate details about their relationship. Rather than considering whether he could be with a woman like Taylen, if nothing about her ever changed, he decided that his influence could change her. Of course, when Taylen figured this out, she felt like she was just some fixer upper project for him and like she would have to be someone different to be loved. Emmanuel finally owned up to the incompatibility between them and ended the relationship, but not before they both had already gone through unnecessary emotional damage.
Janiya is often teased by her girlfriends because she seems to be irresistibly drawn to bad boys. And recently, she met one such bad boy, Angelo. When she met Angelo, he was on parole for a drug distribution crime. A few times when they were first spending time together, she would notice shady behaviors, like stepping out to run quick errands, but not telling her what the errand was. Always ending up in the same place as other men he knew by “coincidence.”  And a few times, she showed up at his apartment to find him high. But Janiya wanted the American dream. She wanted the house in the suburbs with the man who has a stable job and the kids and a Labrador retriever. She wanted a life and a marriage that she could be proud of. Janiya has a huge heart as well as a rescue complex. So, when Angelo acted how he acted, Janiya fixed her sights on that little inner child in Angelo who was neglected and who was never loved well enough. She became convinced that it would be her loving care that would awaken Angelo’s potential to be a good man. She imagined that his love and gratitude for how well she loved him would make him clean his life up, step up in their relationship and become the man in her vision for a happy life. Rather than considering whether she could be with a man like Angelo if nothing about him ever changed, she decided that it was her love that could change him. Of course, this did not happen. They ended up in a re-traumatizing three-year relationship from hell. Janiya ended up completely depleted because her efforts to reform Angelo never lasted. She was trapped in a tormenting intermittent reinforcement cycle.
Angelo was in the same conditional love dynamic he was in as a child, only this time with a woman who only loved him for what she knew he could be one day and for what she wanted him to become for her. He didn’t even want the same life she wanted. He didn’t want a quiet life in the suburbs. He wanted to own clubs one day and buy a penthouse. The constant pressure to do and be better caused him to feel rejected and therefore lonely, which only increased his drug use and avoidant behaviors. And he ended up back in jail. Because Janiya was never able to do and be enough to make Angelo change his ways, her self-esteem went to hell and so did her health with it. She was so emotionally damaged that she became bitter about men. And her house was even raided because of her association with Angelo. 
There are potentially many reasons that we fall into this pattern. But to give you some examples, we might want a relationship with someone so badly that we tell ourselves the other person will change by virtue of being in the relationship with us, so that we can avoid the torment of saying no to what we desperately want. Or we might be trying to re-create the relationship we had with one of our parents with the subconscious intention of achieving a different and healing outcome. Or we might be attaching our sense of self-worth to another person changing for us or by virtue of being with us. Or we might decide that it is more meaningful and a bigger statement of love if someone changes to be a certain way for us or by virtue of being with us, rather than if someone is already that way. Or we might be needing to prove to ourselves that nothing and no one is beyond saving; that with enough love and kindness, people can change for the better or even be saved. Or we might be tapping into and answering to the truths, needs and wants of a specific vulnerable part of a person while ignoring every other part of them.
I want you to remember this. When you meet someone and you are getting into a relationship, you need to ask yourself this question: How do I feel about this person knowing that nothing about them will ever change? A variation of that question is: How do I feel about this person knowing that them getting into a relationship with me will not change a single thing about what they think and say and do? And based off of your answer to those questions, ask yourself, could I be with them and be happy? Where are the compatibilities and where are the incompatibilities? And based off of that reality, where do they actually belong in my life?
People tend to feel a lot of resistance to the idea of getting into relationships with people with the assumption that nothing will ever change about the other person, especially by virtue of being in the relationship with them. After all, people can change and they do change. On top of this, we all hear those stories and speeches about how someone’s love or care or influence made all the difference to someone else’s life and brought about such positive change. For many reasons, most of us would love to play that role in someone else’s life. But before you go down that path, consider being on the flip side of this pattern. How would you feel if someone got into a relationship with you with the idea that something they don’t like about you or are incompatible to about you, will change by virtue of them being with you? Because of their love or care or influence on you? Does it feel like they value and love you or something else they think you should become? Would you want to be in that relationship?   
There are some mistakes in relationships that are completely avoidable. Getting into a relationship with the idea that a person will change by virtue of them being with you, is one of these. 

The Relationship Apathy Pattern

To generalize, people only put energy into something if they feel they are going to get what they want out of it. This is also true when it comes to relationships. A person won’t put energy into a specific relationship unless they feel like they are going to get what they want out of that relationship. If a person doesn’t feel that they will get what they want out of the relationship, they tend to become apathetic towards the relationship. There are all kinds of things that a person might want to get out of a relationship such as a sense of belonging, intimacy, togetherness, sex, trust, a sense of security, protection, shared experience, affection, attention, prioritization, emotional connection, joint goals, romance, significance, respect, kindness, honesty, dedication, excitement, encouragement, self-esteem, acceptance, not to be lonely anymore and the list goes on and on. If a person is in a relationship specifically for any one of these things and starts to feel like they won’t get it, they can become apathetic towards the relationship. Therefore, if you are in a relationship and someone is behaving apathetically towards it or towards you, it is very smart to consider that the reason might be that they want something out of the relationship that they are not getting and feel they are not going to get.
But today, I’m going to expose the deepest, most unconscious and most difficult to recognize relationship apathy pattern. And I’m going to tell you what to do about it. First, I’ll tell you what the pattern is. And then I’ll break it down for you so that you completely understand it. The pattern is that a person’s deepest desire is to be loved for “who they are” and they perceive that they aren’t going to get that in a relationship, and so they become apathetic towards the relationship.
The first thing that is important to understand is that when someone says that they want to be loved, 99% of the time, they don’t actually mean that they want to be loved. What they mean is that they want to be valued, appreciated and therefore wanted. So, really, this pattern is about wanting to be valued for “who they are”. 
The second thing that is important to understand is that in the context of the desire to be valued, “who you are” is a meaningless term. What does it mean? There are some questions you must consider if you want to be loved for who you are/if you want to be loved for “you”. 
Who and/or what are you?  What is it about you that you want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for? What is it exactly that you are asking other people to value, appreciate and want about you? To understand this pattern, we need to go way back into childhood. In some families, a child gets the message that their only value is what they DO for the parent or for other members of the family. They feel their only value is in their use. This leads to both extreme insecurity and exhaustion because it feels like they are on a never-ending treadmill to earn their place every day and will lose it the second they stop. Imagine a horse that is valued and wanted only for the fact that it races, and if the day comes that it doesn’t race, it immediately is not valued anymore and is rejected and discarded. Inside this child, a deep desire is being born. A desire to be valued for something intrinsic to them, something that is not dependent on their service or lack thereof or on their performance or lack thereof. They want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for something that has nothing to do with their use. 
The problem is, the only way this person knows to be valued enough to be wanted, is to be of use. And so, they will enter into a relationship with someone who has very obvious and desperate needs. Even to the degree that they need rescue. Therefore, again, they will be valued for what they do for the other person. But they will secretly hope and expect that to the contrary, doing so will magically lead to that person valuing them for who they are instead. 
This person will be a person who starts out pouring their energy into the relationship and into the other person. The exact opposite of apathy. Because they think that everything they are doing, will lead to them feeling valued, appreciated and wanted for “who they are”. But then the day comes where something happens that causes them to perceive that they will never be valued, appreciated and wanted for “who they are”. And so, they begin to test it. They start to drop the things they were doing for the relationship and for the other person. Naturally, this makes the other person upset at them. And this is further confirmation that they are only valued, appreciated and wanted for their use. And so, they go into full blown apathy mode. They drop responsibilities. They don’t put energy into the relationship or into the other person. They emotionally withdraw. They act completely passive and unhappy. They act unworkable. They become unresponsive. They lose their enthusiasm. And when the relationship spirals, they don’t put any energy into making changes to improve the relationship. They stop actively participating in the relationship and even sink into depression because it’s too painful to accept that in the relationship, they won’t be valued, appreciated and loved for “who they are”. And because they don’t want to sign up for a life or a relationship where they aren’t. Suddenly, the other person feels like they are in the relationship alone and as if they are the only one putting any energy into it. 
So that you can understand this better, here is an example: Michael was born into a poor family with lots of kids. He was left in the crib a lot as a baby, because every member of the family was too busy doing what needed to be done to get by. When he was old enough to pitch in, he was immediately put to work. Tending to his siblings, taking on tasks for the household, helping to bring in income. No one in the house was valued for anything other than what they practically did. For example, Michael had an incredible sense of humor. But no one cared. All they cared about is whether he lit the wood fires first thing in the morning or brought back enough money from his afterschool job. 
Michael is now an adult. Since his life experience has taught him that he holds no value other than what he does, he has deep insecurities about his own worth. This causes him to get into relationships with women who desperately need a man because they are fending for themselves. He does this because by doing so, he does not risk rejection. Also, all he knows is to be in a relationship with someone who really needs him for something that he does. The woman he is with now, Kelsey, is a single mother with a history of severe sex abuse. She needs all the things that a father would provide, but that her father never provided, and even more. She needs someone to provide for her financially. She needs protection. She needs a father figure for her daughter. She needs a man to be there for her whenever she needs him emotionally. She needs to be supported in her goals. She wants to be taken care of and taken responsibility for. Michael is convinced on a subconscious level, that if he steps up to such a degree for Kelsey, she will fall in love with him for who he is. What he means by this is, Kelsey will value, appreciate and want him for his soul. For how he feels. For his sense of humor. For the way his body feels against hers. You know… for everything that takes no effort on his part because it isn’t about what he does. Kelsey does actually value him for all these things. But the reason she got into a primary partnership arrangement with him isn’t because of those things. It was because of all the things he does for her. Things like taking responsibility for upkeep around the house and paying for bills and bringing home dinner for them all and talking her through her problems for hours and providing incredible containment and setting up elaborate dates. 
One day, Michael runs into a situation where he doesn’t have enough money to pay the grocery bill. And Kelsey gets upset about it. A shock wave goes through Michael’s system. Suddenly, he feels like his security with Kelsey and his place in her life is dependent on his use. In this case, financial providership. He is in a state of constant anxiety then. He doesn’t talk to Kelsey about this fear. Instead, he decides to test whether this is in fact the case. He doesn’t put the trash out on the street on trash pickup day, like he has of his own accord every other week in their relationship. Again, Kelsey gets upset. She becomes afraid that all the pressure is starting to fall back on her shoulders and like she is going to have to either do things herself, or manage Michael to do them. When Kelsey gets upset, Michael’s worst fears become even more real. She might never love him for who he is. And it is at this point that progressively, he goes into full blown apathy mode. 
Michael starts dropping all of the responsibilities he signed up for in their relationship. He stops doing anything romantic. He stops initiating sex. He withdraws emotionally and spends most of his time working. But he passes up opportunities to make a lot of money because he doesn’t want Kelsey to value him for how much money he has. He stops providing containment. He leaves her to fend for herself in conflicts with other people in her life. And when the relationship really turns bad, he is uncharacteristically passive about it. He won’t read books about how to make the relationship better. When Kelsey tells him directly what he needs to do to make her feel happy in the relationship again, he doesn’t do it. He reluctantly shows up to a visit with a marital therapist but won’t go back. Kelsey has lost her partner. Michael has slipped into an apathetic depression, leaving her to fend for herself and carry him. He is stuck in that depression because he can’t consciously admit that what he wants is to be loved for “who he is” and Kelsey is a woman with very serious and practical needs. She will never love him enough for “who he is” to have that be the reason to be in a primary relationship with him, or with any man for that matter. Part of Michael’s despair is that he truly believes that this is the very thing he offers to Kelsey. Something he feels he can give to any woman in his life, but that he never receives in return. If you ask him, he will say that he always ends up in relationships that are conditional when all he wants and what he offers, is unconditional love.  
What he doesn’t realize is that he also is in a conditional relationship with Kelsey. The need he is trying to meet and what he is trying to get out of a relationship is esteem. His childhood led him to believe that he is worthless as a person outside of his use. He wants a woman to value, appreciate and want him for things that have nothing to do with his use, so that he feels esteem. And if he doesn’t get that in a relationship, he stops participating in the relationship. He becomes apathetic. On top of this, he dupes the women he enters into a relationship with by entering into the relationship on the foot of “value me because of all the things I can do for you”. Only to drop the relationship when it becomes obvious that they do because his real request is “value me for who I am, regardless of what I do or don’t do for you.”
Needless to say, Michael and Kelsey’s relationship ended. And both of them are retraumatized because the relationship was a repeat of each of their original wounding. 
If you recognize yourself in this pattern, the first thing you need to do, is to throw away the idea that there is a right or a wrong reason to be in a relationship. People who want to be loved for ‘who they are’, love to defend this desire by believing that it is the only true and good and right reason to be with someone. This is not true. There is nothing wrong with a person being in a relationship with someone for any reason, provided that there is a mutual agreement about it. What causes pain in relationships is a mismatch between what someone is valued, appreciated and wanted for and what they want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for. In the relationship with Michael and Kelsey, there is a mismatch between what Michael is valued, appreciated and wanted for and what he wants to be valued, appreciated and wanted for.    
The second thing you need to do, is to figure out what you want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for. When a person says “I want to be loved for who I am” or “I want someone to love me for me”, what this usually means is that the person has certain specific aspects about them that were never valued, appreciated or wanted. Potentially they have been rejected for those things in the past. Or potentially, those things have never been adequately recognized. On top of this, they may have been valued, appreciated and wanted for something that they don’t want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for. You need to figure out exactly what it is about you that you want to have be appreciated, valued and wanted. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Want To Be Loved For Who You Are, Watch This! Using our example, Michael realizes that he wants to be loved for his presence, for the way he feels to the other person energetically, for the feeling of his touch, for his humor, for his ideas, for the sound of his voice, and for how nice he is.    
The third thing you need to do, is to decide whether or not being valued, appreciated and wanted for those things is a requirement for a partnership or whether you could have a partnership with someone based off of another agreement and establish other relationships where this need is met. If the answer is yes, you will either need to find out if your partner can change the reasons for being in the partnership with you, or end the partnership. I need to warn you that it is rare that a person will simply change their reason for being in the relationship with you when you change what you are offering, simply because you decided that you want them to be in a relationship with you for something other than what you offered to begin with.  If you decide that being valued, appreciated and wanted for certain things is not a requirement for a partner and could get this need met in other relationships, you need to drop the apathy and start stepping up and into the relationship. Using our example, Michael decides that he wants a partnership to be based off of a person valuing, appreciating and wanting him for these things, rather than for things like providing financially or offering containment or protecting them or taking on responsibilities around the house. So, he decides that it was right for the relationship with Kelsey to end. In fact, it wasn’t right to be with her in the first place. But he can see that he was the one who duped her, so he meets her for coffee to offer a serious apology and explain his pattern and why everything happened the way it did.       
 The fourth thing you need to do, is to advertise whatever it is about you that you want someone to value, appreciate and want. Part of this implies communicating with others about specifically what you want them to appreciate, value and want about you. And never forget that you are more likely to be appreciated, valued and wanted for something when you advertise that thing specifically to the people who are most likely to value, appreciate and want that thing. This means, if you don’t want to be valued for your use (for what you do for someone) then you need to not set up the relationship on the foot of “I will do these things for you”. You have to be willing to take the risk of putting what you want people to value, appreciate and want out there. Using our example, Michael stops looking for women who need rescue because they are carrying too much responsibility and are too alone. Instead, he decides to look for women who are very resourced. Women who are very close to their family and have lots of close friends. And rather than taking on responsibilities or doing things for them, what he offers, is quality time and touch. This way, he can tell that they are in a relationship with him for what he wants them to be in a relationship with him for. 
     Relationships need to be fed. A relationship will end if it is approached with apathy. For this reason, it is critical to know what you want to be appreciated, valued and wanted for in a relationship. And it is critical to know what you want to get out of a relationship. And it is critical to make sure that you are on the same page and in agreement with the other person about both.   

