The fear of responsibility is actually common enough that it has even been given a name: Hypengyophobia. And like most fears, it exists as a kind of sliding scale. Some people who struggle with this fear experience a strong aversion to responsibility. Others have full blown anxiety attacks at even the thought of taking responsibility and as such, refuse to take responsibility of any kind. While this fear and aversion may seem irrational, there are definite reasons for developing this fear. It is important to know that the fear of taking responsibility isn’t usually about responsibility in and of itself. It is the fear that by taking responsibility in a specific situation, you will come into contact with or experience something that you fear. For example, by taking responsibility, I will experience intense pressure. Or by taking responsibility, I am the one to blame and will therefore be blamed and feel shame and low self-esteem as a result.
The top reason for the fear of responsibility is lack of confidence. To understand this fear, think about it like this: Have you ever been in a situation where someone was doing a job poorly and you were tempted to just take over the job to do it right? In this scenario, you were about to take responsibility for the task. The reason that you had this impulse is that you have a high degree of confidence relative to that task and relative to your ability to do it better than that person could. Now think about the opposite scenario. Think about a time in your life where you didn’t feel a high degree of confidence in your ability to do something well and certainly not relative to your ability to do it better than other people. Do you remember your hesitancy about taking responsibility for that task? You didn’t really feel that CAN relative to the situation. Many people who fear responsibility are stuck in the second scenario with almost everything in their life. If you struggle with responsibility, this keeps you in the comfort zone of not taking responsibility. But it implies that you have a serious lack of confidence in general and serious low self-esteem.
You now know the main contributor to the fear of responsibility is the lack of confidence. So, the next few points are going to outline some of the most common reasons for that lack of confidence as it applies to the fear of responsibility. The first one is the fear of making mistakes. If you fear responsibility, usually this means you are terrified of making mistakes because of what you make mistakes mean, especially based off of previous experiences. For example, you may feel a mistake will lead to conflict you can’t handle or a consequence that can’t be undone or that mistakes mean that you are incompetent and therefore will decrease your self-esteem even further.
The next reason people may fear responsibility is the fear of failure. Again, this is because of what failure means to you. The fear of failure is most common amongst people who were routinely humiliated and undermined in childhood by the very people who they looked to as a barometer of their worth and success. Instead of being supportive, their parents were critical.
You may also fear competition, especially the potential elements of loss of closeness and failure that can come with the experience of competition. For many people with the fear of responsibility, the fear of being at odds or against someone and the fear of doing worse than other people can, could, would or will do is enough to make them avoid taking responsibility for something altogether. If you struggle with this fear, consider your relationship to the idea of losing. Trauma relative to competition can involve the loss of self-esteem by being judged as worse than someone else. It can also involve the loss of closeness with people who devalue you for losing as well as the loss of closeness with whomever you are now ‘pitted against’.
If you fear taking responsibility, you have to look at your relationship to conflict. So many people with the fear of responsibility have a huge issue with the fear of conflict. This ironically can take two basic forms.
1. For some people who have an aversion to taking responsibility it is all about how other people react in the situation in which they are taking responsibility. When they took responsibility and the result led to someone’s displeasure, that displeasure became a conflict between themselves and the other person and they desperately needed closeness and alignment with that person to feel ok, but they couldn’t create that repair. So many people who struggle with the fear of responsibility have a huge issue with feeling like they let people down.
2. Some people who have an aversion to taking responsibility actually experienced success when they took responsibility for something. But that success threatened someone (like mom or dad) and made them feel bad. This also led to conflict and so, their association with taking responsibility is that it leads to conflict. Either way, consider that responsibility may be linked with conflict in your being, and conflict is not something that you feel empowered relative to.
Another reason that contributes to the fear of taking responsibility is the fear of negative emotions. More specifically, the fear of not feeling equipped to handle or regulate your negative emotions when they come up, which they would if you took responsibility for something and it didn’t go well. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Emotional Wake Up Call.
Aversion to pressure is another main contributor to the aversion of responsibility. Consider what your relationship to being under pressure is, especially emotional pressure. The fear of pressure is a perpetual anxiety that usually involves the constant feeling that you have to produce something, but that you doubt whether you can. It is an “I have to produce X or else” scenario and this pressure produces distress instead of the pressure producing eustress. This causes an aversion to any situation in which you experience pressure. And responsibility often feels like pressure because it implies that you are the one with the power to produce in your hands.
The next reason that you might have an aversion to taking responsibility is that the experience of taking responsibility in the past did not lead to anything that you wanted or that improved your life. It simply led to the betterment of someone else’s life. People who are hyper responsible experience responsibility as a way of gaining control and taking their power in any given situation to bring about what is in their own best interests. They have had responsibility = reward experiences and so that positive link is formed in their being. If you have a serious aversion to responsibility, so far you may not have that responsibility - reward experience. Instead, you have either a responsibility = punishment/pain or responsibility = nothing happens for me experience.
It is very common, but not usually recognized that people who have an aversion to responsibility felt forced into co-dependent relationships in their childhoods. They were pushed to take responsibility for things, but those things they took responsibility for didn’t lead to any improvement for themselves, only improvement for whomever demanded that they take responsibility for those things.
I’ll use two examples to illustrate this point. One boy may be interested in tennis. So he takes responsibility for reading about tennis, getting a summer job so he can pay for a coach, riding his bike to practice and he sees that because of this responsibility he took, he gets better and better at tennis and eventually even wins a tournament. This boy learns that responsibility personally benefits him.
Another boy may feel forced by his mother to take care of the other younger siblings in the house. Doing so did not get him any closer to what he wanted. It improved his mother’s life. But if anything, taking that responsibility took him further away from personal benefit. Consider if you have a fear of responsibility that you may have been conditioned to see responsibility as something that involves no personal benefit and therefore it may make you immediately blind to the personal benefit involved in taking responsibility in any given situation. Consider also that responsibility might just immediately trigger you into feeling manipulated, controlled, obligated and self-sacrificing.
The last point I am going to mention is the fear of repeating the past. People who fear responsibility have had trauma relative to the experience of taking responsibility. Trauma naturally puts you in the place of avoiding the same bad experience happening again. This can take a more direct form such as someone having been in charge in a situation (like being responsible for younger brother and younger brother got hurt and had to go to the hospital). Or it can be not wanting any other trauma associated with taking responsibility to repeat again such as feeling like someone is controlling you to do something for their benefit, failing, making a mistake, letting other people down, developing an even worse sense of confidence and self-esteem than you already have or getting into conflicts etc.
Knowing all of that, what should you do if you have a fear and therefore an aversion to responsibility?
Allow yourself to consider that it is actually your choice to not take responsibility ever again for anything. If you struggle with responsibility, you will notice that you often feel like you are bulldozing yourself to take responsibility; as if it is something that you HAVE to do. But this just reinforces the original drudgery and dislike with which you approach responsibility. So close your eyes and play out the decision to not take any responsibility at all. Play it out for a day, week, month, year, several years, the rest of your life. You will notice certain consequences will happen and you will watch your adaptation to those consequences. But those consequences are not being done to you. They aren’t personal. They are simply happening because we live in a universe of cause and effect where anything someone does or doesn’t do has an effect. You still get to choose whether to say yes or no to that effect and then change the causation. Essentially, you have to see that responsibility is actually a choice. And if you are going to choose to take responsibility, it should be because you have decided that you want to own the causation. You want to ensure that certain consequences don’t happen for your sake.
See if you can see how powerless it makes you to hope and expect consequences not to occur. See how powerless it feels and makes you to hope and expect for people to one day not give you any consequences. Consider what would put you back in a position of power relative to responsibility. The first step is to realize that taking responsibility is a choice that you can consciously say no or say yes to! To be conscious, you simply have to make that decision in a super informed way. You have to see the potential personal consequences and benefits of either choice.
Did you notice how much of the aversion to responsibility has to do with trauma that has happened relative to taking responsibility? You can use the trigger of responsibility or of the feeling of pressure that you have to produce ‘or else’ or of the sinking feeling of lack of confidence to go back to whatever traumatic experiences are linked to this aversion in order to create resolve with them. I have created one such process to do exactly this. You can find out how to do this process by reading my book ‘The Completion Process’ and/or by finding a practitioner to work with on www.completionprocess.com. Doing this un-does the past. It resolves the root cause of your aversion to responsibility.
Work directly with the part(s) of you that fears and/or hates responsibility. And find and resource the part(s) within you that can have a positive relationship to responsibility using parts work. To find out how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How to Do It). Nothing will give you deeper insight into what your specific aversion to responsibility is than doing this. I do have some Completion Process Certified Practitioners who are adept at facilitating parts work if you feel like you need some assistance with this.
Start to change your relationship with and perspective about responsibility. Essentially, what responsibility is, is owning your own life. Responsibility is the opposite of the state of victimhood. If you don’t own your life, chances are much higher that someone else will. Also, you forgo the power to create what the life you want, the way you want it. In order to change some of your perspectives about responsibility, watch my video titled: Responsibility (Why, When and How To Take it). As well as Take your Power Back.
In any situation in which you fear taking responsibility, become aware of that fear, look into the why you feel that way in that specific situation and voice that fear to any people involved. Face your fear of mistakes and failure (as well as the potential humiliation you fear resulting from it) instead of subconsciously running from them your whole life. Put your apprehension on the table in the exact situation in which it comes up. This takes you out of avoidance mode as well as potential self-bulldozing mode. It also puts you and the people involved in the position of choice about what to do about it and how to resolve it. Dealing with that fear and trying to create solutions to it in the situation itself will increase your empowerment around responsibility as well as decrease the likelihood that any mishap with the responsibility you took would lead to failure or conflict with others.
For example, imagine that you were given an assignment at work and you actually realized you were afraid of taking responsibility for it. Imagine that you voiced that fact to the other people. This allows both you and them to begin to brainstorm ways to resolve the situation. At the work place, a person lacking confidence in a task that they are in charge of, is a problem for everyone involved in that business. So, a boss or colleague might give you access to resources which will make the job easier for you to do or change who is in charge of the task itself. You can only resolve what you are aware of and admit to and look into the why of in the moment.
Recognize the lack of confidence inherent in your fear of taking responsibility and instead of simply accepting that lack of confidence (because you are so acclimatized to low self-esteem), actively come up with things you could do to increase your confidence in the situation at hand. For example, in one situation this could be working to un-root and replace self-defeating core beliefs. In another situation, say you were given a task at work and you didn’t want to take that responsibility because you didn’t trust yourself to know how to do it well, your confidence might be increased by learning something or finding a more skilled person to show you something that would enhance your trust that you could do the task well. In the situation at hand, relative to what you have responsibility for, what would increase your confidence?
Resource when taking responsibility goes well. If your trauma around responsibility is extreme enough, you never notice when you take responsibility and it leads to good results. You only notice when it goes badly. So begin to take notice and really feel the empowerment and confidence when you take responsibility for things and it yields a positive result. This has to be done like an active awareness practice. Without realizing it, you are actually taking responsibility all day long! For example, when you fix yourself something to eat, that is a form of taking responsibility. To consciously experience the satisfaction of eating whatever you made for yourself is to resource that responsibility having yielded positive results. Can you think of any times in the past where you took responsibility for something and it went well no matter how small or large? Make a list. You are essentially re-wiring your brain and forming different associations with responsibility by doing this.
This exercise of noticing situations in which you take responsibility and you didn’t even think of it as taking responsibility as well as when you take responsibility and it goes well will help you to recognize the exact conditions in which taking responsibility becomes an issue for you. It will help you see what those variables to what you see as ‘responsibility to be avoided’ are.
Become more empowered around conflict in general. Relationships involve the inevitability of rupture. The degree of security and joy felt within a relationship is really about your capacity to create repair. Right now, you probably don’t trust your capacity to create that, so every conflict is seen as a serious threat rather than a calling to embody greater depths of intimacy and harmony. Or a calling to become as aware as possible of ourselves and others relative to a subject. Because the fear of responsibility is so closely linked to the fear of conflict, it would benefit you to watch my videos titled: How to Overcome The Fear Of Conflict and How to Resolve Conflict.
Because as we discussed earlier, the perception for many who struggle with responsibility is that them taking responsibility is always something that benefits others instead of themselves, self-sacrifice is a problem. Because of this, you would benefit by watching my video titled: Self Sacrifice, The Most Self-Centered Thing in The World.
If you experience an aversion to responsibility, the reality is that you are currently not empowered. You may feel like you don’t have control over what happens to you in your life. But here is the thing, you may not be able to prevent yourself from being fired, but you can improve your tool kit of skills and search for another job. You may not be able to prevent yourself from being rejected by another person. But you can find out why and either choose to make changes to yourself or use that information to look for someone who would be more compatible. You may not be able to choose what’s happening to you but you can choose the way you are going to deal with it. You can try different ways of doing things again and again until you finally achieve whatever it is that you are wanting. Responsibility is about finding the CAN and WILL in any situation. Consider WHY you automatically feel as if you can’t. When and how and why did that begin? If you refuse to face your fear of taking responsibility and so you continue to subconsciously refuse to take responsibility, a part of you will always make you feel bad about yourself. Avoiding responsibility is a self-fulfilling cycle when it comes to confidence and self-esteem.
While it is hard for someone who feels disempowered to feel the CAN and WILL in any given experience, that CAN and WILL is something that you deserve to experience. That empowerment can be yours as soon as you recognize in yourself the courage to carry the emotional burden that comes with taking responsibility.
The shadow is any aspect of a thing that is not exposed to the light of consciousness. The human shadow therefore, is any aspect of a person that is not exposed to the light of their own consciousness. It is what you don’t know that you don’t know. Shadow work is the process of making the unconscious conscious and the unacceptable, acceptable. It includes any process or practice that makes you aware of the unconscious and which brings about the integration of unconsciousness. And as such, it leads to complete and total awareness. To understand about shadow work in a much more in-depth way, watch my videos titled: What is Shadow Work?, Diving Deep (Shadow Work) and Shadow Work vs. Positive Focus.
The sad reality is that for a lot of people, the term shadow work conjures up all kinds of negative and dark associations. Because of those associations we have with the word shadow, it is easy to think that shadow work is a dark spiritual practice. Or that it is internal work that involves only the more negative or sinister aspects of our personality. Or that it simply gets you stuck in pain and powerlessness. Or that if you focus on the shadow, all you get and create is more shadow. However, none of this is actually the case. For this reason, even though several books would not be enough to cover all of the potential benefits of shadow work, I’m going to explain to you the main benefits of doing shadow work.
Shadow work is a tool. It is a tool just like focusing on the positive is a tool. You can master that tool, just like one could master any tool. Shadow work isn’t a way of being. It isn’t something that happens to you. It is not something that consumes your life. It isn’t the full picture. It is a tool for becoming aware, stepping out of and changing negative patterns, getting into a more objective reality, moving into free will and conscious choice and thus creating your existence intentionally and consciously.
Shadow work makes you conscious and perceive things clearly. It is to come to know what you do not know that you do not know. In fact, there is no way to be conscious, aware and to awaken without it. It puts you squarely in the truth. And in reality. Therefore, literally any benefit that could come from seeing the truth or having a more objective perspective or being aware or being in reality can be realized through shadow work.
It creates empowerment. Your axis of power is in reality and you can’t be in reality unless you are aware. To understand more about this, watch my videos titled: Reality and How To Call Bulls#!t on Denial. But shadow implies lack of awareness. It implies what you don’t know and what you have suppressed, rejected, denied, disowned and pushed out of your awareness. Awareness puts you in a position of choice. This means it puts you in the position of free will instead of determinism. For example, you may not be aware until you do shadow work that you keep ending up in hell in relationships because your early life experiences taught you to believe that love is when someone is suffering and unhappy in the relationship and stays anyway because they care about the other person that much. Once you know that, you can consciously begin to dismantle that belief, so that your new definition of love can be caring so much that you ensure each other wellbeing and pleasure. You are then in the position to choose compatible partners to be in a relationship with. Some people fear that shadow work will lead them to be in more suffering. But this will only happen if you begin to see things as they are, but are either convinced you can’t change them, or are not willing to change them.
There is tons of gold in the shadow. Many people assume that the shadow is all bad and all painful. Actually, there is plenty that a person doesn’t know that they don’t know that is positive and pleasurable. Also, there is a lot that we suppress, deny, reject, disown and push away from the conscious that is positive and pleasurable. For example, imagine that in your childhood, you were artistic. Imagine that the purpose you came into this life with was to be an artist. But you came into a family that was obsessed with academics and that discouraged art. To gain closeness with your family, you might have suppressed, rejected and denied your artistic talent and your purpose along with it. Doing shadow work will inevitably cause you to recover your artistic talent and your life purpose.
Shadow work causes a re-owning of the self. It causes you to become authentic. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How To Be Authentic. It causes you to get to know yourself and your personal truth. Among other things, the process of socialization and trauma that we all inevitably experience causes us to begin to fragment. Our personalities are in essence, fake. Until we become conscious and aware of ourselves, our personalities are merely the parts of ourselves that we identified with so as to stay safe and away from vulnerability in the very specific situations and circumstances that we were raised in.
We suppress, reject, deny and disown the aspects that make us vulnerable or get us disapproved of in the world. By doing this, they become subconscious. They are buried outside of our awareness and we don’t know they even exist, even though they tend to be visible to other people around us. This means, we are not who we think we are. Shadow work shows you who you really are and what you really want. It makes you self-aware. There is no way to have a happy life unless you are self-aware. You have to know your actual truth and own it in order to choose what is right for you. Choosing what is personally right for you is the only way to experience life satisfaction, happiness and fulfillment.
Shadow work gets you un-stuck. You are only truly stuck if you don’t know what is actually happening. You have to know what is happening to begin to problem solve so as to do something about it. Shadow work does that. Many people think that shadow work makes them powerless. It doesn’t… it simply makes them face their powerlessness. By facing it, you are observing it and therefore not it. You are disidentified from it. If you choose to introduce consciousness to powerlessness by choice, it is by definition not powerlessness anymore because you have introduced the frequency of free will to it.
It makes you aware of and therefore causes you to disidentify from and change patterns and cycles so they don’t repeat and can be changed. People repeat patterns personally and intergenerationally. Because of this, most people live in a deterministic way. They keep ending up with unavailable partners over and over again. Patterns of addiction and abuse and negative core beliefs keep going from one generation to the next and to the next. Humanity itself repeats the same pattern over and over again. Shadow work stops the cycle, breaks the chain and offers the ability to change these patterns so that you can consciously choose your beliefs, your actions and your life experiences.
Shadow work causes integration. Integration is what causes peace. It causes integration internally, which leads to internal peace and externally, which leads to peace in your life and world peace. It reverses the process of fragmentation, which is the cause of so much suffering in your life and suffering in the world. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The World Wide Disease.
It brings you closer to your desires so you can actually attain them. First of all, most people think they know what they want. But they don’t. For example, if you have been raised in a conservative family that is all about marriage, you may think that what you really want is marriage, when in fact the only reason you think you want that is because you want approval from your family. Or for example, we may think we want to be a lawyer. But really, we just want money and social status and we have a limited perspective about HOW we could go about getting it. Shadow work shows you what you truly want and why. It also expands what is possible.
On top of that, shadow work shows you what is in the way of what you want. It reveals resistance. Resolving those things is the key to getting what you want. For example, imagine that you have no idea why no matter how hard you try, you can’t lose weight. Shadow work may reveal that the part of your consciousness that has control over your body has no intention of losing weight. It wants to be fat because it uses that fat as a buffer against the unsafety in the world and uses it as a substitute boundary because you can’t keep your own boundaries. Working with this part to find resolve will be critical to losing weight. In fact, unless you do, every diet and exercise program will fail. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Urgent, Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else!
Shadow work causes you to become aware of and to resolve your trauma, which is the underlying issue that causes the current patterns in your life that are hurting you and harming your life. This is perhaps the most serious item on my list. Trauma is a state of emotional and mental distress caused by an experience that is not resolved. You don’t have to be abused or experience what a person would consider to be a tragedy (like war or sexual abuse or loss of a loved one) to experience trauma. It is traumatic to experience birth in today’s mainstream medical facilities. It is traumatic to a baby to be weaned. It is traumatic to a three-year-old to lose track of his mother in a grocery store. Even the best parents on earth cannot manage to raise a child in a way that the child will experience no trauma. The problem is that if we do not have a way to resolve and thus integrate that trauma we experience when we are young, then we shape our lives and make choices according to trauma. We also have the tendency to normalize or even forget about it. And worse than this, because this is a mirror based universe, managed by what many call ‘the law of attraction’, and in order to try to cause us to heal these traumas, this universe will continue to offer us more opportunities to heal them in the form of putting us in similar situations again and again. And they tend to amplify or get worse over time.
For example, if we never actually resolved the fact that our father left us at age four, we may simply decide that to save ourselves from the pain of loss, we will be super independent and never get attached to anyone ever again. Not only will we experience intimacy issues in our adulthood because of this experience, we will experience people abandoning us. This pattern will become worse because when we are abandoned, we will use that to justify our original decision to push people away before they ever get a chance to push us away, thus increasing the chance that they will abandon us. It becomes an ever-worsening vicious spiral. If we are able to become aware of and resolve this original trauma, as well as the alterations we made to ourselves because of it, we have the ability to actually create a stable, reliable connection with others in our life. Shadow work may also reveal that things we thought were resolved, are not actually resolved and that is why situations like it are repeating in our lives.
Shadow work causes you to go way below and above the surface of things. It puts you in touch with the blue print or the fundamental level of existence below the limits of the surface of existence. This enhances your knowledge, depth, capabilities, scope and expanse. You can think of it like a two-dimensional person becoming third dimensional. This makes you capable of seeing things others can’t and doing things others don’t know are possible. It makes you more powerful. This is the reason that awakened people seem to be so much… more.
It gives you conscious control over what you create and manifest. Many people who teach law of attraction and manifestation are over simplifying it to the point of ignorance. Focus and intention and thought is powerful. As are the actions that one takes to create. But in the effort and time it takes you to focus on one thing, your subconscious mind can focus effortlessly on several and without you even knowing it. This is why it isn’t hard for an Olympic swimmer to swim while planning dinner. The entire process of swimming is subconscious.
Your conscious mind is not responsible for the bulk of your overall personal vibration. Your subconscious mind is. And it is your overall personal vibration that is your point of attraction. This is a big deal in a universe managed by the law of attraction. It means for example that if you sit down to do the affirmation “I am good enough”, that thought is competing with several, much more engrained and strong frequencies such as “I’m too fat. “No one really wants me”. And “people who think they are good enough are always the worst kinds of people”.
Your point of attraction is more complicated than “whatever you consciously focus on and do”. Because of this, until you do shadow work, you have very little control over what happens in your life. It feels like everything happens TO you and you don’t know why. By becoming aware of the contents of your subconscious and well as what you don’t know about the world and the universe, this naturally allows you to consciously change and improve your point of attraction. And the more conscious you are, the more you are consciously creating when you are thinking, saying, choosing and doing things. It will feel like you have control over your life and you will know why things happen in your life. This pulls you out of the experience of victimhood.
