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Teal Swan Articles

Are You Stuck in Limbo Because of Someone Else?

In a relationship, no matter what kind of relationship it is, the ideal is to be on the same page with each other. It is important to reach agreement. It is important to make decisions that impact both of you together. And to reach a state of mutual certainty regarding anything requires clarity, honesty and communication.
Unfortunately, our relationships are not always ideal. And often, we can find ourselves stuck in limbo and stuck in uncertainty because of the other person that we are in that relationship with. You might be in a situation where the other person does not know what is true for them. They may lack clarity themselves. They may not be giving you enough information. They may not be communicating. They may not be making a decision. And as a result, you find yourself stuck in limbo and waiting… Perhaps you find yourself waiting for them to be certain. Waiting for them to be clear. Waiting for them to make a choice.
It is easy to stay stuck in this scenario. Most people just keep focusing on the other person, desperately trying to get them to become certain. After all, they have you on the hook. But the reality is that you could set yourself free. And the way to set yourself free is to accept that if you are stuck because someone else is uncertain, it means you are uncertain. If you are stuck because someone else has not made a choice, you are not making a choice. Even if what you need to become certain about or make a choice about is what to do in a situation where the other person won’t become clear, won’t communicate, won’t give you any certainty or won’t make a choice.
The reason we become stuck in this dynamic so easily is because we know that if we become clear about what our truth is (regardless of the other person) or if we make an executive decision for ourselves (no matter what they decide) and if we become certain (even if they are uncertain), we are creating more distance between ourselves and the other person. We might be making decisions without their agreement or taking actions despite them. And This not only comes with many potential negative consequences (depending on what specific situation we are in), it also threatens our attachment system, which creates extreme levels of distress.
Each person that finds themselves in this position is going to have to evaluate how willing they are to stay stuck in limbo, waiting for the other person. But once a person decides that they can’t stay stuck in this dynamic, the way forward is to pull their focus off of the other person who is unclear or uncertain or not making a choice and instead to become clear themselves. To become certain themselves. And to make a choice themselves.
So that you can understand this more clearly, I’ll give you an example. Emily is in a primary partnership relationship with Ronnie. They have been having big relationship problems. The conflicts they keep getting into indicate that there are some critical incompatibilities between them. So much so that neither of them know if the relationship should continue. Ronnie says he wants one thing, but his actions reflect the complete opposite. Emily keeps waiting on Ronnie to make a decision about what he really wants in a relationship and in his life. She needs to know because without that information, she feels she can’t decide with him what to do about their relationship. However, Ronnie can never give her a straight answer. And everything he says he is doing to “figure it out” isn’t working.
Emily realizes that she is super confused and has no sense of clarity. But she sees that she is perpetually waiting for Ronnie to become clear, which quite frankly, could be a waiting game that lasts indefinitely. So, she decides to commit to getting clear herself and becoming certain herself. Even though this is painful and frightening and very lonely, she decides it is better than being stuck on a hook and drowning in a sea of uncertainty. So, she does the work to become clear and certain and to make decisions according to that clarity and certainty she finds within herself. She works to integrate every split she feels within herself relative to Ronnie. She meditates deeply on questions she asks herself. She has conversations with people in her life that she knows will help her to become clearer. She reads material on relationships. She does processes to resolve the traumas that are linked to Ronnie’s behaviors and the way she feels in the relationship.
By doing this work, she becomes certain that while she does not want to end the relationship yet, she can no longer be ok living with Ronnie. She becomes clear that living together with distrust for what he says and with the negativity she feels every time she is around him now is making it so she doesn’t even want to be home. And her home being a tense place where she can find no relief is making her feel terrible on a physical and emotional level every day. So, she makes the decision from that place of certainty, to keep trying in the relationship as long as Ronnie will see a relationship therapist with her, but to move in with a friend instead of stay living with him.
Whenever you are stuck in limbo or stuck in uncertainty because someone else is uncertain, consider that the way to take your power back is to become certain yourself. This might mean making difficult decisions and taking difficult actions. But you never know…  the process of getting certain might just cause you to find a different and better approach to the person who is uncertain, making it easier to get on the same page.

Why Your Intention Is So Important

When a person does anything, they always have a purpose for doing that thing. There is something they want to achieve and there is a reason why they want to achieve it. There is an objective and there is an intent. We can therefore say that a person has an intention for doing anything that they do. That intention can be conscious or that intention can be subconscious. It can also be both. A person can also have multiple intentions as well as mixed or contradictory intentions.
Universally speaking, intention is what sets things in motion down a certain path. It is the initial movement. It is a proclamation to the universe. It focuses energy in a certain direction. So, from this perspective, it is easy to see that a specific intention initiates movement in a specific direction. And a different intention sets things in motion in a totally different direction. If you can understand this, then you will understand the following truth: The intention behind a decision or an action dictates the direction that decision or action goes. And therefore, intention plays a major role regarding how something will ultimately turn out. If two people have two different intentions, but make the same decision and take the exact same action, they will experience different results.
So many people miss the factor of the reality of their intention when they are making decisions and taking actions and are not seeing the results that they want. Intention influences everything that comes after it, whether you realize it or not.
So that you can understand this clearly, I’ll give you a couple of examples. Judy has a friend that is moving. Judy offers to help her move. Her intention for doing this is to feel more connected to her friend. It is an opportunity to create a deeper bond and further sense of rapport with her. So, she helps her friend move. Because there is no conflict between Judy’s intention and her friend’s needs, the day goes well. They sing out loud to the pop music they play at full blast. They laugh like crazy about some of the stuff the friend is deciding to keep. They devour two pizzas together. And at the end of the day, they have established a deeper bond.
Michelle has a friend that is moving. Michelle offers to help her move. Her intention for doing this is to gain more security for herself in the relationship by using it as leverage. Essentially, she imagines that if she helps her friend move, there is less of a likelihood that her friend will act against her best interests because she has more pressure on her to behave in a nice way towards Michelle, given that Michelle did something nice for her. So, she helps her friend move. But there is a conflict between Michelle’s intention and her friend. So, the day does not go well. Michelle’s friend doesn’t feel “right” about it while they are moving. She doesn’t consciously realize that the reason she doesn’t feel right is because, like a snake in the grass, she can feel the pressure and indebtedness that Michelle is putting on her by helping her move. Michelle’s friend spends most of the time in a different room. She stops directing Michelle regarding what to do. And they have an awkward hug at the end of the night. Michelle’s doesn’t get the gratitude that she was expecting. So, Michelle now decides that her friend is ungrateful and entitled. The two are now at odds. They start to triangulate mutual friends against each other. Essentially, due to intention, a totally different outcome came as a result of Judy’s action than came as a result of Michelle’s action. Even though they did the exact same thing.
As we have seen, intention can make it so that the same action leads to drastically different results. Intention can also make it so that totally different actions are taken, which obviously leads to drastically different results.
To give you another example, Rafael is a tennis player. His intention for playing a tournament in California is the pursuit of excellence. He has a rage to master. He is looking for the challenge so that he can test himself against the competition with the intention of winning. Winning is his favorite feeling on earth. So, he enters into the tournament and he plays. His intention causes him to take high risk, high reward shots. Most of which turn out. It causes him to be totally present in the arena, as if nothing exists outside of it, which means all of his awareness and energy is available to the game he is playing. It causes him to hold nothing back. It causes him to put incredible aggressive pressure on his opponent, which causes his opponents to buckle. And it causes him to not care how long the match lasts, which increases his endurance and decreases his mental resistance. As a result, Rafael wins the entire tournament.
Taylor is also a tennis player and is also attending the same tournament in California.  Taylor’s intention for playing the tournament in California is to make his father proud of him. What he wants most in the world is his father’s closeness and approval. He likes tennis for the most part, especially because he is good at it (which boosts his ego) and because Tennis is the way that he connects with his dad. This has been the case since Taylor was 3 years old and his dad decided he would be a professional player. The California tournament is a big deal tournament for him. So, he enters into the tournament and he plays. His intention causes him to be anxious about losing, so he becomes tense and plays conservatively. His focus is split between being present in the arena, on the game he is playing, and what his dad is thinking and what the social consequences will be if he wins or if he loses. Because not all of his energy and focus is in the arena, he makes a few mistakes, something he cannot afford to do against such skilled opponents. His insecurity, due to the pressure of playing for his father’s approval and trying to avoid his disapproval, is super uncomfortable and it makes him want the game to be over as quick as possible. He feels a surge of resistance any time his opponent scores a point and makes it so the game has a higher chance of needing to going on. All of this decreases his resilience and effectiveness on the court. Taylor goes out in the quarter finals of the tournament.
Your intention is SUCH an important element in your life, especially regarding how things in your life turn out. Which is why so many spiritual teachers and self-help gurus and business success experts and psychologists etc. teach about the importance of intention setting.
It is critical to be aware and conscious of the intention or intentions (plural) that you have for anything that you do. That way, you can see the potential pitfalls of your intention.  That way, you can see if your intention and the decision or action you are about to take are a match. That way you can take a more conscious and effective action regarding your intention. And that way you are not as surprised by the results that you end up getting.