The Real Reason Why a Person Won’t Stop a Negative Behavior

We live in a universe that is managed by the law of cause and effect. This means that everything we do or don’t do, has a consequence. That consequence might be experienced as positive. Or it might be experienced as negative. Usually, when something we do has a negative consequence, we learn not to do it and to do something else. But sometimes, we keep doing something, despite the negative consequences. In this article, I’m going to explain to you the real reason why a person may be choosing not to stop a certain behavior, even if that behavior has obvious and very severe negative consequences. And I’m going to explain how to break through this pattern if it occurs.
In a previous video, I explained that there is no such thing as self-sabotage. I explained that if any part of you is exhibiting a behavior that is bringing about a negative consequence in any way, it is because that part of you thinks it is in your best interest to do so.  In other words, it believes it is saving your life by engaging in that behavior and by not going along with the plan.  For this reason, we cannot say that it is against you. It just doesn’t agree with the rest of you about how to be FOR you. 
Most of the time, this happens because the specific behavior gets that part of you something that it (and therefore you) needs. So essentially, this part of you perceives itself to be in a lose-lose situation and that the negative consequence of whatever behavior it is engaged in, is worth whatever it is that it is (and therefore you are) getting. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage. 
But behaviors which persist due to a need that is being met through those behaviors are not even close to as stubborn as those behaviors that are inspired by avoidance. And it is avoidance-based behaviors where you see the most extreme patterns of people continuing a negative behavior, no matter the consequences to themselves or others. When a person is caught in this pattern, they do X despite any of the extreme consequences of doing it. Because doing X keeps them away from a consequence they are FAR more afraid of than those consequences. 
So that you can understand this pattern, here are two examples. Suraj has a big problem. Every time he pursues a relationship and the woman starts to act like she really likes him, he loses interest in her. He becomes aloof and disconnects emotionally. He dodges questions. He starts pointing out all of their differences. He starts to go against anything she says, as if he was intent on creating petty arguments. He brings up past women he has been with, as if romanticizing them. He pushes her away. This behavior has massive consequences. For starters, he is desperately lonely. He feels terrible about his life and himself and likes to escape those feelings with too much alcohol. His parents shame him on a weekly basis about the fact that he hasn’t settled down and the cultural pressure is building. But Suraj keeps doing it. Despite all these consequences. The reason he keeps doing it is because, as a child he was raised by a severely enmeshed mother and a culture that raises children in an atmosphere of enmeshment. In Suraj’s childhood, none of his personal boundaries were respected. He was treated like he existed for one reason only: To please his mother and to deny all of his own desires, needs, wishes, aversions, dislikes, thoughts and feelings to serve his mother’s wishes and overinvolvement in any given moment. Suraj is terrified of being swallowed up and suffocated by whomever he is in a relationship with, and completely losing his individual autonomy. Suraj is far more afraid of that, than he is the consequences he is experiencing when he ruins yet another relationship. So, the behavior continues. 
Katie has a big problem. She is addicted to crystal meth. The consequences are dire. She lost her job. She spends time at other people’s apartments, because she can’t afford one of her own. She suffers from convulsions. She has cracked teeth that are decaying. She has sores on her skin from picking at it. She feels frail all the time. She’s lost nearly every relationship in her life. She has to deal with the come-down and withdrawal every time she uses. And she can clearly see that her life is ruined. Despite all these consequences, she keeps engaging in her addiction. But it isn’t really because of the confidence, the energy, the euphoria and elation caused by the high of the drug itself. Nor is it really caused by the chemical element of substance addiction in her body. It’s because the drug keeps her AWAY from the emotional hell of her life. The deep vacuum of loneliness. The feelings of being inherently unlovable. The emptiness caused by years of emotional neglect and emotional abuse. The desperate powerlessness of feeling like she can’t fix any of the things that cause her pain about her life, so as to feel better. When Katie does crystal meth, it pulls her away from that powerlessness. It doesn’t help her to fix any of those problems. Afterall, her problems feel pretty unfixable. Instead, it makes all of those problems just go away for a few hours, especially in those moments when she’s in so much pain in the moment that each minute is an unbearable lifetime and so, she starts having suicidal thoughts. Katie is far more afraid of getting stuck in the hell that is those thoughts and those feeling states than she is of the consequences of the drug that is killing her. So, she keeps up her addiction. 
When a behavior that has negative consequences is motivated by a need, the way to change the behavior is to find a different way (that comes without the negative consequences) to meet that need. When a behavior that has negative consequences is motivated by an avoidance, the way to change the behavior is to find a different way to empower a person to keep themselves safe from experiencing whatever it is that they are trying avoid. And/or to decrease their resistance to whatever it is that they are trying to avoid.
Using our examples, Suraj might be able to start letting go of his behavior if he was encouraged to stop forcing himself into relationships and have conscious casual relationships or friendships instead; until he feels like he really wants to have a committed partnership. Rather than doing it because he thinks he has to. Or because he thinks the only way to not be lonely is to have a committed partner. And he could focus on going to attachment-based therapy. And he could commit to learning all about boundaries. And he could dedicate his free time to learning about himself (developing a sense of self and identity) with other people who are also committed to learning about themselves, rather than settling down. And he could do parts work with the part of him that feels guilt relative to his mom for focusing on himself. And he could journal every day to identify his own opinions, thoughts and feelings. And he could set blocks of time aside, as a kind of safe container to focus on others, so he can go back and forth between focusing on them and focusing on himself. 
Katie might be able to let go of her behavior by having someone else be completely with her in a brave joint exploration into the deep traumas and emotional absence and losses that are the origin of the mental and emotional pain she has suffered from for years. And by being in a social setting where she is not alone, where there is always someone available to connect to. And by exercises to change her deeply painful beliefs. And by disciplining herself to notice and list the positives in any given situation for an allotted time each day. And to restore a sense of empowerment to her life by picking only one single problem in her life at a time to improve, and focusing on taking little steps each day to bring that improvement to the situation, until it is better. And by doing presence meditation, where she develops the ability to be with her emotions instead of abandon her own emotions, as well as a tolerance for feeling uncomfortable emotions. She would benefit by realizing that the feelings themselves are not going to harm her and that they are helping her by carrying important messages about her personal truth, including what she needs in any given moment. And by picking something to learn or picking a skill she already has an aptitude for and putting time and energy into it so she can build confidence and self-esteem.  
When someone is terrified of some consequence and that is why they are keeping up with a negative behavior, despite there being other consequences for doing so, it is a profoundly painful experience for them. But the way to solve it, is to find a different way to avoid whatever it is that they are trying to avoid, so that the initial behavior is no longer the most effective means of keeping themselves safe.     
    
   

The Importance of Ancestral Healing

When most people hear about the idea of ancestral trauma or ancestral healing, they get overwhelmed and confused. The concept feels abstract and esoteric. After all, how is someone supposed to heal something that happened way before they were ever born and to people that they have never met and may not even know about? And this is why, in this episode, I’m going to explain ancestral trauma and ancestral healing in depth, help you to understand why it is so important and give you an overview on how to do it. 
Most people are so focused on their own lives in the here and now and on their own specific moment in the overall timeline of humanity, that they have lost touch with the bigger picture of their ancestry. Ancestry plays more of a role in your life than most people can possibly imagine and a much, much bigger role than past lives do. Before coming into this physical life, your awareness was not as limited as it is now, in your physical incarnation. You observed and were aware of all of the ancestral lines you would potentially be assuming as a result of coming to the specific parents that you were considering incarnating through. From this vantage point, you observed the consciousness of your family on both your mother and father’s side. As well as the expansion path of those specific family lines. You were looking to choose into family lines that would be a match to your own intention for this life and at the same time for family lines whose own expansion path would be benefitted by you incarnating into them. Each new generation that is born, is the expansion path for the family line that stretches back throughout the course of history. Whether you are conscious of it or not, you are continuing the existence and the story of all of those who came before you. 
The thing is, purpose is born from a mixed bag. You weren’t only looking for what we might judge as “good things”. You were also looking for what we might judge as “negative” things, as those things would not only serve your life purpose, they represent the opportunity for progression and expansion for a family line.
Every single-family line comes with positive and negative themes. Strengths and weaknesses. Aptitudes and shortcomings. Pleasures and pains. And these themes continue from generation to generation. For example, a family line might have a pattern of entrepreneurship running through it or a family line might have a pattern of escapism from responsibility running through it. To make it really simple, to opt into your specific family line can be compared to opting into a specific hand of cards, made up of both good and not so good cards. And the purpose for your incarnation in this life is deeply and inescapably woven into how you play those “family” cards. 
As people, we have a very hard time accepting that our ancestors play a big role regarding who we are in this life. To many of us, thinking that our ancestry has so much influence on us, causes us to feel powerless, as if our fate has been decided for us, based on whatever family line we ended up in. While this perspective is understandable, it doesn’t reflect the truth. When you get a hand of cards, it is in your hands how to play them. And it just so happens that you came into this life wanting that specific hand. You knew it would benefit you and that you would benefit that family line. 
Genetics are not simply physical. They are not one dimensional. They are multi-dimensional. They don’t just apply to your physical body and to whether you have blue eyes or brown eyes. Genes are like a multi-dimensional blueprint or code, even for things like knowledge, desires, needs, affinities, preferences, aversions, phobias, aptitudes, inaptitude’s, beliefs, feeling states and memories. What we experience in our lifetime, is encoded in our genes. And when a new generation is born, those things are passed down to them. This means that deep within you, you contain all of this from every direct ancestor that you have ever had. It's enough to make your head spin. Based on what has happened before us, some of these things are active and some of these things are inactive within us. 
This means we can look at two levels of ancestral impact.
The first being this much larger and more multidimensional and even esoteric understanding that our ancestors are essentially downloaded deep within us. This is the level at which our experience of our ancestors is not direct, it is inborn. For example, if individuals within our family line were nomadic. That knowledge may be totally lost to us. And still, within ourselves, we could exhibit an undeniably strong inclination towards stepping out of our comfort zone to live in new places. We can call this INDIRECT Ancestral Impact.   
The second being that things are quite literally passed down from one generation to the next and thus, we have a direct experience of our ancestors through our interaction with our own parents. For example, if one of our ancestors abandoned their family, the normalization of abandonment of children might have created a pattern where in each generation within a family line, a parent abandons their kids. In alignment with this pattern, your parent may have abandoned you and your siblings. You directly experienced your ancestors and therefore ancestral trauma by virtue of your own parent abandoning you. We can call this DIRECT Ancestral Impact. 
Trauma is something that does not die with the individual who experiences it. Ancestral trauma is a reality. And after the personal trauma that we go through in our personal life experience, it is the thing that impacts us the very most in our incarnated lives. You don’t have to understand esoteric or multidimensional concepts to understand ancestral trauma and how it impacts descendants. Scientists have long been captivated by the startling realities of how memory is passed down from one generation to the next. There have been several studies done on both animals and humans that prove the inheritance of trauma and also of memory across generations.  
Keep in mind that this indirect ancestral impact as well as this more direct experience of ancestral impact can manifest in both positive and negative ways. And what is important to accept is that living within you, is the gift of all of those positive things that are running through your family lines. And also, living within you is the challenge of all of those negative things that are running through your family lines. The task we have taken on by being born is the task of resolving this inherited trauma. Indeed, so many of the traumas that we experience in our own lifetime are a direct byproduct of this ancestral trauma. The question when it comes to ancestral healing is, can you consciously take advantage of those gifts and can you consciously master those challenges? 
Clearing ancestral trauma is about trauma resolution. Trauma resolution is about healing. And healing is about changing something into its improved state. For example, if a person experiences a lack of belonging, to heal would be to experience a true sense of belonging. Or if a family line experiences and exhibits consistent betrayal, to heal would be for that family line to develop the quality of loyalty and to experience loyalty. At its essence, clearing ancestral trauma is about changing patterns that have been running through your family lines for the better. 
Right now, humanity is at a crossroads. So many of the detrimental patterns that we are seeing on a mass scale within humanity, patterns that are threatening our own demise and the demise of the other beings that share this planet with us, are in fact ancestral patterns that are the result of ancestral traumas. Our own progress as a species depends on re-connecting to our ancestors and on recognizing and changing the detrimental patterns that are recurring throughout history from one generation to the next. And society is made up of individuals. This means, the ability of our species (and countless others) to thrive, depends on individuals engaging deeply in ancestral healing right now. For this reason, right now, there is a massive push within the greater universe towards ancestral healing. It is going to continue to be a theme everywhere you look. When these massive movements occur in the greater universe, it is a very good idea to choose consciously to get on the bandwagon. The good news is, ancestral healing can be really, really fun. And completely mind blowing. 
For those of you that feel the calling to take what is genuinely a deep dive into ancestral healing, I have created an online course to help you do exactly that. You can find this course on my website by going to TealSwan.com, clicking on Teal’s Work and then on Online Courses. There, you will see the Ancestral Healing Course. This course goes into ancestral healing in a much deeper way than I can in a single episode like this. And it walks you through the steps of ancestral healing, so that you can follow along with them and do those steps yourself.
That being said, so that you can get your mind around how to do ancestral healing, here is a brief overview. The first thing that a person needs to do, is to release or resolve some of the resistance they might have to doing ancestral work or ancestral healing. The reason being that this resistance that a person might have for any number of reasons, acts as an oppositional force to being able to do effective ancestral healing work. 
From there, it’s time to research. This means, you want to find out as much about your ancestors and your family line as possible. Obviously, some people are able to find out more than others. Some people hear me say that you should find out as much as you can about your family line and they panic. Maybe you were adopted and could not find any information on your birth family. Maybe you have no contact with your parents or other members of your family line and were unable to make contact. Remember that when it comes to working with ancestry, it is simply the more you know, the better. You can work with whatever hints you may have, however tiny. Believe me when I tell you that if you are committed to ancestral healing, more information has a way of surfacing. It feels a lot like an easter egg hunt that never ends. 
The real heart of ancestral healing is about recognizing unresolved pains and detrimental patterns within your family lines, and changing those into their improved state. You do this with both traumas that are direct and traumas that are indirect. For example, you might notice that a pattern running through your family is that everyone had to keep strong and shut up and get things done on their own. You might decide to consciously work on communicating, sharing your emotions and on learning to fully resource other people by getting them to do things with you. When you are healing ancestral patterns, you need to come up with practical ways that you are going to change the pattern or create improvement for the trauma. 
You are not only going to figure out what you want to let go of and change within your ancestry. You are also going to decide upon what you are going to re-own, revive and embody. One of the biggest mistakes that “experts” on ancestral trauma make is that they think clearing ancestral trauma is just about letting go of and resolving the negatives within your family lines. Almost all of the focus of clearing ancestral trauma is on the bad things that happened and on the unwanted aspects of the family line. But this is just one part of clearing ancestral trauma. The other part is to consciously discover, own and integrate the positives within your family lines. All too often, clearing ancestral trauma is done from a place of rejection. It becomes all about things in and about their family line that they want to get rid of. Therefore, it is done from an energy of wanting to dis-own or to emancipate oneself from one’s ancestry. This is the opposite of healing and it is the opposite of integration. 
You can’t reject your ancestry (your family lines) and not simultaneously reject yourself. Because your ancestors are an aspect of you. And a very big one. And upon coming into this life, you wanted them to be. The gift of embracing your ancestry is the gift of integration of the self. It is also to develop or restore a sense of belonging within the overall picture of your place within this human world. To clear ancestral trauma, you are not only going to have to resolve what is not benefitting your ancestors. You are going to have to own, celebrate and proudly embody the wonderful things about your ancestors. For example, say that you discover that your ancestors had an incredible aptitude for music, you may choose to learn a specific instrument with ancestral celebration in mind. Or, let’s say that you discovered a wonderful tradition they used to practice, you may choose to revive and honor that tradition. 
One step further, is to resolve ancestral karma. The word karma is a Sanskrit word that means “act” or “deed.” In Hinduism and Buddhism, the word has come to mean any decision or action that brings you good or bad results, either in this lifetime or in a reincarnation. It has also come to mean “fate” or “destiny.” In this context, ancestral karma means those choices and those actions and those physical, emotional, behavioral, and mental traits and characteristics that brought about either good or bad results. It is very much in our best interests to right our family’s wrongs. It is in our best interests to heal intergenerational wounds. And to change their detrimental behavior, characteristics and patterns into positive ones. It is in our best interests to make better choices and take different actions, especially those that bring about healing. To clear ancestral karma, you identify decisions that your ancestors made or actions that they took. Specifically, ones that brought about bad results. And you consciously “clear some family karma” by making a different decision, taking a different action, righting the wrong… pulling the fate of your family line in a different and, corrective direction. For example, imagine that you find out that your family exploited forests for generations as loggers. You might donate time or energy or money to an environmental foundation that is focused on re-forestation. 
The next thing you can do, is dissolve detrimental ancestral loyalties. Belonging with our family and staying connected to them, is a core need that we all have, even at a subconscious level. We want to maintain our loyalty to them. But not all ways that we maintain our loyalty to them are beneficial for us, for them, for the family line of for the rest of the world. Just think of a person who maintains their loyalty to their family line by maintaining hatred for an entire other demographic of people or by failing so they don’t make their family feel bad about their lack of successes. It is in everyone’s best interests to discover what these negative ancestral loyalties are and to dissolve them, replacing them with positive forms of loyalty.
You can also forgive on behalf of your family line. Lack of forgiveness serves as a sticking point for the progress of a family. Therefore, a powerful practice can be working towards forgiveness and letting go. This can take many forms. It can take the form of you forgiving your ancestors, or a specific ancestor. It can take the form of you being the person in the family line to forgive someone or something that harmed your ancestors or a specific ancestor. It can take the form of you letting go of something you are holding on to or resolving a “sticking point” relative to your ancestors. And it can take the form of you letting go for your ancestors or a specific ancestor regarding a sticking point or something they are holding on to, when it would benefit them to let go. It can take the form of you forgiving yourself for something regarding your ancestors. The hard part about this is, you can’t simply force forgiveness or just decide to forgive. This is in fact a form of bypassing. You have to work towards it. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Forgiveness (Radical New Approach to Forgiveness).
Some more powerful steps that will help you to embrace your ancestry as well as to enhance ancestral healing is to do things like engage in meditation, journey work or medicine work specifically with ancestral connection and ancestral healing in mind. Listen to their music, experience their cultures, learn their languages or skills or arts or crafts, read about the history they experienced, set up an ancestral altar, make and eat the food they used to make. And if it is possible for you to do, visit your ancestral lands and drink the water there. In fact, genealogical tourism or “roots tourism” is a whole section of the travel/tourism market. 
Water in general is very special because it holds memory. Whenever I go anywhere, I make it a point to drink the water there. The reason being that water holds an energetic vibration and a big part of that specific vibration is information. Drinking the water in a place is like downloading that vibration and that information… Information about the land and everything associated with it. It connects you immediately to where you are and to what happened there and to all those things that it encountered before you. When you go back and drink the water that forged your people, it has the power to restore you and remind you of everything you have lost touch with. It is a re-set on both a personal and an ancestral level. It is an indescribably deep kind of re-set. The power of returning to your ancestral land cannot be overstated.
Rather than expecting ancestral healing to be something that you do, and then it is done, consider it to be like a lifelong relationship you are building with your ancestry. The better it gets, the better it gets. You don’t have to worry about “getting it all done”. After all, relationships are not something you are looking to be “done” with. Everything you end up doing over the course of your life regarding this relationship you have with them, will bring improvement to your life and will add an ever-increasing sense of depth and richness to your existence.  
Your family line is not actually “out there in the world”. It is inside of you. When you reject your family, you reject yourself. You create splits within your own consciousness. It creates an internal separation and it creates internal suffering. You are the culmination of your ancestry. It is very much alive within you, and it very much matters. The memories of all of your ancestors that came before you, are your memories. Their trauma is your trauma. And your joy is their joy.  
  