In the same vein of creation, blocked energy and inauthenticity inhibits creativity. Shadow work resolves those blockages and that resistance and as the energy of conscious awareness courses through you, your creative potential comes flooding through. You become a much more creative person.
Shadow work helps you to have successful, healthy, enjoyable and conscious relationships. Relationships are life. You have a relationship with other people. You have a relationship with every element of your life such as your career, your food, your hobbies, your body etc. Therefore, your quality of life boils down to the quality of your relationships.
Doing shadow work will make it so people don’t trigger you as easily. You will become more mature and healthier and more functional in your relationship dynamics. For example, you may have a terrible relationship with your child. Doing shadow work may reveal that you hate the qualities in your child that you suppressed, denied and disowned in yourself, such as selfishness. Perhaps you rejected your own selfishness and in turn self-sacrificed your life for your husband and children. But you resent it. So, every time your child acts in his or her best interests, you feel that resentment towards them. This awareness may cause you to re-think that decision and start to do things for yourself. This might then cause you to stop criticizing your child and for there to be no more resentment towards him or her.
It enhances your mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing. It is painful and exhausting to not be aware. It is draining and painful to keep denying, suppressing, rejecting, disowning and pushing things away or trying to keep a closet door closed when its contents are overflowing. Suppression causes fatigue and disease, plain and simple. As you liberate the suppressed energy and more of the energy of consciousness is allowed to flow through all the different aspects of you, the health of all of those levels of you will dramatically improve. You will have more energy. Shadow work also creates a sense of stability and strength, which makes you feel equal to life and very much alive.
Those are just some of the benefits of doing shadow work. The more aware you are of your shadow, the more embodied you are as a conscious being. No one ever reached enlightenment without confronting their shadow and exposing it to the light of consciousness. The time has come for people to master this tool, the tool which will lead to their liberation.
(Why self-help, personal development, psychology, relationships, physical health and spirituality go hand in hand)
Spirituality and self-help and personal development and psychology and relationships and health and wellness are so enmeshed that as far as markets go, they are often considered to be one and the same field. This can complicate things. Is a spiritual teacher giving advice on someone’s depression acting as a therapist now? Is a self-help expert now a guru? We could spend time separating these elements out from one another. But In today’s episode, I’m going to show you the bigger picture as to why they absolutely do go hand in hand.
The first thing to understand is that incarnation is really nonphysical energy (what we would call “spiritual”) manifesting physically. This means that there is nothing that is not spiritual. There is no single thing in physical existence that is not spiritual. This obviously means that it is impossible in reality to define what is spiritual and what is not. From this perspective, you are a spirit having a human experience. And you do so for a very important purpose; a multi layered purpose, which at a more objective level is about universal expansion and at a more subjective level is about personal expansion. For the sake of your understanding, the process of consciousness manifesting as a person in the 3-D can be compared to creating, and then coming into, the first-person perspective of an avatar in a video game that you also created. The point is to be fully focused into that video game so as to make the very most of that experience and use it to “level up”. This means that the most spiritual path is the path of really living life itself… Becoming self-actualized.
To make the most of your life itself, to consciously use your physically incarnated experience to become aware and to use that awareness to consciously create in the physical is in fact the highest spiritual path. This means, there are people who do not think of god and who are not aware of their nonphysical self, but whom are powerfully committed to self-development or the perfection of a craft here in the physical (say a passionate musician for example) who are in fact walking a more spiritually in alignment path than some who have dedicated their entire life to god or an afterlife or spiritual discipline. Many people who are aware that there is a nonphysical dimension to existence do not understand this. They believe that to live a spiritual life is to see physical life as an illusion to transcend. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: How Human Intelligence Is Destroying Human Nature (Anti Human).
Becoming aware implies coming to the awareness that there is more to this life than meets the physical eye. It is becoming aware that this physical self is not ALL that you are. It is becoming aware of your nonphysical perspective. Because you are not just physical, awareness implies becoming aware of what is ‘spiritual’ or ‘incorporeal’… The bigger picture of this universe. The degree of both personal and universal expansion that occurs with this awareness, is exponential.
Becoming aware implies coming into the awareness of your physical incarnation as well. When non-physical energy manifests in a physical form, experientially it manifests as the layers that could be called mind, body and feeling. Having awareness of and caretaking all three layers of your physical incarnation are critical to health and to your ability to stay in alignment with your non-physical self as well as its purpose for coming into the physical. This all of a sudden drags physical health into the picture of spirituality as well and makes things even more complicated. Health and wellness now cannot be considered entirely separate from spirituality as well. So, is a spiritual leader now a healer or doctor too?
On top of this, coming into a separate, physical incarnation immediately implies the perception of self and other. This means, the second that you incarnate, you are in a relationship, not only does a relationship exist between your physical and nonphysical ‘selfhood’ but also between yourself and all other things in existence. Life is relationships. Your sense of wellbeing in life is really about the quality of your relationships. Therefore, the mastery of relationships can no longer be separated from your path of spiritual progression.
Spirituality, self-help, personal development, health, wellness, relationships and psychology are in fact all intertwined. They are all parts of the reality of your existence as a human. You could technically split hairs so as to define a person’s expertise at any level of this dynamic I have just described. Any expert who specializes in any aspect of this layer-cake of existence will have a slightly different perspective on the person standing in front of them. And it is only possible to only focus on one layer without the other…. Until it is not.
For example, a person would not have to even believe in a spiritual dimension to the universe to unravel their childhood trauma or to work on their limiting beliefs. But if they encounter a limiting belief that calls existential truth into question, or would be unraveled only by seeing existential truths, it is no longer possible. Or, a person could pray all day long and find all kinds of answers to their own progression in meditation until the day that they realize that their meditation has all been an escape mechanism and they have some psychological avoidance patterns to address.
The basic thing to understand about life is that because these layers of existence are so integral to one another, it can be impossible to have a full picture of what is occurring with someone, without taking ALL of the elements of them into account… non physical, mental, ‘emotional’, and physical. An impediment to a person’s progression, awareness, health, success, happiness, desires and self-actualization etc. could happen at any of these levels.
Any expert in any of these fields (spirituality, self-help, personal development, relationship, health, wellness, and psychology) whether it is a guru, a doctor, a psychologist, a self-help expert, a relationship counselor, an energy healer, a therapist or a yogi etc. is wanting the same thing: For the person to find alignment… Which creates a state of wellbeing. And very often, this means that a spiritual teacher must talk not only about theology or meaning or existential truth with a person, but about the conditions of their childhood, what emotional wounds are in the way of manifesting the things they want, their relationship patterns or their body etc. This means that a doctor may not be able to find a cure to a physical ailment until they take into account the way that emotional traumas influence the tissues of the body and therefore the quality of their marriage. This means that a psychologist may need to also address a problem from the angle of hormonal imbalance or meridian blockage or ancestral trauma. What any expert in any of these fields offers another expert is deeper insight into what is going on within the layer cake of a person.
It is inevitable that one’s spiritual path, as long as they continue to progress on that path instead of stagnate, will lead them directly to the conscious understanding that they are here in this life to learn, to become aware, to love, to transform, to progress, to manifest, to heal, to create and to become self-actualized. This leads them to a curiosity about what is in the way of doing that. And this self-actualization can only be achieved with a conscious commitment to learning about all the elements of self-actualization, including but not limited to: Physical health, wellness, self-help, self-development, manifestation, relationships, shadow work, success, psychology and emotions… And consciously choosing to ‘level up in life’ by applying what they learn. This is why, instead of separate, to stand in a position of truth, all of these things go hand in hand. And as humanity continues to develop, instead of becoming more separated and defined, all elements of healing and progressing and actualizing will in fact become more and more integrative.
Agree to disagree is a common English phrase, though some variation of the concept that it conveys exists in nearly every culture on the planet. It essentially means that no resolution to a disagreement, debate or quarrel will occur and so continuing it is unnecessary, ineffective and pointless. Therefore, it must come to end by each party tolerating but not accepting the other’s opposing opinion. Essentially, the only way to find alignment is to agree upon dropping the debate and simply consent to disagreeing (having different opinions on a subject). Many people within society believe that agreeing to disagree is a mature, conscious and amicable thing to do. But the reality is quite the opposite.
The first problem with agree to disagree is that it thwarts personal and universal expansion. The universe is trying to bring people with opposing thoughts together so as to create expansion relative to thought. This universe hopes that people would constantly expand and improve and re-invent their perspective and thoughts. If two people are committed to truth and they come together holding two opposing perspectives, it is an opportunity. It is an opportunity for expansion through arriving at a higher truth. Either one person sees the truth of the other’s perspective and changes their own perspective, often in ways that benefit him or her. Or because of their mutual commitment to finding the truth, they arrive at a truth that is higher or more accommodative than either of their perspectives were originally. A philosopher is the person within society that understands this concept best. A scientist must understand this also in order to do good work. To agree to disagree is to consciously declare a stalemate. This is to agree to stuckness and lack of resolve, both of which directly defy progress and growth and movement and expansion. It is just as stuck to say agree to disagree as it is to say you agree or act like you do, when really you don’t. For this reason, it is not only a limitation for you, it is a guarantee that the universe will turn up the heat on that particular issue. You can’t avoid it forever. It will come to a head where the situation at hand does not allow for the toleration of each other’s opposed perspectives.
The second problem with agree to disagree is that it is not actually possible in the grand scheme of things. It is impossible once there is a conflict of interests. It is definitely not possible when it comes to topics (that result in conflict) which really matter. Some differences do not cause conflict. These are the “little things”. Others do cause conflict. These are the big things. They occur when two people’s thoughts, opinions, beliefs or perspective is incompatible. On top of this, given that the universe will turn the heat up on points of stuckness, if it is possible to use agree to disagree to avoid further conflict in the short term, it becomes impossible to maintain this strategy in the long run. For example, if someone was of the opinion that the best thing to do was to plow a road through your property and yours was that it was a terrible idea, you could not say agree to disagree because you’d wake up to a road plowed through your property.
Opinions lead to choices and actions. People who say agree to disagree seem to somehow believe that opinions do not lead to choices and actions or that if they do, it will somehow not affect them. The reality is that if opinions are opposed, so are choices and actions, which impact others. This is why agree to disagree depends upon the variable of safety. For example, let’s imagine that one set of parents disagrees with vaccines and the other agrees with them. They can only say agree to disagree until the point where a law is looking to be passed mandating them. The reason is that if the parents who believe that all children must be vaccinated, believe that unvaccinated children are a health risk, they may vote to take away body sovereignty as a human right. There is no longer a way for either set of parents to avoid or maintain the amicability of this agreed upon stalemate, because they have now found themselves in a zero-sum game with their safety on the line. Another example is, in most families you can say “agree to disagree” relative to religion until the point that someone in the family dies and it’s a fight over what type of funeral service will be held. Agree to disagree is conflict avoidance plain and simple. Avoidance does not make the conflict go away. It simply delays it until a later date.
The third problem with agree to disagree is that contrary to popular belief, it is damaging to relationships. Agree to disagree is often how we try to avoid conflict or prevent the loss of closeness with someone. It is our way to remain on amicable terms while continuing to disagree about unresolved issues. To understand more about this, watch my videos titled: How to Overcome the Fear of Conflict and How to Resolve A Conflict. People can only say agree to disagree when they believe that doing so, will not affect them. This means, agree to disagree can only be something that someone agrees to if they perceive themselves to be separate and separate in a way that someone’s opinion will not lead to choices or actions that go against their best interests, affect them or harm them in any way. The motto is “as long as it doesn’t affect me and mine.” It’s a ‘you do you and I do me’ philosophy of existence, which is distancing by nature. But all of this is hidden under the guise of tolerance. It is in fact a rigid and narcissistic and separate way of being, all of which are a huge detriment to relationships.
It must also be said that people who say “agree to disagree” think they are right and the other is wrong. Therefore, saying agree to disagree really means “I’ll just passively wait for you to ‘wise up’ and stop being so stupid or unaware and eventually, you’ll see I was right. Until then, we are going to put this conflict under the floor boards.” This is in fact a form of active suppression. When people use this phrase, they are waiting for the “I told you so” moment and are convinced it will come. Agreeing to disagree is about thinking you are right and so, never fall for the lie that it makes the acceptance of differences or the acceptance of diversity of perspectives possible.
To say agree to disagree is to resist a state of alignment or resist the commitment to finding alignment. Think of what is happening energetically when one chooses to forgo the experience of alignment. This is a very ‘out of reality’ perspective to hold in a consensus reality, which is what this time space reality is. You are not the only one creating reality in a consensus reality. On top of this, it opens the door wide for zero sum games in relationships. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Zero Sum Game (What is A Zero Sum Game and How To End One).
On top of this, seeing as how no actual resolution has come, the unresolved conflict or opposition exists as an elephant in the room. It is an active state of dissonance, which ads considerably to the emotional tension and pressure in the relationship. It is also a ‘giving up’ on alignment. People who say agree to disagree do so because they feel powerless to find alignment or to get there to be any pliability in their perspective or the other person’s perspective or both. Agree to disagree is therefore often a forfeit in a relationship relative to finding alignment or higher truth.
The fourth problem with agree to disagree is that it allows people with a poor sense of self, to maintain a sense of self specifically through opposition. It is possible for people to have a healthy sense of self and alignment with others at the same time. But agree to disagree is an out of alignment way to try to accomplish “I can have me and I can have you too”. Some people perceive the changing of their perspectives or ideas to be a loss of self. They feel consumed or as if they lose themselves when they reach agreement or alignment.
You may hear people saying things like “I’m entitled to my opinion”. This is actually a logical fallacy. Whether someone has the right or is entitled to an opinion has absolutely nothing to do with whether their opinion is right or wrong or is reflective of truth. Therefore, it is a way of discrediting opposition and creating a diversion from the disagreement at hand. It is to subconsciously fight for freedom (the freedom or right not to be right, not to be reasonable and to stick to their perspective no matter what contradictory thoughts or evidence they are met with) when that has nothing to do with the actual validity of one’s stance.
All this being said, people use agree to disagree as a way to preserve identity and get a self-esteem kick from staying in a position of opposition to something. This is especially the case for people who have experienced enmeshment trauma. There are people who are enmeshed who will see committing to reaching agreement as a giving up their truth but this is not the case. If you arrive at a new truth, that is your truth, so you cannot say you lost your truth, you simply changed or updated it. Agree to disagree is also a way that people can maintain a false sense of enlightenment or wokeness relative to their identity. There are a great many things that people think make them good, which in fact do not. Agree to disagree, (just like meditating to escape reality or using positive focus as a tool of resistance of the negative, or being politically correct to stay safe and performatively woke) is one of these things.
Instead of saying agree to disagree, we need to commit to finding alignment. To be completely honest with you, with regards to many situations that are at hand or will be shorty, it is not a luxury for the human race to agree to disagree. By defending the idea of agree to disagree, we will be unknowingly defending the idea of bulldozing others. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Bulldozing (The Way To Ruin Your Relationship With Yourself). And consider that it isn’t a virtue to only care about bulldozing and consider it a bad thing when we are the ones being bulldozed.
We need to be honest with ourselves if our goal is something other than alignment and truth. Ask yourself what is more important for you than alignment with others and why? What is more important for you than truth and why? Notice if you feel immediately like you must conform when this topic is raised. Address the fear of loss of self, loss of freedom and loss of personal truth inherent in this. Know that conformity is not true alignment and so, that is not what is being asked of you at all.
Seek first to understand… To see more, more more… instead of to agree. Accept that we must own up to the reality that our personal experiences have shaped our perspectives in ways that might just mean that they are limited and un-accommodative and therefore not reflective of objective truth. Try to commit to the practice of seeking objective truth. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Objective Truth. The better you are at disidentifying from your thoughts and beliefs and perspectives, the easier it will be to question and change them. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Disidentification (The Practice of Non-Attachment).
I am going to end this article with a question: Agree to disagree is really an assertion that certain conflicts are unresolvable. Is there such a thing as an unresolvable conflict? If so, should people accept that certain conflicts are unresolvable? What are the potential benefits and shadows inherent in doing so or not doing so.
Something that sets humans apart from every other species on earth is the fact that they resist themselves. It would stand to reason that a creature imbued with self-conceptualization would be the creature to develop self-resistance. But this self-resistance is to blame for so much of the suffering within the human race. And until people recognize this pattern, they will continue to perpetuate suffering.
Upon coming into this physical life, you become two points of perspective. Your nonphysical perspective and experience, which is not human and your physical perspective and experience, which is human. Coming into a human perspective and experience means that you opt into several things. You opt into things like human limitations, human strengths, human biology and physiology, human needs, human aversions, human preferences, human impulses, and human patterns. Because the physical human is a part of the animal kingdom on earth, you opt into experiencing existence as an animal. By the way, your-self concept (ego) is the only reason you would have an issue with that.
You don’t see other species running around with an issue with this. For example, you don’t see a deer having a self-esteem crisis because it is not able to feel ok wandering around alone as opposed to wanting to be in a herd. You don’t see a cuttlefish in a state of shame because his color changes according to his environment. You don’t see a female hyena guilt tripping herself for being more masculine and dominant than the males in her cackle. You don’t see bonobos contriving ways to control their wild sexual behaviors. You don’t see a bear trying to suppress its shaking after a trauma. You don’t see a dog being ostracized by other dogs for barking. You don’t see a dolphin trying to stop thinking. You don’t see an elephant thinking something is wrong with it because it has emotions. You get the point.
People are intelligent enough to have self-concept amongst other things, but are not yet intelligent enough to ensure that their intelligence doesn’t cause problems for themselves and for other species on the planet. They have used that intelligence for thousands of years to go against their own nature. People have gone into resistance relative to what is human about themselves and others. They have become anti-human with themselves and with each other. Instead of seeking to integrate their two perspectives, they have tried to use their non-physical perspective as a trump card over their physical human perspective. They have tried to transcend their human-ness. To try to transcend that which is human in you, is to reject that which is human in you. And no two things have contributed more to this damaging pattern than religion and spirituality. The thing is, all that will come out of that resistance is pain.
Our intellect has caused us to advance and form our society and shape our world in many ways that are in fact counter to our biology and nature and therefore needs. To give you just some examples so you can better understand what I mean:
A human is a relationally dependent group species. People have gone against this and forgotten that connection is the number one human need. They have propagated the idea that independence and aloneness is a virtue and shame each other for dependence. Being relationally dependent, a person is not actually capable of not caring what other members of its group think. That is both dangerous and impossible physiologically. Yet, it is still something self-help experts try to teach. Being relationally dependent, it is not natural for a loved one to travel or to be away from the group for large periods of time. It threatens our sense of attachment and security. Yet, we live in a society now where travel is normal and it is normal for people to be gone from each other and separated at work all day. As people become more and more separate, they ‘normalize’ it, but they become more and more unhappy, relationships suffer. Suicide rates go up and health goes down.
A human female is ready to reproduce when she gets her menstrual period, the average of which is 12 years old. She reaches the peak of her fertility in her early to mid-twenties. After that, her fertility decreases and declines impressively. At age 35, doctors consider a pregnancy a ‘geriatric pregnancy’ or to be more politically correct, an ‘advance maternal age pregnancy’. In the complexity of our modern society, the age of ‘readiness’ for things like pair bonding and reproducing keeps increasing. Most women and their male counterparts are now ‘ready’ to have babies well after a woman is biologically prime. Infertility has increased at an alarming rate because of it, as have the risk factors and negative effects involved in late maternal age reproduction.
For more than a hundred thousand years, the physical human foraged and hunted… Until they figured out how to farm. Then, in the early 1800s, they came up with processing foods. Ultimately food became an industry. The decision to farm ultimately led to the food system we have today. A food system that goes directly against health for the physical human. The human body is not designed to eat processed sugars. Chemical additives are used to preserve the food so it can travel long distances, but that damage the human body. The soil is being stripped of nutrients so the food that exists today has so much less nutritional value than it used to.
The physical human is an intensely touch oriented, sexual species. However, as civilizations evolved, so did the management of human sexuality. For example, once land ownership was a concern for humans in a patriarchal society, so was the determining of paternity. Female sexuality then had to be controlled. And sexual standards had to be differentiated by gender. The institution of marriage became important as was that it be between a man and woman only. Essentially any time society changed in a way where the structure of social control was threatened by sexuality, sexuality had to be further controlled. Thus, the idea of right vs. wrong was attached to sexuality. Religions became impregnated with ideology designed to enforce social control. Just look at the seven deadly sins in the bible. All of which pose a threat to social control. It taught people when sexuality is ok and when it is not ok. People began to go against their own sexuality and to become ashamed of it. It caused people to regulate each other and to go to war with their own sexuality and bodies. The human race is now intensely out of alignment sexually.
The human being has thoughts and emotions and desire. Desire is in fact the necessary ingredient for personal and universal expansion. Emotion is a carrier of personal truth, the barometer of connection between the nonphysical and physical perspective. Thought is a necessary part of both perception and creation. When the human perceived these three things to be a problem, the human sought to get rid of or control thought and emotion. The human saw desire as a cause of suffering and sought to become desireless. Several spiritual ideologies cropped up to support this idea, turning people against their own minds, emotions and desires.
I’m going to end with a super politically incorrect reality. The physical human has taken himself out of the food chain on earth. He has transcended the elements and also geography. Life for the physical human is no longer one of natural selection. There is a lot more to natural selection than survival of the fittest. One of the reasons that humans survived to such an incredible degree is their tendency towards cooperative behavior and community organization. But this means that the weakest of our species, those who would not naturally be breeding in nature are breeding… And as humanity gets sicker and sicker, we simply come up with medications to help them survive and go on to pass on weak genes.
On top of that, females are still biologically wired to want protection and to be attracted to power for the sake of protection. But the person who has the most power in society is no longer the classic alpha male full of physical prowess. He is a Mark Zuckerberg, a Jeff Bezos, a Bill Gates. So female attraction is at odds with the new reality of masculine power. On top of that, as oppressed females sought to break free from abuse in a patriarchal society, they did so in a way where they rejected their own femininity and took on masculine behavior and traits so as to compete with men in a male dominated society. This threw the masculine and feminine completely out of alignment within humanity. And now, there is a war between genders, relationship dysfunction and all kinds of mental, emotional and physical health issues in people because of it.
You cannot get rid of or transcend that which is you! All you can do is to suppress deny, reject and disown something. All you can do is to split off from yourself and go to war with yourself. To understand what I mean by this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. And the reality is, the human is at war with that which makes him human. And to tell you the truth, the spiritual field is perhaps the guiltiest of this. The entire practice of many religious and spiritual and self-help paths is to deny, push away and control that within you which is ‘human’. The practice is a war between the self-concept and the temporal self. It is the ego, disguised as a higher self that is doing right and good by controlling and refusing to own what is ‘human’ as part of itself because it sees what is human as inferior, bad, wrong, primitive, animal, limited, a liability, and as a source of suffering. People have an idea now that to live a successful, good and right life, they must live in the rejection and controlling of their human impulses, human instinct, human desires, human biology, human physiology, human needs, human limitations, human thoughts, human emotions. It is a perpetual life of self-denial and self-rejection. To the degree that some go so far as to say, your human self is an illusion. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Sad Truth About Most Gurus.