How Negative Feedback is For Your Benefit

To give someone feedback is essentially to give them a response but specifically about them or about something associated with them (such as their opinion or their ideas or their appearance or their behaviors or their performance or something they created etc).
When the feedback that someone gives us is positive, it feels good. Because it feels good, we feel like it is for our benefit and we feel like someone is an ally to us. But often, when the feedback that we receive is negative, we feel the opposite. It triggers things like feelings of shame, low self-esteem, frustration, not being understood and helplessness. It causes a release of stress-inducing hormones in your body that raises your level of threat awareness and in fact causes a momentary loss of executive functioning in your brain. Because it does all of this, we feel like it isn’t for our benefit and we tend to feel like the person giving us the negative feedback is an adversary.
Negative feedback can be something that is against your best interests. Whether something is in your best interests or not often boils down to the conscious and or subconscious intention that someone has for giving it to you. For example, a person might have the intention of giving you negative feedback about something that you created because they are threatened by your perceived superiority and are looking to tear you down so they can stop feeling inferior. Or a person might give you negative feedback because they fear that if you feel good about yourself you will leave them. Or a person may give you negative feedback because it puts them on top in a power game. Or a person might give you negative feedback because they can get a better deal if you devalue yourself or something you created. This list goes on and on. It’s pretty easy to see how negative feedback can be a detriment to you in these scenarios.
Even a positive intention can lead to negative results when it comes to negative feedback. For example, a parent may think that telling their child that the piano piece they played was below average would help them to put more focus and energy into it, so as to improve their skill. When in reality, the child could make it mean that they are not good enough and become discouraged about playing the piano all together.
But guess what? Positive feedback can be something that is against your best interests. This too often boils down to the conscious and or subconscious intention that someone has for giving it to you. For example, a person might give you positive feedback because they want to avoid conflict and establish social rapport, regardless of the risk of you being totally out of reality. Or a person might give you positive feedback to strengthen their own sense of virtue because it allows them to see themselves as a good person. Or a person might give you positive feedback deliberately to mislead you, wanting you to experience the consequence that is awaiting you down the road. Or a person may give you positive feedback so that they will be in your favor, so that they will get something they want out of you. This list too goes on and on.
But just like with negative feedback, even a positive intention can lead to negative results when it comes to positive feedback. For example, a person may want to console a friend who just had a difficult breakup and make them feel better about themselves. The friend tells them that their partner broke up with them because they didn’t feel listened to. In response, the person tells their friend that they are a fabulous listener and are also a really caring person. In fact, they go on to say that the problem was that their partner was a narcissist. The problem in, their friend actually is a terrible listener in relationships and behaves in less than caring ways. This friend will continue to have relationships that fail because of their behavior. But the person keeps putting them out of reality and thus lending their energy to and playing a part in the failure of their friend’s relationships.
What is important to know is that positive feedback can be beneficial and it can be detrimental. And the same is true for negative feedback. It can be beneficial and it can be detrimental. But knowing all of this, the focus for this episode is how negative feedback can be beneficial and can be FOR you and in your best interests. And here is how:
Let’s go for the lowest hanging fruit. Negative feedback is the essential ingredient for improvement and progress. Companies understand this. It’s why they try to entice you to fill out customer surveys. Negative feedback can very clearly show you what is not working for you and what you need to do instead. It points out the path of positive change. There is nothing worse than hitting a road block, but being in the dark about what the problem actually is. Bottom line, negative feedback leads to improvement.  It increases self-awareness. Other people are looking at us from the outside. They often see things about us that we don’t see about ourselves. And they have a different perception of what we do and create than we do. The information that they give us from their perspective, increases our ability to clearly see ourselves. It is more information. And information is power. Awareness cannot be gained if all we are willing to become aware of, is the positive. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening. It puts us further in reality. It’s easy for people to live life in a bubble reality built for one. The problem is, this is a consensus reality. So, you can’t actually be successful and empowered if you don’t include other people’s opinions in your picture of reality. And reality is our axis for true power. Getting information about how we are perceived, helps us to exercise our free will regarding what is and/or what other people perceive. To understand more about this, you can watch my videos. The first titled: Reality. And the second titled: Why You Should Know and Accept the Truth, even if it Hurts. It tends to trigger heightened inspiration, creativity and determinism. As counterintuitive as it sounds, negative feedback can make us more creative and can lead to breakthroughs in areas where we were stuck before. It fosters innovative thinking. This is even backed up by scientific experiments now. It increases a sense of urgency and importance regarding positive changes. As people, we only translate a fraction of feedback into practice. We don’t register it as impactful. Negative feedback is particularly impactful. It also causes us to have a greater sense of potential reward if we do make a change based off of the negative feedback we receive and a greater sense of potential consequence if we don’t make a change based off of the negative feedback we receive. Therefore, negative feedback is often the strongest catalyst.  Negative feedback is a learning opportunity. Learning causes expansion. And expansion is one of the primary purposes for life itself. Knowledge is such a valuable thing. And again, it puts power in your hands.   Negative feedback can in fact reveal hidden positives that you didn’t see about yourself and that you can capitalize on and use to your benefit as well. With this in mind, it can lead you closer to your actual purpose. So that you can understand this, I’ll give you an example. I know a woman who got terrible feedback about her leadership skills. She was told that she comes across weak, like she wants everyone to just figure things out on their own and that she needs everyone to do her job for her because she keeps looking to the whole team for answers. This led to her realizing that she does not excel at being in a leadership position. But to the opposite, looking into what needs she was trying to meet by the behavior she exhibited with her team, she realized that she excels when it comes to carrying out tasks that she is told to do and also at collaborating. Realizing this, she decided to go to human resources and ask if any jobs were available that required those skills specifically. They told her that a position as an executive assistant was open. She applied for the job, knowing that she would never have considered it before. She got the job. And now, she feels like she is in the exact right place for her. She feels valued and like her excellence is recognized. The company will not let her go because she is so good at what she does and is so reliable and easy to work with. Negative feedback can go a long way towards us finding out what, where and who is the wrong fit and what, where and who is the right fit for us. Feedback is an essential element of relationships. Without feedback, we are not really in relationship with the other person. We don’t know what they think, how they feel, what impact we have on them, what they want and need, what is working, what the problems are, how to repair relationships ruptures with them etc. We need that information to find compatible relationships and to know what to do within our relationships. There is no way to have a real relationship with no feedback. And real feedback implies both positive and negative. While it doesn’t feel good, negative feedback can in fact be far more useful and helpful to someone. And if you are brave enough to develop a different relationship with negative feedback, you can use it as a tool to enhance your life and to succeed. This is true alchemy.