The Difference Between Workability and Compromise in a Relationship

People the world over are completely confused about compromise. They don’t know when they should compromise and when they shouldn’t compromise in a relationship. They want to know where that line is between it being ok to compromise and it being not ok to compromise. And being this confused about compromise causes people to dive head first into dysfunction in their lives; most especially in their relationships. For this reason, I’m going to clear up this confusion for you. I’m going to break down the concept of compromise and help you to define when you should and shouldn’t compromise in your relationships. 
To compromise is to settle a dispute/conflict or reach agreement/alignment by way of mutual concession. And remember that to concede is to yield, give up or give away something you value. 
The problem with conversations about compromise is that when people use the word compromise, they are often talking about two different things. One person sees compromise as being about the big things that really matter. So, they are talking about those things. When people say that compromise is important and they hold this definition of compromise, it is just another way of saying “it’s important to give up what is important to you sometimes and take some pain for the sake of the relationship.”
Another person sees compromise as the small stuff. Stuff that doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t represent something the person deeply values. So, they are talking about those things. When people say that compromise is important and they hold this definition of compromise, it’s is just another way of saying “It’s important to let the other person have their way when something matters less to you than it does to them.” 
Compromise is by definition to yield, give up or give away something you value. If you value something, it is important to you. It is a big thing. And it matters. Otherwise, you couldn’t really call it a compromise.     
The real problem is that we have one word, compromise, to describe two different things. And this is why it is so hard to figure out where the line should be relative to when you should and when you shouldn’t compromise. Because of this, the first thing you should do, is to make the two different things, two different words. The first word being compromise. Which we have already defined. And the second word being workability. When something is workable, it is flexible, negotiable, pliable and adaptable. It can be influenced, molded or changed so that it produces the desired effect or the desired results. When a person is being workable, they are settling a dispute/conflict or reaching agreement/alignment by way of flexibility by adaptability. By finding a win-win. Or by letting the other person have their way because doing so does not conflict with something they deeply value.  
I’m going to make a bold statement here. For a relationship to be harmonious, mutually pleasing and successful, we need to be workable. We will find ourselves changing certain things, adapting to certain things and developing flexibility in certain ways. But contrary to popular advice, you must never compromise. The truth is, you can’t actually do it, even if you think you can. A person can’t give up something that they truly value (and thus that really matters to them) without experiencing pain that eventually causes personal decline and disharmony in the relationship. It is ironic that when we say that someone or something is compromised, we mean that it has become vulnerable, weakened or is functioning less effectively, because that is exactly what happens when we compromise. At the heart of compromise is the idea of giving yourself up in some way. Whether it is your standards or your beliefs or your needs or your desires or your convictions or your truths or what is right for you or what is important to you etc. And when you do this, not only do you compromise yourself in ways that are detrimental to your wellbeing, you will not stay on good terms with the person you do this for. 
Compromise is a form of self-sacrifice. 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.  But 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. And self-sacrifice is an inherently narcissistic act. To learn more about this rather provocative claim, watch my video titled: Self Sacrifice, The Most Self-Centered Thing in the World. Compromise is about settling for less and accepting something that doesn’t fully satisfy one or either person.
A compromise feels bad because compromise insinuates that you don’t want to do it. When people compromise, even if it takes years to surface, it will lead to things like using it against them later, resentment, dissatisfaction in the relationship, passive aggressive behavior, unmet needs, manipulation, physical illness, mental illness, constant emotional tension in the relationship and the whole host of unhealthy coping mechanisms people employ to deal with that, tit for tat or give and take mentality in relationships, disappointment, missed opportunities for personal growth, fatigue and lack of energy/vitality, emotional blackmail, behaving in inconsistent ways, loss of integrity, loss of a sense of self and healthy identity, a breakdown of communication, loss of important relationships and people in our life, the feeling of lostness in life, dissatisfaction with one’s life, the feeling of being undervalued, low self-esteem, feeling empty, loss of passion, loss of self-respect, loss of authenticity, egoic superiority that comes with seeing oneself as the better person, failure to reach the full potential of your relationships and of your life, victim control dramas, lack of intimacy in a relationship and the feeling of being alone in a relationship, losing sight of what is important and all the pain that comes with incompatibility. Compromise is often just a way to avoid conflict or reach a quick resolution, rather than addressing the deeper issues at hand. So, it acts as a big smokescreen for incompatibilities that two people do not want to face. On top of this, you will find that most relationships that are based on compromise, end up being one-sided in that as if a relationship of tit for tat or give and take wasn’t bad enough, there is no give and take. More often than not, one partner ends up being the sole collaborator in the relationship by constantly being the one to compromise.
Workability, is not about giving up something important to you. It implies feeling good about a decision that is being made. It is about finding a solution that meets both your needs and desires as well as the other person’s needs and desires. As opposed to compromise, it is when both partners work together towards a common goal or solution while taking into account each other’s needs and desires. It’s about finding a way that both people’s needs and goals can be met without having to give up something important to them. Workability is based on open communication, mutual respect, and a willingness to work together to find solutions that are satisfactory to both people. And to do this, you may need to be flexible and adaptable and even change in ways that don’t feel like you are sacrificing part of yourself. Workability should be about the smaller things. But beware, small is determined by how important it is or isn’t to you specifically. By whether it causes pain or not. And what is small to one person, may be very big to another.   
I know I said in the beginning of this video that I was going to tell you when you should and shouldn’t compromise. But the truth is, the reason why no one can tell you when you should be workable and when you shouldn’t (because it is compromise) is because there are no SHOULDS when it comes to workability and therefore compromise. It’s based on one person’s boundaries versus another’s. I’ll give you an example, a person who is an outdoor enthusiast might be in a relationship with someone who prefers indoor activities to outdoor activities. This person might be able to be workable about that. They may be able to decrease the amount of time they spend doing outdoor activities and also do it alone, so that they are spending their time with their partner doing indoor activities. Or they may find a win-win by doing an outdoor activity on one day of the weekend and an indoor activity on the other. But another person in the exact same scenario may find that doing outdoor activities and having a partner who wants to do it with them is so important that they cannot be flexible on that, without compromising themselves. And so, this person cannot be workable about it, because that would be compromise. 
To give you another example, it may be no big deal for one person to attend church on Sundays, or even to let their partner and children do so without them. They could be workable about that. But for another person, say someone who has trauma with religion or who has very strong beliefs against religion, they would not be able to do this without it being a compromise.
To give you another example, one person would not care if their partner entirely got their way on how to decorate the house. After all, aesthetics doesn’t really matter to them. So, they could be workable enough to just let their partner decorate the house however they wanted. But another person might feel like they were living in someone else’s house if this happened. And since the feeling of proprietorship is so important to them, they could not be as workable about it and would have to do something like co-decorate or agree upon places each of them gets to decorate on their own.       
To use a metaphor, some things about us and about our life are unworkable, like solid steel. And need to be for the sake of our wellbeing. And other things are workable, like modeling clay. And need to be for the sake of our wellbeing. And because every person is different and every person’s values and therefore priorities are different, no one can set a hard fast rule for all people on what should or shouldn’t be like steel or like modeling clay. When people argue that they can, all they are really doing is trying to get you to agree to their core values (what is important to them). 
When two people stand by what is genuinely important to them, what is flushed to the surface is areas of workability and areas of incompatibility. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships. 
 But 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 often 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. If you want to dive deeper into this topic of compromise, I suggest you watch two of my videos. The first titled: Why You Should Never Make Compromises in a Relationship. And the second is titled: Do You Base Your Relationships on Compromise or Compatibility? 
No matter how workable you are and how well you avoid compromising, you are likely to find yourself in situations in relationships where there is unworkability on the other side of the relationship equation. When this happens, you will need to consciously choose your consequences. What I mean by this is: We may be faced with having to choose for something we really want, but at a cost. For example, we may be in a relationship where the person we love gets into a serious injury. This is a situation that we would never have chosen and that does not align with our desires. But we might decide that loyalty is super important to us and so is maintaining the connection we have to the person we care about. That is something we value and want. And as a result, we may decide to take care of them. Doing so is likely to come with difficulty and pain. So, making that choice comes with certain consequences, both positive and negative. And we would have to decide if we can choose those consequences. You need to be willing to decide that (fill in the blank) is worth the consequence or potential consequence. If it is, you are still acting in alignment with your values, and so it can’t be called compromise. And when you do this, you can only be empowered by facing, accepting and dealing with the consequence that you have chosen. The question is: Is the cost something that you can live with, because of what it gets you, without that causing you to feel like you have compromised yourself and without it causing disharmony in the relationship? If you would like to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Why You Should Consciously Choose Consequences.     
Be workable all you can in a relationship, but do not compromise. When you don’t know whether you can be workable about something or when something is going to take you into the territory of compromise, ask yourself whether doing so would cause you to feel resentful. Whether you would expect something in return. Whether you could feel good and right about it long term or whether it will eat at you. Whether it feels like you’re giving something very important to you up or away. Whether you will use it against them later. Whether you are settling for less or are lowering your standards. Whether it would be in alignment with a way you want to change and grow or not. Whether you would be happy with your own child or whoever you love the most in your life making the same decision or doing the same thing? Whether you are being true to yourself and your beliefs or not. Whether you can maintain self-respect or not. Whether you feel safe or not. Whether it compromises your integrity or not. Whether this is simply to establish confluence and avoid conflict, making it a way of avoiding deeper incompatibilities. Whether it will ultimately make you feel less close and aligned with the other person over time. Whether you would be giving up one of your needs. Whether you would have to cope with it and in what ways. Whether it would cost you a relationship with someone important in your life. Whether it would make you dissatisfied with your life and life choices. And whether you are only doing it to feel like a good person or the better person. You need to know your why behind what you are deciding or doing.     
Compromise and workability are two very different things. Compromise undermines your values. It corrodes your life. It ruins relationships. Workability preserves your values. It enhances your life. And it strengthens relationships.    

Why Any Value Can Become Your Greatest Weakness

One of the most important keys to a fulfilling life, is to live according to your top values. The people who are the most in-alignment with themselves are the people who do exactly this. But in this universe, there are upsides to every downside and downsides to every upside. Baked into every value, is a positive and a negative potential. And this means, a person’s deepest value can become their greatest weakness. In fact, it can become their very downfall. 
What is a value?  It is what you consider from your honest, authentic core to be most important. This includes what, deep inside your heart, you really want and need. This includes how you want to be in the world relative to others and to yourself. This includes what you want to do and how you want to go about doing it. You have values relative to every sector of your life.  You have values relative to work, values relative to friendships, values relative to marriage, values relative to parenting, values relative to personal growth, values relative to spirituality, values relative to leisure and the list goes on and on.      
 When the things we do and the way we behave in the world towards others and towards ourselves match our values, we experience alignment. Whether you consciously know what your values are or not, you have them. And like most people, you are most likely spending your time vacillating between subconsciously acting according to your top values and subconsciously acting according to what you have been led to believe should be your top values instead. Living according to your actual values is the north star of your life. For this reason, you would benefit by watching my video titled: The Secret to A Happy Life. But today, we are going to go one step further and talk about the potential pitfall of any value.
Every value, comes with a potential downfall and because of this, any value can become your greatest weakness. To give you a couple of examples, let’s imagine that a person’s top value is achievement. That can lead someone to incredible levels of personal growth and self-development and incredible levels of success. But the value of achievement can also lead to a person pouring so much energy into only one aspect of their life that they experience a failure in another aspect of their life. Or it can lead to people around them feeling like nothing is ever good enough. Or it can lead to a person constantly being dissatisfied and therefore, stressed and never enjoying their life, which has serious implications for their health. Or it can lead to a person’s entire identity and self-worth being only about what they accomplish and so any lull in accomplishment can become a downward spiral, to the point of burnout, depression and even suicide. Or it can lead to a person being blind to being taken advantage of by being made promises of greatness. 
Or to give you another example, let’s imagine that person’s top value is service. This can lead to a person having a deep sense of their purpose for being and having a felt sense of both contribution and belonging within the world. And it can lead to thriving relationships in which they are deeply valued by the people they come into contact with. And it can lead to them doing greatly needed work in the world that improves lives. But the value of service can also lead to a blindness around one’s own needs and desires, which can make someone very lost in life. Or it can lead to a blinding attachment to one’s own goodness and therefore moral superiority. Or it can lead to a person getting into relationships that are one-sided and completely depleting. Or it can lead to unnecessary self-sacrifice and martyrdom.
Without insinuating that dark is bad and wrong, for the sake of your understanding, let’s say that any value can have a dark side. And that any value can become an open door to a person being taken advantage of; if not outright deceived. A prominent lawyer that I know personally, loves to say that “every person’s got a con with their name written on it.” In his career, he has found that many people like to think they can’t be deceived. But every person can be deceived and in fact, there is a perfect con out there for every person on this earth. And what I will tell you, is that that perfect con will always involve your top values. It is also important to know, if you didn’t catch it in the previous examples, that each value might have several potential upsides and several potential downsides. By holding a specific value, we might fall into none, one or several of these pitfalls that come along with it. 
So that you can understand this even better, let’s look at the example of Peter. When it comes to relationships, Peter’s top value is loyalty. This value has made it so that Peter has very strong bonds with his friends and family. No one around him fears abandonment. As a result, he has lots of social support. He gets to experience the gift of being trusted by others. The women in his life feel safe in relationships with him because his loyalty bends him towards protective behaviors. And he is cherished by the people in his life. Peter has a brother named Darius. Darius has a gambling problem. Over the years, Peter has fallen into the pattern of bailing Darius out financially over and over again, no matter the cost to himself. Recently, this has gotten so severe that Darius showed up on his doorstep beaten up. As it turns out, he had borrowed money from a shady loan shark to gamble and lost it all. Darius’s apartment had already been vandalized as a consequence. And he had been threatened that if he didn’t pay the money by a certain time that his girlfriend would be kidnapped. And so, what did Peter do? He took out a second mortgage on his house to cover his debts. Peter’s loyalty has made it so he is now acting as an enabler to his brother’s addiction. And Peter’s loyalty has made it so that he holds an allegiance to a person that is consistently detrimental to him. And believe me, he is suffering the consequences and has been for years. 
Living according to your values is a must if you want to live a fulfilling life. For this reason, it would greatly benefit you to become consciously aware of your values and to start living according to them. If you’re curious to go deeper with this specifically, I created a deck that you may want to check out called The Inner Compass Deck to help you do exactly that. Then, ideally, with each one of your core values, challenge yourself to list the potential dark sides, downsides and pitfalls that could come with that value. Challenge yourself to recognize where you might already be falling into a pitfall related to any top value you hold. And decide how you are going to ‘course correct’.    
It isn’t about de-valuing whatever it is that you value. It’s about becoming as aware as possible of the potential dark sides, downsides and pitfalls that could come with any value that you hold, so as to ensure that you don’t fall into them and to course correct if you do.          

The Femininity Hack

One of the most common complaints from women the world over is that they want to be in their feminine energy, but they are in a situation that makes it impossible to do so. For example, they don’t have any man in their life providing a masculine container, or they are in a relationship with a man who has flipped the polarity dynamics in the relationship or they are in an unsafe or high-pressure environment, or they were so traumatized or even masculinized as a child that they can’t seem to get out of their own masculine shield or they may be in a career that absolutely requires masculine characteristics. Seeing as how this is such a hard and painful experience for a woman, today I’m going to share with you a simple hack for getting into your feminine energy, no matter what situation you may find yourself in. 
Once upon a time, I did a video titled: What Every Man Needs to Know About Women. In that video, I explained that while fear is something that everyone experiences, fear plays a different role in the lives of men and women. For most woman, fear is the baseline experience of her life, whether she is consciously aware of it or not. Women respond differently to fear than men do. And when a woman is either unsafe, or perceives herself to be, what tends to happen is that she responds to that by putting up a masculine shield. She will begin armoring. There are some characteristics of feminine energy that are very hard to bring forward in these kinds of scenarios. Things like softness, gentleness, sensitivity, kindness, tenderness, supportiveness, openness, expression of emotions, receptivity and nurturing. In most unsafe or high-pressure situations, these traits make you vulnerable. And so, they get hidden deep beneath a masculine shield. Essentially, a woman brings forth masculine qualities (including shadow masculine qualities) to keep herself safe. Things like warrior energy, strength, assertiveness, bravery, hyper responsibility, initiation, drive for success, action, independence, leadership, aggression, hardness or harshness, dominance and control. Another way of looking at this, is that she brings forth protector behaviors that keep her safer. But this is not a state that is conducive to health in the female system. This armoring pulls a woman out of alignment. If it is maintained over long periods of time, it causes sickness in her mental body, emotional body and physical body. It causes her to suffer on all levels.        
It's worth mentioning that the women who you will see bring forth traits like softness, openness, receptivity and nurturing when they feel unsafe, grew up in and/or are currently in very specific environments… Ones in which she is safer when she exhibits those traits. For example, she may have grown up in a society where females were punished for any kind of empowered behavior and who were only safe (and whose needs were only met) when they behaved in weak ways that were not a threat to the men around them. Or for example, a woman might be super nurturing and affectionate with a man when she feels unsafe, as a way of controlling his behavior in whatever way she wants to control it. Or a woman might behave in soft and receptive ways because she has learned that this is what will motivate someone to step up and protect her. We have the tendency, when we think of protector personalities, to only think of masculine protectors. The reality is, a person is going to put forth whatever specific traits kept them safe, or whatever specific traits they THINK will keep them safe. Whether that trait is more feminine, or more masculine. But it is far more common that it is the masculine traits that a person will bring forth in the face of the unsafety they encounter here on earth and most especially in human society because this current society we live in, was made by men and for men. 
Where a great many feminine traits function best, is within a masculine container. To conceptualize of masculine containment, imagine that in a relationship, a man is a clam shell and a woman is a pearl inside that clam shell.  This masculine clam shell is creating a safe, nourishing space in which the female can exist or occur. It enables a woman to be soft, open, receptive and to grow. If you imagine removing that masculine shell, the female immediately contracts, goes rigid and into a state of defense. It is a coping mechanism rather than a natural feel-good state of being. She is forced to compensate for the lack of that masculine shell by becoming masculine herself.  And this causes a ‘flip’ in polarity. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Containment, what a Woman Needs from a Man in a Relationship. 
In a tribal setting, which is the social structure that is natural for our species, there are many men who are providing this containment for each woman. And so, it would be rare for a woman to find herself in a position where she lacked containment. Alas, since our species became agrarian, there has been progressively less and less containment for women. And in today’s modern world, it is an absolute crisis. Today, whether we are men or women, we are desperately under resourced. We are also not made for the ever-present stressors that cause us to feel unsafe today for extended periods of time. In other words, we were biologically designed to deal with the stress of being chased by a predator, or a fight breaking out. But not being stuck in a distressing relationship pattern day after day or the chronic presence of cyber bullying or workplace stress from 9 to 5. And this has led to a modern reality where so many women around the world are in a chronic state of unsafety. And as a result, are becoming increasingly more and more masculinized. 
The ideal situation is that every woman can find a life and relationships in which she feels safe. This will naturally bring forth these cherished feminine qualities, including those that are on the vulnerability spectrum. But the reality of today is that many women are not in this situation and are desperately in pain because they want to be in their feminine energy, but they feel like they can’t because they are not in a situation that is conducive to it. And this, feels like a very powerless space to be, because being able to be in your feminine essence feels like it is totally dependent on the external world and other people. And let’s be honest, they seem to be doing their very best to make it impossible. But today, I want to offer you a hack for being in your feminine energy, something that is not dependent on you being in a safe situation or on you having a man to provide containment. 
The hack is this… There are many traits that are feminine that do not depend on being in a low pressure, safe situation or on having masculine containment. Therefore, instead of trying to bring forth the feminine traits that fall on the vulnerable spectrum for you, bring forth the ones that don’t. Softness might be something that you can’t bring forth, but flexibility on the other hand is a quality of the feminine, and it is something that you can embody no matter how safe or unsafe you might be; because it is a feminine quality that can keep you safer in a great many situations. Or for example, your body, which is currently armored, might feel like solid steel. You may not be able to bring forth openness or receptivity. But water is an element of the feminine. And there is nothing weak about water. Just look what water can do on this earth. And so, you can focus on bringing forth the many qualities of water and practice seeing your body as water rather than steel. Or for example, you may not be able to bring forth nurturing energy or behavior. But offering your intuition or wisdom might be something that causes you no pain to bring forth, no matter the situation you find yourself in. Or for example, you may not be able to bring forth the quality of caretaking. But devotion or dedication is something that is not dependent on being in a safe environment or having containment. Or for example, you may not be able to go with the flow of how your feel. But you may be able to do a spontaneous movement exercise. Or you might not be able to bring forth cooperation or collaboration. But you may be able to bring forth effective verbalization and communication. Or you may not be able to bring forth sensitivity. But you may be able to bring forth creativity.  
That there is the femininity hack. Look at what aspect of femininity you feel like you can’t bring forth in general in your life and look for periods of time, settings and/or situations where you might be able to. And even more than that, look for aspects of femininity that you CAN bring forward even if there is no man in your life providing containment and even when you are in a high pressure or unsafe situation, and intentionally do so. I’m going to say it again. There are feminine qualities that are in no way vulnerable and also are in no way weak. And leaning into these qualities, will help you to be in your feminine essence, no matter what situation you find yourself in.   