Think about what it is to be human. Make a whole list. Here are just a few examples: A primate, omnivorous, terrestrial, diurnal, walks on two legs, sexually dimorphic, needs to breathe air, no exoskeleton and therefore physically vulnerable. Females experience menopause, needs water and food, possesses a cardiovascular, circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary, lymphatic, musculoskeletal, reproductive, respiratory, urinary and nervous system. Spoken and written forms of communication, possesses genitalia, social species, relationally dependent, competitive, creative, cooking, clothing, uses tools, desire driven, desire to understand, internal fertilization, pregnancy and live birth. Possess lust, envy and jealousy. Hierarchical, driven to control and gain power, artistic, violence impulse, emotions, possesses motive, 23 pairs of chromosomes, fight or flight response, manipulative, average life expectancy of 70 years, possesses ego. Etc.
It is true that mankind has deviated so far from its nature, that most people will not be able to make a truly accurate list. But for the sake of this exercise, look at the list. What is your relationship to those things? The harder it is to make this list, the more that tells you about the degree to which you have disowned your human-ness. How much are you in resistance to those things? In what ways do you try to control those things? Consider making a separate list of your own unique human aspect. This list will be different for all people because we all have different human experiences, we are men and women, we come from different race and cultures and love and dislike different things in our physical life etc. We have things in common with all other people and also things that are unique to our own human aspect. Then consider how you might be able to better ‘own’ that human part of yourself. To understand this, watch my video titled: Own People! (How To Take Ownership Of Your Relationships). And apply everything I say in that video to yourself.
You cannot be in a state of wholeness or wellness or integration while rejecting a part of yourself and trying to control it. Because you are two points of perspective, you must think of your non temporal self and your temporal self (your soul and your human) to be in a marriage. You must powerfully own that which is human about you so as to consciously meet its needs. And allow it to consciously express. This is the only way to truly fulfill your human potential, which is why you came into this life. To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: The Secret To Overcoming Your Problems. And think about what I say in that video relative to your human-ness. The point of you coming to this life was to bring nonphysical into physical, not to try to transcend the physical so as to get out of it, as if it were some kind of jail like illusion. When you take a part of yourself (in this case your human-ness) as a part of yourself, so as to allow it to express itself and to meet its needs, it will do so in a way that is beneficial instead of detrimental to yourself and to others. Like all things, it only does detrimental things when it perceives itself to be separate from you, which it does if you reject it! So, don’t reject your human-ness. Integrate it instead.
Most of you that are reading this article have had the experience of someone in your life suddenly ending their connection with you by cutting off all communication and contact without any warning or explanation. A person who does this tends to also ignore all of your attempts to reach out, communicate or get an explanation for the behavior. The commonly used term for this behavior is ‘ghosting’. Essentially, they pull a disappearing act, like a ghost. Ghosting isn’t a new thing; however, it is getting progressively more common in large part because of social media. The more that connection is taking place online or via text and the less mutual social connections two people share, the easier it is and the less consequences there are for pulling a disappearing act. Because of this, it is practically an epidemic in the modern dating world. And unfortunately, the more it happens (either to us or our friends and family) the more normalized it becomes within society.
There are two main reasons why someone might ghost you:
Fear of engaging with you, especially in the case that any engagement with you would lead to pain or conflict.
The use of it as a passive aggressive power move.
If the former is the case, it is an avoidance strategy. It is an avoidance of whatever scenario they imagine would come about as a result of engaging with you. For example, someone might feel that you will never see their point of view and will only turn things back on them, causing them to perceive you as ‘unworkable’. Perceiving there to be no way to create resolve with you, they simply avoid communicating with you and cut off all communication instead. Or for example, imagine that a guy you are talking to on a dating site or are actually dating realizes he isn’t really into you, he’s into someone else instead. But he doesn’t want to feel like the bad guy and hurt your feelings or get into any conflict with you. He wants a “no drama, no questions asked, no need to justify himself or deal with your emotions” ending. So, he simply avoids it all by suddenly ceasing to respond all together. It’s a convenient way to bypass a breakup. Seeing as how the root of ghosting is so often fear of conflict, it might be a good idea to watch my video titled: How to Overcome the Fear of Conflict. It is important to note that if someone is in a genuinely abusive relationship, ghosting may in fact be the only way to exit a relationship safely. So, it is important to distinguish between ghosting as a pure avoidance strategy and ghosting as a way to genuinely stay safe from someone.
If someone is ghosting as a passive aggressive power move, it is a control tactic. Usually a punishment. You are probably already familiar with the passive aggressive techniques of the silent treatment and stonewalling. Stonewalling is when one person disengages from the other and maybe even walks away so as to becomes unavailable and unreachable, as if erecting a stone wall between themselves and the other person. They become completely uncooperative. When ghosting is used this way, it is a form of emotional cruelty. And it is one of the most destructive relationship habits we can do. A relationship takes two. This unfortunately means that the power in the relationship belongs to the person who chooses to disconnect and withdraw. This is one reason why the person who simply walks out of the room during a conflict is the one with all the power in the relationship. We know this at our core. We also know how painful emotional withdrawal is and therefore how vulnerable it makes someone. Which is why when we feel the need to gain power over the other person in a relationship, ghosting is a strategy we may use. If we feel justified in doing so because we perceive ourselves to be victimized by the other person, we tend to not care how emotionally abusive this tactic is. No matter what the intent is behind ghosting, ghosting creates emotional and psychological wounds.
Why is ghosting so painful? Emotional withdrawal is a form of abandonment and it is emotionally abusive. The single most important need for a physical human is connection. Even more so than food or water or sleep, which is why someone in a bad breakup often can’t eat or sleep. To ghost is to break that connection and thus, it is a direct threat to a person’s primary need. On top of this, people must assign meaning to experiences. We need to understand why something has happened to really understand what to do about it. If no explanation is given, people become consumed with a dizzying mess of potential explanations and tend to vacillate between confusion and choosing whatever painful meaning is most believable to them. Lack of closure drives people crazy. Did I say or do something wrong? Did they lose their phone? Am I not pretty enough, so I just got rejected? Why didn’t I know this was going to happen, am I a social idiot? Did they get into a car wreck and die? Do they not care? It is the meaning we assign to the experience of ghosting that has the potential to do the most damage to us long term. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Meaning, The Self Destruct Button.
When someone ghosts us, we go from feeling like someone cared about us to feeling like they don’t care about us at all. This causes immediate humiliation. It calls into question how ‘real’ the relationship was. It causes us to negatively question and doubt ourselves. We feel disrespected and disposable and therefore, it registers in our being as a rejection and as betrayal. And guess what? Social rejection registers in the body the same as physical pain. Only it is worse, because with physical pain you are not telling yourself self-esteem shattering stories on top of it. When we get rejected, we go to work trying to figure out what is bad or wrong about us or whatever we might have said or did. Deep down, we tend to take the blame for someone ghosting us.
Ghosting also makes you feel totally out of control and dysregulated because if you don’t know what happened, you don’t know how to react or respond. For example, if the truth is that someone ghosted you because someone else triangulated them against you, the reaction and response might be to be really upset and confront both them and the person triangulating. If the truth is that someone in their family died and they suddenly sank into a negative spiral so deep that they couldn’t talk to anyone, the reaction and response might be to be hurt, but to feel empathy for them, not put pressure on them and remind them you’re here for them when and if they need you. Because of the ambiguity, we have no clear social cues to guide our behavior and this makes us feel powerless and out of control and frozen in confusion about how to react. And this is what makes ghosting so hard to resolve. Without any information or explanation or reason given, it becomes very, very hard to emotionally process what happened and the trauma of the emotional abandonment so as to feel resolved and create closure.
So, what should you do if you are ghosted?
Give it one last shot to find the truth, gain info or closure. Roll out the red carpet for people to tell you the truth. Obviously, you should only do this if you are actually dedicated to self-awareness and awareness in general. When someone ghosts you, the highest likelihood is that they are conflict avoidant. Therefore, it can be helpful to roll out the red carpet to make it super safe and super easy for them to tell the truth. You still wont be able to guarantee that they will tell you the truth or even respond. But many people have luck creating closure by directly asking for the truth and promising that there will be no consequences (or strong emotional displays or defensiveness) for the answer. This being said, you can’t promise no consequences and then give consequences. For example, imagine that a person simply stops responding to your chats on a dating site. You could try to send a message like this: “Hey, I feel like all of a sudden you just stopped talking or responding to me. It really means a lot to me to be able to find a person to be with one day and so I could use all the honesty and all the help I can get. I promise I wont get upset or defensive, I just need some honest reflection rather than to keep guessing. Would you be willing to tell me the truth about why you stopped communicating with me?” You’d be surprised how many people will answer honestly if you set up a scenario that they perceive to be safe enough to be honest. While their answer does not justify ghosting (and it is perfectly sane to feel furious at even the idea of having to do this) the feedback you might get has the potential to not only help you to find resolve in the situation at hand, but also to get closer and closer to the truth of yourself and what you are really wanting. And if they don’t respond, don’t reach out to contact them no matter what. Don’t call, don’t text, don’t email them again. Don’t put yourself out there again. Keep your self respect. The rule is: If they want to create repair with you, they have to initiate it and demonstrate to you that this behavior has changed.
Regardless of what the actual reasons are for why a person ghosts you, differentiate between any of their reasons or excuses (which may or may not have to do with you) and their decision to ghost because of it. Many psychologists and self-help experts will tell you that ghosting has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the person ghosting. This can’t actually be the case in a universe based on the law of mirroring. But to generalize, people who ghost do not know how to handle discomfort. The second that even the potential of discomfort arises, they go into avoidance mode. Many people who ghost are intimacy phobic, fear commitment, have huge issues with conflict or are passive aggressively trying to get power. The actual reality of ghosting is that you would gain a lot of self-awareness and awareness in general if the person ghosting you could tell you why they are ghosting you. But any reason for ghosting that the ghoster could possibly attribute to you, or even to themselves, is separate from the issue of ghosting in and of itself. To give you an aggressive example of what I mean, people have reasons to kill people too… But the killing of people as a response in and of itself is still a huge issue whose ownness belongs to the person doing the killing. Ghosting is the same. Ghosting is a dysfunctional relationship pattern. And that’s on them!
The biggest problem with ghosting is… you may never know the actual reason why someone has ghosted you. For this reason, you have to ask yourself, what would I do differently as of today and what would create the most resolve for me if it was a 100% guarantee that I will never know why? The answer to this question is how to take your power back in a situation like this where you are powerless to making someone engage with you.
Know that what someone is saying when they ghost you is this: I don’t have what it takes to have a mature healthy relationship with you. And for those of you who love to turn into rescuers (and therefore feel tempted to ‘heal them’ into a mature, healthy relationship and make excuses for people who ghost), yes all people have the potential to have what it takes, but just because they have the potential, doesn’t mean they will choose to actualize that potential. Free will trumps potential. It is also smart to remember that people who are capable of having and/or want to have a mature, healthy relationship with you, who are committed to you and to the connection with you will find ways to show up in the relationship. You can’t be responsible for 100% of the relationship. You can’t pull someone hard enough to compensate for the ½ of the relationship which they are not taking responsibility for. How they act towards you is an indication of their style of relationship. Therefore, ask yourself: Is this what I want to tell the universe that I say YES to?
Don’t chase ghosts… unless you want your relationships to be marked by the constant fear that something is wrong with you, intermittent reinforcement, avoidance, emotional abandonment and emotional starvation. Also, be aware that some people who ghost, are partial ghosts. And contrary to what you might think, this is even worse than a person who completely ghosts you, because it sets up one of the most abusive relationship dynamics of all time: Intermittent reinforcement. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Why You Can’t Leave the Relationship (Intermittent Reinforcement). Even though being ghosted is painful, consider that you might have dodged a bullet. If someone ghosts you, what they are saying is: I’m not good for you to be in a relationship with anyway. A person who could not be honest with you and take care of the connection, so they simply cut all communication, is not a person who you can build a safe relationship with.
Put conscious energy into dealing with the emotional wound that being ghosted has caused as well as into ways to get the opposite experience. To heal is to experience the opposite. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: What Is Healing?. When you get ghosted, you might run into feelings of rejection and betrayal and abandonment. You might doubt yourself and even your worth. You might hear your mind telling you things like “there’s no way someone would just stop communicating with me if I was a good catch or if I didn’t say or do anything wrong”. People who get ghosted tend to either turn being ghosting against themselves and internalize it or begin to form universal beliefs about all people or all men or all women or all people on dating sites. Be aware that the emotional wounds caused by being ghosted make you vulnerable to telling a story that is simply not correct. And remember, being ghosted is not about your value. If you don’t believe me, watch my video titled: How to Handle Rejection.
Ghosting is a dysfunctional relationship behavior at best, severely emotionally abusive at worst. The fact that it is becoming normalized within society today is a tragedy. But believe it or not, many people who have been ghosted, go on to ghost others! If we want a healthy society and healthy relationships, we need to respect each other enough to refuse to perpetuate this pattern.
There is a reason why in cultures which practiced ritual sacrifice, no one was mortified at the sight of a person being killed in a ritual ceremony. There is a reason that no one thought anything was out of order when in the 11th century, no one used forks because they were seen as blasphemous. There is a reason why people found it normal in ancient Rome to wear an erect and often winged penis around their neck to represent Fascinus (one of their gods) in the same way that Christians of today wear a cross. There is a reason that in middle ages and even longer (really before germ theory came along) people supported the practice that surgeons not clean and sterilize their surgical equipment, in fact a surgeon could be fined or go to jail for doing so. There is a reason that no one found it odd or upsetting that by the 1600s in Europe well over half of all women sent their babies away from home at birth to live with and be nursed by another woman. Even higher-class wet nurses sent their own babies away to be nursed by poorer wet nurses. Up to 80 percent of them died in their infancy, most en-route to their wet nurses who often lived far away. There is a reason that no one thought anything of a pregnant woman smoking and drinking alcohol in the 1950s. The reason for all this is that it was “normal”. Human beings tend to acclimatize to, and then accept, whatever situation we find ourselves in. This is even more true when we are children. Whatever we experience as common in our environment, becomes our idea of normal.
What is normal? Normal is whatever conforms to a standard, is usual, typical or expected. The thing is, normal is not a measure of health. This is why the famous quote by Krishnamurti “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society” is so important. Normal can become a blinder through which we see the world. It can be a way of staying in denial, remaining unconscious and never being able to heal or progress.
A critical part of becoming aware and progressing is to be able to clearly see cause and effect. This is part of what helps us to decide to make a necessary change. Many of the things that had a profound negative or even positive effect on you, you may not even recognize because you saw them as “normal”. If you see something as normal, it will not stand out to you as anything of interest or anything notable. You may completely overlook it.
But this tendency can go much further than the human tendency to not realize that something is out of alignment when it is ‘the norm’. It can in fact serve as a negative coping mechanism. When we normalize something, we can avoid the pain that might be involved with seeing something as not right and not good. For example, imagine that in our childhood it was common and typical for both parents to be away from home all day working. Because it was normal, we don’t see the emotional neglect we suffered. By normalizing it, we don’t see that emotional neglect had a profound effect on our psyche. For example, we don’t see how it has led to the pattern of selecting unavailable partners as an adult and ending up so depressed and lonely that we are on psychiatric meds. Because it was ‘normal’, we don’t see how unhealthy our societal structure is, so we do nothing to change it. We don’t have to see that our parents hurt us, so we don’t have to acknowledge any rupture between ourselves and them. We can follow in their footsteps, thus validating what they did with us (which establishes closeness). We can get through Christmas as if we have a perfectly normal, functional family, which means no family conflict. We can stay in denial about the whole thing. But the problem is, the effect is still there. We just can’t attribute it to a cause, much less the correct cause. By the way, if you want to learn more about emotional neglect, because this is a big thing that is being normalized by people today, watch my video titled: Today’s Great Epidemic and How to Cure It.
Normalization is also a social control tactic that a person uses to desensitize another person to something that might cause distress in order to get them to accept it or agree to it. This is how the normalization of deviance can come about. It might be tempting to think that normalization as a control tactic is something only sociopaths or deviants or abusers use with victims. It isn’t. In fact, parents love to use this tactic to justify their behavior. How many of you have confronted your parents about certain things that occurred only to hear them retort, “every parent did that. In fact, you got it so much better than most kids”.
In this same vein, something that goes hand in hand with normalization is minimization. To minimize something is to downplay the significance of it. When you use minimization against yourself, it is a form of self-deception. You do it to avoid acknowledging and dealing with negative emotions and painful beliefs associated with them by reducing the severity and negative impact and importance of the events that gave rise to those emotions and beliefs. You also do it to avoid interpersonal conflict. It allows us to rationalize and justify and negate. When it comes to normalization, our favorite way to minimize is through comparisons. Things like “I went through the usual stuff… unlike those other kids who came from alcoholic homes or those kids in other countries working in sweat shops”.
When someone does it to you, it can be a form of invalidation and even potentially manipulation, abuse and gaslighting. If you want to learn more about gaslighting, you can watch my video titled: Gaslighting (What is Gaslighting and How to Heal from It).
Normalization makes the process of becoming aware of, acknowledging and changing a pattern impossible. When it comes to personal growth, it is a favorite tool of resistance. I would be rich beyond measure if I got money every time I was trying to make a person aware of the true negative impact and importance of some occurrence in their life and they said “yeah… but I mean, that was common, it’s not like I knew anyone else who didn’t experience that”. Many go on to minimize by saying things like “well I mean it’s not like I was getting raped or was starving to death like some other kids.” Any time a person normalizes like this, just imagine the very thing that needs to be resolved, popping up in front of a person and them saying “nah… that’s not it”, and stuffing it below the floor boards.
There is an expectation that if something is normal, if ‘everyone is doing it’ or if ‘that’s just the way things are done’ then it must be right or good. This tendency to equate what is normal with what is good or right can be very, very dangerous. There is also an expectation that if something is normal, it will not have a negative effect on someone. Just because something is normal does not make it right or good. And just because something was or is the norm, does not mean the negative impact of it somehow doesn’t exist. The law of cause and effect is in order, regardless of whether or not something is common.
Guess what? The things you experienced absolutely effected the trajectory of your life regardless of whether they were common practice or normal or not. You must recognize cause and effect. Things you would at face value write off as insignificant can be the very traumas that are ruining your life today. Instead of normalizing it, you need to see the actual impact of things like being weaned, new siblings being born, the punishment and reward style of parenting, being one of thirty kids in a classroom, being expected to do what pleases your family no matter what you truly want, not having certain emotional needs met, growing up with a single parent, being teased, eating processed foods etc… You will never be able to heal what you cannot acknowledge and let yourself feel and consciously change. You will never be truly aware if you simply accept something or write something off because it is ‘normal’.
It might just be beneficial to ask yourself and really put some though into: What if this thing I think is normal, really isn’t? And what would be so bad or what would it mean if this thing I consider normal is really not right, not good and not ok? And never ever forget that one day, those things that you don’t bat an eye at today, might just be the things that cause people in the future to look back at you in horror.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard the term “cancel culture’ being mentioned a lot lately. But what does this really mean? The time has come to dive deep into the concept of cancel culture so as to completely understand it.
When something is canceled, it is ended, nullified and eradicated. You can think of it in terms of a tv show. When a TV show is no longer wanted by the public and has no more support, it is cancelled. To cancel a person, similar to a TV show, is to decide that they are not wanted and as a result, to withdraw support from them and turn against them so as to end, nullify or eradicate them in the public. In the era of social media, this often takes the form of publicly calling out whatever you disapprove of about them, boycotting their work, organizing group efforts to take away their power and remove their public platform. And this is usually done in a performative way so as to gain attention and significance by going against them.
I’m going to ask you a question: When someone says or does something that you don’t like, what do you do? Do you simply stop focusing on them and go focus on something else? Do you actively engage in a constructive debate about whatever it is that they said or did so as to try to find a meeting of minds? Do you turn against them as a person so as to try to get rid of them?
Cancel culture is a shared social attitude and custom of trying to get rid of the source of something you dislike (the person saying or doing something) rather than trying to resolve or enter into conflict with the words or actions themselves. A good example of this is: Let’s imagine that a famous actress said she does not believe in vaccines. Instead of entering into a constructive debate about vaccines, people simply decide because of her opinion that they dislike, to organize to make it so that she, herself is eradicated from the public eye. They attack her character. They go to the media outlets to call her our publicly. They report her social media platforms so they are deleted. They create such a bad reputation and stir up so much controversy that no one can hire her without bringing the same antagonism upon themselves. So soon, she is blacklisted and unable to work and has been successfully eradicated from the public eye.
One of the main things fueling cancel culture is our attachment to a sense of goodness. People can commit all manner of sins when they are convinced that they are doing it for the “greater good”. The reason that the pattern of cancel culture does not stop is because we fall into the trap of seeing the person doing the cancelling as a ‘good guy’. In fact, this is how a person who is engaged in cancelling sees themselves. They fall into virtue signaling and performative wokeness. How this begins is that the minute that someone says or does something that they dislike, they immediately fall into the social triangle. The social triangle is essentially a triangle of the roles: hero, victim and villain. They see the person who is saying or doing something they dislike as the villain and this means, they are free to choose from the two “good guy” roles of the victim or the hero. They often see themselves as the victim first. But soon, gain power by transitioning into the role of the hero by ‘going against evil or wrongness or badness’. They can do whatever it takes to destroy that person because they are doing it in the name of the greater good and imagine themselves to be ‘saving others’ by doing so. It isn’t much different than a Christian soldier. He has grown up with the understanding ‘thou shalt not kill’. But the minute he decides that something is a threat to his country, suddenly killing is not only ok, it makes him a hero. The triangle is one of the most dangerous social dynamics in existence.
As long as people who engage in cancelling see themselves as the hero and as long as we continue to play into that idea as a society, we will remain an unconscious species. Cancel culture opens the door wide for people to publicly express opinions or sentiments that are intended to do one thing: To demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue. And when a person does this, as well as demonstrates political correctness, they can see themselves and be seen as awake and aware and therefore smarter than others. It is a performance of goodness, rightness and virtue. This means, it is in fact a narcissistic strategy as well as a disguised way of fueling the ego… Not activism. The people engaged in cancel culture see themselves as the moral ones, but are in fact the very ones making a meeting of minds or actual healing impossible. Instead they are waging war and destroying lives. For this reason, they cannot call themselves conscious or moral. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening.
The issue of cancel culture has been there for quite a while. But the reason it is cropping up with such intensity right now is multi fold.