The Difference Between Being Shamed and Feeling Shame

There is a trend in the spiritual, self-help and personal development fields for people to get very confused about the difference between being shamed and feeling shame in response to something.
Instead of beating around the bush, let’s just jump right to it. Shame is a biological affective reaction that happens when we fear that there will be a social consequence (such as separation or punishment) for something about us. When I say “about us”, I mean something that we think, something that we feel, something that we want, something that we like, something that we don’t like or something that we do or don’t do etc. Perceiving social consequence is a very serious deal for us, because as people, we are relationally dependent as children and need relationships with other people to thrive as adults. 
When we perceive that there will be a social consequence for something about us, we unconsciously separate ourselves from that thing about us. We create an internal triangulation dynamic against ourselves, so as to establish closeness with whomever we want closeness with socially. That internal fragmentation that is occurring (or that occurred long ago) is felt as the “emotion” that we call shame. This is happening even if (and we might even say especially if) we become defensive of whatever it is we feel shame about. 
Being a social species, feeling shame is a natural biological affective reaction. In some cases, we could even say that it is a pro-social response, which lent itself to our survival. When we feel shame, we feel as if something about us is not good and is not in the right and because of that, we fear we might experience some social consequence. If we want our needs to be met, survive in society and have a chance at feeling things like love and belonging and contribution and safety, we have one option… To adopt the values and standards of the society we are born into (or that we want to be a part of) and hold ourselves to them. Therefore, it can also be said that when we feel shame, we are comparing ourself to our adopted standards and we are falling short. And we feel bad about ourselves because of it. 
The thing is, we can experience shame in response to all kinds of situations. For example, we can experience it when we see someone else experience a social consequence for something about them that we identify with. We can feel it in response to realizing that we have done something to harm someone else. We can feel it when someone does better at something than we did. We can feel it when we aren’t included in something we want to be included in. We can feel it when we don’t act according to our values. We can feel it when someone reacts negatively emotionally. We can feel it when someone sets a boundary for themselves and their own life. We can feel it when someone directly verbally communicates with us about a problem. We can feel it when someone gives us a reality check. We can feel it when someone is trying to help us by showing us what we are doing that isn’t in alignment and what we can do better. We can feel it when we learn information that causes us to realize we have done something wrong or have made a mistake. We can feel it when someone reflects something about us that they don’t like. We can feel it when we see something about ourselves that we don’t like. We can feel it when someone expresses disapproval for anything we identify with etc. And we can also experience it in response to being shamed. 
To shame someone is to use the natural biological affective reaction of shame as a tool for manipulating and controlling them to suit your interests. For example, let’s say that a parent believes that masturbation is a sin. And let’s say that they catch their child doing it. That parent wants to control the child’s behavior and so, they may immediately act in a way so as to suggest that if the child does not stop masturbating and ever does it again, the parent’s love will be withdrawn and the child faces damnation. The child immediately triangulates against the part of themselves that has the desire to masturbate and does not do it again. Their behavior is officially controlled. Much about the process of socialization that took place in the past and that takes place today, is a process of shaming so as to create the desired behavior that we want. So again, shaming is a control tactic.
Where we need to split hairs is here: When you enter into relationships, you will run into the experience where something about the other person, causes a problem for you. And because there are always consequences, both positive and negative for anything that a person does or does not do, there will be consequences for the person being or not being a certain way. Doing or not doing a certain thing. The same is true in reverse. For example, if you are a politician and the press and public judges you by the conduct of the people that you associate with, you may need to have the personal boundary that your partner does not go out to night clubs and get drunk. If your spouse does this, you will react negatively. And if they don’t stop doing this, the consequence will be that you can’t be in that relationship anymore. The politician’s partner may feel shame in response to this. But it is not fair to say that they are being shamed because they met with a social consequence for doing a certain thing or being a certain way. The politician may want his or her partner to behave in a certain way, but we cannot say that the politician is controlling their partner. The politician is simply asserting his or her personal truth and boundaries. The partner then is in a position to consider that and come back with their truth and their boundaries. If we consider it controlling for there to be any social consequence for our actions, and expect to be positively reacted to, no matter what we do or don’t do, we open the door wide for us to abuse other people in relationships. In the same way that using shame as a control tactic in relationships can be abuse in a relationship. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The “No Matter What Pattern” in Relationships.    
Feedback in a relationship is essential to a healthy relationship. It is not accurate to say that this is shaming, even if it causes you or the other person to feel shame. There is a difference between someone trying to manipulate you/control you and someone who is communicating that they need you to choose to make a change or to stand by something, so that they can make a change. 
Remember that anytime we are manipulating, we feel that a need cannot be met in a direct way. As a result, we are going through the back-door by doing something in-direct to bring about what we want.   
It is common for people with high degrees of fragmentation due to being shamed in the past (and therefore a poor self-concept) to feel shame in response to almost everything. They then mistake that feeling of shame that arises within them for being shamed and thus, they feel manipulated or attacked even when they are not being shamed, they are not being manipulated and they are not being attacked. The problem is, because of this perception, they can’t take reflection and feedback. They accuse other people of shaming them when all they are doing is sharing a truth. And they cause other people to feel like they are walking on broken glass. All of which are a contradictory force to truth, to functional relationships and to personal growth. 
People with this kind of trauma around shame, are essentially walking around the world believing that no one should ever feel shame and therefore, anything that causes someone to feel shame is bad and wrong. They tend to say things like “stop shaming me”, or “that is shaming” every time they feel an emotion that is painful. Remember that things that may cause then to feel shame include things like direct verbal communication about a problem, honesty, a negative emotional reaction, a reality check, someone trying to help them by showing them what they are doing that isn’t in working and what they need to do differently or better to make it work, someone setting a boundary for themselves and their own life, learning information that causes them to realize they have done something wrong or have made a mistake. And any feedback that is not positive etc.
When we confuse feeling shame with being shamed, we become the kind of person who requires that all people around us never do or say anything that causes us to feel shame. Or else we will put them in the role of the bad guy and us, their victim. And the reality is, that is not possible. It is not possible for anyone to never say or never do anything that causes the sensation of shame to arise within us. 
Therefore, when we feel shame, we need to own it immediately as a reaction that is occurring within us, in response to someone or something else. We then need to do the personal work regarding that shame. And this is true no matter whether we are simply feeling shame or are in fact being shamed. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: How to Overcome Shame. There is also an entire section of my book, The Anatomy of Loneliness about shame and what to do about it. 
Once we have done the personal work regarding our shame and the unhealed pain and personal beliefs it points to within us, we need to work out (not just assume) what motive the other person has for saying what they said or doing what they did. It may be that they said what they said or did what they did FOR our benefit. It may be that what they said or did is for themselves, in that it is a personal plea regarding something they need from us or something they are desperate to avoid. But let’s say that a person is using shame as a control tactic. It means they want you to do or not do something. Be or not be some way. The question is why? And once you have that answer, what is your truth about that? That is the origin of genuine relationship. So, address that desire of theirs as well as your truth about it, in a direct way with them. If someone is completely closed minded about something on account of them thinking that no matter what, something is bad and wrong, there is pain motivating that closed mindedness. There is something they are very afraid of and/or were very hurt by. Addressing and caretaking that hurt will go much further than getting into a war regarding the rightness or wrongness, ok-ness or badness of something.
In an ideal world, a person who sees that they are shaming someone else, would consciously see what they are desperate for the other person to be/not be or do/not do. They would inquire internally as to why. They would go about having the relationship with the other person in a more direct instead of manipulative way. They would face the threat behind their closed mindedness about certain things being bad/wrong or good/right. Essentially, they would do their own internal work as well regarding their shaming behavior in the same way that someone who feels shame would do their own internal work. 
Mutual consideration is an essential element of any relationship. Therefore, a person should care how what they are doing and saying makes you feel. If you are with someone who demonstrates that they do not care how you feel, they simply want you to be how they want you to be and do what they want you to do, then you are not in a healthy relationship because you are not being considered. 
Mutual consideration is an essential part of a healthy relationship… But not to the degree that someone can’t be real in the relationship with us. Not to the degree that they can’t be honest. Not to the degree that they can’t have a negative emotional reaction. Not to the degree that they can’t directly communicate with us about a problem. Not to the degree that they can’t show us what we are doing that isn’t in working and what we need to do differently or better to make it work. Not to the degree that they can’t set a boundary for themselves and for their own life. Not to the degree that they can’t share information that causes us to realize that we have done something wrong or have made a mistake. Not to the degree that they are walking on eggshells so that you never feel the sensation of shame. And certainly not to the degree that the only feedback or reflection we can take is positive feedback/a positive reflection.
So again, to reiterate…  the feeling we call shame is a natural biological affective reaction that is occurring when we fear social consequence. To shame someone is to use the natural biological affective reaction of shame as a tool for manipulating and controlling someone to suit your own interests. There is a big difference between feeling shame and being shamed.

What Most People Don’t Get about Aloneness

So many spiritual teachers across the generations have taught about aloneness. Because of this, aloneness is a hot topic in the spiritual field. But most people have confused the idea of being alone in the world with being alone with oneself. And as a result, many of these teachings on aloneness are doing more harm than good.
You will hear things like: “If you want to learn to be strong, learn to enjoy being alone”. And “Aloneness simply means completeness.” And “For those on the spiritual path, being alone, keeping a distance from people and becoming silent are not issues, these are opportunities.” And “With completeness there is no need for companionship.” And “A being that is whole, needs nothing and no one.” And “Aloneness is your nature. You were born alone; you will die alone. And you are living alone without understanding it, without being fully aware of it. And in true awakening, you are sufficient unto yourself.” You get the picture. 
As a biological species, people can only thrive when they have connection. This is a basic human need. It is true that a being can develop spiritually to the point where they fully perceive their connection with all things in existence, thus proving that loneliness is a perception. But people who perceive life this way, do not perceive themselves to be alone because they experience no isolation. They experience no aching, fearsome loneliness. And the reality is that most people are not there. What most people need is the feeling that they are not alone in the world by developing a sense of togetherness and closeness and intimacy with other people. And expanding their sense of connection and oneness from there. Trying to un-need this need of connection and closeness is rather abusive. And unfortunately, this is where most people take spiritual teachings on aloneness. They think that to become spiritually developed and to awaken is to accept aloneness, adapt to it and become ok with it, so as to become an island unto themselves. They are in the active practice of spiritually justified separation.  
This is very different than someone who is in resistance to being alone because they cannot be with themselves. The fear of being alone in this respect has nothing to do with whether or not you have other people in your life to connect to. It is about how integrated you are with yourself. It is about the deep, unresolved pain that you carry within you that you don’t want to be with. It is about whether there is peace internally between your internal “parts”. It is about your self-concept. It is about a lack of self-love. It is about a poor relationship to your own capabilities and confidence. It’s about what you associate solitude with. This type of resistance to aloneness is really a fear of being with yourself. And it is a resistance to isolation; and the aching, fearfulness and consequences that come with it.     
From a more objective perspective, a being that is so integrated that they have no problem being alone with themselves, and who perceives the whole world as something they are intimately connected to and part of, is not a being that is separated, isolated, alone or lonely. This is true even if there are no people around them in a given moment. A person that is convinced that the reality is that they are (and always will be) separate and alone, must adapt to that. They do so by coming up with spiritual justifications for it being right to be alone. They do this so that they are "fine" being alone. This is a person that is separated, isolated, alone and lonely. They just don’t perceive themselves to be, because they have found creative ways to cope with it. We need to take care not to mistake the two. One is in alignment and the other is very much out of alignment. Unfortunately, people mistake the two all the time.     
A great many spiritual teachers (especially when they come from cultures where there is a trend of family enmeshment trauma) experience aloneness as freedom and as the only way to have a sense of self and personal truth. They feel it to be a relief from pressure and the other negative aspects of their social backgrounds. And so they come up with teachings which glorify aloneness as well as teach that the ability to be alone is a virtue. 
So many more spiritual teachers have come from relational traumas that made them realize they could only rely on themselves . And so, they connected to the spiritual realms rather than to other people. They then created many truths about self-sufficiency and aloneness to justify and back up the adaptation they made in response to their own relational pain. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled; Spirituality, The Great Coping Mechanism. 
If you want to be in alignment regarding aloneness, this is my suggestion: Treat the state of being that is aloneness as a tool. We may call this tool solitude. Instead of thinking about it as a push away towards others, think of it as having focused quality time with ourself. Use it as a tool to integrate. Use it as a tool to tap into and focus completely on your internal truth. Use it as a tool to become aware of and resolve the pain that you are carrying within you. Use it to develop your sense of self love, confidence, capability and self-esteem. Use it to un-do your negative associations with solitude. 
At the very same time, realize that being with yourself or experiencing the state of solitude has nothing to do with whether or not you have incredibly close, connection and people with you in your life. Aloneness is a perception. There is not a moment that you are alone. You are connected to and part of all that is. And you are living in an interdependent universe. No being is an island unto themselves. And just like water and air, connection with others is a basic need. If you love yourself, you want your needs to be met. So, you will seek out connection and closeness with others because doing so is to act in your own best interests.
Deep, intimate, closeness and connection with others is not inherently a contradiction to the experience of solitude. You may not be occupying the same space as another person in a given moment. And in that moment, retaining a perception of connectivity, it is possible to not feel separated or isolated or lonely. Instead, it can be the opportunity for focus, intimacy, understanding and connection with yourself. 