What Happens When You Die

In honor of Día de Los Muertos, it seems pertinent to talk about death. After all, death is a part of life. This is true no matter how much we may not want to accept it. In times past, we had an easier time accepting it, because it was a part of everyday life. In today’s age, death has become sequestered away. It has become taboo and so has talking about it, which is a tragedy because death is something that each and every one of us will face. One day, as people, we are going to have to accept that you do not have to dread death in order to value life. 
We have to take talking about death out of the box of taboo. The taboo around talking about death, which is especially prevalent in the Western Cultures of the world, harms people greatly. Society has created all kinds of cultural adaptations that are designed to keep people from being conscious of their mortality. The discourse around death reflects the attitude that death is bad and wrong and serves to perpetuate the idea that it is the worst thing that can happen and is therefore something to dread. As a result, many people are in a state of ‘death denial’. And this death denial contributes to a greater sense of wrongness, shock and pain when death suddenly does inevitably enter one’s life experience. In the modern era, due to our attitudes towards death, we have a very dysfunctional and ever worsening relationship with death, which is a natural part of life.
Part of this taboo surrounding death puts spiritual teachers, such as myself, in a rather difficult position. The taboo surrounding death suggests that the collective belief is that death is in and of itself bad and wrong and so is talking about it. If death is bad and wrong, that means that we are all inevitably headed towards a bad and wrong fate in the future. And this increases our fear of death as well as our fear of the future. It creates resistance. This extreme resistance to death can make the transition that is the process of death, one of deep suffering. It can also make the pain we experience when we lose someone to death, much more painful. It is rather ironic that the taboo around death is thought to benefit people, but it actually serves to make the experience of death more painful for people. 
You’ll notice that our judgement of badness and wrongness is often less about death in and of itself, than it is about the circumstances of a death. For example, if a very old person dies, we tend to think that death is ok. We say things like “it was time.” But if a person who is not old dies, we think it is not supposed to happen and is therefore wrong. If a person dies saving another person’s life or serving their country in a war, that death is seen as honorable and therefore not wrong. If someone is murdered, that death is seen as bad and wrong. But if a soldier kills an enemy, that murder is seen as good. If someone murders other people, that person’s death is often seen as a good thing. After all, many people still celebrate the death penalty and many more of us still celebrate when the bad guy dies in a movie. The Samurai practiced seppuku. In this practice, it was considered honorable to commit suicide as opposed to falling into the hands of the enemy. Most of the Western World today views suicide as morally bad and wrong. But none the less, a debate currently rages on regarding physician assisted suicide, which is legal in certain countries. Even the debate around abortion is a debate around death. What all this means is that even today, given the right circumstance, many people believe that death is in fact good. 
What I am doing by showcasing this confusion and mass mixed message we keep giving and getting about death, is trying to help you become conscious of humanity’s complicated attitude towards death, especially based on circumstances. It is important to notice your own relationship to the circumstances of death and how they influence your perspective of rightness, goodness, wrongness and badness relative to death itself.
The taboo around death also means that those of us who see the danger in death remaining taboo (and who are thus brave enough to talk about death), end up being demonized and expected to send some pretty mixed messages to the public. For example, we are told that it is ok to help someone who is dying of a terminal illness by explaining to them that they will experience it as relief, that it is ok to let go and that there is nothing to be afraid of. We are told that it is ok to tell someone who has lost a loved one that their loved one is at peace and is not suffering and that their loved one is not ‘gone’ in the spiritual sense. Thus, making death ok.
However, when we talk publicly about death, if we talk in any other way than to give the impression that we see death in and of itself as bad and wrong, period the end, we are at risk of being accused of being pro-death and thus, even worse, pro suicide. This could not be further from the truth. Take me for example, I do not glorify death. Instead, like every spiritual teacher who has come before me, I see the universal value inherent in life. I also see the universal value inherent in death. But this truth doesn’t matter because people have decided that death has no value and is bad and wrong. And that anyone who says otherwise, is a threat. I find this heart breaking because this way of thinking will harm them immensely when the time comes that death enters their own life experience. For this reason, I think it is important to ask yourself: What do you think about death? Is death bad and wrong? Should talking about death be taboo? What is the benefit and what is the harm inherent in death being taboo?
On top of this, you have the difficulty of talking to people about the reality of why death happens when it does; and trying to convey that reality in a way that does not make people feel guilty or at fault for a death happening. 
So, now that I’ve said all that, let’s have a real conversation about death. The first thing that is important to know is that death is experienced so differently from one dimension to the next. For example, from many of the higher dimensions, there is no such thing as death. There is no ended-ness. There is only recycling of consciousness and energy. There is also a much different perception of time. One lifetime occurs like a blink of an eye. One lifetime is only a very small snap shot of existence. Like walking into and out of a movie theatre. Of course, we all know that the experience of death in the physical, facing death ourselves or having someone we love die, is quite different than that. Most people absolutely do experience a life as all there is, and as lasting a long period of time. We experience death as an end and as a deep loss. 
Death is very similar to slipping into a dream. So is coming into life. You will close your perceptual awareness to one reality and open it to the next. I want you to recall that in a dream, you’re so attached to what is occurring, as if it is the only reality. But then you wake up and it suddenly isn’t all of who you are and isn’t as important because the truth of you is so much different, bigger and more. Death, first and foremost is a transitioning. It is a drastic change in perspective.
When you die, the stream of consciousness that is feeding and continually creating your thought form (the idea of you that exists separate from your physical embodiment) as well as your physical body, will withdraw. First from the physical form. When it does this, the body (no longer fed by a stream of consciousness) will begin to dissipate. It will de-manifest. We experience this on the physical plane as decomposition. It will also withdraw from the thought form which is your identity. And that too, will dissipate. It will withdraw all the way back to collective consciousness. It essentially goes through a process of dis-identification. You become part of “oneness” again. You lose a sense of separateness. This is experienced, in terms of felt perception, as returning back to love.
This process of dissipation of a thought form, just like the dissipation of the body, is not immediate. Which is why the ‘ghost’ of someone sometimes still has enough energy in it to influence things in the physical dimension. We call this a haunting. This is especially true if the thought form is “charged” with energy due to a sudden death or unfinished business with someone in the physical plane. Most of the entities that we call ghosts are these dissipating thought forms. They are not being fed by a stream of consciousness, so they must draw energy to maintain themselves from somewhere else, such as other people’s focus on them or electric currents or energy generating minerals etc.
The first form of manifestation into the physical dimension is light. For this reason, when beings de-manifest from the physical dimension and reverse this process of manifestation, they will experience this “light” in death. When a being goes towards and into the light, they are reversing the process of manifestation.
The process of re-incarnation for most beings is a mix of determinism and free will. It is not very different than your choices in your waking life. You are in essence “choosing” things in life, but there are so many unconscious factors that determine the choices you make. And so, they aren’t really conscious choices. On top of this, the law of mirroring (often called the law of attraction) applies to the process of re-incarnation. For example, you may subconsciously be acting with only yourself in mind. And this may cause you to choose a certain life that you believe will benefit you on a conscious level, while also deterministically lining up with a life where the environment is ‘every man for himself’. This is one reason why the process of awakening, awareness and becoming conscious in your life is important as it applies to your successive incarnations. People looking to master enlightenment step out of determinism and into a position of free will and conscious choice relative to their incarnations. Soon, even incarnating at all into a separate identity within the collective consciousness that we call “God or Source” is in and of itself, a choice.
For death to happen, it must actually be a choice. In fact, no matter how badly the body is damaged, the consciousness (nonphysical perspective) must still choose to withdraw from the physical. It often does. But sometimes, this is why ‘miracles’ relative to near death experiences happen. And it is also often the spiritual reason why people slip into comas instead of die. Essentially, their temporal and non-temporal aspects do not yet agree upon death or coming back into life. 
Do not worry for someone who has died. They are not suffering. They experience themselves as being closer to you than they were in their separate physical forms. All the concern should be for those left behind… Those who in their separate physical forms, are feeling separate from the one they love. Those who are experiencing loss and grief.
To understand death, you must above all understand that death is the ultimate change. Death is not ended-ness. Death is drastic change. It occurs when no further expansion can take place without changing perspectives and forms. There are many variables that add up to making it so that the only way further expansion can happen is through death. But the sad reality is that people have a huge power relative to making that be the case or not.
As it applies to humans, both individuals and social systems (such as family, culture and society), create stuck-ness that can lead to death. For example, so many people tend to cope with what is and encourage others to cope with what is instead of to change what is. The problem is that one of the main purposes of life is expansion. It is an exercise in collective consciousness (what many call Source or God) knowing itself. If this expansion does not occur within an individual and within a system because the pressures to change are met with adaptive coping mechanisms, the people’s thoughts, words and actions will continue to keep things that are not supposed to be as is, as is. And that stuck-ness invites death. The person who dies, then expands through shifting perspectives and forms. And that person’s death serves as pressure put on the other people in the social system to start expanding again by making changes to their life.
For example, imagine a family that is dysfunctional. That dysfunction prevents all members from lining up with what is truly highest and best for them. For example, say a mother continues to be codependent to a dictatorial father. He is enabled in his dysfunction, which is preventing his expansion. She thwarts her own progression by virtue of being too afraid to lose the marriage. They both distract themselves from this pain by hyper-identifying with their son and by forcing him to live the life that they want for him. By doing so they train him to prevent his own life purpose and cope with the pain of doing so. If this state of being (which goes against the progression of all members of the family) is maintained, this son could become a match to death. The Universe is not against him or the family when this death occurs. Instead, death became the only open door for him to experience the expansion that the variables of his life were opposing. And his parents no longer have him to focus on, so as to avoid their own dysfunction. His tragic death calls them to question everything about their lives. The universal hope is that this questioning will lead to them getting back on track with their own personal expansion. Death of any perspective is not beneficial to the universe when expansion is still being served through that perspective. 
And the sad truth, especially when it comes to suicide, is that so many people believe themselves to be stuck and believe that no improvement or progression or expansion can take place in their life, when the reality is quite the opposite. They are simply suffering from the severe limitations of their individual perspective.
To generalize, the universe itself does not want beings to die. There is too much value in them being alive. If there wasn’t, no being would come into existence with their instincts and biology wired for survival. It is in the best interests of the universe at large for a being to stay in their current form, as long as expansion and enhancement is actually occurring through that perspective… As long as the reason for life to exist in the first place is being actualized through that perspective. The value in death is really all about the value of drastic change, especially in terms of a drastic change of perspective. And the truth, whether you are aware of it or not, is that it is in your hands to continue to create that expansion forward.
Having said all of this, when death happens around you, it is absolutely a calling to re-examine your life. It is a calling of your life and of life itself into question. And you would be very wise to let it be that and to get on board with this powerful objective process of re-evaluating everything.
One of the most life enriching things that you can do is to live with your mortality in mind. What so many people who have had a near death experience or who have overcome suicidality or who have grappled with a terminal illness will tell you is that the facing of death brings an invaluable gift for life. What they will tell you is that people should face death (this essential feature of life) in order to live a more rich, meaningful and authentic life. It is all too easy to get sucked into the drama of temporal day-to-day life. It is all too easy to behave as if life will last forever. It is all too easy to lose track of what really matters in the grand scheme of things. Facing death and living with the awareness that you will die one day, can break you free from the way that you have been sucked into the small picture of your temporal life. It has the power to re-connect you with the bigger picture of your life here on earth.
Facing death will cause you to ask questions like: How will I feel about this thing that I am doing after I am dead? How will I feel about having spent my time on earth in this way after I am dead? When I am dead, will this thing matter? Am I really living? What does it mean to really, truly live? Will I choose from today on to really truly live? Will I choose to live like every moment of my life matters? What does it mean to make the most of my time here on earth? Am I making the most of my time here on earth? What would I do differently so as to make the most of my time here on earth? If I accepted that I am going to die one day, and so the goal of life cannot simply be to stay safe, so as to survive, what might I be brave enough to do differently? Contrary to popular opinion, thinking about life within the context of death will cause you to make drastically different decisions and to live both fully and bravely.
We must know that even if, at a more objective level of reality, death is just a change in perspective, it is quite a different experience here in our temporal forms. We should not be invalidating our physical life experience and perceptions with higher dimensional awareness, like so many people seem to do. One does not negate the other. This means we need to hold BOTH the reality of loss and of no loss. Death and no death. Don’t expect or allow your awareness of the bigger picture of death to negate the physical life experience of death. Let that awareness ‘caretake’ your pain, not invalidate it. And see death for what it is… the ultimate change. It is my deepest hope that this awareness will help you to live the fullest, most meaningful and most joyful life possible.  
                           