First, this is the era of the millennial. Millennials are dictating societal trends more than ever. And the millennial mindset gives rise to cancel culture. To generalize, the millennial generation is a wounded generation. It is a generation of really, really angry people. And they have reason. They have been duped and set up for failure by those who had more power than they did. They feel that everything and everyone is against their best interests, which makes them prone to seeing others as enemies. And they feel really, really powerless. This naturally primes them to go after the source of whatever they dislike as well as to go after power in backdoor and unconscious ways. It also primes them to naturally hate hierarchy and want to take power away from others. The minute they feel displeased or hurt, they feel powerless to whatever displeased or hurt them and so, they want to restore their sense of power and social media has given them the power to do just that. Of course millennials tend to simply remain unaware of all of this and instead justify cancel culture by saying that it is “to hold people accountable for what they say and do”. To understand more about this, watch my videos titled: What’s Wrong with Millennials? And How to Heal the Millennial Wound.
Second, we are living in the era of social media. Social media has changed the world we live in. It has given people a control over canceling what they like and dislike that they never had before. It takes nothing to ‘cancel’ someone. Today, if someone doesn’t like something that someone said or did, they simply rally a group of people against that person from the comfort of their own homes and get them to do things like spread slander or collectively report the person so as to eradicate their support and to have their platforms removed. It is to consciously poison people against someone, so they turn on that person. You can think of it as mass triangulation. To understand more about triangulation, watch my video titled: Are You Being Triangulated?
Social media has now become the new battlefield and you don’t need bravery or expertise or an army or anything else to wage war. You just need a computer. In fact, you will probably only gain by waging war because you can get rid of whoever said or did something you didn’t like as well as see yourself and get others to see you as the public hero. You can also gain significance by being the one to go against something that is significant.
Third, humanity is in an incredibly unsafe time. A great many people feel powerless. We are polarizing intensely and prone to seeing those with alternative viewpoints as enemies. With the issue of a pandemic and also the issue of racial injustice on the table, personal sensitivities and triggers are at an all-time high and the collective is demanding political correctness. Because of this, many people who are in the public eye have recently been “cancelled” in what feels like a public witch hunt. The problem is, the deeper and deeper our culture commits to political correctness, the worse this pattern will become. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Political Correctness.
Cancel culture isn’t something that just effects celebrities, influencers and other people in the public eye. It effects everyone. You don’t have to be famous to be boycotted. And one could say that a goal of cancel culture isn’t limited to punishing someone, it is also a strategy to shame and scare just enough people about potentially suffering the same consequences to make them conform. Let’s say that you share an unpopular opinion or if someone is able to find something from your past that people would consider bad or wrong. They can un-friend you, spread it all over the place on social media, use it as a way to discredit, reject and triangulate against you entirely. That picture of you partying in your college years can even cost you your job.
Because the justification that is used for cancel culture is forcing accountability (especially by those who hate the term itself), we can’t talk about cancel culture without talking about accountability. Canceling someone for a thing they say or do is often seen as social justice. Straight out of the gate, it is critical to see that cancel culture is not really about justice. It is about control. Control is really the forced prevention of what is unwanted and the forced bringing about of what is wanted. People use cancellation to force conformity to ideals. This can be clearly seen currently in the atmosphere of the #metoo movement. If enough people are cancelled for saying or doing things that are perceived anti-feminist, then soon everyone will be forced through fear of consequence to conform and not say or do anything that goes against feminist ideals. Herein lies the first major issue with cancel culture. If people simply conform for fear of consequences, nothing has happened to make an actual change. For example, if people are cancelled on account of perceived sexism, nothing happened to resolve their sexism or the sexism of those around them. Sexism was simply driven beneath the floor boards by public shaming and threat of punishment. It was hidden to fester. It actually makes sexism worse instead of better, just less visible and more covert.
From a universal perspective, cancel culture is an attempt to usurp universal laws. One of the laws in a mirror-based construct (which we live in) is cause and effect. This is what many people call karma. You get a reflection of yourself. This is an organic process. It is a natural, built in form of justice if you will. And it was a construct designed specifically to create learning and therefore awareness. But people want to control this process. They want to take control over the reflection. They do it with punishment and reward. Humanity uses the basic human needs and the deprivation of them as a way to control another person. You have to get this: Punishment and reward is training a person. Punishment and reward is a control technique. And one of the biggest problems with it, other than it doesn’t work, is that it prevents learning. People learn from a natural consequence. For example, if I lean too far over on my bike, a natural consequence is falling. The punishment that human beings impose, is an unnatural consequence. For example, if a child stays out past curfew, we may take his television privileges away. But being unable to watch TV has nothing to do with staying out late at night. So the child learned nothing about the dangers of being out at night or the many consequences that could be a natural result of doing so… things like being too exhausted to pay attention in school the next day or running into situations or people that are dangerous. All this child has learned is that his parents are dictators and that he either has to conform or hide his absence from the house better. If a consequence is not causally related to an action, people learn nothing.
People who participate in cancel culture practices perceive themselves to be powerless and find this control tactic to be a way to take their power back. For example, a woman who feels totally powerless to men and who has weak boundaries or fear of asserting them may feel like her boundaries are not being honored by a man. So, in order to get her power back, she will call him out publicly, triangulate lots of other people against him, call for him to be boycotted and fired from his position. The amount of public pressure that she is able to amount may just result in him being fired. She will tell herself that she is saving other women by doing this and that he is getting what he deserves and is being held accountable for his actions.
As you can see from this example, another big problem relative to the accountability argument is the subjective perception of fairness. For example, the natural consequence of touching a woman in a way that is unwanted would be something like he, himself being touched in a way that is unwanted or he, himself being physically afraid of someone else or being rejected by her and thus, not being able to be physically near that woman. People have a skewed sense of fairness because of the magnitude of their personal triggers. They take their skewed ideas of fairness and justice and create an unnatural, causally unrelated consequence for others. In our example, a man losing his entire reputation, career and potentially life is not actually a causal, natural or one could argue even a fair consequence. Society also doesn’t progress because there is no learning. The man just learns that women are bitches. The woman does not learn how to assert boundaries. The company that fires him learns to bend to public pressure. Society simply creates another rule and consequences for breaking it. And society becomes less and less free and thus less and less conducive to human wellbeing.
I must put some questions before you. What is fair? What is Justice? And how can you know you are right? Who decides what the right consequence is? Are you aware that still to this day in some areas of the globe, people think that the right punishment is public stoning? Years ago, the right punishment was beheading or hanging. What might we think of our concept of punishment today when we are looking back from the future? Are you aware that punishment and reward has nothing to do with cause and effect, it has to do with the limited human perception of right and wrong and strategies to control other people into conforming to ‘rightness’?
We are being called to decide collectively: what does humanity actually want? And why? And how do we best achieve that? No one engaging in cancel culture behavior is actually thinking about this. And in fact cancel culture would not exist if we made our minds up about what we actually want for society and why and how to consciously achieve it. For example, we don’t want a racist society. Let’s say that someone makes a racist remark. Cancel culture is wanting to make it illegal and such a punishable offense that no one ever does it again. But this does nothing to heal racism. It simply drives it beneath the floor boards, where it festers.
I’m not going to tell you today what the definition of justice should be. I’m going to let you really question that yourself. But I am going to tell you that if what we want is a society that is conducive to human health and wellbeing, we are going to have to care infinitely more about healing than we care about control. We are going to have to let go of this juvenile eye for an eye mentality. Besides, at the deepest level what we are really trying to do when we want someone to suffer for making us suffer, is to force empathy and therefore force someone who is out of alignment with us to align with us instead.
To heal is to experience the opposite. This means that people who hold a painful perspective would need actual healing experiences that actually alter the perspective that they currently hold. For example, someone who steals because they feel they have no access to resources would have to experience resources and abundance, not sit in a jail cell. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: What Is Healing?
From objective perspective, humanity is an out of alignment species because they cause the very thing they punish. For example, the judicial system creates the very rules that ultimately force people into illegal activity. Then that same judicial system punishes them for that illegal activity. Police officers are part of the karma of drug abuse. Parents and schools are part of the karma of their children becoming delinquent.
Humanity is getting more and more out of alignment with its own best interests right now with cancel culture. It is forcing polarization, war, dishonesty, lack of authenticity, suppression, denial, fragmentation, punishment, control, conformity, lack of freedom, ignorance, and unconsciousness, all under the guise of ‘doing what’s right’.
Are you ready for the silver lining? Cancel culture has the potential to raise awareness of the entire topic of justice into human awareness for re-evaluation. This starts with a question that I want you to ask yourself: What is your definition of justice? No one agrees on this. And instead of thinking about it, most people simply swallow an idea of justice fed to them by the society they live in. What does humanity want out of justice? What do you want out of justice? What do you want done with the person who has hurt you or someone else and WHY?
When you walk up to someone and introduce yourself, you introduce yourself by one name. What this means is that you see yourself as a single unit of consciousness. You see yourself as an “I” or a “me”. The problem is, this perception of yourself does not accommodate for the full truth of you. In fact, it can obscure the truth of you. If you see yourself in this way, you can only see the forest and not the trees. In fact, the single biggest step you can take towards self-awareness and awakening is: To begin to see yourself as an ecosystem that is being called by one name.
You call yourself by one name, but you are in essence an accumulation of a very complex system of ‘smaller’ units of consciousness… Just like an ecosystem is. To understand what I mean, look at the ecosystem of the Amazon Rainforest. We call the Amazon Rainforest by one name, but it is an accumulation of its emergent layer, canopy layer, understory layer, forest floor layer; which themselves are composed of an accumulation of evergreen trees, flowering plants, birds, insects, reptiles, fungi, amphibians, rainfall and soil etc.
From objective perspective, each physical human is his or her own universe. We could zoom in on a physical human and see that each thing that is included as a part of this human is in fact its own unit of consciousness. And as a physical human, you have so many things that added together, equal you. For example, you are an accumulation of your spiritual, mental, emotional and physical layers. Just looking at your physical body, each cell of your body has its own consciousness. Each organ also has its own unique consciousness and identity. Your body contains more bacterial cells than human cells (about ten times more in fact) many of which you could not survive without. They are integral to the system that makes up… you. They are considered to be an integral part of you. Your psyche is also not singular. It is made up of many different ‘parts’. We have the tendency of calling these parts ‘sides’ or ‘facets’ of a person’s personality. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.
Any ecosystem is a community of interacting organisms. Any system is a community of interacting units of consciousness. It is a complex, interconnected network. The “system” that you are comprised of, like any system is unique. There may be common trends that it shares with other systems to be found in the greater universe, but it has its own configuration and each different element of it has a specific relationship to all other parts of the system. For example, your kidneys have a unique relationship to your bladder. Your mental layer of consciousness has a unique relationship to your gut biome. And these relationships, like any relationship can be or become one that is symbiotic and loving, dysfunctional and oppositional or anything in between.
We have to be able to zoom in and zoom out, in order to be fully conscious. When we treat the assemblage that comprises us as if it is a single unit of consciousness, what we are doing is zooming out. When you zoom out, you can see that the collective consciousness of any group of beings could be perceived as a single consciousness. For example, there are millions of people on this planet and we could zoom out to see that if you add all of their consciousnesses together, we could call this single unit ‘the consciousness of humanity’.
In all honestly, you could zoom in and out indefinitely in this universe. For example, even if you zoom in to become aware of the consciousness of a single cell, that single cell is also in fact its own ecosystem of even smaller units of consciousness. And if you were to go into one part of a single cell, that part too would be its own ecosystem of sorts. One reason we must be able to zoom out, is to be able to identify trends, commonalities and patterns for example. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: The Surprising Truth, Generalization, Stereotyping and Uniqueness.
All this being said, to be conscious we must be able to do the opposite as well, to zoom in. And this is what people have the hardest time doing, because they feel like in doing so, they lose a solid sense of a singular self. The question soon becomes, if I am all of these things, then what am I? The answer of course is that you are all of them and therefore, not any single one of them. The zooming in process of conscious awareness, requires you to dis-identify. If you would like to understand disidentification, you can watch my video titled: Disidentification (The Process of Non-Attachment).
When all you can see is the forest, and not any single tree within that forest, you fail to be truly conscious of what is happening in that forest. Sticking with this analogy, it is ignorant to refuse to recognize that the tree has its own unique ‘self’; its own personal truths including likes and dislikes, desires and perspective as well as relationships to other trees and insects, soil and weather in the forest. If you cannot recognize the unique consciousness that belongs to the tree, you will not be able to see, feel, hear or understand any of the problems that are happening in the system of the forest.
So often, when a person can’t figure out what is happening with them, it is because they are not zooming in. They are looking at the forest and not at any single tree and the relationship that tree has to other trees and insects and soil etc. You have to be able to get deep into the perspective of any one unit of consciousness that comprises you, in order to fully understand it and its relationship to other things within the system it belongs to. And when you begin to do this, the symptoms you are seeing in that greater forest that is you, suddenly begin to make sense. The second that the medical establishment understands this, the entire human approach to both illness and medicine will change. If this concept interests you further, and you would like to dive a tiny bit deeper into a technique that can help you zoom in relative to yourself, feel free to watch my video titled: Parts Work, what is Parts Work and How to Do It.
I want you to ask yourself this question today and give yourself some time to answer it: If It were true that my name is just the title given to an accumulation of an entire system of things that I am comprised of ( in other words: If I were to see myself as an ecosystem instead of as a single being), what would change for me? How might I begin to live differently? And how would I approach problems that arose in my life differently?
Seeing the reality of the amalgamation of different units of consciousness that culminates in you will change everything with regards to your approach to life. It will make life feel so much more rich, deep and alive. You will finally recognize the complexity of existence, and yet, the divine simplicity within that complexity. You will find so many of the answers that you seek.
We all know a person, maybe you are this person, who chronically opposes, denies and doubts, who has lost faith in human goodness and who is skeptical and pessimistic to the degree that it almost seems they possess either no belief in (or a contempt for) pleasure, hope, faith and positivity. Society calls this person a cynic. But what society has failed to recognize is that cynicism is not a character trait. Cynicism is a coping mechanism.
To cope is to make a specific alteration mentally, emotionally or physically so that you can manage or adapt to something that is causing you stress. A coping mechanism is a specific procedure, process or technique, which manages or creates adaptation to stress. And therefore, by definition, it is the opposite of changing something so that there is no longer a stressor. To understand this more in depth watch my video titled: How to Let Go of a Coping Mechanism. Cynicism is a coping mechanism that may have saved your life at one time, but can absolutely ruin your life. It is also so painful for other people that it creates a vicious spiral of self-fulfilling prophecy.
To understand this coping mechanism, we must go back to the onset. People do not incarnate as cynics or skeptics. Have you ever met a cynical baby? If you are cynical, at some point in your life, you experienced one or several serious let downs. Catastrophic sudden shocks or disappointments relative to the positive elements of your life. For example, a situation or many that caused a catastrophic blow to your belief in others, hopes, dreams, goals, trust, faith, desires, or expectations. This was so psychologically and emotionally and maybe even physically traumatizing, that you decided a state of positivity is inherently vulnerable and so you had to buffer yourself against positivity at all costs. As a result, you began to use negativity as this buffer. But this buffer is experienced as painful and antagonistic by others, causing them to behave in harsh and defensive ways to you, only further reinforcing your negative beliefs in people, which cause you to behave even more cynical, which cause them to be even more hostile to you, which cause you to behave even more cynical, which cause them to behave even more hostile. And thus, the vicious spiral continues.
It is ultimately your right to remain cynical in your approach to the world. The reality is that you have every reason for it to be justified for you to feel and act the way you do. It is simply that living in a constant state of pessimism and let down is not really living and it is also a coping mechanism, much like positive bypassing, smoking, cutting, gambling or suppression for example. For this reason, if you are interested in letting go of the coping mechanism of cynicism, here are some suggestions:
Be brave enough to see what you are getting out of being cynical. How is it serving you? Cynicism is a defense mechanism. You use it to try to stay safe. When you feel hurt and afraid and disappointed, but you can’t face those emotions directly, you turn against the world and begin to push things away. We use cynicism to make sure we never ever get our hopes up only to be let down again. Essentially, we disappoint ourselves before the world can ever do it for us. But cynicism paints the lens you see the world through dark and it also separates you from genuine awareness. Whenever you have an antagonistic perspective about something that someone else feels positive about or whenever you want to deny or doubt or feel pessimism creeping in, stop caring about whether you are right or wrong. You might be either! But that shouldn’t stop you from asking yourself, how might it keep me safe to think and feel and act this way in this exact situation? For example, imagine someone says “I feel like next year is going to be a good year” and you feel yourself immediately thinking the other person is just an optimistic idiot, but you know you want to work on your tendency of being skeptical, look at how believing the person is an idiot and that next year is gonna suck keeps you safe. What does it prevent you from experiencing or being?
You are going to have to see yourself as a “scapegoater” to get over the behavior. Instead of making the real problem the problem, such as the other person, you made positivity or hope or optimism the problem, thus scapegoated it. And so many skeptics are scapegoats for their families and other people that if you are a skeptic, you should know how “off” that is. Many skeptics do this scapegoating of the positive so as to preserve relationships with the people who let them down. In other words, it isn’t Dad that’s the problem, it’s that I got my hopes up that is the problem. That way, I can control not getting hurt again, not having the solution be in dad’s hands and still hang out and be close to dad without there being a problem between us and still feel a sense of belonging. Getting over cynicism is about getting into reality about what the real problem was and is, relative to things not coming to fruition, hopes or expectations not being fulfilled, disappointments and negative trends. Rather than scapegoating the optimism, expectations, hopes or goals themselves.
You set out to prove everything wrong because if you prove everything else wrong, you are not wrong. Many skeptics feel like in life, other people either made or tend to make everything their fault so if they prove that the fault lies with other things and people in the external, they don’t have to feel that deep down fear that everything is their fault. This is the insecurity you can’t face. But anything besides facing that insecurity is avoidance. This is one of the reasons why arguing with a cynic or skeptic does no good, it reinforces the painful narrative inside them of “I am wrong”.
If you are a skeptic, you are going to have to accept a very vulnerable truth about yourself. All of your ways of thinking and behaving are ways to completely disguise your true missing need: Kindness. What you really want is kindness. But you would never dare reveal this vulnerability or set yourself up to have your hopes dashed again and so you would never admit to it or ask for kindness directly. If you are a skeptic, you tend to isolate and not have many friends. You give off the impression that you don’t want any. But deep down, you don’t want to end up alone. You want relationships that feel good and feel like ease, with people who are kind and considerate and who really value you and do not let you down. The only reason you tend to isolate is because you associate people with pain. The thing is, your cynicism hurts people. So they associate you with pain. You are perpetuating the very cycle that hurt you and made you this way in the first place. If you want society to change, you already know you can’t expect THEM to change first so that you can change.
If you want to have people in your life who are kind and considerate and who value you and don’t let you down, those are the qualities you need to offer others. If all they feel is stupid and wrong and un-valued by you, which is how they currently feel, they can’t really share themselves with you and wont desire to be close to you. As it stands, people have to be willing to be pricked and bitten by you to be close to you. Sit with that and see how you might be willing to make yourself safer to others and sit with how much it sucks to have to be the one to make that first move into kindness. You give off the absolute opposite impression from what you really want and need, which is the opposite of a recipe for actually getting what you want and need.
Many skeptics come from families where there is already a problem with happiness, no matter what the members of the family might have said. For example, it is common for a mother to say “all I want is for you to be happy” but in reality, any time her child was happy, she got exasperated or shamed her child for getting his or her hopes up. If you are a skeptic, the vulnerability of positivity is what you are trying to avoid. For this reason, it is critical to understand your negative association with positivity and happiness and see that positive emotion could in and of itself be a trigger for you. Negating anything positive is how many cynics control their rather wounded and therefore fragile emotional system by maintaining a predictable feeling of ‘negative or monotone’ so as to create predictability. It’s a “no real dramatic up and downs if I keep myself at a predictably low emotional altitude” thing. But this is not the life you came here to live. It is not a recipe for fulfillment. To understand this dynamic fully, watch my video titled: When Happiness is a BAD Thing.
Be brave enough to look at the wound hiding underneath the coping mechanism. To do this, you’re going to have to be especially attuned to the subtle emotional trigger you have when you hear good news or positive expectation or hope being expressed by someone else or being felt by you. You can use that discomfort and the thoughts that come with it like “that’s never going to happen” or “the only reason that person is doing that is for their own self-gratification” or “the world is going to shit anyway” as a doorway into the original experience. This way, you can create resolve relative to the actual wounding experience. To do this, you can use The Completion Process. Doing this process will help you answer the question: When did I experience a trauma in which my faith in people or my positive goals or hopes or expectations or faith was dashed? When did I feel totally blindsided? When did I become disillusioned? What painful disappointment was too much for me to resolve? To learn how to do this process, you can pick up a copy of my book titled: The Completion Process or visit www.completionprocess.com and select a practitioner to lead you through it. You can also watch my video titled: How to Heal the Emotional Body. And because disappointment is so often the deep wound beneath cynicism, it would benefit you to watch my video titled: Disappointment (How to Get Over Disappointment).
Like many good coping mechanisms, they become all wound up in your self concept. In other words, you found a way to wind a coping mechanism that causes you pain into your self-esteem. Thus, your ego now imagines that it is dependent on it. Cynicism must be unhooked from your self-esteem in order for you to let go of it. If you are a Cynic, you maintain the coping mechanism because you tell yourself that being cynical or skeptical makes you more intelligent, wore experienced and worldly… better. Your sense of superiority is derived from seeing what you call the “harsh reality” of others and of the world. You tend to derive self-esteem through how dumb and innocent and naïve and inexperienced you think others are when they are positive. The reality is that when you suffered the original wound of being so disappointed and so let down, you turned against yourself. You didn’t only scapegoat positivity, you also scapegoated yourself for being so stupid and naïve as to not see it coming. You project this same sentiment onto anyone who subconsciously reminds you of yourself at the time that wound occurred… anyone who has their hopes up, is positive, has faith or expresses optimism.
Start the practice of AND consciousness. This is a safer thing to include as part of your self concept than cynicism. Reality is comprised of polarities. ‘And Consciousness’ is a state of mind where you develop the ability to hold space for extremes. This is an important part of the development of both mental and emotional maturity. In the moment that we acknowledge a contradictory truth or state of being and expand wide enough to be able to hold both, as if holding both is ok, we have dis-identified with both extremes. We have ceased to become either or and instead have become the thing that is holding both. Reality includes both positive and negative. Both faith and doubt. The most conscious person is the person who doesn’t try to negate one with the other, or who only recognizes one and not the other, it is the person who is aware of both in every situation. It is not any more aware of a person to only be aware of the negative than it is to only be aware of the positive.
If you are a cynic, to be in reality is to see that you are relationally traumatized. Relational trauma is trauma experienced in relationship with other people. This has led to you becoming a deeply distrustful person and for good reason. Anyone who tells you that you should just start trusting people is seriously out of reality. As you cannot just force yourself to trust someone, it’s actually impossible. But trust in relationships is a key component to happiness. For this reason, you’re going to have to really, deeply understand trust and how to develop it. To understand how to do this, watch two of my videos: The first is: Trust (What is Trust and How to Build Trust in Relationships). The second is: How To Create a Safe Relationship.