Are You Trying to be Loved for What You are Not?

Gloria has struggled with weight all her life. She grew up in a family that ate almost exclusively junk food and meat cooked in lard. She struggled with cystic acne. She was prescribed a medication for acne that damaged her liver. Her hair has always been thin. And due to poor eyesight, she always wore coke bottle glasses. Gloria has never been considered a physically attractive woman. And this, has causes her pain all her life. Gloria has been taught by her family and by society that she will only be loved if she is pretty. Because of this, Gloria has struggled all her life to become physically attractive, so that she can be loved… Loved for what she is not. She got Lasik surgery so she wouldn’t have to wear glasses anymore. She worked her ass off to get enough money for a gastric bypass surgery. But as the years went on, she gained most of the weight back. She tried hair growth supplements. She took makeup classes. No matter what she did, she never got the reflection from others that she was actually physically attractive. She never got the reflection that someone loves her for how she looks. 
Seth was raised in a culture that sees goodness as sweetness. Over the years, he has learned to act like the good guy and therefore put on a decidedly sweet mannerism. He automatically smiles and is super friendly, says only positive things and uses enthusiastic body language. Seth has learned to be inauthentic to how he is really feeling and what he is really thinking and to who he really is as a person. He believes the only way to be loved is to be sweet. He thinks people will love him for his sweetness. Because he has worked so hard to try to be sweet, Seth thinks he IS sweet. He just thinks he struggles with negativity sometimes. The truth is, Seth has a lot of anger inside. The truth is, he has to suppress what he is really thinking and feeling and wanting in order to act how he has learned he “should” act. The truth is, Seth has a built in BS meter when it comes to other people. He naturally notices what is out of alignment in any given situation. Some people in his life don’t care whether he is being inauthentic. They believe he should continue to work on being sweet because denying and controlling the parts of oneself that are not virtuous, is the purpose of one’s mortal life. Some people, who prefer authenticity don’t like Seth very much because they think he is fake. They can feel what is underneath his sweet persona. Never the less, Seth continues to discipline himself to be sweet. 
Gloria and Seth have both fallen into the pattern of trying to be loved for what they are not. 
When I say this, pay very close attention to your resistance to this idea. When we have resistance to this idea, we tend to do one of two things. The first thing we might do is to argue against reality or find a way it might not be true. For example, with Gloria’s, we might want to fight against the idea that she is not beautiful. We may want to say things like “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or “the right person will find her physically attractive.” And with Seth’s, we might think thoughts like “everyone does have a part within them that is super sweet.” Or “just because someone has negative thoughts and emotions, doesn’t make them not sweet!” 
The second thing we might do is to fight for the person’s capacity to become what they currently are not. Essentially, we fight on the side of potential, against what currently is. For example, with Gloria, we might feel ourselves wanting to offer advice for how she could actually become physically attractive. Or come up with explanations as to why she has failed so far and what would have made her succeed before at becoming physically attractive. Things like “well… If she had just moved to Africa, where in some places, people do think that fat is physically attractive.” Or “she didn’t even do anything to learn about diet… come on. If she really wants to be attractive, she has to change her lifestyle.” And in Seth’s example, we might say things like “when he deals with all that suppression, he will naturally be a sweeter person.” Or we might start pointing out all the proof that we can find that he is or can be sweet, such as “but you can learn to channel your anger in healthy ways in the right set and setting and in other sets and settings, be super sweet… like you were with your son when he was a baby.”
It makes sense that we go into this resistance because we want people to feel good about themselves and lovable, rather than unlovable and bad about themselves. We also don’t want to let go of our own struggle to be loved for what we are not. The thing is, this resistance in fact keeps people stuck in the pattern of trying to be loved for what they are NOT. We keep them on the rat wheel.    
It may be healing and progressive for someone to develop qualities that are not developed within themselves. But not always. Sometimes, the most healing and progressive thing a person can do is to stop trying to develop something within themselves or become something they are currently not. And instead, own and make the most of whatever IS. This is especially the case when what we are wanting is to be loved. And to find a compatible relationship or situation to ourselves. 
When we believe that we will never be loved unless we are a certain thing, and as a result, we become stuck in the pattern of trying to be loved for what we are not, we spend so much of our time trying to get people to reflect that we ARE that thing, when the truth is that we aren’t. We try to find people who will see it in us. Or to do things so that we can try to get them to see it in us. We can even slip into denial about ourselves because we feel we couldn’t face the reality, because of what we think it would mean.    
By the way… it is important to know that when people say that they want to be loved, they aren’t actually talking about love. They are talking about wanting to be valued, wanted and appreciated.
Spend some time trying to identify what you are trying to be loved (which really means valued, wanted and appreciated) for that seems like an uphill battle. For example, maybe it’s how good you are in bed. Maybe it’s your service orientation. Maybe it’s your knowledge. Maybe it’s how masculine or feminine you are. Maybe it’s your financial prospects. Maybe it’s emotional stability. What is it that you are not, that you are still trying to be loved for being?            
Sometimes this uphill battle is because we really are something and we are trying to be valued for being that thing, but we are going to the wrong people for to do that for us. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Value Realization. A Realization that can Completely Change your Self Worth. 
But sometimes, we experience this uphill battle because we are trying to be valued, appreciated and wanted for what we are NOT.
For this reason, one of the most powerful things you can do, is to stop. Stop fighting that uphill battle, admit to the reality of what is. Own that reality about yourself and make the most of what is. A big part of this is advertising and offering whatever it is that you truly are. You can compare this to playing with a deck of cards. We might spend our life trying to play our life with cards that are not even in our hands. We may do everything to try to develop those cards as opposed to really looking at the cards we DO have and playing a strong game with those specific cards. But you have to realize that in the game of life, everyone has several very strong cards. It’s not that anyone has all crap cards to play with. 
What this would look like in the example of Gloria is that instead of trying to become physically attractive so that someone will value, appreciate and want her for being physically attractive, she accepts that this is not a card she is playing with. 
Instead, she looks at what she is. When she does this, she realizes that she is very stable emotionally. She also realizes that she is a very committed person in relationships. She is reliable and present with others. And she is cozy. She can be a safe space for someone because she is a safe space. She doesn’t have to develop those traits. She owns this about herself and because of it, that is the foot she leads with when she meets people. She looks for people who want and need those things and would therefore value and appreciate those things about her. As a result, she will feel “loved” by them. 
What that might look like in the example of Seth is that instead of trying to keep sweet so that someone will value, appreciate and want him for being sweet and positive, he accepts that this is not a card he is actually playing with. 
Instead, he looks at what is a genuine virtue within him. When he does this, he realizes that he is a very protective person. He is vigilant and leadership comes naturally. He doesn’t have to develop those traits. He owns this about himself and because of it, that is the foot he leads with in social settings. He drops the pretense. He looks for social environments that value those things and will welcome those things about him. As a result, he will feel “loved” by them.
What might be different in your life, if you started playing with the cards you actually have in your hands rather than the ones you don’t have in your hand? What might life look like if you stop beating your head against an iron wall by trying to find your empowerment in something that is not an actual point of power for you and instead, found personal empowerment by figuring out where your actual power lies? Face the fear you have about accepting what you are and what you are not. Discover what it is that you think would happen if you let go of trying to be what you think will cause you to be loved (i.e.: what you are currently not) and instead, owned and advertised and made the most of what you are? When you have your answers, question them. 
You may have spent your lifetime fighting an uphill battle for love because you have been desperately trying to be whatever you think will get you loved, when all the while, the feeling of being loved could have been the effortless result of instead, trying to be loved for what you actually already are. Are you tired yet?