The Most Important Element of Compatibility in Relationships

Compatibility is so important in relationships. When two things are compatible, their co-existence is beneficial and ads to the wellbeing of each of them. But there is one element of compatibility that is the most important thing to consider if you want your relationships to feel good and that is workability or lack thereof.  
Compatibility is when two things are able to exist or occur together in a state of harmony and without conflict. Compatibility is about creating the right arrangements with people and putting people in the right place in your life according to their boundaries (their personal feelings, thoughts, desires, needs, behavior, truths etc) and your boundaries (your personal feelings, thoughts, desires, needs, behavior, truths etc). But the most important element of compatibility is workability or lack thereof. Another way of saying this is that the most important part of assessing compatibility is to figure out what is and isn’t workable.
Let’s define workable in the context of this conversation. When something is workable, it is flexible, negotiable, pliable and adaptable. It can be influenced, molded or changed so that it produces the desired effect or the desired results. For a relationship to be harmonious, mutually pleasing and successful, we are likely to find ourselves changing certain things, adapting to certain things and developing flexibility in certain ways. For example, we may get into a relationship with a person who love sports and as a result, we may end up spending a lot of time watching sports when we didn’t before. Or, we may be in a relationship with someone who gets a job in another country. And as a result, we may end up moving to another country when we would never have moved to that place if we were not in that relationship. Or, we may find ourselves in a relationship with someone who is very emotionally volatile. And as a result, we may have to change our relationship to emotions and learn how to effectively regulate someone else.      
But a relationship can only be harmonious, mutually pleasing and successful if we know what is truly workable for us and if we know what is truly unworkable for us. And it can only be harmonious, mutually pleasing and successful if by knowing this, we don’t delude ourselves or other people into thinking that we are workable where we actually are not. To use a metaphor, some things about us and about our life are unworkable, like solid steel. And need to be for the sake of our wellbeing and other things are workable, like modeling clay. And need to be for the sake of our wellbeing.    
So that you can understand this better, here are some examples. A doctor has chosen a specific specialty that requires her to be on call. This is creating disharmony because her partner can’t plan anything that involves her and does not like the feeling of her being able to be called away at any moment. For this specific doctor, this is an area of unworkability. There is no flexibility or changeability relative to this thing in her life. So, the adaptability must be on the other side. But if needing a partner to be reliably present happens to be an area of unworkability for the other person, then there is genuine incompatibility. 
A person has strong beliefs about veganism and animal activism. He starts to date a woman who is new to the whole idea. She feels unable to just go off of all animal products cold turkey, but expresses an interest in trying vegetarianism. So, there is workability relative to this thing. For this man, he feels that he can tolerate eggs and yogurt being in the fridge, as long as there is no meat in the fridge. Which means that for him, there is also workability relative to this thing.  
A person loves climbing. They met someone on vacation that is not what you would call “outdoorsy”. This starts to be a problem because they never seem to want to do the same things. The relationship seems to be pulling this person away from what they love doing most in the world. A very strong desire is born within this person for a partner they can be with doing the thing they love the very most. Someone who is also a climbing enthusiast. They realize that it isn’t workable for them to have a partner who is not intrinsically invested in climbing too.    
Because all people are different, one person might exhibit workability relative to something where as another person can’t be workable relative to that same thing. For example, imagine that your career demands that you move around to different cities. One person might be able to be workable relative to that. But someone else might have a family and friend group that they are so close to and have no interest in leaving, that they could not be workable relative to that.
Keep in mind that workability and lack thereof doesn’t only apply to romantic partnerships. It applies to other relationships as well, such as friendships and work relationships and family relationships etc.
When we have to assess what is and is not workable for us, we begin to wander into the territory of compromise in relationships. The problem with conversations about compromise boils down to two things. The first is that people currently see compromise as an indisputably crucial part of relationships. And the second being that when two people are using the word compromise, they are often talking about two different things.
To compromise is to settle a dispute/conflict or reach agreement or alignment by way of mutual concession. Remember that to concede is to yield, give up or give away something you value. Keep in mind that when some people are using the word compromise, they mean it how I just described it, in that they see compromise as being about the big things that really matter. When people say that compromise is important and they hold this definition of compromise, it’s is just another way of saying “it’s important to give up what is important to you sometimes and take some pain for the sake of the relationship.” 
But when other people use the world compromise, they mean the small stuff. Stuff that doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t represent something the person deeply values. Such as a person who has a preference to eat at a certain restaurant, but who concedes to eat somewhere else because the other person wants to eat there. Or a person who may not have a super strong conviction to any religion, joining a religion for the sake of their partner. When people say that compromise is important and they hold this definition of compromise, it’s is just another way of saying “it’s important to be workable where you can be workable”. Does it make sense now, why we get confused when we talk about compatibility? 
One of the least popular videos that I ever did, was a video on the importance of not compromising in relationships. Every time my team posts a quote from that video, it ignites an online flame war. Why did I make such a bold claim, because a person can’t give up something that they value, and thus that really matters to them, without experiencing pain that eventually causes disharmony in the relationship. So, when you are assessing what is and isn’t workable, you have to assess what you truly value and what is truly important to you. And no one can tell you what is or isn’t important to you. Nor can they tell you what should and shouldn’t be important to you. None the less, so many fights in relationships (especially fights about compromise) are about what a person thinks should and shouldn’t be important. So, if you’d like to see that controversial video, as well as another good one on the topic of compromise in relationships, the first is titled: Why You Should Never Make Compromises in a Relationship. And the second is titled: Do You Base Your Relationships on Compromise or Compatibility?
Unfortunately, you may discover more about what is and is not workable specifically by being in a relationship that makes you aware of it. But knowing what is and what is not workable about you (such as things about yourself, your life, your values, your preferences, your aversions, your desires etc). is the most important part of assessing compatibility. Because these areas of unworkability are what causes extreme disharmony in a relationship and they are what breaks a relationship apart. Finding compatibility in these areas of unworkability is your best shot at having a relationship that is harmonious, mutually pleasing and successful. 

The Two Different Types of Energy Exchange in a Relationship

In every relationship, there is an energy exchange that occurs between the people involved. Sometimes the people in the relationship are conscious of this energy exchange and sometimes they aren’t, even though it is nevertheless happening. We can divide these energy exchanges into two different types of energy exchange. And knowing the difference between the two, as well as which kind of energy exchange you want, is a critical part of establishing a feel-good relationship. For this reason, in this article, I’m going to explain what energy exchange is, define the two different types of energy exchange and explain why this understanding is so important when it comes to creating a mutually fulfilling relationship. 
Despite the fact that energy exchange is an element of literally every relationship, people tend to get uncomfortable when we start to talk about the energy exchange element of a relationship. The reason being that energy exchange is a kind of transaction and we are in a time period where transaction in any relationship (other than a work relationship) is seen as bad and wrong. When most people hear about transaction in a relationship, they make the automatic assumption that there is no love, no actual mutual caring and no actual valuing of the other taking place in that relationship. They assume it is a purely self-centered relationship, where one person is simply using the other; or where they are both using each other. 
Energy exchange and love are two totally different aspects of a relationship. To love something is to take it as a part of you. Love naturally gives rise to experiences like compassion, closeness, understanding, empathy, caring and appreciation. When we love something, we cannot hurt it or act against its best interests without hurting ourselves. A person can have a purely transactional relationship. But ideally, a relationship will have both a love element and an energy exchange element. And ideally, both people are consciously aware of what the energy exchange is in their relationship. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Be Consciously Transactional. Why Every Relationship Is Transactional.        
Energy exchange essentially means that each person receives something and each person provides something for the other. What makes an energy exchange a good one, is if each person gets something that is valued. And value, especially with regards to what we value most, is based on what that person needs and wants. A person has to need and want something to truly value it. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Value Realization (A Realization That Can Completely Change Your Self Worth). 
The two different types of energy exchange in relationship are:
People give and therefore receive the SAME thing from each other  People give and therefore receive DIFFERENT things from each other  This seems straight forward, but so that you can wrap your head around this, I’ll give you some examples of each. Some examples of people giving and receiving the same thing in a relationship are: Both people give each other the same kind of support for their individual goals, such as encouragement, being present for important moments, reassurance and helping them in whatever way they can to reach their individual goals. Or both people provide each other physical affection. Or both people give each other a sense of belonging. Or both people offer each other guidance. Or both people offer emotional regulation to each other when the other is upset. Or both people share the same tasks that need to be done around the house. Etc.         
 Some examples of people giving and receiving different things in a relationship are: One person does one task around the house, and the other person does another. One person provides finances and the other provides nurturing. One person provides stability and the other provides adventure. One person provides a high degree of emotional intimacy and communication, the other provides physical competency and new experiences. One provides purpose and the other provides dedication to their personal successes etc. 
It is important to identify in what ways you want to experience giving and receiving the same things in a relationship and in what ways, you might feel more satisfied by giving and receiving different things in a relationship. Most people are fixated on the kind of energy exchange in a relationship where people give and receive the same things from each other. In fact, many people don’t see that there is any other way to have a relationship. Most people believe that fairness and reciprocation in relationships depends on there being no double standards. Another way of putting this is that most people believe that fairness and reciprocation in relationships is dependent upon giving exactly what you want to receive in a relationship; the energy exchange being the same. But this isn’t true. We are not all the same, we have different needs and each and every one of us has different experiences and strengths and vulnerabilities. And because of this, we offer different resources. This means that in any relationship, a person might be able to offer much more or much less than the other can, of any one resource. This can very easily give rise to the sensation of unfairness in a relationship. On top of this, a lot of people are in positions in their life where they can’t offer the same thing they want or need. It is very important to know (especially in this day and age where society is swinging towards the idea that equality means sameness) that it is ok for an energy exchange to be about totally different things in a relationship, provided that both people agree to that energy exchange and find it mutually nourishing. 
So much of the time when a relationship turns south, or a person decides to end a relationship or change it, it doesn’t mean anything about your inherent value or about whether you are lovable or about whether the other person loves you, cares about you or sees the positive in you. It is simply about a break down that is happening on the level of energy exchange in the relationship. Their needs are simply not being met. 
Identifying what you want and need from a relationship, what you can and can’t offer in a relationship and recognizing these two different types of energy exchange will greatly help you to assess compatibility in any relationship. It will also help you to establish that wonderful feeling of being in a relationship that is truly valuable to you. But a relationship where it is not only you doing the valuing, because you are deeply valued and you feel that you are deeply valued by the other person too.

What Is Happening Right Now? A Spiritual Update

In case you hadn’t noticed, something is happening in the universe. Maybe you’ve been noticing that life is feeling more difficult than ever. Maybe you’ve been feeling like you’re being pushed to the edge in an emotional pressure cooker. Or maybe you’ve been feeling like your attempts to create the life you want are proving futile, as you find yourself in the very situations you were desperate to experience the opposite of. There is a reason for all of this!
Let’s start out by jumping right to the punchline. What is happening in the universe right now is that each and every person is being forced to face the very thing that they have spent their life avoiding, running from and using coping mechanisms to get out of.
So that you can wrap your head around this, I’ll give you some examples: The person who has been avoiding stepping into their power for as long as they can remember is likely to find themselves in a situation where that is the only way forward. A person who was traumatized by aloneness, will find themselves back in that aloneness and being forced to feel it and explore it and understand it to the degree that they are no longer running from it. A person who has spent their life trying to run from failure through successes, will see everything they try to do fall apart until their relationship with failure changes for the better. A person who is in avoidance of responsibility will find themselves in a situation where they cannot avoid responsibility, no matter how hard they try, so they will find themselves choosing it for the first time. You get the point.   
The very thing we are the most afraid of, we are being forced to confront to the degree that we are no longer walking the earth in fear and resistance to it. The reason this is happening is both microcosmic and macrocosmic. On a microcosmic level, when a person is desperate to get away from something, the various beliefs they form, behaviors they employ and actions they end up taking to get themselves away from it, bring about terrible results. Often ones that bring them in the opposite direction from what they want and thus, create intense suffering. And as a result, this desperate avoidance acts as an oppositional force to a person’s personal expansion. Avoidance gets in the way of a person’s wellbeing and what a person needs and wants.
On a macrocosmic level, when all the people of earth are stuck in this pattern of avoidance, and they can band together when they agree upon something that is to be avoided, the various beliefs they form, behaviors that they employ and actions they take, bring about terrible results that create suffering for the world. Avoidance gets in the way of the world’s wellbeing and what the world needs and wants.  
On paper, this all sounds straightforward. But on a practical level (and for some more than others) this is so difficult, if not unthinkable, that no words do it justice. I’ll give you just one example of this playing out on someone’s life. Cassidy grew up in a rough culture, where vulnerability of any kind was seen as a weakness and weakness had no place. Vulnerability was the road to incredible suffering and exploitation. It just made having to fend for herself worse. So, Cassidy has been avoiding vulnerability all her life. To put it mildly, she had to “man up” from the time she was three. But she has been wanting someone to fend for her all her life. That is her missing need. To avoid vulnerability, Cassidy has become uber competent, strong willed, harsh, hyper responsible, competitive, focused on achievement, domineering, intense, opinionated, charismatic and she’s developed serious grit. But because of this, no one wants to take care of her. In fact, she attracts the exact opposite. She attracts men who prove to be weak and who want her to protect them and take responsibility for them and encourage them and coach them out of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, like the father these men never had. 
The very thing that Cassidy wants and the very thing that would be in alignment with her wellbeing is being prevented by the thoughts, behaviors and actions that she is engaged in, in order to avoid vulnerability. And the suffering is really racking up. So now, the universe is forcing her into her vulnerability. She is now in a situation where a forest fire burned down her home and the riding school she had built. Her third husband had an emotional breakdown because of the trauma of the experience and left her to man up and deal with the damage herself, while he was out of commission and even to help him deal with his breakdown. And this caused her to lose respect for him and also for them to grow apart because there was no one there for her in her darkest time. So now, they are on the verge of divorce. Her best friend just moved to another state. And now, she started feeling sick and was just informed that she needs to have bowel surgery. 
Cassidy is being literally forced into the very thing that she has spent her life disowning and resisting and denying and rejecting and trying to avoid… Her vulnerability. The solution to this, is for her to stop doing what she has been doing all her life, which is trying to get out of it. Trying to re-establish her power. Instead, she needs to recognize, sit with, re-own and integrate her vulnerability. The feelings of being unable to control life into working out the way she wants it to. The parts of her that are lost and that don’t have any of the answers and are confused. The needs she feels ashamed of, because they make her feel weak, such as the need for guidance and the need for reassurance and the need for comfort. And she needs to explore the discomfort she feels when someone else is in charge or is in the top position. Ironically, doing this, rather than avoiding her vulnerability, will cause her to be able to have that relationship that she wants, where a man is truly fending for her. 
When we are desperate to avoid something, our whole life becomes about avoiding that thing. For example, if we are desperate to avoid the feeling of not belonging, we might adopt a codependent relational style. We might put on a fake personality to establish a sense of sameness with our friends and dupe them in the process. We might get addicted to alcohol to numb the pain of inauthenticity. We might choose to enter a group and do whatever is needed so that we can feel that we are wanted, rather than to do what we are actually good at and actually enjoy doing. We might thwart our own successes, if they threaten our social connections. We might marry someone one week after we meet them and end up suffering in an incompatible marriage. We might suppress our own truths and desires and needs, if they even remotely threaten to differ from those of the people around us. And the list goes on and on.
Our lives become an absolute mess because of the beliefs we form, behaviors we employ and actions we end up taking to get ourselves away from whatever it is that we are desperate to avoid, because it is what we are the most afraid of and it is the thing we don’t want to experience the very most. The solution is to consciously get on board with ending this avoidance pattern and to choose to face and integrate the very thing you’ve been avoiding. 
Universally, time has run out for humanity to change patterns on our own terms and at our own pace. What we are a match to on a microcosmic level as individuals and on a macrocosmic level as humanity, is the universal timer running out and the universal pressure cooker being turned WAY up, so change is literally forced. Kind of a do or die situation. We are being cornered so we can’t keep running from what we were trying to avoid. Where it literally won’t work to keep coping to get out of the acknowledgement and experience of what we are trying to avoid. Given that this is what is going on in the universe right now, we are likely to find ourselves in the very situation we have spent our lives trying to avoid. No one will be exempt from being put directly into what we are so desperate NOT to experience. Many of you reading this have already ended up in that very situation. 
   The good news is that the solution to what is happening right now in the universe, is to figure out what you are trying desperately to avoid. And to stop avoiding that thing. Because ironically, the thing you want the most will only be actualized as a result of doing so.

Anger is About Powerlessness!