As a cynic, you are trying harder to buffer yourself from suffering and pain than you are trying to see truth or to see things as they are. But the best thing about you is that you WANT to be in reality. You may be currently leaving positivity out of the picture of reality, but you are more brave than most when it comes to seeing many of the painful parts of reality that other people want to deny. You have broken out of many patterns of ignorance and falsehood and discovered more of what is real and you have seen the genuine problems in the world. This knowledge can give you power in fact. After all, your only axis of power is to be in reality. What have you become disillusioned with and why? What is that disillusionment showing you that you do want? How could you put your energy into it and take action to create that change you do want? For example, if the issue with the world is that people aren’t kind, and if you had to be the one to show people by example what it looked like to be kind, what would you think, say and do. Now Do That!
As a skeptic, your negative assessments are a defense against suffering. You are deeply afraid of expecting anything that turns out to be less than what you want or expect. You spend your life disappointing yourself and letting yourself down and countering hope and faith before the world can do it for you. It was a brilliant strategy. But all brilliant strategies can wind up being the very thing that harms you, in your case the very thing committing you to a painful life. I am not here today to make a case for positivity. Or to convince you that life is good. Or that people are good. You have plenty of valid proof of the opposite. I am merely here to say that you are living in a coping mechanism that just might be preventing you from the fulfillment of the life that you actually came here to live.
Most people on the planet feel conditionally loved. They feel people will value, appreciate and love them only if they are perceived as good and right and successful and are doing what others want and expect etc. This means that most people have this deep missing need of feeling unconditionally loved no matter what they do or don’t do, are or are not. At face value, this seems reasonable. After all, we all know the pain that conditionality can bring. We know the pain of feeling like we have to act a certain way in order to belong and to avoid conflict and to not be abandoned. The practice of unconditional love is one of the cornerstones of many spiritual philosophies. Just go ahead and look up how many quotes on unconditional love there are. But let’s look at the shadow of this philosophy.
When we say we want unconditional love, what we really mean is that we want an unconditional relationship. We want a relationship with no consequences. We want a relationship where no matter what we do or don’t do, the other person will continue to value us and appreciate us to the degree that they will feel good towards us and never ever get into conflict suffering with us or want to leave us. Sit with this for a minute. To expect unconditional love is to expect there to be no cause and effect. To want unconditional love is to want a relationship where there is no pressure on you, including no expectations. It really isn’t love we are asking for. We are simply using that word to represent the feeling of being valued and appreciated so as to be wanted and pulled in and held on to by someone.
To love is to take something as a part of yourself. To understand this more in depth, watch my video titled: What is Love?. When you do this, you expand so that yourself and the other person are like two parts within you. You don’t abandon the part that is yourself for the sake of the part of you that is the other person. It is simply that now, the best interests of both parts within you (yourself and them) are your concern. You have an intrinsic motive to want to meet both of their needs and resolve both of their pain. But this means that incompatibility now matters to you immensely. You cannot feel good meeting one’s needs at the expense of the other. And therefore, to truly love, you must recognize conditions that exist for both parts within the relationship instead of deny them.
For example, let’s imagine that you are a person who wants a simple, no pressure life that is centered around hobbies and hanging out with the people you love. Now let’s imagine that you develop romantic feelings for a person who is ambitious, someone who wants a big life that is centered around the accumulation of wealth, achievements and travel. If you get into a relationship with this person, this incompatibility will very soon cause you both pain. You will feel conditionally loved when the other person begins to complain about your lack of ambition and about how they carry the financial weight in the household and about the “losers” who you hang out with. You begin to feel that they don’t like who you are and that they will only love you if you become someone else.
They will feel conditionally loved when you are frustrated at how they can’t just be satisfied with what they have. They will feel conditionally loved when no matter how much you see that they are unhappy in the small, predictable life, you do nothing to change it and instead keep playing your same hobbies and spending time with those same people instead of trying to make a better, bigger life for both of you. What you want is for this person to value you and appreciate you to the degree that they will feel good towards you and never ever get into conflict suffering with you or leave you no matter if you never make any more money, never travel and make them carry the burden of any life style improvements alone for example. What they want is for you to value them and appreciate them to the degree that you will feel good towards them and never get into conflict suffering with them or want to leave them no matter if they think your friends and family are all losers, leave you behind for trips they go on around the world, and work so much that it feels like you’re living two separate lives. This is not possible.
You can include someone as a part of you, so as to see what is truly best for them and what they truly want. But if the truth of someone takes you further away from what you want, further away from your truth and causes you to suffer, you will not be able to value and appreciate it to the degree that it feels good and compels you to be on good terms and stay with them in the same relationship configuration. This means that loving someone does not always mean to always approve and always stay with them. To understand more about this, watch my videos titled: Incompatibility (A Harsh Reality in Relationships). And Why Approval is Not Love.
The person who you are the least likely to get the most unconditionality from is a primary partner. The reason is that they have the most “skin in the game”. They are the person whose life is the most directly affected by conditions involving you. In fact, to be unconditional, they would have to be totally disconnected so nothing you are or do affects them. This is why so many people who are in need of relationship rehabilitation do so well with therapists. A therapist relationship is more unconditional than almost any other relationship. No matter what you say in that room, it doesn’t cause them to get upset or de-value you or stop appreciating you or want to stop seeing you every week. But this is because they have no skin in the game. If you go home and shoot up heroine and burn your house down, it doesn’t directly impact their life. A friend is probably going to be more conditional because they are more directly affected by you than a therapist. A primary partner is going to be a relationship you really have to step up to the plate for. It will be a relationship of expectations and pressure. The more compatible you are, the easier this will be and the less it will seem like this.
Love is not the same as a relationship with no pressure and no expectations. I know that a relationship like this seems the most secure and safe to you. It feels like the relationship you can relax in and feel good about yourself in. But it is a myth. It is a myth you are chasing because of your deep wound of “you are wrong and bad and therefore must change”.
I want you to ask yourself, “When I say, I want to be loved just for me, what does “just me” mean? What is just you? What are you? Are you what you do? What you want? How you behave? How you feel? What you think? What you say? Your actions? What your desires are? What your needs are? Just an intangible essence or energy? Are you only one of these things, or all of them? Once you decide, can you see that to not get into any conflict suffering regarding those things or to want to stay tied to you forever, someone would have to be compatible to those things?
I am going to challenge you that what you want is not an unconditional relationship. You aren’t even incapable of giving that to someone. Will you continue to value and appreciate someone to the degree that you will feel good towards them and never ever want to physically leave them if they cheat on you? What if they abuse you? What about if they make a decision that means by staying with them physically, you will never align with your desires? Chances are, if you are a person who says you can unconditionally love, unlike everyone else, what you are really saying is that you are a person who thinks it is ok and even good to give your best interests up for and to suffer for a relationship… to stay with someone no matter how miserable you and/or they are together.
What you want is a relationship with someone whose conditions are compatible to you… Compatible to your wants, needs, values, character makeup etc. For example, if you desire for someone to stay with you even though you have a temper or to stay with you if you end up in an accident that leaves you disabled or if you are poor forever, what you want is someone who can say yes, I’m compatible to that, because those aren’t conditions for conflict suffering or for ending a relationship for them specifically. One person could genuinely not have the condition of physical ability with regards to fulfillment in their relationship, another person could. One person could genuinely not have the condition of ambition, another could. One person could not have the condition of being together physically, another could. One person could not have the condition of wealth, another could.
The reality is that everyone has different conditions. What you want is the person whose conditions, you feel ok with and who is ok with your conditions. That is far closer to actual love than the mythical ‘unconditional love’ that people have unconsciously gone after for so long. Love in and of itself is ultimately unconditional because to take someone as a part of yourself is not a contradiction to incompatibility. Love is ultimately unconditional because at the deepest level, all is one. We are all part of each other, whether we recognize it yet or not. There is no actual way to truly separate from one another, even though in the physical dimension, we can move our bodies to create the perception of distance. There is no way for you to separate from this universe. But all people must become damn conscious of and damn straight with themselves and other people about their relationship conditions. Keep in mind that we will have different and unique conditions for every different relationship configuration that we have; from therapist relationships to coaches to business partnerships to friends to siblings to parents to children to husbands to wives.
Because the quality of unconditionality has become a virtue in this society, people are shamed for their conditionality. They are led to believe some conditions are ok and some are not. For example, you are fine to love conditionally and can thus stay a good person if the condition upon which you leave someone is being beaten up or sexually abused by them. You are not fine and are in fact a terrible person if the condition upon which you leave someone is them being poor. The thing is, just because you shame someone for something, doesn’t mean it changes. People simply deny it even though it is there. They say, “I love you no matter what and till death do us part” and then leave you when their subconscious conditions are not met. The unfortunate thing is, to admit to your own conditions relative to relationships, you are going to have to risk feeling like you are and like people will see you as a bad person… ironically thus re-triggering your original wound of: “you are wrong and bad and therefore must change” as well as your pendulum swing desire of wanting unconditional love.
Each and every person comes into this life as a unique expression of source consciousness. This means each person comes in with a unique essence, like an energetic signature. Their unique purpose and unique thoughts and unique feelings and unique desires and unique needs and unique role within the greater universe is embedded in that essence.
The socialization process (which parenting is at the core of) could be a process of enabling a child to unfold according to that unique blueprint. But this is not the world that we currently live in. We live in a world where the process of socialization is usually an impediment to this process of unfolding.
The people around you as a child look at you as if you are a raw substance that they can and should mold into what they think is best for you and best for them. They tell you that certain things are acceptable and if you are those things, you will be loved and safe. They tell you that certain things are unacceptable and if you are those things, you will be rejected and unsafe. Anything that remotely resembles something that will make you unsafe or make you meet with disapproval is then something that you feel vulnerable about. And you begin a process of splitting yourself. You put forward and develop only the things about you that make you loved and safe in the world. The rest, you keep hidden. By doing this, you become distorted. It is a process of conditioned self-distortion.
Your personality is in essence, fake. Your personality is an amalgamation of the parts of you that you identified with and developed so as to stay safe and away from vulnerability in the very specific situations that you were raised in. You suppressed, rejected, denied and disowned the aspects that made you vulnerable or got you disapproved of in the world. By doing this, they became subconscious. They are buried outside of your awareness and you most likely don’t know they even exist. This is how your truth was hidden from you. To understand more about this process, I encourage you to watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.
One pattern that is a part of this socialization process, hid your truth in a way that conditions to fight to keep your truth hidden. It is a pattern of development and praise. Let me explain this pattern: Adults have a pre-conceived idea of what is ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’. This idea is going to vary from culture to culture. Once they form the idea of what ‘good thing’ they want a child to be, they will begin to pin point, develop and then praise the child for that thing. The child’s entire system is dependent upon this approval because it guarantees them closeness and safety with those he or she is dependent on. So, the child will identify with and develop self-esteem relative to that thing which the adults sought to develop in him or her. With his or her self-esteem now wrapped up into that thing, the re-owning of the suppressed, rejected and denied opposite part, now not only poses a threat to his or her safety, but also poses a threat to his or her self-esteem. With unsafety and shame as a barrier to cross in order to become authentic and discover the full truth of himself or herself, this person will fight for the skewed truth of themselves. This process is so subconscious, it is rather like your childhood experience conditioning a Pavlov’s response within you relative to your own internal character traits, which keeps the actual truth of you hidden. It causes you to defend the distortions within you as well as defend the idea that the distortions are not distortions, but are instead genuine, authentic expressions of who you are and what is true about you. But because this is not actually the case, there is no way for you to lead an authentic life and thus, no way for you to be deeply fulfilled in your life.
Here are two examples:
A girl who is raised in the cowboy culture is naturally feminine, bubbly and sensitive. These are traits which are seen as weak and pathetic in a culture that values being “cowboy tough”. This little girl is put into all kinds of situations in her childhood environment (both intentionally and unintentionally) that require the opposite trait of “true grit”. When she shows grit, she is safer and praised and admired and accepted. She is being conditioned by her environment and the people around her to be ashamed of, disown and bury her bubbly, sensitive femininity. She is also being conditioned by her environment and the people around her that she is full of grit and that she should be proud that she is full of true grit. By the time she grows up, the truth of her is skewed and hidden because part of the truth of her is literally invisible to her own vision of self while another part is exaggerated to take up her full vision of self. She is not only split, she is distorted. And it will cause her A LOT of pain. All her life decisions will be based off of true grit. The man who becomes attracted to her and who she marries will love this about her and most likely be the kind of man who is not looking to take care of a woman because he wants a woman who can fend for herself. The career she chooses will be one that reinforces the need for true grit. She has been conditioned to see women who are feminine as weak and pathetic, but she will nonetheless become more and more jealous of them and the way they are taken care of and protected. She may struggle with infertility, because she denies her femininity and the tissues of her body have been formed and continually fed with the message to be hard and closed so as to become like armor, which is the opposite of the soft, open, receptive state necessary for conception. She will be more and more unfulfilled because the needs and expression of the feminine, sensitive, bubbly part of herself have no place in her life and because of it, many of her deepest needs will not be met.
A boy grows up with parents that had children specifically to serve their own needs. They believe servitude is what they are owed for giving the children life in the first place. The parents either ignore or discourage any interest or behavior that does not benefit them directly. Instead, they encourage and develop his “helping” skills. He is daddy and mommy’s little helper. Whenever he helps mom with cleaning or helps dad with a project or helps them take care of a younger sibling, or helps out on the farm, he is praised. When they talk about him to their friends, they say he is such a good help. His self-concept and self-esteem is now tied to being a helper. He has been conditioned to ignore any other interests he has, to the degree he doesn’t even remember they exist or rejects them as selfish. He has become distorted. His life will be unhappy because he will make all his life choices based off of this identity he has now been conditioned into of ‘the helper’. He will choose a career where he is helping someone else to succeed. If he marries a woman, he will find a woman who needs support. He will most likely be so codependent that he loses track of his own likes and dislikes and interests and does not know why he feels so empty and like he has no core. It will feel like he has just somehow ended up in someone else’s life.
One thing to understand about authenticity is that when the process of socialization conditions a person to identify with and develop and wrap their self-esteem around one trait, it doesn’t mean that trait is false and the one that is disidentified from and buried is the actual truth of them. Both traits are in fact a true part of them. For example, grit is a genuine part of the consciousness of the girl in our example and helping is a genuine skill in the consciousness of the boy in our example. But so is feminine, sensitivity in the consciousness of the girl in our example. And so is interests and talents that did not directly serve the parents in the consciousness of the boy in our example. It is simply that when one is fed and the other is denied, the person becomes inauthentic because their expression becomes polarized and skewed. They polarize and distort and become unaware of the full truth of themselves and make life choices that do not account for or accommodate the actual, full truth of themselves.
The process of integration will reveal these distortions to you so you can bring yourself back into alignment. Chances are, if you are reading this article, your healing experience is in the process of revealing one or several of them to you. But to start you off, I want you to make a few lists comprised of the things that each adult caregiver in your childhood sought to develop and praise in you. When you have done this, make a list of the things that your childhood environment conditioned in you. For example, one person might write a list under dad like: Bravery, studying law, football, unemotionality, logic, honor, self-lessness, hard work etc. And under mom like: Kindness, academics, hard work, honor, gratitude, self-lessness, putting family above myself etc. And under environment this person might write things like: hard work, selfless-ness, academic success, duty to elders etc. Looking at these lists, see if you can feel how that conditioning may have distorted you. What might it have caused you to reject, deny and disown in you? What might it have caused you to develop and exaggerate? How might that have negatively affected your life? How might it be negatively affecting your life now?
For example, the person in our example has found out that a trait that his mom, dad and environment sought to develop and praise is hard work. Any part of himself that is seen to oppose this, like fun and spontaneity and relaxation most likely got suppressed, denied and disowned. He doesn’t think of himself as a fun guy and also immediately despises the idea of relaxation because he is afraid of becoming lazy. He derives his self-esteem from being able to call himself such a hard worker, especially because it makes him better than all those shameful, lazy people in his life. But is he happy? No. He might realize that this distortion that he was conditioned into has made it so he doesn’t do things that come easy to him. He only chooses to do things that don’t come easy to him. He might realize that his body is breaking down and he has back issues because he runs himself into the ground working all hours of the day. He may realize that he attracts people who are lazy because they know he will do all the work for them. He may see he doesn’t spend enough time with his loved ones because it feels un-productive.
When a person is conditioned to wrap their safety and self-esteem up in an element of their consciousness, while being conditioned to reject another element of their consciousness because of believing it to be unsafe and shameful, the truth of themselves will stay hidden (even from themselves) until the pain of this internal distortion and the pain that is the result of the life choices they will make because of this distortion, is so acute that they can’t maintain it anymore.
But it is possible to recognize and develop parts of yourself that you have rejected and denied and have become unconscious of as a result of this process of conditioned distortion. It is possible to come back into a state of alignment, a state where your embodiment reflects your true essence. In fact, one of the very best ways to do it, is through what many experts now call parts work. To understand how to do parts work, watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It). You do not need to be afraid that un-distorting yourself will lead you to become shameful and unsafe, like they led you to believe. That is simply the conditioning that caused the distortion speaking.
I’m going to warn you. This is the biggest “call out” I have done up to this point. Because of the fact that I will be pressing on your biggest pain point, which is your deepest unmet need; and also, the lie of altruism, be prepared for this episode to trigger you. It is especially likely to trigger shame. Just know that I wouldn’t be doing this if you weren’t ready.
The first truth I must present so that you understand the rest of what is to come is:
There is no such thing as altruism in the universe. Before you panic about this and decide the universe is evil, consider that in a universe where at the most fundamental level all is one, there cannot be altruism. Altruism is a concept that can only exist in a reality of self vs. other and thus in an atmosphere of separation. This means that acting selflessly is not actually possible. And self-sacrifice is in fact a self-centered act. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Self Sacrifice, the Most Self-Centered Thing in the World. Altruism is usually a mutually beneficial thing. But I say mutually beneficial, because it does not happen unless there is a personal benefit on behalf of the person who is taking ‘altruistic’ action. Because altruism is not possible, only mutual benefit is, conscious transaction is in fact the next step for the human race. When you see something as a part of yourself, suddenly their happiness is a part of your happiness and so there is immediate, built in and intrinsic benefit to lending your energy to their wellbeing. But before people can truly grasp oneness and therefore see ‘other’ as a part of themselves, conscious transaction is the closest that people can get to love at this point in human evolution. When someone is being “altruistic”, they are trying to create a mutually beneficial arrangement or transaction without your knowledge. The problem is that right now, people are doing this with one another un-consciously and subconsciously rather than consciously.
The blind spot that you have is the WHY you do nice things for other people. To understand what is in this blind spot, we have to go back to childhood. Right now, no matter how good parenting is, the elements that either are or aren’t there in a child’s upbringing amounts to an upbringing that is not perfect. This means there are needs you did not get met from your parents or other people or situations in your childhood. But we can narrow this down and say that most people are starving for something very specific. Because they did not ever get that specific thing, they don’t think it will be given to them. They have to figure out how to get it and they believe they must either ‘take it’ or ‘pay for it’. Whenever we feel a need cannot be met directly because it won’t be given and it won’t come as a result of asking for it, we feel we must manipulate to get it. Manipulation is simply a strategy we use to try to get something that we can’t get directly, in an indirect way. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Meet Your Needs. You create a subconscious transaction where you do something nice for them (what many would call altruistic) with the expectation of getting that thing you have been starving for in return. Because it is subconscious, you don’t communicate this transaction to the other person. You never express what you’re expecting to get, because you’re not conscious of it.
The problem is that most of the time because you are going about the process indirectly and so the person never knows or agrees to their side of the deal, the transaction will go sour. You won’t get that need met by doing it. Also it is likely that you will try to create a transaction in a situation or with a person that mirrors the original person or situation in which you didn’t get the need met in the first place. Thus it is even less likely to produce the result you are going for.
So you can understand this pattern, I’ve got some examples:
A child is a scapegoat in the family and doesn’t get alliance no matter what they do. They are always the bad guy. As an adult, this child does things for others expecting that if they do, they will get guaranteed allegiance. If the people in their life do things that seem un-allied, they will feel betrayed and taken for granted by them.
A man’s father left when he was a child and his mother treated him like a burden, who was on his own to do everything by himself. He could never get the need met of someone being totally committed to him. He gives everything to the woman he is with now.
Puts her through college, buys her gifts, pays for her rent, helps her with everything, all with the hidden expectation that it will guarantee her life-long commitment. If she acts not committed in any way, he feels crushed, taken advantage of and like he is in a one-way relationship.
A girl’s parents were always busy and off doing other things. They did not help her succeed in any way. She needed but could never get togetherness. She rescues men and is with them no matter what with the idea that doing so will guarantee that they will do the same in return… to always commit to togetherness. If the man she is with starts to do things that make her feel like they are not “together” in life, like walk ahead of her or decide to spend time with his friends instead of her or do something for himself instead of for ‘them’, she will feel completely alone and undervalued and abandoned and used and resentful.
A boy is always disapproved of. His unmet need is unconditional approval. When he grows up, he gives unconditional approval to people who exhibit behaviors that are disapproved of by others, expecting to get the same in return. He even makes mistakes to “test them” in their capacity to continue meeting this need. If they begin to disapprove of him in any way, he feels angry, worthless, wrongly and unfairly treated.
A child was never seen as special. They try to befriend a celebrity because they can see that deep down the celebrity is lonely. They do this because if they are friends with a celebrity, they can feel significant by proxy and this makes them feel special. But this is a transaction. If they are treated in any way by that celebrity or anyone around the celebrity in a way that doesn’t make them feel special, they feel insignificant and therefore re-traumatized and vengeful. Celebrities have died as a result of this turn of events leading to friends trying to gain back significance in the celebrity’s life by killing them.
It is common that in our relationships we will “test” the other person relative to this need of ours that we are trying to subconsciously meet through hidden transaction. We will act in ways so as to say: Are you really committed? Will I really get unconditional approval? Will you really see me as excellent? What if I do this?? Or that?? We will do this in order to see how reliable and secure this need meeting is because we feel so deeply insecure about it.
You use these hidden transactions as a way to meeting your un-met needs. It will seem on the surface like altruism. But if the unmet need is not met… If the thing you’re making a subconscious transaction to get is not given, you will feel the way that anyone feels when someone doesn’t hold up their end of a deal. Things like betrayed, taken for granted, resentful and even hatred. Something interesting to recognize is that the relationship that you will consider the most painful, is the one in which the needs you have in the subconscious transaction are met the very least. For example, if what a woman is looking to get out of her subconscious transaction with a friend is: recognize the positive in me, her worst friendship will be the one in which her excellence is recognized the least in exchange for what she is doing for that other person.
The solution to this pattern is not to stop being selfish and to stop being transactional. It is to make subconscious transaction a conscious and expressed and agreed to transaction instead. To do this, you have to first recognize the needs you are trying to fulfill through subconscious transactions. Look at a nice thing you are doing for someone in your life or thinking about doing. Ask yourself: If I were to accept that there is no such thing as altruism in this universe, therefore the reality is that I am trying to get some need (or needs) met for myself out of doing this “altruistic” thing, what is that need? What do I expect in return? What is the feeling state I’m after? What would make me mad to not get as a result of doing this thing?