Safety… The Most Common Reason That People Ruin Their Relationships

When we enter into a relationship, we want it to be mutually pleasing and we want it to last. But so often, this is not how our relationships go. They end up turning painful and they fall apart. And when this happens, so often we have no idea why. 
It just so happens that the most common reason that relationships fall apart is because of safety. On a subconscious level, even though our relationships grant us a sense of safety, if we perceive that something about a relationship makes us unsafe, we care more about our own safety than we care about the other person’s experience and we care more about our own safety than we care about the health of the relationship itself. 
In a relationship, when something makes us feel unsafe, the aspects of our personality that are designed to keep us safe take over. And these aspects of us are very self-centered. Even when they employ techniques to keep us safe that seem self-sacrificing, they are doing so because they think those techniques are the ones that will keep us safe. If you want to learn more about this concept, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.
In a relationship, when we feel unsafe and these protector parts of ours take over control, we start to behave in ways that are self-preserving but often detrimental to the other person we are in a relationship with. In other words, they start to turn the relationship into a zero-sum game. And this creates a relationships downward spiral. The reason this creates a downward spiral is because when we do this, it causes us to behave in ways that cause the other person in the relationship to feel unsafe. And as a result, their protector parts take over. And they start to also act in ways that are self-preserving and detrimental to us. They also start to turn the relationship into a zero-sum game. And when they do this, it causes us to feel even more unsafe and thus double down on this self-preservation mode. Which causes them to feel more unsafe and double down on theirs. And this keeps amplifying the degree of unsafety and pain in the relationship until the relationship itself is destroyed.
So that you can really grasp this concept, here is an example: Myles has been in a relationship with Rebecca for 2 years and he’s been living with her for one year. Recently, Myles was laid off and he hasn’t yet decided to take another job. As a result, Rebecca has felt like she is under more financial pressure. This has made her feel like she is carrying the both of them, which is not something she wants to do. As a result, she has developed some resentment and this has been causing her to act more uptight and shorter tempered with Myles. Myles doesn’t feel that she is delighted to see him anymore and doesn’t feel as respected by her as he once felt. His self esteem has taken a hit. Subconsciously, he is starting to feel unsafe in the relationship. He has started to feel like he is either headed towards being left or towards being stuck in a house with a person who is constantly negative towards him. As a result, Myles’s protection strategy kicks in. It just so happens to be that his protection strategy is to regress. He starts to escape to a younger stage of development. He starts behaving like a child. He stops cleaning up after himself. He refuses to engage in adult conversation and checks out mentally for hours on end working on his model cars. He binges on whatever snacks are in the house. He has even started wetting the bed occasionally. By doing this, Myles is trying to return to a stage in his life where he felt more secure and when he had a caregiver that could rescue him out of his insecurities. Subconsciously, he hopes that he can solicit the same behavior from Rebecca that he used to get from his mother. Such as caretaking and being comforted and supported. But that is not what happens. Instead, the behavior that he is doing to try to establish safety for himself is making Rebecca feel incredibly unsafe.
Rebecca feels like she is not in a relationship with a man anymore. Instead, she feels like she is in a relationship with a little boy. She feels alone in the world and extremely burdened. Her future seems painful and bleak. As a result, Rebecca’s protection strategy kicks in. It just so happens to be that her protection strategy is to become dominating and criticizing. By doing this, Rebecca feels less powerless to the situation she is in. Subconsciously, she feels doing this will pressure Myles into correcting what he is doing that is causing her pain. But this does not happen. Instead, it makes Myles feel even more unsafe and thus double down on his regression behaviors so that now, instead of even looking for a new job, he is making excuses for why he can’t find one and is pouring all his energy into play. Which makes Rebecca feel even more unsafe and thus double down on her dominating, critical behavior so that now, she is yelling at him every day and is making threats to leave him. 
If Rebecca and Myles don’t manage to caretake each other’s insecurities and unsafety, this relationship death spiral will continue until the relationship falls apart.
We can get into this unsafety spiral in any type of relationship. What I mean by this is, parents and children can get into it, siblings can get into it, colleagues can get into it, bosses and employees can get into it, businesses can get into it, lovers can get into it, friends can get into it. Wherever there is a relationship between two entities, this can happen. 
It is very difficult to focus on caretaking someone else’s insecurities and unsafety in the relationship when we are trapped in a self-preserving mode, which we are when our protector parts are engaged. But in order to stay out of the safety death spiral or to pull out of it, this is what we must do. We must reach beyond our narcissistic bubble to access our care for the wellbeing of the other person and our care for the security of the relationship.
If you want to avoid this pattern, recognize when you feel insecure or unsafe in your relationship and very quickly initiate re-establishing security and safety with the other person. In alignment with this, caretake the insecurity and unsafety of the other person in the relationship. If you want to learn more about this, watch two of my videos. The first titled: How to Create a Safe Relationship. And the second titled: Trust (What is Trust and How to Build Trust in Relationships). 
  It is not possible to fix a problem if you don’t even know what is going on. Most people don’t actually know that the perception of unsafety and the plethora of behaviors, strategies and coping mechanisms that people employ so as to re-establish safety for themselves, is the most common problem in relationships. It is one of the most common reasons that relationships go from wonderful to terrible. It is one of the most common reasons that relationships fail. When people are desperate to protect and preserve themselves, they do things no matter the impact on the other person. The perception of unsafety can make even the most loving person behave in narcissistic ways. It is easier said than done, but now that you know what is going on, it is possible to fix the problem.

Read This If You Want to Be Loved for Who You Are

If you spend time with people, something that you will hear again and again is: “I want someone to love me for me.” Another variation of this is: “I want to be loved for who I am.” When we hear this or when we say it, we act like it makes perfect sense. But we lack an understanding of what we really mean when we say this. And as a result, we are passive to experiencing what it is exactly that we want to experience. 
There are three questions you must consider if you want to be loved for who you are/if you want to be loved for “you”. 
What do you mean when you say “loved” in this context? Who and/or what are you?  What exactly is it that you are asking for other people to love about you? When most people say they want to be loved, they aren’t actually talking about love. They are using love as a term to represent the experience of being valued, appreciated and wanted. 
Thus, if you want to be loved for who you are, the next natural question is: What is it about you that you want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for? What is it exactly that you are asking other people to value, appreciate and want about you?
When a person says “I want to be loved for who I am” or “I want someone to love me for me”, what this usually means is that the person has certain specific aspects about them that were never valued, appreciated or wanted. Potentially they have been rejected for those things in the past. Or potentially, those things have never been adequately recognized. On top of this, they may have been valued, appreciated and wanted for something that they don’t want to be valued, appreciated and wanted for. 
Because this is the case, if you are someone who wants to be loved for who you are, it is imperative to identify what specific things about you, you want someone to value, appreciate and want you for. 
So that you can understand this better, here is are two examples: Braden grew up in a household where he learned that the only way to be close with people and get a positive response from them was to help them out. Relationships were all about what he did for a person. Now, in his adulthood, Braden is obsessed with finding a person who “loves him for him”. He has fallen into an interesting pattern. Whenever he meets someone that he likes, he goes to town doing things for them. But quickly he falls into the fear that they only like him for what he does for them. So, suddenly, he stops doing things for them to test if they like him for him, or whether they like him for what he does for them. Most of his relationships end badly because of this. Why? Because he advertises himself as a person who is all about service and who loves to do things for you. This appeals to people who do value him for the fact that he is all about service. Most especially people whose primary love language is service. So, when he stops doing this completely, they feel unloved and one of the very biggest things they value and appreciate and want from him goes away. He has fallen into the duping pattern. By the way, if you want to learn more about this pattern you can watch my video titled: The Great Dupe of Dating. Of course, Braden falls even deeper into a depression feeling like he has been proven right. No one will love him for him and everyone just wants to use him. 
When Braden attends a seminar on relationships and he says “I want to be loved for who I am!” He is asked the question: “Well… who are you?” We could say a great many things about who Braden is. He is a human. Does he want to be loved for that? He is a man. Does he want to be loved for that? He has a soul. Does he want to be valued, appreciated and wanted just because he has a soul? He exists, does he want to be loved just for the fact that he exists? He loves baseball. Does he want to be loved for that? Braden’s answers to all this is: “No”. This means there are very specific things about him that he wants to be loved for. So, the next natural question is: “What specifically do you want to have people appreciate, value and want you for? Braden thinks about this. After some time, he realizes the answer is that he wants to be appreciated, valued and wanted for his insights, sense of humor and loyalty. This is what he really means when he says “I want to be loved for me.”
If Braden wants these things to be appreciated, valued and wanted, he’s going to have to showcase his insights, sense of humor and loyalty to others and also, put himself near people who are likely to value him for those things. He needs to stop trying to get people who value service to value him for his sense of humor for example. 
To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Value Realization. A Realization that can Completely Change your Self Worth.
One more example: Crissy is a very beautiful woman. She is a model by profession. Crissy is down in the dumps because it seems like every man she meets is only with her because of how she looks. Sometimes she feels like men just want her to be their own personal accessory. She feels like they want her to be there just to increase their status. And to dress how they want and hold whatever opinion they want her to hold and to have needs only when it is convenient for them for her to have a need. She doesn’t feel like she gets to be a person around them. Crissy says she wants men to “love her for who she is, not what she looks like.” The thing is, what she looks like IS part of who she is. Unless she decides to turn against her own beauty in some way, she cannot erase this reality. What’s important is that her physical beauty is not what she is desperate to be appreciated, valued and wanted for. 
Crissy wants to be appreciated, valued and wanted for her “character”. This would be a man who wants a real person by his side and thus would want her to communicate about what she thinks and feels and who would want to know her likes, dislikes, thoughts, feelings, quirks and character traits. Preferably, this would be a man who would appreciate, value and want her character enough that if she aged or got less pretty in some way, he would still want to be with her because he valued her character more than her physical beauty. 
Knowing this, Crissy decides that she is done meeting men in night clubs. Instead, she decides that she wants to meet men who share similar interests. One of her interests is cooking. Another is art. So, she decides she is going to take a cooking class and go on food tours and she starts going to art shows to meet men who share these passions. She also decides that she needs to dress according to what is true for her character and mood on any given day, rather than falling into her pattern of always making sure to dress in a way that is sexually attractive to men. She decides that when she meets men, she will demonstrate her character and have open, real conversations straight off the bat rather than making sure to act and speak in a way that she knows will make most men feel attracted to her. In this way, she has not turned against her physical beauty, nor has she made an enemy of being sexually attractive. She is simply going to lead with a different foot and instead, showcase her beauty and sexual attractiveness when she authentically feels like it.
If you are someone who says that you “want to be loved for who you are” or who wants people to “love you for you”, it’s time to stop saying that. The reason being that it is nebulous and confusing and not specific enough and not even what you mean.
You need to figure out exactly what it is about you that you want to have be appreciated, valued and wanted. From there you need to advertise whatever it is about you that you want someone to value, appreciate and want. Part of this implies communicating with others about specifically what you want them to appreciate, value and want about you.  And then, never forget that you are more likely to be appreciated, valued and wanted for something when you advertise that thing specifically to the people who are most likely to value, appreciate and want that thing. This is where yet again; compatibility comes into play!