If you struggle with anger, you most likely look around the world at all the people who seem to be able to not get angry and feel extreme envy and also feel like something must be wrong with you. You probably don’t understand your own anger or what to do about it. And to make matters worse, other people don’t either. They simply expect you not to be angry, or at the very least, not to show it. And quite frankly, the vast majority of advice out there about what to do to manage your anger is bad advice. 
When you struggle with anger, relationships can feel impossible. It feels like the other person does something or fails to do something and that thing they did or failed to do causes you pain or is a threat in some way. But you know (because society has made you very aware that anger is wrong) that you are expected to immediately down-regulate yourself and not get angry at them. Not only does this seem impossible, it seems totally unfair and wrong because it is a flipped dynamic. They did something potentially harmful to you and yet you are the problem if you get angry about it. As a result, you may want to work on your “anger issues”, but at the same time, doing so feels like self-betrayal because it feels like all you are doing, is playing into this flipped dynamic. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can learn to regulate anger without playing into this flipped dynamic. And to do this, you need to understand the difference between the people who don’t struggle with anger, and the people who do. 
Anger is an emotion that every person has. It is a part of any healthy emotional system. So, people who don’t struggle with anger do feel anger. But when they do, they don’t turn against it immediately. Nor do they act on it immediately. They see that the emotion would not be happening if it were not for a very important reason. They seek to understand their own anger. They let themselves feel it and hear the personal truths behind it. And then, they take empowered actions according to what they have come to understand from their anger. 
This process is one that a person learns in their very early toddler years when they need to be emotionally regulated by their parents. But let’s face it, a lot of people had parents that failed to emotionally regulate them. In fact, a lot of people had parents that even dis-regulated them chronically. These parents had a real problem with their child’s anger. As a result, when their child got angry, they turned against the child’s anger. These kinds of parents don’t see the anger as valid or existing for an important reason. They shame the child for their anger. They don’t spend time trying to figure out why the child is angry and what is making the child feel powerless to something that the child feels is harmful to him or her. And they do not help the child to take empowered actions accordingly, to help the child feel empowered to change what is causing them pain or fear. As a result, the child’s anger escalates rather than de-escalates. And as a result, the child learns that they are powerless and that other people are unworkable. The world and especially relationships are a very dangerous, painful place where they either have to surrender their best interests completely and put up with being caused harm, or stick by their own best interests and fight like hell. 
People who struggle with anger, internalize this process of faulty regulation or dis regulation. They don’t do any of the same things that a person who doesn’t struggle with anger does. If you struggle with anger, you have an aspect of you that is the internalization of your parents that immediately turns against your own anger the minute you feel it. You may be aggressively displaying anger and aggressively defending your right to be angry. But deep down, you are actually invalidating it and pushing against it. It is like an immediate internal tug of war is occurring. You don’t actually get that your anger is happening for an important reason. You don’t let yourself really feel it and hear your personal truths that are behind it. You perceive yourself to be powerless and you perceive the situation to be unworkable. And so, you don’t decide upon empowered actions to take about the situation. And so, you stay angry. 
The root of anger is perceived powerlessness. And there is no greater powerlessness than perceived unworkability. Therefore, powerlessness and unworkability is what anger is really about. 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. When I say unworkable, what I mean is that something is so un-changeable that any attempt to get it to change has been or will be unsuccessful. And as a result, you feel powerless and stuck in pain. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Anger Hack – What To Do When You’re Upset. 
You will most likely hear people say that the root of anger is hurt and fear. And because hurt and fear so often give rise to anger, it often benefits people to look for the hurt and fear underneath their anger. But there is something deeper than that, which is infinitely more beneficial to recognize. Here it is… When people feel fear or feel hurt, they often feel powerless regarding whatever they fear or however they were hurt. The anger is in fact a response to that perceived powerlessness. Your anger 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 sense of empowerment within you.  
And it is here that I am going to call out a huge pattern amongst chronically angry people. Chronically angry people fail to take empowered steps within their relationships to enforce their boundaries and limits. They do not create any consequences for the people in their life who violate boundaries and behave in unworkable ways, especially those who do not hold themselves accountable and who don’t respond to being held accountable.  Most especially people who passive aggressively do so. Instead, the only consequence they impose is that they get angrier. 
So that you can grasp how all this fits together, here is an example: Tom has a man who works on his farm as a farm manager of sorts named James. James chronically breaks his word and is intermittent regarding the completion of his tasks. Tom does not feel like James can be relied on. And as a result, Tom never feels like the farm is taken care of. This causes Tom harm because it adds pressure and stress to his life because Tom has way too many responsibilities already and he can never truly let go of the responsibility of the farm because he can’t trust that James really has it. Tom feels totally powerless regarding the situation. He can’t seem to get James to change his behavior. And he feels like James is totally unworkable because for two years now, Tom has been confronting him on his behavior and has gotten absolutely furious at him again and again and has made several threats. 
Today, James broke his word again about taking the twine off of the hay bales before putting it into the goat pen. And Tom yet again found the goats eating the twine and had to deal with it himself. Tom is furious. But the minute he gets furious, this internal part of him that thinks anger is not ok, turns against his anger and so inside him, there is an internal war. Tom doesn’t sit down to really feel his anger and to hear the personal truth behind it. The personal truth that he needs a person to take responsibility for the farm and one that he can trust. The personal truth that a person breaking their word and not completing tasks cannot be in that position in his life. Tom doesn’t then think of empowered ways to enforce that personal boundary of his. Things like docking James’s pay. Or looking for a new farm manager. Or requiring him to go to a course on personal accountability if he wants to keep working at the farm. Instead, Tom simply reacts to James’s unworkability and to his own perceived powerlessness with rage. 
Tom yet again seeks out James, who is unloading chicken feed from a truck and starts yelling at him and insulting him. Tom is red in the face and is restraining himself from punching James. He is convinced that James will be moved by his distress and anger to the degree where he won’t do it again. But James won’t do this. He actually subconsciously gets something out of breaking his word and dropping his responsibilities… Not feeling alone. When Tom does the tasks that James drops, he feels like they are in it together, which was always a need of his in life. On top of this, he gets sympathy from other people and is seen as the good guy regarding what a rage monster his boss, Tom is. They will be locked in this cycle forever because of the things James gets out of being unworkable and because of the way that Tom deals with his anger.                       
The really good news is that if you struggle with anger, there are concrete steps you can take to regulate your anger.
Do parts work with the part of you that turns against and invalidates your anger. This part of you is a protector personality that will make the process of regulating and working with your anger impossible. This part is most likely the internalization of one or both of your parents regarding how they dealt with your anger when you were young. The goal here is to understand this aspect of you fully and to get this part of you to see that its current strategy is not working. The goal of it seeing this is so that it is willing to re-purpose itself to something that allows you to integrate your anger rather than push it away, and work with your anger so as to gain empowerment. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It). Alternatively, you can go to www.completionprocess.com and select a practitioner who facilitates parts work to help you work with this part of yourself. When you feel angry, remind yourself that a person does not feel anger for no reason. This means you are feeling it for an important reason. And decide that you want to understand your anger.  Close your eyes and feel your anger. Feel the sensations that are occurring inside your body, no matter how uncomfortable they are. This gets easier over time, the more muscle you develop for tolerating intense feelings and sensations.  Start to question your anger. When did it start? What happened?  Identify what made you feel threatened, what it made you afraid of and/or what made you feel hurt.  If we are angry, it means we feel as if we have been threatened.  You need to ask yourself “what do I feel so threatened by?”  Once you figure out what it is that you feel threatened by, you need to ask yourself “why do I feel so threatened by that thing?”  And once you have answered that questions, you need to ask yourself “what about that hurt me so bad?” “What am I really afraid of in this situation?” And “What need do I have in this situation that is not getting met?”  If we feel threatened, we feel vulnerable.  The question is to what? Identify what about the situation that made you so angry made you feel powerless. 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 they feel powerless about so as to empower themselves more relative to whatever feels powerless.  Ask yourself, what in this situation do I feel is totally unworkable? Name it directly. 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. You will find that just the awareness of the disempowerment that is hiding underneath your anger, will take the edge off the anger.       From there, all your energy should go towards consciously figuring out what to do about what you feel powerless about and what to do about that unworkability you perceive, so that you can make a choice and take an action that is empowering. First of all, are you really powerless? What power do you have in the situation? Is whatever you perceive to be unworkable 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 might you try to do so that the situation that feels unworkable is workable instead?  And only if it is truly unworkable, you can ask yourself: if I accepted that unworkability, and swallowed that it would never change, what could I do then?   Take empowered action. This empowered action should be anything that causes you to feel more empowered and therefore, better. It could be anything. It could be deliberately working with your mind and perception, such as changing a belief. It could be a specific communication that needs to take place with someone. It could be an action that looks like self-care. It could be following through on enforcing a boundary that has been violated with a consequence. It could be changing up your life in some way. It could be re-negotiating a relationship agreement. The empowering action will directly relate to the specific situation you feel mad about.     Anger is a self-preservation impulse. It is a reaction to try to restore a sense of empowerment. In order to be able to work with our anger in a way where people will look at us and say we can control our anger; we need to turn that impulse reaction to restore empowerment into a conscious process instead.

The Codependent Flip Pattern

There are a few patterns within people and within relationships that lead to a person flipping, that is to suddenly change to the opposite. When you find yourself in this scenario, it is especially painful, disorienting and confusing. For this reason, today, I’m going to reveal one of the most common patterns that causes a person to flip in a relationship. And I’m going to reveal why this pattern spells drastic change for your relationship, no matter what.  
It is tempting to think that the majority of relationships are functional and that dysfunctional relationships are the rarity. But the reverse is actually true. Most relationships between people on earth today fall somewhere on the scale of dysfunction. And the vast majority of the dysfunction in relationships is about how to be in relationships with other people and their best interests, while maintaining a sense of our self and our personal best interests. In dysfunctional family systems, we learn that we cannot trust other people to truly act in our best interests. We have to vie for our own best interests and create adaptations to that family system so that we can feel as safe as possible and so that we can have as much control as possible over getting our own needs met. There are so many different strategies that children learn to employ in order to do this.
Before a child selects these various strategies, they are faced with a choice. 1. They can go through the front door and fight the other members of the family system for their own best interests. Or 2. They can go through the backdoor and manipulate the other members of the family system for their own best interests. And it is here that people develop the relationship strategy of narcissism or codependency. The truth about narcissism and codependency is that they are not personality disorders. They are adaptive relationship strategies. If you want to learn more about this, watch my video titled: The Truth About Narcissism and Codependency. 
People who develop the relationship adaptation style of codependency decide at a subconscious level that because no one is really concerned for their welfare, benefit and best interests, the best way to survive is to get their own needs met by sacrificing parts of themselves so as to conform to other people’s interests and creating an attuned emotional contract with them, whereby their own needs are manipulatively met in exchange for doing so. You will hear pretty much everywhere that codependents place a lower priority on their own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. This is not true. It only looks like that on the outside. The reality is that the preoccupation with the needs of others is their method for getting their own needs met. 
This codependent relational adaptation carries on into adulthood. And it is this relational adaptation that causes them to flip in relationships. The Codependent Flip Pattern is when someone enters into a relationship and creates a false sense of confluence with that person, even if doing so requires things like sacrificing parts of themselves, suppressing personal truths and saying “yes” to what is actually a “no” for them; because they believe that doing so promises to meet their needs. They have all kinds of subconscious (or conscious but unexpressed) expectations. But when their strategy doesn’t work to actually get their needs met, the truth comes out. They drop their strategy. They essentially dupe the other person. The fact that certain things were a sacrifice and certain things were not actually true or a yes for them, comes out. They then begin to flip to a narcissistic style of relating to the other person because they have no frame of reference for any other style of relating. And what’s more than that, they now expect the other person to do for them, what they did for the other person in the beginning. To sacrifice for their best interests, to say “yes” to what is a “no” for them and to suppress parts of themselves. Essentially, to reverse the dynamic by becoming codependent to them. 
So that you can understand this pattern better, here is an example. Bruce has a codependent relational style. He fell in love with a very beautiful woman named Brynn. Bruce was awestruck by Brynn and he saw Brynn as the ticket to the self-esteem he lacked and as a perfect way to feel a sense of belonging and power and emotional closeness and physical intimacy. Brynn preferred him to be with her all the time, so he quit his job to work with her in her company. Brynn had very particular music tastes, so he just let her control the music they listened to. Brynn wanted to buy a house and didn’t trust any man enough to want his name on the mortgage. So, Bruce said yes to paying rent and living with her in her house. Brynn wanted dogs, so Bruce not only said he wanted them too, he surprised her with a puppy. Brynn felt she had met a true friend. Someone who was such a kindred soul, he could be family. But the reality is that Bruce was simply creating a sense of confluence and was only pleasing Brynn with his own subconscious needs in mind. Specifically, Bruce expected Brynn to become his partner on a romantic and sexual level. He expected her to publicly introduce him as her boyfriend. He expected her to eventually make him part owner in her company. Bruce has duped Brynn.
Brynn would go on dates with other men. She would quickly set people straight if they assumed she and Bruce were together as a couple. And one day, she explained that she wanted to transition him out of his role within the company, so someone even more qualified than them both could take it over; to make the company expand. All of this insulted Bruce. And gradually, Bruce started to realize that everything he had given himself up for, wasn’t going to happen. Now, he felt resentful and full of rage. Rather than seeing that he is accountable for saying yes to what was really a no. And to sacrificing what he was not actually ok sacrificing. And for misleading Brynn to think they were compatible where they actually weren’t etc. Bruce decided that Brynn was using him all along. That she only cared about herself. And that he needed to do what was best for him. 
So, out of the blue, Bruce flipped. He told Brynn that he expected a portion of her company, for all the years of dedication he had shown to the business. He told her that he thought it was wrong that she owned a house that he had been paying rent to, when he could have had his own house and been paying down the mortgage on his own asset, rather than hers. He started blasting the music that he loved, but Brynn hated. And he started dropping his responsibilities for the puppy, as a passive aggressive way of asserting the truth that he only said yes to the dogs because of wanting to please her. And when she got upset about it, rather than to immediately give into his zero-sum game demands by sacrificing her best interests for his best interests, saying “yes” to what is a “no” for her and suppressing parts of herself (because in Bruce’s mind, that would be the good and right thing to do), Bruce went on a triangulation tour. He told every person they mutually knew that Brynn was a complete narcissist who had taken him for granted and wronged him and had prevented him from his own success for years. Bruce was convinced that by flipping, he was becoming empowered and he was healing. But what had really happened, is he had swung the pendulum and he had slipped into the Codependent Flip Pattern. To learn more about the pendulum swing pattern, you can watch my video titled: What Is The Pendulum Swing in Healing? Bruce and Brynn ended their relationship after years and years of being the closest people in each other’s lives, as enemies.   
When people find themselves confronted with this pattern, they feel completely bamboozled. The reason being that at first, they don’t understand why the person has suddenly changed, usually into the opposite of what they were. And after they understand the why, they feel bamboozled because what they thought was true about the other person and therefore what they thought they could depend on, was actually false. This pattern causes history to be re-written. Including the narrative about who the person they were in a relationship with is or isn’t. 
The personal truth underneath this pattern is: “I did all this for you, even though I led you to believe I was getting something out of it and even though I said it was a yes for me… It wasn’t. Now, I’m dropping the act. And because I did all that for you, it’s your turn to do X for me.”  
The Codependency Flip Pattern is a form of entrapment in a relationship. It is to coerce someone into an energy exchange that they may never have said yes to if they were presented with the exchange directly. It is to give up the self, with the hidden expectation to get something undisclosed back. And when the other person figures it out, it’s too late for them to say no. In fact, if they say no, there are consequences. 
The reason that people with a codependent relational style do this, is because they have learned that they cannot have themselves and have other people too. So, they must give themselves up in order to get. They feel they can’t put themselves and their needs on the table, and so they must not do so. And instead, entrap the other person into meeting their needs or manipulate the other person in order to get their needs met. 
The very unfortunate truth is that because the Codependent Flip Pattern involves inauthenticity from the get go, the relationship is changing no matter what you do. It is never going back to what it was. What it was, wasn’t real. This is very hard to accept if you are on the other side of this pattern, most especially because people with a codependent relational style have become so good at perceiving other people’s needs, that they put up an act that is so wanted and needed by you, that it will feel like letting go of the very thing you were always desperately looking for. But having had it, was an illusion. 
Codependency in and of itself, is an extremely painful relational strategy. And the Codependent Flip Pattern is one of the most painful patterns that someone can experience in a relationship. It is a pattern that destroys trust in a way that drastically effects a person’s belief in their own ability to discern, as well as their trust regarding all future relationships. If you notice that you fall to the codependent side of the spectrum, it’s important to know that the only reliable way to not fall into this pattern, is to get into a relationship with the actual truth of who you are. To say no when something is a no for you. To not sacrifice what is important to you. To not feign compatibility where there is incompatibility and to master the practice of win-wins in a relationship. It sounds so easy, but the reality is that this will not be easy because it is the opposite of the way you learned to engage in relationships and for good reason. 
If you realize that you have fallen into this pattern, the way out of it, is to admit that you fell into this pattern and to take radical accountability for it. Often, this means taking responsibility for cleaning up the emotional and even practical mess that was created by falling into this pattern. It is bad enough for the other person to have been duped. They don’t deserve to be made the bad guy on top of it, because you feel like you lost yourself in the relationship and because your unexpressed needs weren’t met. The next step is to let go of your unexpressed expectations. They will never be met, because you never gave the other person the chance to consciously agree to them. And from there, if the other person wants to associate with you, rather than end the relationship all together, you need to re-negotiate a new kind of relationship from the ground up. I mean completely from scratch, based on what is real and based on the actual points of compatibility between you and them.
I’m going to say it again, the hardest thing to accept about the Codependent Flip Pattern is that what you thought was true for the other person, wasn’t actually true for them. And the relationship you thought you had with them; you didn’t actually have. And because of this, the relationship you have with them, is changing no matter what. You are starting over from scratch with getting to know who they really are and with a totally different relationship. 