I’ll give you a hint: The core thing we are trying to get through hidden transaction is the thing you will complain about others not doing, not offering and not giving to you or to others the very most. It will also be interesting for you to know that if you can’t go directly for that need, your child will likely carry on the legacy of trying to get that need met… or actually be the one to get it met.
You also have to recognize the needs other people are trying to fulfill through subconscious transactions for doing nice things for you. If you were to accept that there is no such thing as altruism in this universe, therefore the reality is that they trying to get some need (or needs) met for themselves out of doing this “altruistic” thing, what is that need? What do they expect in return? What is the feeling state they are after? What would make them mad to not get as a result of doing this thing?
Granted, having a conversation with other people about this usually triggers intense levels of shame and as a result, denial. But the ideal situation is that a conversation can take place so as to mutually arrive consciously at a mutually beneficial transaction for you both. This conversation can sometimes reveal that you will always be barking up the wrong tree trying to get the specific need you have met from that person or in that situation. But this brings you one step closer to a person or situation where you can actually get it.
The other thing you can do is to integrate the part of you that doesn’t give you or allow you to have the thing you’re trying to get from others through subconscious transaction. For example, a woman who is trying to get commitment by doing nice things for the men in her life, must integrate the part of herself that is not committed to her. A man who is trying to get the recognition of excellence by doing things for other people, must integrate the part of him that does not recognize him as excellent. To learn how to do this, watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How to Do It).
When you figure out what need you are trying to meet in this round-about way, don’t shame yourself for it. Instead, go directly for it with the people and in the ways that you can ACTUALLY get it.
Back pain is an all-consuming experience. You will not realize how much you depend on your back on a daily basis until it is “injured”. And when it is, you will feel crippled. It is also an emotionally intimidating experience, especially for people who use movement to turn down or turn off their negative emotions. The current medicine of our day does not yet recognize the relationship between the mind, emotions and body. All physical ailments have a mental and emotional root… even ailments that at face value are caused by physical accidents. To leave out the mental and emotional dimension of physical ailment is to practice poor medicine. The resolution of physical ailments is often dependent upon the resolving of those mental and emotional elements. But back pain is special in that if you are going to resolve your back pain, you are going to have to get ahead of the current times and really get that if you have back pain, it is about an emotional issue.
Injury can obviously occur to cause back pain, people can break their back in an accident for example. But this is by far and away the exception. And, there is also an emotional reason for someone getting into an accident. Unless someone has no idea why they have back pain because it simply came on seemingly out of nowhere, people who suffer with back pain, believe they were hurt or that the pain was brought on by some physical activity. This is not actually the case. This ‘moment’ of onset is simply when the pain started. You can think of it as the trigger. There is always a reason why THAT moment was when it started, and it is related to the emotional/mental root of the issue. The reality is that because of this mental/emotional root, there was stress that caused the tension in that area before that moment. This tension makes the blood flow constrict and muscles and nerves and bones and tendons and ligaments in that area susceptible to setting off pain signals as well as more susceptible to injury. You could consider this moment of onset the crisis point of escalation of the underlying mental and emotional issue.
For example, let’s say that a woman feels totally unsupported and burdened with the full responsibility of the household and children. She needs support and she needs her husband to take his fair share of responsibility relative to the kids. Her daughter has to be driven to soccer practice. She knows her husband will stay in the chair watching TV. So, she feels obligated and resentful and bulldozes herself to be the one to get her daughter ready and in the car and drive her to practice herself. This causes tension to occur in the muscles in her back. When she pulls into the parking lot, and lifts the soccer equipment out of the car, she “tweaks” her back and tells the story “the pain is about me lifting the equipment out wrong”. The pain is actually about feeling totally unsupported and unfairly burdened with responsibility in her home life. This moment is simply the moment that this repressed emotional problem in her life has reached a threshold at which point the symptom of that underlying problem begins.
Some experts will tell you that back pain is your body’s way of converting psychological pain to physical pain as a way of covering up, distracting or repressing the emotional pain. It is true that this may be the protection strategy belonging to one or more of your parts, because it is terrified of facing the reality of the psychological and emotional stress it is in. You must consider that potentially the physical pain is serving as an avoidance or deflection strategy from emotional distress. But physical pain occurs when the emotional and mental pain is repressed (which is to subconsciously feed it with energy) for so long, that it escalates into a physical manifestation. And it does this so that you can no longer repress it and are forced to face and resolve it instead. The faster and more willingly you do this, the faster the physical manifestation, which is a symptom (in this case the back pain) goes away.
Pain exists to draw our attention to what needs attention in order for resolution to occur. In fact, you could say that pain stands for; Pay Attention Integrate Now. Pain increases to make suppressing, denying, escaping or avoiding a problem impossible to do. Pain can be thought of as a child that is screaming and crying for you to resolve something that is causing it pain. If you are in pain, something in your life on a mental, emotional or physical level needs to be changed so that you can be in alignment and feel good. If you are not putting energy into recognizing and resolving the actual root issue causing that pain, simply taking pain medications is like silencing that small child by drugging it to sleep. All pain has a cause. You have to find and resolve that cause for the pain to go away. The pain is not the problem. It’s the alarm bell alerting you to the problem.
You’re going to have to talk to your back to find the mental/emotional root of your back pain. A while back, I did a video titled: Parts Work, What Is Parts Work and How To Do It. In this episode, I explained that when you have a physical ailment, you have to talk to the part of your body that is having a problem. When it comes to back pain, you can talk to your back and you can talk to your back pain specifically (they may be two different parts). To learn specifically how to do this, watch that video. I must mention here that consciousness exists separate of the brain. Pain originates in consciousness. But on a physiological level, pain originates in the brain. For this reason, another ‘part’ of yourself that is good to become familiar with and talk to in order to find resolution when you are suffering any kind of pain, is your brain.
When it comes to back pain, you must take a look at whatever situation in your life seems “unworkable”. When something is unworkable, it implies that you are powerless to it staying the way it is. If you perceive something to be causing you pain or threatening to cause you pain on an emotional, mental or physical level, you need to change the situation so you can feel good again. If you believed that could happen and knew how to do it, you would feel empowered and so, you wouldn’t become stressed and tense. But if you perceive whatever is causing you that pain or posing that threat to be unworkable, you feel immediately powerless. The perception of unworkability leads to a feeling of powerlessness and this creates the emotional experience of pressure, anxiety and anger. With back pain, this entire emotional experience is what becomes repressed. What in your current life do you feel is totally unworkable? Name it directly. From there, all your energy should go towards consciously figuring out what to do about that perception of unworkability specifically. First of all, is it really unworkable? Maybe you can tell whoever is involved in the situation what you feel is totally unworkable so that you draw their attention to it so that they can problem solve that unworkability with you. Ask yourself, what could I try to do so that the situation that feels unworkable is workable instead? Only if it is truly unworkable… you can ask yourself: if I accepted that unworkability, instead of simply accepting that my life will be pain, what would I do instead? Because so many unworkable situations are lose-lose situations, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: How to Win at Lose-Lose (No Win) Scenarios.
Consider that your back pain is your physical body screaming “I can’t” when you refuse to do it... That perhaps it is expressing a boundary that you refuse to acknowledge or assert. Back pain often suggests you have a limit you are not acknowledging. What can’t you do or can’t you say yes to? What is really a No for you? What is that personal truth you feel you can’t admit to or own or express because of fear of consequence for doing so? Or can’t admit to or express because you feel it doesn’t matter if you have a limit, you don’t get to have that limit? The reality is, a limit is not weakness. It is as unhealthy to ignore your limits as it is to never stretch them or invent ones that don’t exist. You can’t live a healthy life and bulldoze your actual limits.
People experiencing back pain are TENSE in their current life. People with chronic back pain are tense people personality wise. So it would benefit you to recognize the tense-ness of yourself, especially the why behind that tension. As well as to figure out and resolve the factors contributing to that tension. For example, if you find yourself in a crisis where suddenly there is a threat to something important in your life, you will become tense as a way of guarding yourself or buffering yourself against others. For another example, you might be a person who has a deep attachment to success. You put constant pressure on yourself to achieve and excel and work hard to accomplish everything by yourself so as to avoid feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. When you become aware of the tension in your life specifically, ask yourself: How could I let go of that tension? How could that tension be changed into ‘release”?
If you struggle with back pain, you have to take a look at control. Tension, which is the physiological root of back pain, occurs when we are trying to control something. And we tend to try to control situations to avoid a perceived consequence. What might happen if you had no ability to control the current situation in your life that is causing you stress? Are you telling yourself that you are lending help or support to other people, when in reality it is just disguised attempt to control them or the situation so as to avoid a consequence? Is there any way you could bring about what you want without resorting to control behaviors?
Back pain always happens when you are bulldozing yourself. You are doing something despite the fact that you don’t want to. And so often with back pain, this bulldozing is related to doing something for others (like serving or helping) that you don’t want to do… In other words, a burden. This back pain tends to increase when you perceive that serving or helping or the responsibility you are taking should not be “on you”, but it is. This leaves you carrying the weight of the world. To visualize this, imagine you are on a walk with 5 other people. Each has a back pack with critical supplies for the trip. But with an excuse, each person eventually decides to drop their backpacks. They ask you to carry the backpack for them. You don’t want to. But leaving their backpacks behind means consequences for you and for everyone else too. So, you put their backpacks on one by one… Until you buckle under the weight of the backpacks and the self-betrayal and the unfairness. The two most common frequencies I see in conjunction with back pain are obligation and resented responsibility. For more information about this, watch my video titled: Bulldozing (The Way to Ruin Your Relationship with Yourself). To resolve back pain, you’ve got to understand clearly why you are saying YES to burdens that are a NO for you and find another way to resolve the situation that is putting that burden on you, other than just taking on the burden.
If you were to sum up the energy of the back on a metaphysical level, it would be: Support. Anytime you experience back pain, you need to consider how unsupported you feel. Do you have support? Are you being enabled? Or are people in your life doing the opposite? Are you bending over backwards for other people? Are you afraid of or resistant to getting or accepting support? What support do you need?
A while back, I did a video titled: The Hidden Positive Intention, The Key To Letting go. I that video, I explained that often inherent in negative symptoms or behaviors, there is a positive intention for them to exist. Some people call this a secondary or back-door gain. If you are a person who feels burdened and unfairly responsible with no support, back pain can manifest as an ‘excuse’ to do things like have a boundary you don’t feel like you can have, get people “off your back” or to rest or make time for yourself (without feeling the usual guilt you feel for doing so) or to get out of obligations or to solicit support from people or to force people to take back the responsibilities they should have already been carrying in the first place. Take the time to see if you’re so afraid of directly confronting this “problem” in your life that is causing the back pain, that the back pain itself may in fact be a back-door solution. Resolve your fear about confronting and resolving the problem directly and with others instead.
Breathe into your back, especially the specific area where you feel pain. You can do this as a visualization. Breath is life force energy. It also carries oxygen. Both of which are desperately needed to release “stuck-ness” and restore movement to an area where tension or injury has occurred. Many experts on back pain believe that on a physiological level, back pain is caused by oxygen deprivation to the specific tissues effected due to a lack of blood flow to them. Many have even succeeded in linking that it is the mind and subsequent emotions that signal the biological reaction that creates this reduction in blood flow and oxygen. You may even want to consider oxygen treatment if it is available in your area.
Don’t stay in bed and don’t use a brace. This is the thing you may be tempted to do. But this can actually have the opposite effect. It can increase pain and stiffness and weakness as well as prolong recovery. Your back needs blood flow to heal and blood flow occurs with movement and muscle contraction and release, not staying still. You can begin with things like stretching and walking, gradually resuming normal activity in conjunction with the decrease in your pain. The fear of physical activity is common when it comes to back pain and you need to work with that fear instead of bulldoze it.
But as counterintuitive as it may sound, it may be beneficial for you to look into the theory that several experts have, which is that the solution to overcoming back pain is to do all of your normal activities and act as if nothing is abnormal at all so as to stop playing into the the psychological pain conversion pattern that is so often at the root of back pain. At the very least, I want you to imagine that today, you simply acted as if nothing was going on and resumed your normal activities and as a result, your pain went away entirely. What would you be afraid would or wouldn’t happen? For example, I asked one of my clients this question and to his surprise, he felt afraid and let down. His answer was, I’m afraid that if my back pain just goes away just like that right now, I will go right back to saying yes to financially supporting my ex- girlfriend and helping her whenever she asks and keep putting up with, instead of changing this dysfunctional dynamic we have going.
In order to introduce the experience of ‘support’ to your system, you can try physical treatments you feel called to. Things like relaxation techniques, magnet therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, stretching, nerve stimulation, heat or cold therapy, physical manipulation or massage. Simply be aware that physical treatments do not resolve the underlying root of the problem and that many experts even go so far as to say that when no structural problem is present, physical treatments of any kind are either placebo or perpetuate the problem due to it feeding the psychological to physical pain conversion pattern.
Back pain may just be the physical ailment to lead people into the awareness of the mind-body connection. Part of developing that relationship is to trust your back. When we are faced with back pain, we begin to doubt in our own backs. We believe they are fragile, vulnerable and injury prone. Society for some reason has perpetuated this idea. This is not the case. Your back is being used constantly. It is in fact a very tough part of the body that is constantly in use in your day to day life and is perfectly capable of handling all of the activities that you are warned that it cannot handle. It is perfectly capable of imposing limits and setting boundaries and asserting your personal truth, when you cannot. By consciously integrating this rather rugged aspect of your being, you can live a life of integrity that is in-alignment with your personal truth, without back pain.
People ask me every day why other people in their life won’t change and why no matter what they do, they can’t change certain things. The answer is actually very simple. The answer is because there is resistance to the change. In other words, not all energies involved are a ‘yes’ to the change, some are a ‘no’ to the change. This is very hard to recognize when you are not conscious of the resistance. For example, let’s imagine that what you really, really want is to have a loving partner. You may not be conscious of parts of yourself that think having a loving partner would mean losing your sense of autonomy. And so you may consciously be doing everything to get a partner while in the background, the other parts of you are sabotaging every effort you make relative to finding a partner and are keeping you single on purpose.
Our failure to recognize and work with resistance that is present, is what really keeps us stuck in a pattern the way it is. To understand resistance, I want you to imagine a stream with a fast-moving current. In this current, there is a boat. This boat has 6 oarsmen in it, each of whom have a paddle. Some of the oarsmen are paddling downstream with the current. Some of them are paddling upstream, against the current. These oarsmen who are trying to paddle the boat upstream are in resistance. They are in resistance to the current itself. They are in resistance to the oarsmen who are also trying to paddle the boat downstream. Resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force.
We can meet with opposition from the outside and we can meet with opposition from the inside. Obviously resistance from the outside is external people, events and circumstances opposing you. But internal and external resistance go hand in hand. The resistance we encounter on the outside is a reflection of internal resistance that exists, usually internal resistance that we are unaware of. The main source of internal opposition, the source of our resistant thoughts, words and actions is the splits within our consciousness. The rule of thumb is this: If you have any resistance taking place within your being, you must directly deal with the resistance first before doing anything else. For more information about resistance and what to do about it, watch my video titled: Urgent! Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else!
Change is something that people tend to resist. In fact, when most people are faced with change, they go through a cycle of denial, anger, confusion and sadness before accepting the change and most especially finding a new confidence within the change. There are multiple reasons why people resist change. I’m going to list some of these reasons for you.
Our sense of safety is all wound up in the way things are and the way that we are. Any change, destabilizes this sense of safety and security. It completely messes with our sense of control. For example, imagine that a strategy that we have found for staying safe in relation to other people is to be independent. If suddenly we find ourselves having to be dependent or having to let go of our independency in any way, we immediately feel unsafe. Or let’s say that whatever change we make, will make us different than other people. Suddenly, we feel we don’t belong and may be treated as an outcast, which would hurt us emotionally and threaten our closeness with others. Immediately we feel unsafe. The need for a routine, which is pretty much the opposite of change, falls into this category. Our routine is familiar and makes us feel secure. When we have to do something differently and our routine gets disturbed, we lose that sense of security. Perceiving ourselves to be unsafe or vulnerable, activates our primal centers for survival, which tell us: This change is to be avoided at all costs.
Change makes us lose our confidence. This goes hand in hand with our sense of safety, security and control. Because a change requires us to step into the new, we suddenly feel vulnerable and incompetent and out of control. Many changes make us feel like what we know and all the skills we have built up are suddenly obsolete. We also feel more at the mercy of others who are more competent in the new scenario than we are. In this way, change tends to make us feel bad about ourselves and most people want to avoid this feeling at all costs.
We don’t understand or misunderstand the need for the change. This is especially true if we were not consulted about the change, included in the decision to make the change or don’t see or feel that the change is in our best interests. If we do not get why a change is happening or why it is needed, we will fight hard for what we already do. Sometimes, a change seems like a bad change and therefore not something that we consciously chose, but something that was forced on us instead. When this is the case, we resist change the very most. It may be of interest to understand that most drastic change in fact arises from crisis for this reason. Because people have so much resistance to change, people usually won’t choose change, instead the forces that be in this universe often end up forcing it upon them. When this happens, the first thing we do is to refuse to accept that a change has been forced upon us. In fact, it is change that we are trying to prevent. All the ways we try to gain control over the situation are an attempt to get things to go back to normal. We become desperate to get things to go back to normal. It takes a while for the reality to sink in and to accept that the change is happening whether all of ourself consents to it or not.
Fear of what we project into the unknown. And insecurity relative to the new. Uncertainty puts the worrying mind into high gear. People don’t actually fear the unknown. They fear what they imagine the unknown could contain. Also, our confidence is rooted in what we do know. This is why the sayings “better known pain than unknown pleasure” or “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” exists. What it means is that we tend to choose to stay in a situation and not make a change even if we know that not changing is painful. Most of us would rather do this than take the risk that by making a change, things could be better. We feel confident in our ability to handle the pain of what we already know. Many times, when faced with making a change, we don’t know if that change will be better or worse. We feel no confidence that it will be better and we have no confidence in our ability to handle it if it is worse. You can even see this fear in the fact that when we are threatened, we tend to want to be in a familiar environment, even if it is more dangerous because we feel less vulnerable in an environment that we know the most about.
We have emotional connection to what we think the change is threatening to make us lose. If we perceive any loss in conjunction with a change, we do not accept the change. This could be the loss of a person or a place or a thing. It could also be the loss of an idea or feeling or experience. For example, if a person gets so old that they are no longer allowed to drive, they may resist this change because it causes them to feel a loss of a sense of autonomy that they cherish.
Low levels of trust. This is especially the case when a change is invoked by someone or something else. We live in a world where people do not take each other as a part of themselves. As a result, many people really are out for themselves and their own best interests. This means they cannot be trusted because to trust is to rely upon someone to capitalize your best interests. To the degree that a person has grown up to expect this behavior and to the degree that they have been hurt by this, they will resist change that is imposed on them or asked of them by anyone else because of this lack of trust.
Also, growing up in an environment where people cannot be trusted causes a person’s own consciousness to fragment. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease. Many of their own internal parts will be engaged in a zero-sum game and will mirror their external environment in terms of their strategies that destroy trust. So a person will also not trust themselves. Not trusting yourself also makes you resistant to change because you’re not sure if you can trust the part of you that is on board with that change.
We don’t clearly see the reward and benefit of the change. If we did see the rewards, we would have most likely made the change already. If we don’t see the reward or benefit of a change, we don’t feel like we chose the change, we feel it is forced upon us. This makes us feel totally out of control. This also makes recognizing the benefit or reward of the change almost impossible to see. Instead, it feels like the change is against us. It is not what we want and we feel it is the opposite of our best interests. No one is going to get on board with a change that they feel will leave them worse off. In the same vein, if the rewards for making change do not justify the difficulty of making a change, we will resist the change.
Even the least conscious people can feel the reality of ripple effects. We avoid a change because we don’t want that change to effect other areas of our life. We live an existence that is highly, highly interdependent. One change can lead to many, many other changes. It can bring about a whole new set of problems along with possibilities. Most of us intuitively sense that our lives are a game of dominoes. We have some of those dominoes that we are ok with watching fall and others that we are not ok with watching fall. Imagine making a change, pushing one domino over, and watching a whole chain of them go down, including ones you didn’t want to have fall. For example, a woman might avoid leaving her husband because she knows that doing so would force her to have to get a job and doing that would mean that she would have to put her kids in daycare and doing that may make them feel negatively towards her. We are especially afraid of making a change if we can feel the potential of a change to affect many areas of life, but don’t have clear vision of exactly how or in what ways. For more information about this, watch my video titled: The Catch-Up Effect, Why We Really Fear Change.
A critical thing to understand about the resistance to change is that it doesn’t come from a bad place. Other people and parts of yourself resist change when they think that the change is going to lead them to pain instead of pleasure. Their perception may be wrong, but they genuinely believe that they are acting in alignment with best interests in saying NO to the change. For example, a person who is anti-abortion, genuinely believes they are preventing murder and preserving life. To them, anyone who wants to change an abortion law so that it is legal, is literally voting to legalize murder. A part of you that does not want to lose weight may believe that if it loses weight, it will no longer be able to buffer you from the world and stay safe by staying hidden and invisible. To this part, any part of you that wants to lose weight, is literally trying to blindly walk you into an interpersonal battlefield without any armor. To understand this in depth, watch my video titled: There Is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage.
If we feel a change will bring about something that is positive, needed and wanted and will not cause us to lose anything that we can’t afford to lose, we feel it is safe. We will then willingly accept any discomfort that comes with change. There will either be no resistance to the change or the resistance will be so minimal that the change will not be a hard no. There is a big difference vibrationally between “I’m scared and it’s a NO for me” and “it’s a YES for me but I’m scared!” This means, if a change isn’t happening, you have to work with instead of against the resistance to the change. You must do this with an open mind that is not already fixed on the idea that the change must happen no matter what. You have to work to resolve the resistance. And you must do that with both understanding and compassion. Hopefully, now that you know the main reasons that people resist change, that will be easier to do.
I have to say that for me to decide to write an article on kindness, things have to be really, really bad in the world. Plenty of spiritual leaders have talked about kindness. It is already a social value. It is that trite, Pollyanna, sunshine, gumdrops and roses concept they teach us in kindergarten. It’s a roll your eyes concept that we all think we get by now. But the thing is, we don’t get it.
Though this article is valid in the current human society no matter what is happening, I am writing this as a pandemic crisis, anti-racism/police brutality protests and rioting as well as a recession are what currently defines human society. The shadow of human society today can be summed up in one word: Hostile. And we are suffering from it greatly. And it just so happens that the antidote is: Kindness.
By the time that most people in the world reach adulthood, they have become acclimatized and desensitized to the hostility and harshness of the world and human society. Everyone falls somewhere on the scale of personal experience with the harshness and hostility in the world. They have adapted to it. You may not remember that adaptation process, but it was an incredibly painful process for you. And that adaptation process was full to the brim with things like shame, aloneness, disappointment, disillusionment, the acceptance of the reality of many painful truths and the reality of unsafety, the development of distrust and fragmenting internally as a coping mechanism.