The Truth About Polyamory

Before we dive into this topic, you should know that anything I present in this video is just the most miniscule tip of the iceberg. I am presenting the itty-bitty tip of what could be books upon libraries worth of information. Much of which would cause you to question everything that you have been indoctrinated to believe. 
So, let’s start with this curveball: Human beings are not a naturally monogamous species. And you must be very, very careful to triple check and question the information presented by experts that say otherwise. Because what you will find as a general trend is that those studying human nature, including scientists, tend to project their own beliefs, practices and preferences onto what they are observing. And even more so, they tend to validate the beliefs, practices and preferences of whatever regime just so happens to be sponsoring them. 
Cultural changes that occurred thousands of years ago, made the true story of human sexuality so threatening that for centuries, it has been turned against by government authorities, warred against by moralizing religions, covered over by scientists and anthropologists, pathologized by doctors and psychologists and denied by everyone. Except, none of it has worked. Despite the thousands of years of war waged against human biology, specifically in order to make them behave in a monogamous way, what we find is not that people have become monogamous. Instead, they practice serial pair bonding. They struggle endlessly with fidelity. And they are endlessly hypocritical with regards to what they profess vs. how they actually behave. Just think of the conservative politician who preaches monogamous morals, and who risks his entire reputation, family and career by hiring a hooker. Or a culture that professes that sex is a pure act that should only take place within marriage and only for the purpose of procreation, that at the same time boasts the highest rate of porn subscription in a nation.    
Rather than take you down this rabbit hole today, think about this: If monogamy were in fact a natural characteristic of the human species, the intense enforcement of it would not be necessary. No being needs to be threatened by law, religions, cultural taboo, media or experts across various fields with public shaming, ostracization, loss, punishment or death to act in accordance with its own innate nature.          
The discussion around innate human nature set aside, we should instead explore the idea of polyamory from the understanding that polyamory is not just a lifestyle choice that people make. Polyamory can be either a lifestyle choice or an orientation. It can also be both. People don’t think about polyamory as a potential orientation. When it very much is. And just like it was for homosexuals throughout history, polyamorous individuals find themselves in a massive conundrum in today’s world. 
Polyamory means “Many Love”. Most of the time, this implies having intentional, intimate emotional and/or romantic and/or sexual relationships with more than one partner at the same time. This being the case, all relationships in the individuals’ life are technically “open”.
Most people who are polyamorous want the term polyamory to represent consensual nonmonogamy. For the sake of this conversation however, let’s say that it is possible to be polyamorous in a fully conscious way that does not harm others and that is done with the full consent of all involved. It is also possible to practice it in an unconscious way that hurts others and is not done with the full consent of all involved. 
The pain that polyamorous individuals or those who are practicing any of the forms of polyamory as a lifestyle choice are facing, is deep and multifold. Polyamory is a term that most people have a negative association with. The world has become monogamy normative. Despite the extreme discrepancy between people professing monogamy and actually practicing it, in today’s world, monogamy is assumed. The same way that heterosexuality was assumed in decades past. Monogamy is assumed to be what is natural, what is healthy, what is moral, what is ethical, what is right and therefore, the only way to have a relationship that is secure, ethical and successful. 
Monogamy is definitely seen as the superior way to practice partnership. Polyamory is demoralized, discriminated against, stigmatized and pathologized. And in today’s world, polyamorous individuals face things such as the loss of their jobs, ostracization and discrimination by society, culture and family. Losing children by courts using it against them in custody proceedings, false accusations and even losing their lives in some places. Polyamory is not a legally recognized or protected status. If a person has multiple partners, they cannot legally marry them and in today’s world, that comes with many negative consequences. We can only hope that the youth of today usher in a complete shift to the standard model of relationships that changes this for polyamorous individuals.
Polyamorous communities have a whole set of terminology unique to them. And there is tons of disagreement in polyamorous groups regarding this terminology. In this same vein, something that many people don’t know is that there are many forms of polyamory. I can’t introduce you to all of them in such a small amount of time, but let’s look at some of the most common forms of consensual polyamory that a person might choose to practice. 
A vee. This is a relationship where one person is in a relationship with two people, who are not sexually or romantically involved with each other.  Kitchen Table Polyamory. This is a network style interrelationship where there is an integration of multiple people into one life-group. It is communal. In kitchen table polyamory, there are close relationships between all members of the group. These relationships between everyone may or may not also involve romance or sex. There is a strong emphasis on open communication and friendship (or more) between all partners involved.  Parallel Polyamory. This is a form of polyamory where relationships run parallel, but don’t usually interact. In this arrangement, a person has multiple romantic or sexual partners, but those partners, though aware of each other, are not involved in each other’s lives.                Non-Hierarchical Polyamory. This is where a person has more than one simultaneous relationship without hierarchy being imposed and without a ranking system in those relationships. In today’s world, most relationships come with a kind of hierarchy implied or imposed. For example, in most monogamous relationships, one’s romantic sexual partner enjoys more importance, status, prioritization, power and privilege than other people in that person’s life. In non-hierarchical polyamory, the mentality is one of: Everyone is loved and valued equally, everyone is important and has an equal say. But every relationship is unique, irreplicable and valuable in a different way. Hierarchical Polyamory. This is where there is a defined ranking system among romantic and sexual relationships. Some relationships are considered more important than others and thus, some people in the relationship experience more importance, status, prioritization, power and privilege than others. Many of these groups use the terms primary, secondary and third or tertiary etc. to describe these various levels of hierarchy within the group.  A Mono-Poly Relationship. This is a relationship where one person in a partnership identifies as monogamous and the other identifies as polyamorous. The Polyamorous partner establishes emotional, romantic and/or sexual relationships in addition to their relationship with the monogamous person. But the monogamous person does not.              A Poly - Intimate Relationship. This is a relationship where one or both people in a relationship are sexually exclusive with each other. However, they are emotionally polyamorous with other people in ways that a typical monogamous relationship would not tolerate and would most likely call emotional cheating.     Swinging. This is a relationship where couples engage in sexual activity with other couples, individuals or groups.  A Poly - Fidelitous Relationship. This is where three or more people are in a relationship. But their relationship is closed to any additional people.    An Open Relationship. This is a relationship where one or both people in a relationship have sexual or romantic relationships outside of their primary partnership. Solo – Polyamory. This is where a person seeks to maintain a degree of agency that is not normally experienced in a “couple” or “group - life” lifestyle. They maintain a lifestyle that is more comparable to a “singles” lifestyle where they have the autonomy to choose to have romantic/sexual relationships with multiple people at the same time without seeking permission from others. They don’t have one or multiple primary partners, instead they tend to see themselves as their own primary partner.  Relationship Anarchy – This is when a person does not reserve intimacy or romance for the people they have sex with. They don’t make a distinction between the importance or value of their sexual or romantic partners over the other people in their life, such as friends or colleagues. And they don’t believe sexual and romantic relationships should be prioritized over all other forms of love.  Polyamory tends to be much more flexible than the standard model of relationships. So, you could find almost any kind of multi-person arrangement in a polyamorous dynamic. Long story short, it’s complicated. This is why, when it comes to understanding polyamory, one of the most important terms to know is: Polycule: Where as most people tend to use the word “relationship” to imply a dyadic dynamic, polycule is the word used to describe a network of interconnected relationships between multiple people. The word polycule is used to refer to the whole network itself. This word is a portmanteau of “poly” and “molecule,” the reason being that all the possible relationship configurations tend to resemble charts of the chemical structures of molecules. You will find that groups and networks larger than four people often simply use the word “polycule” to describe their network, because the specifics of the unique and complex relationships between all people involved can get complicated. Alternatively, you may hear them being called “constellations” as well.  
Polyamory is where the human species came from. And it is also where we are headed as a species in the future. But that does not mean that people are ready for polyamory. And it does not mean that polyamory will solve the avalanche of relationship problems we are having as a human race. You can be a relationship idiot and be monogamous. You can be a relationship idiot and be heterosexual. You can be a relationship idiot and be homosexual. You can be a relationship idiot and be bisexual. You can be a relationship idiot and be pansexual. You can be a relationship idiot and be asexual. And you can be a relationship idiot and be polyamorous. We must master relationships regardless of who we choose to have relationships with and in what configuration. And that is no small task.  
Also, the fact that polyamory is where we came from and where we are going, does not mean that it is right for all people or that people should just start practicing polyamory. You cannot just discount the reality of the effect that thousands of year’s worth of belief in and enforcement of monogamy has had on people. You cannot deny the fact that this is a world that is organized by and around a monogamous mentality and that almost all people are still governed, even at a subconscious level, by that mentality, including you. You cannot undo that effect with the snap of your fingers. You cannot just erase the fact that you live in a world where monogamy is still the unchallenged social construct and where not conforming to that construct absolutely comes with negative consequences. You cannot deny that changing society so that it is no longer based on the structure of a monogamous relationship or a single-family household is a massive undertaking with many inherent challenges. And you cannot deny that both monogamy and polyamory come with their own unique set of benefits and their own unique set of challenges. People should choose what challenges are right for themselves to sign up for in exchange for what they are wanting.
Given that more and more people in the younger generations are choosing polyamorous lifestyles, I will be teaching more about it as time goes on.
But, no matter what you, yourself choose, at the very least, polyamory needs to be de-stigmatized. It needs to be recognized as an orientation, not just a life-style choice. And those who choose to practice it in a conscious, consensual way, deserve to be supported by the families, cultures and societies they live in.