8 Questions to Ask Yourself to Find Your Purpose

One of the most common things that people ask me is “What is my purpose?” Today, I want to explain some things that you might not know about purpose and offer you 8 questions that you can ask yourself that will help you to find your purpose. 
There is a reason, usually many in fact, for why you incarnated into this life as a human and as the person that you are. This reason accounts for why you came to those specific parents and to that specific place and why you came when you did and the entire story of your astrology etc. So many things were set into motion by this pre-birth intention. A pre-birth intention reflects something that was important to your non-physical consciousness. 
We have the tendency of “careerizing” the idea of purpose. Not everyone’s life purpose was about some job they were meant to do here, some career they were meant to have. Or some grand act they were meant to carry out. Some beings incarnate only for a very short time into the womb and then withdraw their consciousness. So, if you can imagine that there can be purpose even in an incarnation like that, you can imagine how complicated the picture of pre-birth intention and life purpose is. And how simple a life purpose can be.  
When most people talk about life purpose, they think of it in terms of trying to figure out and live up to some pre-determined grand master plan for what they are meant to do on this planet. They feel it is their cosmic mission to find out the cosmic significance of their life, the purpose for their existence and to live it out. And this is the wrong way to go about doing it.
The right way to go about doing it is to find out what is important to you. And live according to what is important to you. Because nested within what is important to you, is that pre-birth intention. To feel good in life, you do have to be in-alignment with your pre-birth intention, to be in alignment with your prebirth intention, you must be doing what is important to you. You could say that your pre-birth intention is reflected through that feeling of living according to what is important to you in this life. And sometimes in life, what is important to you changes. When this is the case, you are still on the path of that pre-birth intention. You are often simply taking the next step on the path of it. 
To feel like you are living your purpose, you need to ask yourself: What can I do with my time that is important? Some of the things we do in life are not important. And some of the things we do in life are important. They have meaning. They matter. They cause us a sense of fulfillment. To have that sense of having purpose in life, you need to do those things, whatever they are. And what is important for each person, is different and unique. What’s more, no one else can tell you what is or isn’t, should or shouldn’t be important to you.   
Now that you understand this, here are 8 Questions that you can ask yourself in order to find your purpose.
If I were literally forced to be active in that I had to go spend every minute of my time, except for sleep doing something, or there would be a consequence, what would I occupy myself with that matters to me? Make sure your answer to this question isn’t something that serves as an escape from life for you, like scrolling Instagram might be for some of you. Or playing video games might be for some of you. Or reading books might be for some of you. Or slot machines might be for some of you. And when you get your answer, look at WHY that is your answer and WHAT you find so enthralling about that thing. This question can show us what activity we might choose above all the others. If money or time or current responsibilities were not an issue at all, what would I like to do with my life, more than anything else in the world? We are often kept away from an awareness of what our true passions are by the feeling that we don’t have enough money or that we don’t have enough time or that some responsibility we have will not allow for it. But because of this, we are full of resistance to the very things that make our life worth living. And the very things that hold the most passion for us and the very things that are most important to us.    If I knew I was going to die in 2 years, what would I do with those two years? Viewing your life from the perspective of death is incredibly valuable. Death shows you the value of your life. Most people live their lives like they have all the time in the world and so, they don’t make the most out of their lives. Suddenly, if we have very limited time to make the most of our life, we prioritize what is most important to us. We do the things that are the most important to us. Our true values rise to the surface. And we have more willingness to be urgent and active about living according to them. This question serves as a window into what is most important to you about your existence. In a roundabout way, it shines a light on what you want your legacy to be. And this has a way of putting you back into alignment with your pre-birth intention quickly. Values are essentially what is most important to you. And so, figuring out your values is such a crucial part of finding a sense of purpose. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Secret to a Happy Life.                  What makes me forget time and basic necessities? When we are in our purpose, we are so in the present moment, that minutes turn to hours and hours turn into days without us noticing how much time has gone by. We become so immersed, that we forget things outside of it, like other things going on in our life or going to the bathroom or needing to eat or drink. So, answering this question, is a good way of finding out what truly puts us in the flow state where we are in alignment with our purpose.   What negatives can I say yes to? People have a totally unrealistic expectation that when they find their purpose, they will know because it will feel good. The truth is not so simple. Just look at someone like Martin Luther King. He and the rest of us can agree that he was living his purpose. But did it feel like Joy? Not a lot of the time. Some things did. But a lot didn’t. Would he have rather just avoided conflict and become a preacher, or focused on playing billiards where he could have felt a lot more ease? It is important to follow your joy, because that sensation of joy is an indication that you are doing what you love. It’s very valuable to follow your joy. What you love doing is in alignment with your purpose in some way, otherwise you couldn’t face the challenges on the path of your purpose. For example, Martin Luther King loved to communicate. To speak and write. He felt joy doing it. But for many people, on the path of purpose there is something that is stronger than joy. And that is a sense of importance. When you have that, even when the road gets really hard or you face serious pain on the path of your purpose, thinking about just changing course and doing what would feel better rather than facing all those painful elements feels wrong, because you lose that sense of doing what is most important to you.
This means, you need to know what negative things you can consciously choose, no matter how much they suck, in order to do what is important to you. To give you an example, someone who has decided it is important to be a professional skier, has to be able to say yes to the risk of injury and vicious competition and difficult travel and politics of sponsorship. Someone who decides it is important to be a full-time mother has to be able to say yes to being in the vulnerable position of her partner being the one to provide and control financial security and dealing with throw up and potty training and focusing the vast majority of her time and energy on other people’s desires, needs and success. Depending on their situation, someone who decides it is important to spend their life traveling and exploring new places and cultures may have to deal with being judged as irresponsible by other people, the feeling of not having the cozy stability that comes with a ‘home’, their naivety getting them into dangerous situations because they are foreign. Or living out of a suitcase or backpack and as a result, not being able to build up any assets in life. Your ability to stick with what matters most to you and what you care about is determined by your willingness to face and deal with the negatives that come with it. The reality is, everything sucks some of the time. And expecting the right thing to feel different, is out of reality. Believe it or not, accepting this can be liberating if you let it be. To understand more about this, watch two of my videos. The first tiled: Want to Succeed? What Pain Will You Say Yes To. And the second titled: Why You Should Consciously Choose Consequences.  What problem in the world would I pick to start solving? This isn’t to say that every person’s purpose is about a world problem they are meant to solve. But you will find that this question will point to values that are more important to you than your own personal pleasure and satisfaction. And these are the things where you will have what it takes to face the negatives inherent in what is most important to you. It will also point you in the direction of the feeling of making a difference, which is an important part of life fulfillment.    What did I love to do when I was a child? When we are children, we often instinctively gravitate towards living in alignment with our pre-birth intention. We are not yet fully socialized and the process of socialization often pulls us away from our joy and innate calling. Children are masters of play, which means they do things for the sheer joy of doing them. Not because they earn money for doing it or because they get some other reward for it. Their intrinsic motive has not yet been compromised. There are hints as to someone’s purpose in their childhood aptitudes, affinities and behaviors. Behaviors that are not a strategy to get something else they want. So that you can understand this, I’ll give you an example. Mark is an architect. He feels this is his purpose. When he looks back at his childhood, he realizes that he loved Legos more than anything in the world. He was a natural planner and wanted everything planned out before doing it. He loved geometry. He never stopped asking why things were built the way they were built and remembers that a friend of his had a house with a fake window on the outside and it used to absolutely perturb him. When something is important to us, it involves passion. And that passion can often be rediscovered by revisiting the activities you loved and aptitudes you had as a child. Another variation of this question that can provide insight is: What about your adult life, would make your child self-cry? The things that would make your child self-cry are an indication of places in your life that you have sacrificed your passion, joy and potentially what is fundamentally important to you at a soul level. Areas where you can get back on track. There is a fabulous movie called The Kid starring Bruce Willis and Spencer Breslin that you should watch, not only because it is an awesome movie, but also in order to understand this whole concept.  What gift do I have to give to this world? We very often make a mistake when we are searching for our life purpose because we look for what we are supposed to do or to have in this world when, in fact, our purpose comes instead in the form of what we are supposed to give to this world. Giving this gift should not feel as if you are losing anything or becoming depleted by doing so. To the opposite, it should instead feel as if you are gaining more by giving it. It should be something that you love giving. It is a gift to the world when an athlete performs a great jump shop during a basketball game. Their gift to share with the world might be the expression called playing basketball. It is a gift to the world when a writer releases a new book. For the novelist, their gift to share with the world is the expression called writing a book. For the professor their gift to share with the world is the expression called teaching. For the chef, their gift to share with the world is the expression called cooking. If someone is really organized and loves to help other people organize, their gift might be organization. If someone is really inventive, invention (maybe even a specific invention) might be what they are meant to give the world. What can you offer, that you love to offer? If you are completely stumped, you can ask the people in your life to tell you what they get from you or from being around you. You just might start to see some themes! Contribution is a human need. And no being incarnates without there being some place they fit into within the picture of contributing to this world. And it is through admitting to the gift we have to give that we discover how we fit into this picture of contribution.    Answering these questions is the way to answer the question that everyone is really asking when they want to find their purpose… What should I do with myself? Just remember, stop looking for your purpose by trying to figure out what the universe thinks is most important for you to be doing with your life. You will discover that the feeling of cosmic significance that you have been looking for by trying to find your life purpose, happens to you somewhere on the path of living according to what is truly important to you. 

You Don’t Fear Your Own Power!

You have probably heard the quote “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”  It is one of the most loved and most common quotes that you will hear in society today. In fact, whenever a person is doing something like limiting themselves or is succumbing to the fear of doing something they want to do or is de-prioritizing their own success or is not exercising their talents or is evading the responsibilities that come with their purpose etc. it is common to hear them say “I think I just fear my own power”. Unfortunately, you will also hear “experts” back this up and tell people that the reason they are sabotaging their potential is because they are afraid of their own power. The consequence of all of this is that society is now sick with the illusion that it is possible for a person to fear their own power. It isn’t. The reality is that people don’t fear their own power. People need to break free from the illusion that it is possible to “fear your own power” and understand what is really happening when it seems like people are afraid of their own power. Because as a result, they will be headed in the direction of actual empowerment. 
What is power? Power is the inherent capacity to create, direct, influence or do something so as to bring about what you want. No one is afraid of creating, directing, influencing and bringing about what they want. People are afraid of the exact opposite. They are afraid of being unable to do so, and thus, experiencing what they don’t want to experience.
There are many reasons that a person could think that creating, directing, influencing or doing something to bring about what they want might lead to an unwanted experience. To give you just a few examples, a person might have been taught that actually going for what they want, causes them to be rejected by others and end up alone. Or that demonstrating their abilities and talents might invite jealousy and therefore conflict. Or that influence is bad and wrong and so, if they exert their capacity to influence others, they are bad and wrong and have to face the many consequences that come to those who are bad and wrong.
When a person does this, it means that they don’t actually believe they have power. They believe that something else with more power can come in at any moment and respond to their attempt to create, direct, influence or do something to bring about what they want by creating an unwanted experience for them. In other words, a consequence for doing so.   
Conversely, a person might be attached to the benefits and perks that they get by not directly creating, directing, influencing or doing something to bring about what they want. This could be called shadow power because a person is in fact bringing about what they want by demonstrating behaviors that seem to suggest that they are not going for what they want. For example, a person might want to feel a sense of belonging and they might find a way to get that by letting someone else get their way all the time. Or a person might want safety and so they might find a way to get that sense of safety by refusing to display abilities that would threaten the people around them. Or a person might want people to support them and do things for them, and so they deliberately behave as if they are incompetent and incapable, so people will underestimate them and will do that for them.
When a person does this, they let go of power to gain power. This is a covert power move. And it is done as a method of manipulating the people who they believe have more power than they do, so they can still get what they want despite that other person. A person is not afraid of their capacity to bring about what they want. They are not afraid of their power. A person is afraid of experiencing something that they don’t want as a result of their capacity to bring about what they want being seen.   
So that you can understand this better, I’ll give you an example. Maggie is thinking about selling her breads at a local farmers market because she is sick of earning minimum wage at a job she doesn’t like. To do this, Maggie has to step into her power. She has to step into her power by acknowledging that her bread is not only good, it is good enough to charge people for. And by believing in herself enough to commit to taking a financial risk. And by going directly for the life she really wants, which is to be able to bake full time. And she has to demonstrate her excellence to others. Maggie has been putting off taking action forever. She has been acting incredibly insecure and has been seeing a therapist regarding how much confidence she lacks to make the move. Her well-meaning therapist says “You know what, I don’t think you’re afraid that you will fail. I think you’re afraid you might succeed. I think what you’re really afraid of, is your power!” 
Maggie resonates with that idea. It makes her feel immediate relief. Why? Because it allows her to avoid looking at her actual issue. Also, because no one is actually afraid of their power, the minute she hears that her power is what she is afraid of, she connects to how not afraid of that she actually is. She sees that as irrational and almost silly. So, she believes her problem is really more of a non-issue. It actually makes her feel good about herself because it is an affirmation that she is powerful, rather than a true recognition of the real problem. 
The real problem is that Maggie gets a lot out of playing herself down. And Maggie is terrified that if she stops playing herself down, which she will have to do in order to go for what she wants, she will immediately find herself disliked and being treated as a threat and even being ostracized by the other people in her social group. Maggie grew up learning about the virtues of humility. And she grew up seeing that the clear way to have closeness with others, was to make them feel good about themselves, by minimizing herself. This has been her social strategy for as long as she can remember. Demonstrating her lack of confidence helps her to both avoid the thing she fears and gain the thing she wants. Maggie is not afraid of her power. Maggie is afraid of being treated as a threat and of being disliked or being ostracized from her community. And this is something she feels she has no power to prevent, if she aligns with her own capacity to create what she wants regarding her new bread selling aspiration. So, deep down, she feels powerless. If her therapist thinks that Maggie is afraid of her own power, he will do drastically different things with her, completely ineffective things, than he will do if he understands that what she is afraid of, is being treated as a threat and of being disliked and of being ostracized from her community. And if he will especially do different things if he understands that she feels powerless to prevent this or to bring about a different social experience.  
To drill this in further, I want you to imagine that flowers are a good thing. All people in fact want flowers. But a certain person experienced a bee sting when they went to smell a flower on several occasions. They may form an association between flowers and bee stings. But they are not afraid of the flower. They avoid the flower because what they are afraid of, is a bee sting. Using our example, saying that people are afraid of power is like saying that people are afraid of flowers. And keeping up this illusion, makes it so that people will never look directly at the thing they are actually afraid of and will never work through that actual fear.  And will thus, never be empowered.     
The reality is that when people say that what they are afraid of, is power, power is being scapegoated and is serving as a smokescreen for what a person is really afraid of and is really trying to avoid. And the actual way to step into your power, is to directly face and resolve your fear of that thing.

The Covert Need Pattern of the Current Human Condition

When we are children, we come into a specific environment and are thus socialized in a specific way, so as to conform to that environment and the people in it. But we come in with specific needs. And those needs change over time. Currently, parenting is all over the map with regards to a child’s needs. Some parents do an absolutely terrible job of meeting their child’s needs. Some parents do a good job of meeting their child’s needs. And there are all shades of grey in between. Most adults that are raising and socializing their children today, only recognize and honor SOME needs that the child has and not others. But it is important to know that the further away the structure of human society gets from tribe, the less children’s needs can be met, because people are too under resourced themselves to meet the needs of a child. And two people, much less one, cannot meet all the needs that a child has.
Going back to the process of socialization, to varying degrees, a child learns that certain needs they have are not ok to have and will not be met. To conform to the environment they are born into, they must suppress, deny and disown those certain needs. The problem is, you can’t actually do that. A need will not be denied. All that will happen is that it will become subconscious and you will start to find unconscious ways to meet that need in round-about ways. And find creative ways to force other people to meet the need, even if it is against their best interests.    
And this is the current human condition… I can’t admit to this need, so I have to get it in a roundabout way, and entrap others into meeting this need, even if it is against their best interests to do so. Currently, people are operating at a subconscious level and are running around doing this with each other day in and day out. And they are constantly causing conflicts in their relationships because of this. 
So that you can grasp this concept, here is a tiny sprinkling of examples.
A woman needs the feeling of support, so she plays the victim.
A person needs to feel secure and thinks that the way they will get it, is if their partner stops doing a certain thing. So, every time their partner does it, this person gives them the silent treatment. 
 A man needs a sense of brotherhood and belonging. So, he joins a gang.
 A woman needs a feeling of love, friendship and validation, so she has a child.
A person needs a positive self-concept, so they get into a relationship with someone dysfunctional and enter the cycle of unhealthy enabling.
A person needs to fit in and get a sense of inclusion, so they let go of their identity and mimic a certain group of people.
A person needs approval and alignment with their family, so they follow in the footsteps of their parents, despite it being in the opposite direction of their passion and purpose.
A person helps a friend because they need a sense of esteem through appreciation.
A person needs significance, so they befriend someone popular.
A person who is alcoholic, needs a sense of family. So, they never recover and never leave rehab because they find this sense of family with the people there.
Let’s go one step deeper. Because they can’t admit to the need they have, they can’t go for their need in a direct way. So, instead, they try to find a situation where they can sneakily get that need met by becoming what another person wants. They advertise to be what that person needs and wants with this unexpressed expectation that the exchange will be their need (that they aren’t even consciously aware of) being met. But because the transaction isn’t overtly expressed and agreed to, that need rarely does get met. And when they don’t get that need met, all hell breaks loose. They suddenly flip. They either flip against the person. Or they simply turn into what they really are, rather than what they advertised themselves to be. In other words, they suddenly aren’t what they advertised to be and suddenly don’t meet the need they advertised that they could meet. And from there, having already entered into the incompatible situation and already created arrangements and attachments that are not easy to untangle from without consequences, they start to create situations that force the person to meet their covert need. And just like that, the cycle of never-ending conflict ensues. 
To give you a concrete example of this, Alex needs a relationship where he feels totally free to pursue his own free time and fun. He meets Teagan and in Teagan, he sees a hyper responsible single mother and career woman, who is competent and independent. Alex senses that what Teagan needs is a man to come into her life and provide for her, so not all the responsibility is on her. So, he starts to shower her with gifts and provide for her and hire people to do things to take responsibility off of her plate. He does this with the unexpressed expectation that getting into a relationship with such a stand-alone woman will finally make it so that he can be in a relationship where he can pursue his own free time and fun and where she will make it possible for him to come and go as he pleases. But this is not an expressed transaction. And this is not what Teagan actually needs. She needs a man to come into her life and really live life with her, shouldering responsibilities and being present and reliable every day because he doesn’t want to be anywhere else. Soon, Alex realizes that his need is never going to be met by Teagan. And so, he stops showering her with gifts and he quits his job instead of continuing to provide for her, making her the principal earner for the household. He convinces her to move herself and her child with him to another city which just so happens to be near a great surfing site, so he can surf all the time. And he drops his responsibilities, especially to be present with her, in favor of whatever adventure calls at the time.  By doing this, he forces her into the position where like it or not, Alex’s need of being in a relationship where he is pursuing his own free time and fun, is being met in the shadow. Needless to say, Teagan was duped. Their needs are actually in conflict. And their relationship devolves into constant conflicts, until it ends.   
This Covert Need Pattern is solved by one very simple thing: Acknowledging your needs and finding direct ways to meet them. Direct ways that are compatible to others, because they are a win-win.
To figure out the need you have, you have to figure out your why. You need to sit down and figure out the WHY behind what you are thinking, saying and doing. What are you getting or what are you wanting to get out of what you are doing? To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Secret to Self-Awareness - Become Aware of The Why. 
What makes acknowledging needs hard, is that we often have a great deal of shame about the needs we don’t want to acknowledge. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Self Concept, the Enemy of Awakening.  The key to avoiding the absolute pain fest that will inevitably happen as a result of the Covert Need Pattern, is to see that the pain of facing the shame you feel about the need you have, is actually far less for yourself and everyone else that would be involved than the alternative. And to face that fear and lean into the pain of the personal truth of that need. 
Humanity needs to get out of this pattern and quickly. The life we actually want and the relationships we actually want (because they are actually compatible to us) are on the other side of being brave enough to acknowledging our needs and find direct, win-win ways to meet them. 

What’s Your Strategy?