But the saddest part in all of this process is that you split as a result of it. You buried your vulnerability. You underwent a process of hardening. Many of you became harsh and hostile in certain ways so as to exist in a harsh and hostile world. But by doing so, you became part of the problem and made the world even more harsh. If you haven’t done so already, I want you to watch my video titled Fragmentation, the Worldwide Disease. In that video, I explain this process of splitting so as to hide vulnerable parts of your consciousness, while pushing protector parts of your consciousness to the surface. You hide the vulnerable parts of you that need and so desperately crave kindness. You present whatever parts of yourself to the world that kept you the safest. When the priority is personal safety, it becomes a very inauthentic, narcissistic world. It becomes a world in which everyone is doing things for their own best interests. It becomes a society of strategy and zero-sum games.
Any time someone feels threatened, the sensations that occur within their body trigger their protector aspects to come to the forefront. So what you are seeing in the spike of hostility in the world today is that everyone’s protector aspects are interacting with one another. Think of the typical archetypes of people that have a specific strategy for staying safe. I’ll give you a few examples: A war general who goes to war with others, a manager that starts to boss everyone around and control everyone, a person who plays a victim so that others protect them, a cynic who prevents themselves from disappointment by filling the world with negativity, a loner who withdraws from everyone to be nowhere near the threat. Now imagine that when people are threatened, they change into any one of these archetypes. What we have in a time of unsafety is a world full of war generals and managers and cynics and avoidants. This is a problem because each one perceives themselves to be being made unsafe by others, not the one making others unsafe. They are in defense mode. But defense mode is perceived as offense to others. So it becomes a vicious cycle.
Kindness is what people need in order to break free from that vicious cycle and to be able to allow their vulnerability to surface again. Therefore, we must make a practice of kindness and be the first to act kind, and not ask the world to be kind to us first. If we don’t do this, it will be a game of “you lay your shield down first… No you lay yours down first!” To help with this, I’m going to give you a list of things you can do to enhance your new practice of kindness.
Work with the parts of yourself that do not want to be kind or are only kind as a narcissistic strategy for the sake of personal best interests. In other words, work with your own protector parts that have developed ways of staying safe that enhance the harshness, coldness, separation, rigid thinking, violence, narcissism, stinginess, indifference and unfriendliness in the world. But work with them, with kindness. Kindness does not make you weak, vulnerable, permissive, stupid or naïve. But many of your parts do not know this. To understand this and also how to do this, I want you to watch two of my videos, Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How To Do It) and There is No Such Thing as Self Sabotage.
Start with yourself. It makes no sense in a mirror construct (which is what this time space reality is) to be unkind to you and kind to them. How could you be more gentle, soft, understanding, warm, compassionate, affectionate, friendly, generous and considerate with yourself? One way to figure out the answer is to think about ways to be kind to others and then do those things for yourself. Some examples are: Understand yourself instead of deprecate yourself. Help yourself or get help instead of shame yourself for needing help. Engage in activities that nourish you and make you feel soothed. Do things that bring you joy. Make sure parts of you are in alignment before taking an action rather than bulldozing yourself, take care of yourself and your needs. Remind yourself of your excellent qualities, treat every day like a fresh beginning etc.
It is easy to love and let your guard down around vulnerable things. It is harder around things that feel dangerous, threatening or hostile. This is why to take your enemy as a part of yourself is one of the hardest things to do. But, one trick you can use before mastering the art of doing that is to look past the protector part of people to see the vulnerable part that it is hiding. For example, if someone is avoiding contact with you and is not looking you in the eye and does not respond to you when you say hi, try to see the part of them that is terrified of people (including you) and is hiding in a corner not knowing what else to do other than isolate. If someone is screaming and angry at someone else, see the powerless, desperate part of them that is smashing against a door that will not open. When you are out in the world, make a practice of looking for that hidden part and living according to the question “what is the most effective and loving way to respond to that part of them instead”?
Commit to doing whatever it takes to understand people. We spend an inordinate amount of time in relationships trying to figure out how to make the other person happy. We want to love them in a way that they can really feel that love, but we don’t know how. To really love someone in a way where they will feel loved, you must understand that thing. I am going to go even further and say that you should stop trying to love them and start trying to understand them instead. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Stop Trying to Love Them and Start Trying to Understand them. When you do this, the answers to what they really need and want and what they would be disarmed by will surface and it is easy then to know how to interact with someone. Also, as a general rule, whatever you understand, you are less afraid of and therefore able to be more kind to. There is a reason that shark experts have no problem being kind to sharks.
Give to give, not to receive. Pure kindness is not dependent on an audience or on a return. It is true that if you take someone as a part of yourself, their happiness will be felt as your own. But we can be transactional about kindness and this makes it not kindness, but instead a way of manipulating to get our own needs met. For this reason, it may benefit you to watch my video titled: Cut the Invisible Strings. Find a way to compassionately and directly meet the needs of any part of you that may be trying to get its needs met indirectly this way.
In your day to day life, create and/or look for opportunities for kindness and take them. When you’re at the check-out counter, compliment or strike up conversation with the store clerk. Let someone pass in-front of you. Smile at people. Look to find a meeting of minds in a conflict, help someone out, offer a hug or embrace, lift them up with something you say or do, do a deed without taking a picture of yourself doing it or bragging about it, listen to people and ask questions with the energy of wanting to understand them, make a child feel seen by you, pick up litter you didn’t throw, make a donation etc. There are lists upon lists of random acts of kindness you can look at. Look for those opportunities and ways to be perceived as safe and friendly to others. When an opportunity presents itself, be gentle, soft, affectionate, understanding, warm, compassionate, friendly, generous and considerate with them. A good question to ask yourself is: How can I make myself safe for them?
There is a time and place for all energies within this universe, even the ones we might label unkind. For example, some people think brutal honesty is unkind. But there is incredible value in brutal honesty in the right situation. People think competition is unkind, but there is incredible value in competition in the right situation. The reality is our own protector parts cause us to misread the appropriateness of situations in which those energies that human society would label as unkind are in fact in-alignment or are in fact out of alignment. They cause is to act only in our own best interests instead of to find a win-win. But when kindness is our practice, we don’t banish or get rid of those energies within ourselves that we or others might deem to be unkind. We simply practice strengthening and developing the opposite energies. We practice really taking the best interests of others as a part of our own best interests and then act kind accordingly.
Mentally, kindness flood people. To do this, close your eyes or simply bring to mind someone or something that you feel the most overwhelmingly compassionate and loving and kind towards. Maybe it’s your cat or your son or daughter or starving children or your best friend or trees being deforested. Feel this sensation of overwhelming compassion and love and kindness inside your own being and mentally increase it so it floods you. You can imagine it having a color and texture and sound. Now when it is amplified to the degree that you are bursting at the seams from that energy, mentally see or sense yourself sending that energy towards the other person. Maybe that is towards other people you are passing in a store or on the street. Maybe it is towards your spouse or friend or child. And eventually, do this mentally towards a person or situation that you are struggling with. Continue holding and sending this kindness energy into the person or situation so as to flood them with it for as long as feels good to you personally. You can even do this with the whole world. Once you have finished, notice how you feel differently towards the other person or the situation. Stay open to any insight the exercise may give you about the situation.
Appreciation scan. Our minds scan the world for things that we don’t like, things that pose a threat and are unsafe. We are more likely to walk around noticing the differences between us and others as well as the things we dislike about them. When we practice kindness, in order to get into the energy of kindness, we can do the opposite. Play a game with yourself where you scan the world, the place you are in and every person you encounter for what you appreciate about them. What is excellent about them? What do you like about them? What is good about them? What is the same about you and them? Notice how this exercise makes you feel and act and how it makes others respond to you.
I am going to close this article with a thought I want you to consider. When we are not being kind, it is because we are wanting to survive. So many people are thinking things and saying things and acting in ways that they think will ‘keep them safe’ but in doing so, are creating a world that is not worth living in. You could live in a padded room. But is that really thriving? Is it really living? There comes a point where we must realize that to really live, means risk. If our protector aspects of consciousness are the ones making all the decisions and dictating our actions towards others, we will make a society that is even more unconducive to human health and wellbeing than the one we currently live in. So think and speak and act the way you want the world to be. There is no greater sense of reason than this.
A being cannot thrive in a hostile environment. A person cannot thrive in a hostile situation. The more aggressively we try to protect ourselves, the more hostile this world becomes. For us to create a world that we and that future generations can thrive in, we must care more about kindness than about personal safety. Ironically that is also the only way we can all become safe.
Kindness is something that is innate to every person. Being kind releases a cocktail of feel-good chemicals in our body. But that kindness potential must be developed as an interpersonal skill. It is a skill that requires serious strength and courage. This is the real meaning in the saying “forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it”. It does not mean have no boundaries and let yourself be stepped on. It does not mean don’t feel wronged if someone hurts you. It doesn’t mean kiss the foot that kicks you. It means be brave enough to meet hostile energy with the opposite energy. It means use your free will to choose what you offer to the world independent of what the world offers to you. If you can do this, if enough people can do this, it will be a changed world. It is going to be a hard thing to do… to be the kindness you wish to see in the world when you are being met with the opposite energy. But you are capable of it. It is time for each and every one of us to practice radical kindness and to lead this practice by example. Kindness is after all, the invisible cornerstone of human happiness. And remember that no act of kindness is too big, or too small.
One of the principal elements of awareness is thought, especially new thought… concepts. But relative to concepts, people have a tendency that is really dangerous… They ‘get them’ without ‘owning them’.
It is one thing to grasp a concept and another to say that a concept is your truth. For example, I may do a video in which I present the truth that ‘there is no such thing as self-sabotage’. People will listen to the concept and grasp the idea in and of itself. But not stop to find out if it is true for them yet. They don’t consciously figure out how it applies to themselves. They don’t stop to try it on for size and become aware of where and why it does or doesn’t fit for them specifically. Instead, they either reject the concept entirely, forfeiting the opportunity to really question and potentially shift their current truth. Or they accept the concept as the truth, even though parts of themselves don’t agree and so they bulldoze forward even when those parts aren’t on board and don’t actually agree. The first is a recipe for ignorance. The second is a recipe for the loss of selfhood in the realm of personal truth.
To really see this in practice, look no further than super religious households. When most children are born into a religious community, the adults in that community do not usually care if the concepts that are part of their religion align with the child’s personal truth or can be owned by the child. They are not open to any concept that contradicts their current concepts. They only care that the child swallows these concepts and accepts them as true whether they feel it or not. The child learns there are rewards for doing so and consequences for not doing so. When they reach an age where parts of them resist those concepts, that resistance is not directly worked with. It is shamed. So the child learns to let go of personal truth and instead parrots the adult. No aware adult should enjoy it when a child does this. It is critical that a child is able to find his or her truth and if you want what is best for your child, that should be far more important than feeling in confluence with and validated by your child.
Let’s look at both approaches a bit more in depth…
People who simply deny a concept and say it is not the truth straight out of the gate simply because parts of themselves are resisting it, tend to do this most when they perceive that a concept is going to threaten them in some way. For example, a co-dependent is someone who has high levels of shame and therefore is addicted to the feeling of being perceived as a ‘good guy’. When a co-dependent is presented with the idea that co-dependency is covert narcissism, they may immediately, defensively deny it. But in denying it, they will never become truly conscious of the manipulative strategies they have developed in order to get their needs met and will stay trapped in dysfunctional relationship behaviors. Or for example, a person says they were abused by someone else in the family. This contradicts the experience that other family members had with this accused person and threatens to disrupt their sense of a safe reality and concept that the family is ‘the best’ so, they immediately reject the validity of the claim. I don’t need to teach you a lot about this response to concepts or how damaging it can be to yourself and others, because most people really do ‘get’ this one and it is their truth that it isn’t a good response to have to concepts.
People who simply accept a concept as the truth, despite parts of themselves resisting its validity, tend to do this the most when they perceive the person giving them that concept to be superior. Such as more intelligent or excellent in whatever field that truth is coming from. For example, if they see a spiritual teacher as more aware than they are, they will take a spiritual concept and simply accept it as true, without trying it on for size so that concept becomes their truth.
People who do this, tend to keep telling themselves “One day I believe I will understand and embody this,” in essence, creating an ideal that they must grow into that truth because they believe it’s the right thing that a super aligned and integrated human must eventually embody. So, until they do, they see themselves as being in a state of imperfection and aim towards it someday being true for them too. People who do this believe a truth that is given to them by someone they see as superior has to be right for them, regardless of any other part of them protesting. They also tend to feel there is going to be a consequence or reward waiting for them as a result of either succumbing to or not succumbing to the concept they are presented with. In fact, right now, you see a lot of people doing this relative to the Covid-19 safety measures debate. Many people are simply going along with masks and social distancing because someone else said so. Or they feel so much fear and shame to “go against” the concept that masks and social distancing are necessary because people will think they’re an idiot or bad if they don’t just accept that concept as true.
But people who do this end up feeling controlled. They are playing a zero-sum game with themselves internally by suppressing resistant parts and so, they begin to feel unsafe and tend to deflect that unsafety onto the person who presented the concept to begin with.
Also, when things go wrong because of whatever concept they swallowed, instead of taking responsibility, they blame whoever gave them that concept in the first place for ruining their life. This pattern is rampant in spiritual and self-growth circles, especially when someone follows a specific guru. For example, if a psychologist or a spiritual teacher tells you that you’re in an abusive relationship, and you swallow it as true, even though you don’t really see, feel, hear and understand it to the degree that is is your truth that you are in an abusive relationship, you may end the relationship because you “should”. Later, when you miss having a partner and regret it, you will them blame the psychologist or spiritual teacher for causing the break up. To own a truth as your truth, is to take that truth from someone and to make it your own; so that any decisions you make based off of that truth, are your own responsibility. There is a personal solidness and a personal strength to it.
The pattern of accepting a concept as the truth, despite parts of yourself resisting its validity, tends to be a behavior in those who rely on a social strategy of confluence for safety. To comprehend confluence, imagine two streams flowing together, so they are merged as one and in harmony. Confluence feels good to people, however a person who relies on confluence for social safety, does not have a grasp of personal boundaries. For more information about boundaries, watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries Vs. Oneness (How to Create Healthy Boundaries). They are so afraid of any threat to their sense of togetherness and sameness, that they deny any truth that might put them in that position and won’t work with (so as to resolve) any resistance that might indicate opposition, difference or conflict. They tend to be children who coped through conformity with their parents and abandoned their self-hood to do so.
Neither denying a concept straight out of the gate nor accepting it straight out of the gate is healthy. Denying a concept and calling it wrong and false simply because parts of you say ‘it doesn’t resonate’ or isn’t true for you’, makes you stuck and makes you unaware. For more information about this, watch my video titled: The problem with “what resonates” with you. And guess what? Some people do see things you don’t see and are more excellent in a field than you are and are smarter and do know more. To not respect their knowledge enough to really ask “how might this be true” and try it on for size, is superbly unaware. That being said, you should not simply accept what’s supposed to be right and true as right and true. You need to check in with yourself and work with the resistance you have to a concept in order to own it as a truth or not for you personally first. This is the process of trying on a concept for size in order to decide whether or not to own that concept as part of your personal truth. This is what having an open mind is all about. It isn’t having no mind. It is having a mind that is open to change and to the adoption of new truths.
A while ago, I did a video on resistance. If you want to take a look at it, the title is: Urgent! Deal With Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else. In that video, I explained that resistance is nothing more than opposition. It is any oppositional force. What we do when we feel this opposition either internally or externally is that we either completely go along with our resistance or try to push through it. When we try to push thought it, we ignore it. We do not deal with the resistance directly. Because of this, we actually enhance the resistance because we are in fact resisting our resistance. The rule of thumb is this: If you have any resistance taking place within your being, you must directly deal with the resistance first before doing anything else. No action should be taken from a place of resistance. When you feel yourself putting the breaks on or when you feel yourself not being able to feel fully on board with something, you need to seek and find and understand and resolve your resistance. You have to be honest enough with yourself to admit to it, regardless of whether you feel shame or not.
So here is a concept to try on: Whenever someone presents a concept, you need to take the actual time to sit down with yourself and see if you can own it as true for you or not, before moving forward. It doesn’t work to hope that it is possible to one day succumb to truths that you are presented with by people who are more excellent than you are. For example, if you were to start to learn tennis, just because your tennis instructor is excellent and knows way more than you doesn’t mean that when he teaches you something that you get conceptually, that you need to just do as he says and accept what he says, even if you don’t really ‘get it’. In fact, you should stop and take the time to really get it, so you can own what he is trying to teach you and have you do… So you can make it yours. This way, you can proceed in a state of alignment instead of in a state of resistance. You can’t actually accept or succumb to a truth that you can’t own as your truth. When you try to, you don’t feel good. You feel out of alignment with yourself and whoever is presenting that truth.
It is not fun to try to convey a concept to someone who is simply fully giving into their resistance. But I can tell you that if your intention is to accept assistance in working directly with your own resistance to a concept that is presented, most people will have incredible patience for that process. People who expect you to simply accept what they are telling you, no matter how it lands with you can be very dangerous people.
Another reason that you need to really try concepts on for size rather than to simply accept them, is because you are disowning your own personal truth. When people say “he or she is brainwashed” it is usually because they feel that someone has not owned something as their personal truth and is instead simply repeating someone else’s concepts and ‘saying’ that it is their own, despite internal resistance that everyone else can clearly feel.
Own your free will. You have a self, and thus you have the intrinsic capacity and right to decide what’s really true for you. You are not meant to succumb to concepts or truths. You are meant to try them on so as to decide whether to own them. A truly wise person wants to try on new concepts and really, really work with their own resistance to them so as to arrive at a stronger sense of truth, which they can then own. A truly wise person will not accept a new concept unless they can really own that concept as part of their own truth. And this acts as a safety net.
It is a safety net to commit to not moving forward until you can own a truth as your own. It is to own your power instead of to give it away. It makes it so you are no longer vulnerable to ignorance, nor individuals who would love to have you accept a truth, no matter how it lands with you, so they can manipulate you in their favor, such as cults. If you say, “Teal Swan says” or “Eckhart Tolle says’ or “Jesus says” “Justin Bieber says” or “Donald Trump says”, you are presenting their truth instead of your truth. What people really care about and what you should really care about is: what is your truth and why.
Ask yourself, is it my truth or is it their truth? You should not care whether you ‘get’ a concept. You should care instead whether you ‘get’ that it is true. In other words, what is important isn’t that you ‘get it’ it’s that you ‘own it’. And you should not move forward emotionally, mentally or physically until you arrive at a concept that you can really own and take responsibility for; because in really seeing, feeling, hearing, recognizing and understanding it, you can say that it is your truth. When you try on a concept and work with it (as well as your resistance to it) you arrive at stronger and higher truth. This is what all great philosophers understand. If two people are genuinely interested in arriving at truth and one presents the other with a conflicting idea, either one lets go of their concept and owns the other, or a higher truth evolves out of objectively looking at both concepts. I expect you to open your mind to really try the concepts that I present on and to look deeply into resolving any resistance you have to them. I do not want you to accept what I am saying to you, if it isn’t your truth and if you cannot own it. After all, you can’t actually apply something to you, if you don’t recognize something as your truth!
People have a great many misconceptions about love. Because of this, we often think that we are being loving, when we are in fact not being loving. For example, parents may think that by controlling their child’s life in the direction that they think would be best for the child, that they are being loving. Actually, they are not taking the child’s own personal truth as a part of themselves and as such, they are practicing the opposite of love. But today, we’re going to talk about perhaps the biggest misconception about love and that is that love is approval. This concept sounds simple, but is a whole book in and of itself. But today, I’m going to give you an overview.
To love something is to take it as a part of yourself. Love is inclusive. It is the energetic movement towards oneness. When you love something, you energetically pull it towards you and include it as you. For a more in-depth understanding about this, you can watch my video titled: What is Love. When you truly take something as a part of yourself, you take their best interests in as a part of your own best interests. Now, their pain is a part of your pain and their joy is a part of your joy.
When we experience chronic disapproval and criticism in our childhood, to the degree where we feel rejected by one or both of our parents (and/or our siblings and/or our peers), we begin to develop trauma around the feeling of disapproval and critique. This experience feels like the opposite of being wanted and accepted and received. It feels like being pushed away instead of being pulled in. It feels like we are being disrespected. We sink into shame. And so, we begin to develop the idea that if someone loves us, they will approve of everything about us, including what we do. Also, since we can’t get actual love, we go for the next best thing: Approval.
To approve of something is to have a positive opinion about that thing. This naturally leads to an allowance of, acceptance of or agreement to that thing. Essentially, it means no objections. At face value, this sounds like a loving thing to do. It sounds like nonresistance. And it can be nonresistance in certain scenarios. But not in all scenarios. Remember how I said that when we are actually practicing love, we take their best interests in as a part of our own best interests… That now, their pain is a part of your pain and their joy is a part of your joy? Can you now approve of things that cause them pain and that are not in their best interests? The reality is, you can approve or disapprove of something without loving something and you can approve or disapprove of something because you love something. Approval and love are two different things. They can exist together or separate.
Let me put some situations before you where approval is not loving:
Someone decides to shoot up with heroin. In the name of acceptance and approval, you prep their needle for them. This one is pretty self-explanatory.
A woman you know has a belief that is making it impossible for her to change her relationship patterns, such as “the men who are attracted to me, are insane”. You can clearly see that the reason she can’t find relationships that work is because she is attracted to unstable men, that remind her of her father. You can see she is still trying to get love from him vicariously. But in the name of approving of her and therefore validating her thoughts, you validate that belief for her and agree with it. As a result, she continues to make it more and more about the men in her life, and ends up a spinster, despite really wanting a relationship.
A man has the goal of publishing his novel. An editor does not want the author to feel bad and so, he or she never gives the feedback that he used the wrong word somewhere and that he wrote a run-on sentence and that a section should be deleted because it slows the story down etc. By not doing so, the editor sets the author up to fail as a writer.
A sous chef works in an upscale restaurant. He aspires to be an executive chef one day. He prepares the bechamel sauce in a way that it becomes lumpy. When the executive chef samples it, not wanting to make the sous chef feel criticized, he says, “good job, I like the color of it.”
There is a fork in the road, left and right. You know that the road heading left leads to a sheer drop off because there was a landslide. The road leading right will lead a person to town. A person wanting to get to town comes by and wants to go left. You tell them not to. You don’t approve of their decision. They distrust your motives. So they yell at you that you are so controlling and critical because you don’t approve of their own choices and because it’s totally wrong for you to think that you know what is best for them. So you say, you’re right… I should stop thinking that I know what is best for people… and trust that you know what is best for you and agree to them going left.
A friend of yours is getting married, she wants a loving, exclusive, committed marriage more than anything in the world. You walk in on her fiance’ having sex with another woman. But you do not object to her marrying that man.