Why Is Changing a Belief So Hard?

We all hold certain things to be true. These things could be called beliefs. And in case you didn’t notice, we definitely don’t all agree upon what is true or correct. None the less, as individuals, we organize our lives around what we believe. Something that is important to know is that we hold beliefs that we, ourselves are not even consciously aware of. You could say they are embedded deep within our subconscious. And we are living our life according to them without even realizing that we are doing it.
Things happen in each one of our lives and each one of us encounters information that challenges our beliefs. For example, life may throw us a curveball that proves one of our beliefs wrong. Or we may read something that presents a totally alternative perspective. Or, we may become interested in self-development and take a more proactive approach to questioning and changing our own beliefs. And no matter whether this happens in an intentional, conscious way or whether it is simply an experience that happens to us, it is really, really hard. 
Many of our beliefs are benefitting us. And many of our beliefs are in fact hindering us. Changing the beliefs that are not benefitting us, makes our life experience better. It makes us more successful. But we still resist changing our beliefs. Even when we have committed to the path of self-development or even just success, we struggle with changing our beliefs. At face value, it makes no sense. It seems our resistance to changing a belief is self-sabotaging. But, today, I’m going to explain to you why changing a belief is so hard. I’m going to explain why we resist changing our beliefs so much. 
The most important thing to understand about changing a belief is that it is quite literally life threatening. Why do I say this? Because our life is built in accordance with our beliefs. What we do with our health, what our personal relationships look like and who we have relationships with, what we do for work, where we live, the choices we make in our life, what we do with our money… all of it, we choose according to our beliefs. If we change a belief, it isn’t just the belief that will be changing. It is any aspect of our life that was in alignment with that belief. For many people, a drastic overhaul of one or many beliefs will equal a drastic overhaul of their entire life… A life crisis. And that process is not just a feel-good process of improvement.
For example, Seth grew up Jehova’s witness. Just to name a few beliefs that came with this, he grew up believing that it is wrong to accept blood transfusions because it brings about the loss of eternal salvation. He believed it was wrong to have sex before marriage and that as such, it was important to have a chaperone or to go on a group date if he ever met a girl that he thought might be right for him as a wife. He believed it was wrong to celebrate his birthday or anyone else’s. He believed that any personal ambitions regarding a career must be abandoned for the sake of service to family and the service to God. 
Because of all of these beliefs, Seth chose to stay in Georgia, with his congregation rather than to go to college in Massachusetts, specifically to a school with one of the best mathematics programs. He avoided doctors for his entire life, preferring to trust God to heal him if he was sick or injured. He married the first girl he had feelings for when he was 19 years old. When he had his first child, they did not celebrate his birthday and took him out of school on any days the school was celebrating a holiday. Seth devoted himself to missionary work rather than to getting the best degrees so as to become an actuary, which was his dream job.
When he was still young, the universe delivered him a 1-2 punch. On top of his family and religious service duties, he decided to take an anthropology class at a local college. When he took that course, the foundations of everything he was led to believe began to crumble. On top of that, at the very same time, his cousin, whom he was very close to, suffered a miscarriage following a car accident and her husband and parents all encouraged her to refuse a blood transfusion. She went into hypovolemic shock, which led to both brain damage and gangrene. She had to undergo multiple amputations and went through a personality change. She is much less cohesive, has seizures, memory problems and sometimes, become dazed, disoriented and confused now. 
As a result of all of this, Seth’s beliefs changed. But because his entire life was chosen based on his beliefs, the entire life he built inevitably collapsed too. His shift in beliefs caused a divorce between he and his wife. Something that brought intense shame on him. He was only able to see his son on weekends. His family stopped talking to him completely as he was shunned. He lost all but one friend in his congregation. He had to make all new friends, which was a rich experience, but also a very alienating one, because no one could relate to him. He made the decision to move to the closest major city. He started studying holistic medicine and he completely dedicated himself to it. He let his new friends throw him the first birthday party of his life. And he started going on a dates alone with women.
It doesn’t matter whether you judge what happened with Seth as right or wrong. What is important is to see is that because he changed his belief, his entire life changed. Changing a belief can do this. If you want to learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: The Real Reason Why People Don’t Change.
  Another reason changing a belief is so hard is that we often add painful meaning to the changing of a belief. And that painful meaning, we either accept and are in pain about. Or we refuse to accept, so we simply keep the old belief to avoid that pain. For example, Jen is a big-time animal lover. When she was young, she learned that if a baby bird is touched, the mother will abandon it. She found a couple of birds on the ground and knew that they would not survive on the ground, but that if she touched them, they would starve to death. To put them out of their misery and try to prevent them from experiencing pain, she decided to put them in her freezer so they would die more peacefully and quickly. Years later, she was watching a TV show and was confronted with the truth that a mother bird will not reject babies who are touched and that the best thing to do is to put the baby bird back in the nest and to walk away so the mother can come back to it. The painful meaning that Jen decided would come along with the new belief is that she was a killer. She had unnecessarily killed the baby birds. She could not live with that. It kept her up at night in torment.
The pain of the meaning we add to the changing of a belief is sometimes so painful, that we choose to go into complete denial. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: How to Call BullS#!T on Denial.
  When we change a belief, we are often thrust into a state of cognitive dissonance. You are suddenly in a situation where things don’t line up. You are faced with conflicting experiences, conflicting information, conflicting beliefs, conflicting values, conflicting perspectives or conflicting behaviors etc. And cognitive dissonance is an extremely uncomfortable and destabilizing experience for people. It causes serious stress and confusion.
  Changing a belief causes our sense of self to change. Beliefs form much of the structure of our consistent sense of self. So, when they change, so does our identity. Because of this, changing a belief can easily lead to an identity crisis. To learn more about this, watch my video titled: Self Concept, The Enemy of Awakening. 
  There is an undeniable social element to changing a belief. This goes along with the idea that changing a belief will change the different sectors of your life. But whether you think it should be this way or not, the reality is that beliefs are integral to human social bonds. If you don’t believe me, just look at what happened during the Covid Crisis. I am yet to meet one person who did not lose a friend or family member (or many) over the conflicting beliefs around Vaccines. Changing beliefs, changes your relationships.
  Your brain and body and ego are hard wired to protect you. Because changing beliefs can either threaten to invite pain or can actually cause pain, you are in many ways wired against it. For example, you filter out anything that contradicts your beliefs and pay very close attention to what reinforces it. Psychologist Peter Wason, named this Confirmation Bias. Your brain is hard wired to want to save energy, maintain homeostasis and simplify the world. We want to avoid anything that causes stress. And we are prone to do anything to preserve our sense of self (ie: ego) when it is threatened.  Long story short, encountering anything that challenges our current beliefs, causes us to feel threatened. Belief perseverance is a very real thing. Leaning into that discomfort is definitely not an easy thing to do. And I can tell you that leaning into it and being willing to proactively engage with your beliefs, which implies being willing to potentially change them, is essential to both expansion and genuine wellbeing. But there are very real reasons why people are afraid of doing this. And there are very real consequences (both positive and negative) that come with doing so.