Each and every one of us has strategies for getting what we want and need. You might be aware of some of these strategies you employ, but totally unaware of others. Not being aware of your strategies and even worse, failing to realize that you are even in a strategy, is a recipe for suffering. It is also a recipe for losing touch with your authenticity. It is so important to become aware of your strategies, and to consciously decide what to do about your strategies once you recognize them. Having this awareness will bring you closer to a fulfilling and authentic life.   
As people, we are very strategic creatures. We do what we do for a reason. This woman wears a push up bra because if men find her attractive, she stands more of a chance of being wanted by a man and as a result, fended for. That woman gets a degree so that she can get the credibility she so badly craves. This man behaves in a very agreeable way because if he can create the feeling of social confluence, he will have a place to belong and people to belong with. That man gets a tattoo of tear drops on his face, because he believes that if other men see it, and know it means that he has killed another man, they will feel dominated and be intimidated by him and therefore, he will be safer. This child dedicates all his time and energy to baseball because doing so is the only way he has found to get his father to engage with him and feel that sense of closeness he so desperately wants in that relationship. That child rebels because she thinks doing so will grant her the freedom and autonomy she has been deprived of by her parent’s strict rules and limits. In fact, our very personalities are often a strategy in and of themselves. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Why Your Personality is Fake (Distortion). 
There is nothing innately wrong with strategy. It is a part of life on earth. But just like anything else, there are shadows that can come with being strategic. To name a few, we tend to be very subconscious about our strategies. It’s rare that we sit down and have a real ponder about what strategy to consciously employ in order to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want. Instead, it’s like these strategies simply deterministically and subconsciously happen. We also adopt them from the people we are around and the culture we are a part of. And so, we are not in the position of conscious choice about those strategies. And so, they have more control over us than we have over them. Also, because we are so subconscious about our strategies, we may not actually be employing the best strategy or even an effective strategy for what we want and need. For example, a woman discovers that what she wants deep in her heart is to be loved by a man. But she might discover that her method for being loved by a man is to co-dependently assume all of his interests and preferences so that they suddenly become her own. She might realize that by doing this, the man does not really love her. He loves the woman who she acts like she is; a carbon copy of himself. And that this behavior keeps leading her into relationships with narcissistic men. Thus, the very behavior that she thought at a subconscious level would get her what she wants so desperately, is the very behavior preventing what she wants. 
On top of this, we adopt these strategies so subconsciously and often so young, that we mistake them for who we are. And as a result, we lose touch with our authenticity. To give you an example of what I mean, a little girl who grows up with a feminist mother, might become a tom boy, not because she is authentically a tom boy. But because she authentically wants to be approved of by her mother and needs to please her mother so as to not be shamed. So, she might annex anything “girly” about herself as a strategy for accomplishing that aim. She has sacrificed one aspect of her authenticity in favor of another. After all, making sure that we consciously act according to what we want is only one part of authenticity. It is only part of what is genuine about us. It is all too easy for our strategies to make us a deeply inauthentic and even a deeply dishonest, deeply strategic person. To learn more about this you can watch my video titled: Do You Want to Be Honest, or Do You Want to Be Strategic?             
On top of this, people can feel when we are being strategic. The energy of a person doing something because doing that thing gets them something they want or need, is always there, like an undercurrent. This makes people very nervous, which is understandable because in many situations, this disguised motive ends up hurting people. And because of this, strategy can be what destroys relationships. For example, a person may pay for the bill as a strategy for forcing loyalty, putting the other person in a kind of alliance debt to them. Or a person may be two faced as a strategy to take advantage of two parties that are opposed, so they can enjoy some personal benefit as a result.  
To avoid all of the potential pain of strategies, you need to recognize your strategy and decide consciously what to do about it. To recognize your strategy, you start from the presupposition that everything you do, is a strategy. And you ask yourself this question relative to anything you do: If (fill in the blank) where a strategy, what would (the thing you filled in the blank with) be designed to get me or to achieve? For example, you might ask yourself “If wearing spiritual clothing were a strategy, what would wearing spiritual clothing be designed to give me or to achieve?” or for example, you might ask “If maintaining a relationship with this person I dread were a strategy, what would maintaining a relationship with this person I dread be designed to give me or to achieve?”  
In the case of the first example, where wearing spiritual clothing was the strategy, the answer might be something like “to get other people to recognize my spiritual authority” or “to advertise to other link minded and spiritual people, so that they will come up to me and I don’t have to try to initiate talking to other people first.” Or “to feel good throughout the day, rather than uncomfortable”. OR “to feel superior to the idiotic consumer driven normies, and make a statement about how wrong their lifestyle is.”
In the case of the second example, where maintaining a relationship with a person they dread is the strategy, the answer might be something like “to avoid conflict so that I can feel a sense of security”. Or “to be able to stay affiliated with them, so I can experience the benefits of their status.” Or “to be able to control them into not turning against me.” Or “to avoid the potential that I might be thwarting my own expansion because my dread of them might just be about something I suppressed, rather than something bad about them. And if that turns out to be the case, getting rid of them is pointless because I’ll just end up with a carbon copy of this person, but as another person in the future.”          
When you are doing this exercise, try hard not to justify the thing you are doing. And try hard not to simply pick a reason that makes your ego comfortable. Justification and picking a self-concept preserving answer is common when you feel ashamed of your strategy or the reason behind why you are employing a specific strategy. You will know that you are justifying something when your answer is a kind of “defense” where your goal is to prove that the reason you are doing that thing is right or good. Justification of what you are doing and picking a self-concept preserving answer, will pull you in the opposite direction of self-awareness. 
Once you have your answer, you are now in the position of conscious choice. You can never again not know why you are doing what you are doing. And you have the choice to:
Continue with that strategy, but this time, consciously.  Drop that strategy and pick a different, better or more effective strategy to accomplish what you want and need.  To make that choice, you need to look at the benefits and consequences of either choice. And you need to ask yourself how authentic or inauthentic either choice is. No one can tell you what is right vs. wrong to choose and there are likely to be both positive and negative consequences that will come as the result of choosing either. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Why You Should Consciously Choose Consequences.       
Here is an example of this process. Roy realizes that he spends a good amount of his time accumulating things and doing things to increase his perceived status. He wears designer clothing. He collects very valuable watches. He leases a luxurious car. He attends events where he is sure to meet people with a high status so he can make those contacts. All of these strategies he employs are designed to gain status because he feels that status gives him prestige he so badly craves, especially since he felt so humiliated, disrespected, disregarded and unimportant growing up as a kid. Prestige feels like the antidote to his trauma. He feels ashamed that so much of what he does is to try to escape from these deep-seated feelings. He looks at the benefits and consequences of continuing with this strategy. And he decides that he will forever be on a hamster wheel of trying to gain more and more prestige if he continues. But he genuinely loves the lifestyle that status affords him. So, he makes a few conscious decisions. The first is to get off the hamster wheel of running away from feeling worthless and chasing prestige and instead, to go to therapy to face those unresolved traumas that drove him to chase prestige in the first place. The second is to keep wearing designer clothing for now because he loves the feeling of people looking at him with that look of admiration and wonder about who he is and what he does. The third is to start looking for something to dedicate his time and energy to that he can really be proud of, something that he feels makes it so he deserves respect and admiration, rather than just status itself, which when he looks at it, he feels is quite empty. He decided he doesn’t want to have prestige just because of the car he drives or clothes he wears or people he is associated with. He wants to feel like he has prestige because he is doing something that is worthy of respect and admiration. Because he makes this decision, he starts to pour his energy and his real estate credentials into converting abandoned malls into eco-communities. 
When you are deciding what to do about your strategy that you have now become aware of, spend time meditating and questioning and talking with people about the positives and negatives of continuing that strategy, as well as what alternative choices and behaviors there might be.    
Because so much of our life on earth is spent trying to get what we want and need, as well as avoiding what we really don’t want to experience, we spend the vast majority of our time in strategy. But that strategy will lead to suffering and blatant inauthenticity if it is not something that we are fully conscious of. So, what is your strategy?   

When Happiness Feels Like Self Betrayal

Today, I’m going to reveal to you one of the most painful and insidious patterns that a human being can fall into. It is a pattern that can lie at the root of a person’s suffering in their life. And this pattern, is the pattern of using suffering as a substitute boundary. Before you get afraid that this is going to be just one more article where an expert tells you that you are somehow attached to your pain or are causing your own pain or that you have the power to be happy, no matter what is happening to you or in your life, I need you to know that this article is not going to be one of those articles. And I ask you to come along with me as I un-pack this pattern for you step by step. 
Let’s start from the beginning. Unfortunately, some of us came into families where our caregivers, such as parents, are only truly focused on their own best interests. And thus, are not in an actual relationship with us. When I say this, I need you to be very careful not to fall into the gaslight of parents who seem to be focused on the best interests of their children, but are in fact not actually. Some of these caregivers are very covert in that it seems like they are so dedicated to their children, after all, their identity is wrapped up in just how for their children’s best interests they are and just how self-sacrificing for their children they are. But somehow, their child or even all their children are not happy at all, especially in their relationship with that parent. Keep in mind that those two things do not add up. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Self Sacrifice, The Most Self-Centered Thing in The World.     
Caregivers like this fail to perceive their child. This is because they are relating to their child through their own projections. They make their mind up about what is going on with their child, regardless of whether it is true or not. They make their child the problem to avoid looking at their own dysfunction. They play zero sum games, rather than find win-win scenarios. And they have no intention of changing something that doesn’t suit them to change, no matter how much it is hurting their child. Their child’s happiness is not truly a part of their happiness, no matter what they might say. Because they cannot truly perceive their pain or their pleasure. They can only perceive their own. Because of this, it will seem like they have a very high tolerance for their child’s pain. After all, they watched their child indicate their distress, but changed nothing about what was causing that distress, if it somehow went against their own perceived best interests in the moment. And yet, they still expected their child to be happy. Maybe they even took to gaslighting by saying things like “You have no reason to be unhappy”. Or “You have so many things to be happy about”. Or “All I want is for you to be happy.” 
So, here we have a caregiver that is either doing things that are causing distress to their child or are failing to do things, which is causing distress to their child. But instead of respond to that feedback, they tell themselves alternative, self-esteem affirming stories about why their child is in distress. And they expect their child to be happy anyway. In fact, they require this from their child in order to not perceive their child as the enemy to their own happiness. This is a very dangerous situation for a child to find themselves in. And now, the child is in a bind… Act happy and their parent, the god of their world, is safer to them. But by doing so, they betray themself. Or, continue to indicate the reality, which is their unhappiness, and by doing so, don’t betray themself, but accept the dire consequences. 
In all of this, what is important to see is that in a situation like this, when the child asserts boundaries for themselves against what is harmful for them and for the limits they have, those boundaries are instantly dishonored, if they are even seen and acknowledged in the first place. There is no way out of the distress. They are expected to put up with whatever is harming them, and worse than that, to be happy anyway and despite any of it. 
For many people who encountered this kind of childhood, boundaries and limits were pointless because you couldn’t run away and you couldn’t get anyone to recognize or honor your boundaries and limits, so as to change things so you were not suffering anymore. You were literally trapped in a torture chamber. Keep in mind that a torture chamber can be very, very gilded. 
And because of this, you let go of your boundaries and got a substitute one. You found a way to stand by yourself and for yourself in a different way. That way, was to refuse to be happy. To maintain a resistance to feeling good, even if you so badly wanted to. Why? Because if the people who hurt you, expected you to be happy no matter what they were doing to you, then you being happy no matter what they were doing to you, is exactly what they want. It means they got away with everything they did with no consequences. For those of you who experienced this, you began to associate happiness is self-betrayal. And so, your substitute boundary, became suffering. And it’s not like you had to invent your suffering, you were and are genuinely suffering. On the one hand, you are desperate to be happy. And on the other hand, becoming happy, especially saying you are happy, feels like kissing the foot that kicked you. For you, the old saying, “happiness is the best form of revenge”, is total bullshit. Because for the abusers you were dealing with, you being happy, no matter what they did or failed to do, is exactly what they wanted. That would in fact be their win. To use a common expression, that would be them getting away Scot free. 
When we fall into this pattern, we tend to hate life. We try to improve our life desperately, while being unable to. Why are we unable to? Because we lack all the boundaries that a person would normally have in life. Especially regarding other people. And so, we end up in a position that is a total NO for us. When we should put the pressure back on someone, we take it. When we need to hold someone to their agreements, we let them change them. When we need to say no to something, we say yes. Where we have a limit, we push ourselves past it. When we should leave, we don’t leave. We fall right back into this pattern of extreme pain tolerance. We yell about our unhappiness and get angry and cry without giving people any actual consequences beyond that for the things they are doing or are failing to do. In fact, our only boundary is: I will suffer when you do this. I will refuse to be happy when you do this. You still allow it to happen, but you absolutely will not be happy about it. Of course, this substitute boundary is very ineffective with the people who are not connected to and therefore moved by your pain, only their own pain. And your suffering might just be worth whatever they are getting out of doing or not doing something. 
And guess what? They won’t be moved by your pain. The reason for this is that without knowing it, with this substitute boundary, you are walking around as a literal tractor beam for people who, just like your parents, are only truly focused on their own best interests. And thus, are not in an actual relationship with you. People who, at a conscious or subconscious level, want to be in a relationship with someone who will be unconditional with them. A person who they can do whatever to you or fail to do whatever to you, and know that there will be no consequences. After all, the message you are sending out into the universe is: I will stay in that pain. I just won’t be happy about it. You are a literal tractor beam for people who only have relationships through a narcissistic and codependent (covertly narcissistic) relational schema. You will line up with people whose definition of love is for you to suffer for them. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: The Suffer So I Can Feel Loved Relationship Dynamic. 
So that you can understand this pattern better, I’m going to give you an example. Thea had a mother who caused her distress in many, many ways. Her mother refused to consistently respond to her distress cues even as an infant. She treated Thea like a doll in that instead of responding to Thea’s cues, she decided what Thea did and did not need and when (according to her own want to meet those needs or not). She was obsessed with Thea learning to play alone and develop independence far too early. Whenever Thea got into a needs conflict with her mother, her mother would shame her by saying, “what are you, a princess?” She kept Thea in a house which was up a canyon, nowhere near other children because that was the lifestyle she preferred. This made it so that Thea had no friends. She only did things for Thea that she decided should make Thea happy. When they didn’t, she decided something was wrong with Thea. Thea’s indication that she was an unhappy child, damaged her mother’s self-concept. So, she saw Thea as the source of her own suffering. Thea came to the conclusion as a toddler that no matter what she did, she could never make her life feel good, so she would suffer forever.
But her mother felt distressed by Thea’s unhappiness. And so, she needed Thea to be happy, so she could feel good. So, instead of changing any of her own behavior that was causing Thea to suffer and instead of changing the conditions that were making Thea suffer, she simply expected Thea to be happy. She decided that her daughter had a good life, despite the reflection that Thea was giving to her. And she reminded Thea of how many kids around the world have so much more to be unhappy about and kept stuffing the idea that she was an ungrateful child down her throat. When Thea would complain, she would call her negative. When Thea was upset, she would shame her for not focusing on the beautiful sunset or on some other thing her mother appreciated. When things took a turn for the worst, Thea’s mother started dragging her to therapists to fix whatever was wrong with her child, because it could not possibly be that her behavior with Thea or the life she had created for Thea was in fact wrong for Thea. 
Subconsciously, Thea developed a negative association with happiness. It was clear that her mother wanted to be able to do or fail to do anything, and for Thea to be happy anyway. Well, Thea could not be happy anyway.  And Thea would not indicate to her mother that she could be. She decided that to be happy was to betray herself. Instead of betraying herself, because every boundary and limit was dishonored by her mother, she stood by herself by pledging that she would not ever indicate to her mother or to other people, that she was happy. And this caused her to never truly be able to go in the direction of her happiness.   
Fast forward several years into Thea’s adulthood. She has been married and divorced multiple times. In each one of her primary relationships, things start out good. But then, the man starts crossing her boundaries and pushing her limits. All Thea does, is get upset. And then get angry. And then get really, really angry. She does not enforce her boundaries. Because of this, the man ends up continuing to do what is not in her best interests, until Thea is so far past a limit, that her mental and emotional health starts to dissolve and the relationship becomes fully abusive. The man is being abusive because no matter how much something hurts Thea, he will not change it, and expects her to be happy anyway. And Thea is being abusive because during arguments, she screams and belittles and name calls and makes threats and throws things at her partner. Eventually, the abuse becomes so intolerable that the relationship ends. 
Looking at her last partner, he came into her life promising to really be there for her as someone she could rely on. But he started breaking his word. The first time he broke his word, Thea should have set a very firm boundary about it by telling him that this was not something she would tolerate. She actually did this. The second time he did this, Thea should have enforced her boundary with something like making him responsible for repairing the consequences that breaking his word created. Or creating a consequence that relates directly to what he specifically broke his word about, such as, if he broke his word about taking her on a date, and she needed quality time, she might go to spend time with a friend instead of spending time with him, and let him know that she was doing so, because he failed to keep his word about the quality time that he promised her. And after this trust breach, he would need to demonstrate that he was intent on re-building that trust somehow, such as putting extra effort into creating quality time, making it up to her somehow and proving he can show the opposite behavior. If he broke his word again, Thea should have escalated the consequences. She should have pushed the pause button on moving forward in the relationship. She should have escalated to something like relationship therapy. Or started looking for other resources for the things he broke his word about. And/or getting trusted people who support their relationship to intervene etc. 
Thea did not do this. Instead, she got madder and madder each time and argued about how not ok it is. And eventually found herself in an abusive relationship. She was in a relationship where she could not trust her partner because he constantly broke his word. And where she verbally abuses him when he does it. Thea’s last partner got something out of breaking his word. What it was, was the feeling of no pressure. He was a parentified child and even though he came into the relationship saying he would be reliable, because this is the only way he knew how to have relationships, was to be for his partner what he was for his mother. But it is not what he actually wanted. What he wanted was to be in a relationship which would allow him all the freedom of the childhood he missed. And that lack of pressure, meant more to him than Thea’s happiness did. It served him when he would break his word and feel the freedom of doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. It would especially serve him when he would drop responsibilities he has signed up for, and she would take over that responsibility. It was healing for him, even if it was destroying Thea. Thea fell right back into this pattern from her childhood, where the person in her life expects her to be happy, no matter what they do or fail to do. And she resorted to her old substitute boundary. She was not happy. No one could be in that situation. But she also decided she would not go in the direction of her happiness, because to do so, would be to betray herself and give him exactly what he wanted. She didn’t even see enforcing her boundaries and limits in a tangible way as an option.                              
If you recognize this pattern in yourself, it is tempting to think that you just have to accept that to be happy, you have to care more about your happiness than you do about the people who hurt you getting off Scott free. But this is just you falling back into the same pattern. It’s not about that. 
Overcoming this pattern is about seeing that you will never have a happy life, your life will always be suffering and you will always hate life if you fail to acknowledge your own boundaries and limits and fail to assert them. You need to assert them when things are very small… Far, far before you ever hit your limit for something. When you feel yourself heading in that unwanted direction in any small way. People need to feel and know that they don’t just get to do anything or fail to do anything with you. There will be consequences for doing so or for failing to do so. 
Overcoming this pattern is about realizing that happiness is not ever in spite of something, it is always because of something. The more we gravitate towards what feels good and right to us, while setting very firm boundaries regarding what doesn’t, the happier our life will become. And you can enforce your boundaries and limits as well as create consequences for people who refuse to honor those, without sacrificing your happiness. This is not to say that you can be happy no matter what is happening to you. This is ridiculous. It is to say that you can go in the direction of your happiness and resource positive things and positive moments, in whatever small way, without that being a self-betrayal. It is not worth being in pain, to prevent the people who harmed you the satisfaction of being able to do whatever they wanted to you without getting at the very least, a negative reflection. And it is not even particularly effective, when what you could do instead, is to make it so that there are actually consequences for what people do or fail to do with you. After all, you don’t deserve to suffer forever, on top of all the suffering that was already done to you. The time has come to stop betraying yourself in one way simply to prevent betraying yourself in another way. Disconnect the concept of happiness from the feeling betraying yourself. So that you can enforce the boundaries that will allow you to have a life you don’t hate. A life that you will actually enjoy.  
  

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