Someone is beating their kid. You can see that they need to be unconditionally loved and you think part of that is approval, so you don’t do anything to object to the beatings. As a result, the kid keeps getting beaten and the person ends up in jail.
Your spouse wants to have an open relationship. You agree, despite the fact that it is the opposite of what you want, because they say they can’t handle being judged negatively for their desires and needs anymore. They need your approval of their true needs… even if it is to your detriment.
We could consider these examples, the shadow form of approval… Holding a positive opinion that leads to an allowance of, acceptance of or agreement with what does not benefit someone. This is resistance in fact. It is resistance to including something as part of yourself to the degree that you align with the wellbeing of that thing. Or resistance to aligning with your desires/wellbeing.
If you are someone who equates approval with love, you can very easily find your way into validation-based relationships, where ‘everything is approved of and agreed to’ whether it is actually in the best interests of either person or not. For you, respect from others and self-esteem means approval. Instead of healthy, this becomes a dysfunctional relationship based on negative enabling. It becomes a relationship where either one or both people are out of alignment with their actual desires and actual best interests. Essentially, the motto in the relationships you feel good in is “Let me be free to do whatever I want and approve of everything I think, say and do and I’ll do the same for you!”. Whenever you experience disapproval, you feel as if it is an expectation and obligation to stop being and doing whatever is being disapproved of and this feels like losing yourself and being conditionally loved. When someone is approving of you unconditionally, it is the only time you are not trying to shape yourself to conform to what someone else wants you to be. You feel free! When someone expresses disapproval, you take it as an expressed expectation that you change yourself into something else for their best interest. So you start to feel controlled and resentful.
When love becomes approval for you mentally, you run around trying to do everything right and good by everyone else’s estimations and when you can’t get that to happen in a way that feels good, you look for people who will make you feel right and good no matter what you think, say and do.
As a child, you felt so controlled that love feels like the opposite of control. And since disapproval feels like a tool of control, you are looking for the opposite of that. You are looking for a relationship with no consequences and no pressure. That is also a form of resistance.
Subconsciously what is going on is that if you simply approve of others, you don’t have to take responsibility for other people’s poor decisions and actions. In fact, you will not criticize unless you perceive that what something a person is thinking, saying or doing, will affect your life directly. It’s a “feel free to ruin your own life’ attitude. And if you simply get approval no matter what you do or don’t do, you don’t have to carry the responsibility of molding yourself into something that would make someone else happy and therefore carrying the responsibility for someone else’s wellbeing.
It is ironic, but people who have a desperate need for approval, secretly want zero responsibility for the wellbeing of others… You don’t want the pressure of having to mold yourself for their wellbeing and you don’t want the responsibility (also pressure) of making sure they make the right choices for their wellbeing. Your whole life has been carrying other people’s wellbeing and carrying it for people who took no responsibility for the way they felt and so, you are done and utterly exhausted with it. You don’t want to take responsibility for someone else feeling good at all. You want connection when it feels good to you, without having to have the pressure that comes with a ‘relationship’. But this feels selfish and you’ve been so socialized to see this truth as bad, that your shame keeps you from admitting it to yourself and others. You’d rather be alone or around people who unconditionally approve of you whenever it feels good to you to be around them. Which is why this form of approval you are looking for is in fact a ‘push away’. It is distancing by its very nature. Because you couldn’t get love, you could only get the next best thing (approval) you are longing for a relationship where unlike your childhood, approval is unconditional. You have suffered the wound of the loss of self/conformity. As a side note, many of the people who relate to this relationship with approval, were the golden child in a family system.
There is a difference between people who want approval and need approval. To people who want approval, approval feels like a closeness/intimacy and you want that closeness and intimacy. Maybe you’ve been pushed away in your childhood. So getting approval finally feels like not having opposition and finally being seen, felt, heard and understood. Approval feels like the opposite of a push away. It feels like people aren’t resisting you anymore. It seems like something that was reserved for ‘other people’ and not yourself. Approval feels good, it is natural to want, but do not confuse it with love. As a side note, many people who really want approval for this reason were scapegoats in the family system.
The immediate and biggest issue that you are going to have with the whole concept of disapproval being something that can be loving is this: When someone else disapproves in a loving way, it implies that someone else thinks they have an accurate assessment of what is actually good and right and in the best interests of themselves or someone else (maybe you). So I’m going to ask you the question. Do you believe that someone else can know what is good and right and therefore best for you? If your answer is no, why? If your answer is yes, why? And if your answer is “in certain circumstances”, how do you accurately determine when and when not?
‘Best interests’ is a philosophical debate in and of itself, for example you may see that a person getting into a car to drive drunk is not in the best interests of their safety or anyone else’s safety. But is safety in their best interests? Maybe getting in that car crash is what causes them to get sober and clear about what they want in life and change course and find the existence here on earth that makes their life worth living. But imagine that a person’s ‘objection’ in the form of disapproval is the universe’s first reflection to them of something that must change. Something is ‘out of alignment’ within them. Imagine that if they did change in order to find alignment in response to that first reflection, the universe would not have to escalate things and they would still line up with getting sober and clear about what they want in life and change course and find the existence here on earth that makes their life worth living without needing a car crash to get them to do that.
Taking your hand off of the steering wheel of creation by saying “I don’t ultimately know what’s best for me or for anyone”, is simply a cop out. In that same vein, some people love to take the ‘can be empowering’ saying “no one can know what is best for you, but you”. And believe that this is absolute truth. It isn’t. It is true in a given scenario that maybe other people do know what’s best for you more than you do. It is also true in a given scenario that maybe other people don’t know what’s best for you better than you do. Their capacity to accurately see this depends on their capacity for awareness (ability to see objective truth) and their capacity to take you as a part of themselves.
People who can’t do either of these things, tend to project and tend to have agendas. Instead of fully, objectively understanding a situation, they will project their subjective perspective, as well as their own best interests, over a situation and over your best interests. Their disapproval is resistant in nature. And chances are extremely high that this was the case with your parents, which is why you have trauma around the idea of someone knowing better than you do, what is and isn’t in your best interests. Which is why you are distrustful of feedback. So, here is the next question to ask yourself: How do you know whether someone is actually taking your best interests as a part of their own? How do you know whether they are or aren’t projecting? How do you know what their actual agenda is? How do you know when you can trust someone?
If you are on the receiving end of disapproval, ask yourself WHY a person is telling you what they are telling you. Why are they giving you a negative reflection? Why do they disapprove of something? Why is their objection in the form of a disapproval unloving, and why might it loving? Ask them directly too. Because you are not immune to lack of awareness and projection either. You might just be wrong about the WHY. And they should be able to tell you why they think something benefits you.
If you are on the giving end of disapproval, make the effort to first understand the other person’s perspective fully and to become as aware as possible of the situation as objectively as possible and communicate this understanding. Listen to what a person really wants and really needs as well as why they think something is in their best interests. Projection is not love. Include them in your process of coming to the conclusion that something is not benefitting them and your process of coming to the conclusion of what would benefit them and why.
What if when someone is disapproving of something, they are not objecting to you but instead are objecting to something that they think could be detrimental to you? If you’re honest, you want others to approve of something that benefits you and to disapprove of something that hurts you. And in fact, if they are doing that, their disapproval is a way of pulling you closer. In doing so, they are aligning with your best interests and desires. If someone really loves you, they should object to things that cause you pain and are not in your best interests. Are they always right when they think that something is going to cause you pain and is not in your best interests? No. Are there people who literally only think of their best interests? Yes. But is what you really want for people to approve of things that cause you pain and are also not in your best interests?
If you are looking out for someone’s best interests, you can’t be in a space of approval 24-7. This means you can’t be loving and be approving of everything. What you can do is to be in a space of understanding all the time. What you can do is to practice awareness and practice taking others as a part of yourself.
You can disapprove of something and by doing so, be with and for them instead of against them. And therefore, in alignment. You just have to be very, very sure that you are actually right about what is actually in their best interests, what will actually hurt or benefit them and what is actually wrong for them. Awareness must go hand in hand with love in order for it to truly be love and in order for your behaviors to be truly loving. And part of that awareness is to see that approval and love are two very different things.
Anger is an emotional response. It is probably the most vilified emotional response on the planet. Because it has been so vilified, people are desperate to know what to do about their anger and they are especially desperate to know how to not be angry anymore. The good news is that there is a hack you can use with anger and once you use it, you will no longer feel powerless to your anger itself.
Before I give you this hack, I will say that if you want to understand anger in depth, you can watch my video titled: How To Deal With Anger. I want you to remember the following statement. I want you to engrain it into your mind. Anger is about unworkability. If you feel anger, it means that you perceive something to be unworkable. When something is unworkable, it implies that you are powerless to it staying the way it is. And if there is anger present, you really need that particular something to change or else it is a “lifetime sentence of pain”. So think of it like this, if you perceive something to be causing you pain or threatening to cause you pain on an emotional, mental or physical level, you need to change the situation so you can feel good again. If you believed that could happen and knew how to do it, you would feel empowered and so, you wouldn’t get angry. But if you perceive whatever is causing you that pain or posing that threat to be unworkable, you feel immediately powerless.
I’ll give you some examples of how the perception of unworkability is what anger is about. A woman gets angry because her husband’s socks are on the floor, which is a chronic pattern of his, despite the fact that she has asked him not to do it. What really hurts her about it is that it makes her feel like he does not care about her. Maybe what she feels is unworkable is ‘getting her husband to consider her’. A working mother gets angry because she feels judged both ways, other mothers judge her for working when she has a child to prioritize and colleagues judge her for having a child when her priority should be work. What really hurts her about the situation is that it makes her feel like she’s never good enough. She’s afraid that her child will see her this way when he or she grows up. Maybe what she feels is unworkable is other peoples’ extreme and impossible standards… Her inability to change anyone’s mind about what she should do. A man gets angry at a friend of his when his friend gets into a specific college and he does not. What hurts him about the situation is that he feels inferior to his friend. It feels unfair that his friend had more support for getting in than he did and so, the odds were stacked for his friend and against him. Maybe what he feels is unworkable is getting support.
Your anger then comes in to try to rescue you from that powerlessness. In this way, your anger is a protector. It exists as a last-ditch effort to try to restore some semblance of empowerment within you. If you think of un-workability like a wall that is up in front of someone’s face and is solid, anger is similar to a grenade that looks to try to destroy the solid, unchanging nature of that wall.
If you listened closely, you would see that everything I just said suddenly makes the behavior of toddlers make more sense. Their anger is about not being able to bring about the things they want and need in order to feel good. Their anger is about a lack of empowerment. They are at an age of autonomy where they need to be able to develop their own desires and also experience the process of being able to bring their desires to fruition. Kids turn into angry kids because they feel zero empowerment to turn their lives into what they need their lives to be in order to feel good and so they are trapped in pain. Adults are the same. So many adults have simply grown up having been conditioned to believe that they have no capacity to make whatever situation they feel angry about change so that it feels good. They are disempowered relative to whatever area of their life they feel angry about.
When children experience pain or threat, their empowerment needs to be enabled by the adults in their life. But this does not usually happen. Usually, the adults in their life re-enforce their dis-empowerment. For example, a child really wants a bike, but their parents don’t have enough money. Instead of helping a child to brainstorm and take actions that may empower the child to be able to get that bike, they usually say something like “You can’t have the bike, we don’t have enough money”. If a child is in pain about something the adult is doing when they are together, instead of sitting down to help him or her to voice what is upsetting and come up with an alternative way of interacting, the parent will say “suck it up”. Parents reinforce the idea that the environment belongs to them, not the child. Therefore, the environment that the child is in, is unworkable. As a result, they grow up to believe that they are genuinely powerless. A person who struggles with chronic anger, is a person who learned that things were unworkable, even if things are workable.
Your anger always reveals what in life you feel dis-empowered about. But because anger is such an unconscious process, people almost never directly name and work with whatever feels unworkable so as to empower themselves more relative to whatever feels unworkable.
Whenever you are angry, use the anger as an alarm bell, alerting you to the fact that in whatever situation you are angry about, you feel there is something that is unworkable. Ask yourself this question: What in this situation do I feel is totally unworkable? Name it directly.
From there, all your energy should go towards consciously figuring out what to do about that perception of unworkability specifically. First of all, is it really unworkable? Maybe you can tell whoever is involved in the situation what you feel is totally unworkable so that you draw their attention to it so that they can problem solve that unworkability with you. What could I try to do so that the situation that feels unworkable is workable instead? Only if it is truly unworkable… you can ask yourself: if I accepted that unworkability, instead of simply accepting that my life will be pain, what would I do instead?
We have the tendency to make our anger about empowerment in the surface changes, when it is really about something deeper. For example, If the woman who is angry about her husband’s socks sees that the unworkability is about feeling like her husband cares about her and considers her, she is not going to pour her energy into how to get him to pick his socks up off of the floor. She is going to address the area of disempowerment in her life, which is feeling cared about and considered. Therefore, restoring workability to that area of her life may include things like communicating this to her husband, attending relationship counseling which may make the relationship better or make her aware that she is not in the right relationship, doing shadow work with her root wounds around not feeling loved in childhood, committing to the mastery of relationships and seeking out people to teach her about that, spending time around people who consider her in what they do etc.
When you are able to identify the true perception of unworkability underneath your anger, your anger will dissipate. It will dissipate because it is no longer trying to rescue you from that threat because you have consciously chosen to be empowered by going directly towards it instead. You will instead drop down into the way that unworkability makes you feel such as pain, sadness or fear. You are staring at the resistance directly. And doing so puts you squarely in the empowered seat of strategy. If you are looking directly at the unworkability, suddenly you can begin to see what strategies will and wont work for creating workability in it. It will cause you to do totally different things to resolve the situation than you would have done originally. You may even see how the things that anger may cause you to do to create workability, like raising your voice or getting violent or walking out the door is the wrong strategy and might instead make what is already unworkable, even more unworkable.
You did not come here to put up with things the way they are. You are meant to be empowered. Anger directly reveals those areas where empowerment needs to come back into your life, as long as you are willing to see the unworkability that your anger is trying to call your attention to directly, so as to strategize how to make it workable instead. In other words, your empowerment is about facing your disempowerment. Finding workability is about calling out what doesn’t seem workable and doing so, renders anger… obsolete.
In the context of what we are talking about today, generalizing is a conceptual process whereby common properties of the individuals comprising a group are identified and then formulated in order to make a general claim about the group. A stereotype is a generalization about the members of a group. It is often a widely held impression or belief relative to a type of thing. In today’s world, generalizing and stereotyping is generally considered to be a bad, ignorant and even shameful thing to do. It is not politically correct. For more information about this, you should watch my video titled: Political Correctness. But today, I’m going to explain why the baby of generalizing shouldn’t be thrown out with the bathwater of generalizing.
The mind identifies patterns and it groups things together. It works rather like a computer in this way. In many ways, this helps you to make quick decisions and survive. So here is painful truth #1: You may think and say that you are capable of not generalizing and that you never stereotype, but actually your brain can’t not do it. It is designed to do it. The truth is really just that you don’t support prejudice or discrimination or ignorance. Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of the hurt caused by generalizing and prejudice. So you say things like “I don’t see color, only people” or “to generalize is to be an idiot” or “I don’t believe in stereotypes”. The problem is, your mind does. So you spend your time denying commonalities and identifying exceptions so you are nothing like those shameful, hurtful, ignorant people who you don’t want to have anything to do with.
Seeing patterns and commonalities that exist within the members of a group create expectations. For example, if you see someone die because of being bitten by a red, yellow and black snake, you’re going to quickly generalize that red, yellow and black snakes are lethal. This (just like any expectation) is both a good thing and also not such a good thing. Good because you are more likely to survive if that yellow, black and red snake is a coral snake (which is poisonous) and because of your generalization, you don’t touch it. Not so good because if that yellow, black and red snake is a king snake (which is not poisonous) and you flip out and kill it, it will be for no good reason. Here is a list of generalizations so you can get the idea:
Superheroes wear capes
It snows in the winter months
Men are stronger than women
Asians are awesome at math
Potatoes have brown skin
Jews are greedy
Babies can’t walk
Humpback whales give birth in Hawaii
Blacks are poor
You have ulcers if you have stomach pain, weight loss, nausea, heartburn and dark, tarry stools
Homework is hard
Criminals come from troubled backgrounds
Americans are loud and arrogant
Dogs are nicer than cats
Family is always there for you
Teens are rebellious
If you want to be successful you have to go to college
Pretty girls are bitches
Everyone can heal
Oh… and my favorite… Generalizations are false.
If you want to enhance your own awareness, I ask you to stop this video and truthfully make a list of the generalizations and stereotypes that you hold, especially the ones you have formed because of personal experience, before continuing with the rest of this episode.
What you should have noticed about the examples of generalizing is that most people only care about generalizing or stereotyping when they perceive it to hurt themselves or someone else. You will have felt a cringy emotional charge relative to some of these examples and not others. We can all come up with stereotypes that we feel are mostly true despite there being some exceptions and we can all come up with stereotypes we feel are unfair or untrue.
Generalization is a conceptual tool. It is a tool that can be quite beneficial and can be quite detrimental, therefore it is a tool that should be used with caution instead of thrown out. Generalizing is one of the principal measures by which knowledge proceeds. It allows us to identify and recognize commonalities and therefore patterns within a group. Generalizations can be thought of as a polarity to individuality and difference. A spiritual teacher or philosopher could argue that generalizations and the recognition of same-nesses are less egotistical than individuality and difference because the ego is after all the ‘sense of separate self’. I bet none of you who consider yourself to be against generalizing and stereotyping see yourselves as having much stronger egos. The reality is that you are different in some ways and in other ways, exactly like others.
Without generalization, we could never talk about commonalities, trends, tendencies or patterns and all three are critical when it comes to awareness. It is as important when it comes to awareness to identify commonalities, trends, tendencies and patterns as it is to be aware that there are exceptions. For example, it is important to see the reality of “I am avoidant of intimacy” based off of the common behavioral trend that you exhibit from day to day. Not to say, “actually last Tuesday I shared how I felt with my wife, so It isn’t true that I’m intimacy avoidant… that’s a generalization”. It is important to see generalizations such as “Christians value modesty” so you don’t go to the deep south and strip down to a bikini cause it’s hot and wonder why everyone is looking at you with disgust. It’s important that we can see patterns such as “blacks are poor” even if there are some black people who are extremely wealthy. Why? Unless we recognize the commonality in the first place, we will not look into the why behind it or even see it as a societal issue in the first place. I also chose this last highly triggering example specifically to make you aware of how a stereotype or generalization may be something that we fight against in one minute and demand that others accept, the next. For example, if it’s a normal day and a white person walks into a fancy restaurant and thinks “why the hell is a black person in here, cause they are poor”, people will fight against that stereotype because it’s ignorant. But if it is a day that the government puts an economic law into place that effects low income citizens, and therefore the black demographic, harder people will fight for the public to accept the stereotype that blacks are poor, so as to highlight the injustice and doing so is suddenly considered educated.
People also tend to fight stereotypes with stereotypes. For example, one person could say “Women are terrible drivers”. And someone might say “Men don’t let women drive when a car is a shared asset and they criticize women when they drive, both of which leads to a loss of confidence behind the wheel and less practice.” Both arguments are in fact examples of stereotyping.
All generalizations and stereotypes exist for a reason. The question is what reason? I didn’t say they all exist for a good reason or because they are all right. For example, the stereotype that Latino people are super family oriented exists because culturally, they believe that the family is both the source of identity and also of protection against hardship and so they act like it. The stereotype that witches worship the devil exists because the early Catholic/Christian churches wanted to enforce cultural control by turning citizens against (and justifying their punishment of) women who did not conform to their ideals of womanhood. Some stereotypes are false. Some have been intentionally created despite inaccuracy to cause harm. But many stereotypes are in fact accurate assessments of the commonalities, trends, tendencies and patterns. It is not particularly aware to say that stereotypes are bad and wrong. The bottom line is, to be truly aware, you need to be able to see patterns in yourself and patterns in groups of people too, not just individual patterns. You need to see BOTH.
Generalizing and Stereotyping have a bad reputation for good reason. If you look at the etymology of the word stereotype, it is: “Firm or solid impression”. This is where you can get into trouble with generalizing and stereotyping. Where there is firmness and solidness, there is a risk for a disowning of flexibility and openness. Not being aware that there are exceptions and differences can make you unaware and closeminded. It is not that generalizations are un true. It is that they can open you up to the danger of making one story the only story. And that can hurt you and everything else around you.
Generalizations and stereotypes can open the door for pain, ignorance, discrimination, prejudice, the justification of injustice, enabling, the destruction of relationships, and the stifling of individual freedom and success. In fact, there is a thing called a “stereotype threat”. If you have tattoos and you show up at a conservative party and you know that the people around you hold a negative stereotype of people with tattoos such as “immoral, promiscuous, unprofessional and dangerous”, you will be afraid of inadvertently confirming that stereotype. It will aversely effect your confidence and make you defensive and unfriendly (thus perpetuating the stereotype).
The main thing that is causing you to throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to generalizing and stereotyping is that you don't want people to fail to see, hear, feel and understand you and your individual reality or truth because they have simply assumed you fit with a pattern. You don’t want to be judged by those who you have decided don’t know you well. You feel hurt when your complexity is denied and you are robbed of your rich, nuanced, uniqueness. You want to be known. You want others who you identify with to be known. You also don’t want to see other people (or beings or things) suffer from not being known. A person who loves sharks and is therefore identified with them, has a real problem when people make sweeping generalizations about sharks. All this boils down to the fact that if you detest the idea of generalizing or stereotyping, you perceive that if a person does not recognize differences that do or can exist, that there will be painful consequences for you or them, or something involved. And there very well might be.
Contrary to popular opinion, generalizing and stereotyping is an essential and natural feature of your mind. It is not a cultural, unnatural glitch in your mind. If you did not have this natural feature, you could not think things like “Japanese people speak Japanese” and so you would go to Japan and start speaking to someone on the street in your own language. You would not think things like “babies aren’t strong enough to hold the weight of adults” so you might roll over on one and wonder why it died. You would not recognize things like “I am an addict” and so, you would never face that addiction you have head on. We need to be able to discern the accuracy or inaccuracy of a general statement rather than to say that all general statements are untrue because they are general.
We need to develop the capacity to accept the truth of a generalization or stereotype, even if and knowing that it is not the whole truth or nothing but the truth and exceptions exist. Otherwise, we are throwing awareness away for the sake of a sense of our own personal goodness and rightness. An aware person generalizes but with the awareness that there are exceptions and differences. They can make a statement such as “Jelly Fish Sting” without that implying that all jellyfish of every type and everywhere always sting humans that they come into contact with. The stereotype is still true without it being the whole truth with no exceptions. Generalizations can be inaccurate and harmful. Conversely, they can also be accurate and useful… A critical tool for learning, comprehension and communication. Therefore, question your generalizations and the why they exist. And make your generalizations flexible instead of being determined to not make them at all. And never forget, the wise words of Mark Twain, “All generalizations are false, including this one”.