The "If Everyone In The World Was Just Like Me" Game

A while back, I introduced a self-awareness game titled the “My Planet Game”. And people loved it so much that today, I want to introduce to you another self-awareness game that is similar but different. We spend a good deal of our time trying to get people to think like us, do things the way we do them, prefer the same things we do, hold the same opinions etc. Sometimes we do this to try to enhance the confluence in our relationships. But sometimes, we do this with an undertone of: The world would be better place if everyone was just like me. In this game, we actually entertain the idea of this actually happening. 
To play this game, you imagine that the world is as it is today. But tomorrow, you wake up and mysteriously everyone has been transformed to be just like you. Same personality, same feelings, same needs, same preferences, same aversions, same beliefs, same interests, same personal truths, same vision for the world, same way of having relationships, same dysfunctional and functional patterns, same strengths, same weaknesses etc. etc. And you look straight at the negative and positive reality of what the world would actually become like if tomorrow, you woke up and everyone was suddenly exactly like you. 
I know that it is tempting to project that everything would be good. After all, we would not be like we are if we did not think it were the best way to be. But, this exercise challenges you to see both how the world would be better and also how it would be worse if everyone were just like you. So maybe it is better to say that the goal of this game is to see how things would be different and how things would change and what reality would end up looking like if everyone were just like you.
When you are doing this exercise, the sky is the limit as far as things to consider. But to get you started, you could consider things like: 
*What your political beliefs are and how things would change or be different if everyone had the exact same political beliefs as you do. 
*What your interests are and what would happen if everyone had the exact same interests.
*What your vision for society is
*Your relationship to animals
*Your relationship to plants
* Your ideal lifestyle
* Your bad habits
*Your attitude towards family
*Your attitude towards kids
*Your strengths in the various different facets of life
*Your weaknesses in the various different facets of life
*Your sensitivities
*Your relationship to work
*Your spiritual or religious beliefs
*What it would be like if everyone acted the same in relationships that you do in relationships
*Your relationship to Earth
*Your pet peeves
*How you deal with problems
*How you act when things are going well
*Your relationship to temporal, physical existence
*Your mentality towards life
*Your social life
*Your exercise habits
*Your relationship to your body
*Your attitude towards emotions
*Your personality
* Your goals
*Your needs
*Your motivations
*Your values
* Your style of dealing with conflicts
*Your vices
*Your life choices
*your relationship with fun and recreation
*Your virtues
*What you specifically have to give to others and contribute to the world
*What you are really, really bad at
*What you perceive to be drudgeries
*What causes you the greatest Joy
*Your attitude towards home life
*What makes you the most upset
*Your sense of community
*How you deal with upset
*What you will not tolerate
*Your relationship with personal growth
*What you will tolerate, even when you shouldn’t
*The places you like to spend time
*Your attitude towards travel
*Your attitude towards society
*Your purchasing habits 
*How you make others feel
*When it comes to you, what’s missing?
* What verb best describes you?
*Your food habits and or your relationship to food
*The way you present yourself
*Your tastes (ei. In decoration, style, preferences)
*Your aversions
* The worst thing about you
*The best thing about you
*What people ask you for help with
*What people avoid asking you for help with
*Your taste in music
*Why you do what you do
*Your talents and abilities
*What you stand for
*What you stand against
*What people compliment you on
*What people criticize you about
*Your relationship to sleep
*Your relationship to finances
*Your attitude towards health
*What bores you
*Your definition of success
*What you geek out about
*How you manage your time
*What you spend your time doing 
*What you would spend your time doing if you could have everything your way 
An enhanced way to do this game is to involve other people who know you well in the game. Since other people sometimes see things that we don’t, and when it comes to hypothetical situations, many minds are better than one. And, let’s face it, it’s more fun that way.   
So that you can understand this game, here is an actual example of a write-up that someone did:
If everyone in the world was like me… we would have regressed a few hundred years. We would have no cities and everyone would live in a hut. Cities were abandoned because they require too much maintenance. Essentially, we go back to the farming age and only because I guess we have to eat. Everyone would begrudgingly have a job in that farm life not because we want to but because we have to in order to survive. And even though we are only having simple foods like corn, beans, whatever we can grow somehow, we manage to make it very unhealthy. Health is not a concern and therefore gyms are extinct like the dinosaurs. Because of this our life expectancy is not very high. That’s ok we make up for it by focusing on relationships. The two main focuses if everyone was like me would be relationships and shadow work. As a matter of fact, we would start off our day with shadow work. Everyone in this world would be super regulated. Oh you have a problem? That’s ok I have plenty of time to listen to you, to see you, to make changes according to what would be best for the relationship. Why would I gaslight you when we could both dive into reality. There wouldn’t be any loneliness or lack of belonging or feeling unsupported. We would all gather at night time around the fire to talk about how our day went. But don’t worry we would all point out what could go wrong so that we would have plenty of shadow work the next day.
Are you feeling like you are coming down with something? That’s ok we could just go get herbs from the garden or go see our local medicine woman that is just around the corner. And you know that because no one really moves away. You know everyone and everyone knows you. There are no fences separating you from anyone, there is no land ownership and there is no crime. We all make sure we are considering others and that is reflected in our trade system, we don’t use money. Everyone’s basic needs are met. I can’t say anyone is entertained but you know, who needs entertainment when you have shadow work. You also have the donkey you ride to travel and do the farm work. We could have had horses but we don’t… those guys are just too tall for us. Plus we are mostly women with no children so you know you have to be careful in all the places you can. Don’t worry about us women we rarely if ever get hurt, there’s not much of anything around that could do anything. The landscape is harmless. But if anything does happen you could just send word for your best friend and she would be there in a second. Why, because we value companionship more than anything. What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t help you when you needed it?
Bored yet? I’m not sure what to do with that one? I can’t entertain you, can you do it for me? I guess we’ll just do more shadow work on it. Good thing we focused on relationships and shadow work. I’m not sure what else to do with my life than what I have already done. Hey, let’s integrate ourselves out of here. Sounds great to me, it’s not like we had kids. I guess it was good while it lasted….
This example is written in a humorous tone. The goal is not necessarily to have it be funny. So, yours may be humorous or serious. Either way, the goal is to conceptualize of the reality of a world where everyone was just like you. 
Doing this exercise goes a long way towards helping you to love the ways that people are different and how those differences can create a richer, healthier life for us all. It goes a long way toward showing us how we need each other. It helps us to see our own dysfunction and function. It also shows us how it can be enough for us to be a certain way, or for someone else to be a certain way because having everyone be that way would be what would lead to problems. So, try it out for yourself and gain some new awareness.

Warning! This Is What Happens If You Don’t Admit to What You Want!

Life satisfaction can only come about if you are in touch with what you want. And you can only create the life you want if you admit to what you want. This concept is pretty straight forward. Where it gets complicated is that you may not be admitting to the truth of what you want. You may not be admitting it to yourself. And you may not be admitting it to others. 
Most of the time, when we don’t admit to our truth, including the truth of what we want, it is because we perceive there to be some negative consequence for having that be our truth. For example, we feel having that truth means something bad about us, like that we are a bad or wrong person or that we are messed up or dysfunctional in some way. Or we believe that having that truth will mean we will be denied something else that we need or can’t live without. Or that having that truth will cause us to lose someone we don’t want to lose. Or having that truth will cause others to reject or otherwise harm us in some way etc. Whatever the reason is, we perceive it to be a consequence bad enough that we are willing to deny our truth to try to avoid that consequence. It’s perfectly understandable. The problem is, we don’t see the consequences of denying our truth. We don’t see that denying the truth of what we want, leads to serious consequences too. 
The way that this consequence shows up in a relationship is especially painful. When someone can’t swallow or admit to the truth of what they want, when a truth might negatively affect a relationship, they will do two things: 
They will deny the truth of what they want and conform to whatever they think will maintain the relationship. This means letting go of their truth so as to establish confluence with the other person/people.
And at the same time: They will try to covertly manipulate others into accommodating their hidden truth.  So that you understand this, here is an example. Rosalva was parentified when she was young. She was totally under-nourished as a child. Her truth is that she wants to be taken care of by someone. But she is ashamed of this truth. She believes that people who want to be taken care of are lazy and no one will want to be with them, including her husband. Rosalva is so ashamed of her truth; she won’t admit to it. As a result, she denies this truth and conforms to her husband’s expectation that she cleans the house and cooks for him and pampers him. At the same time, because she can’t get rid of her truth, she tries to get people to accommodate it in covert ways. For example, when she had her first daughter, she parentified her own daughter. Through punishment and reward, while her husband was away at work, she created a dynamic where her daughter was rubbing her feet and doing many of the household chores and was her emotional support person regarding her problems in the marriage. Also, her back keeps going out, so other people “have” to do things for her. And she makes other people very, very wrong and bad for not conforming to taking care of her when her back goes out.
To give you another example, Tom’s sexual orientation is polyamorous. His truth is that he wants to have multiple partners on an emotional, physical, sexual and romantic level. But Tom is in a society that believes that monogamy is the only way to have a relationship and that it is the only moral way to have a relationship. He feels that to admit to his truth would make him dysfunctional, lead to him being publicly shunned and lead to him never being able to be in a secure relationship. So, he denies this truth and proposes to his girlfriend and moves into an apartment with her and tries to behave in a monogamous way. At the same time, because he can’t get rid of his truth, it comes out in covert ways. He flirts with absolutely everyone. And it drives his fiancé crazy. He tries to make his fiancé heal from her prude nature because she is not open to a threesome. He tries to get her into watching porn that features group sex. He has a friend who he sees at least four times a week and is emotionally close to in a way that goes far beyond what is tolerated in a normal monogamous relationship. 
When we won’t admit to the truth of what we want, we simultaneously fight against our truth and for our truth. And as a result, we end up trying to get our needs met in the wrong situations and from the wrong people and we will drown ourselves and other people in absolute confusion about us.
On top of this extremely painful pattern, here are some other things that happen when you don’t admit to the truth of what you want:
You cannot find compatible situations and compatible people. You doom yourself to the pain of trying to make what is incompatible, compatible. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality in Relationships.  You will not be able to get what you want. To get what you want, you have to know what it is that you want, admit to it and then take steps to get it directly. If you aren’t admitting to what you want, you will try to get it subconsciously and in round about ways. Ways which are not effective and painful to both you and the other person. It is a recipe for spending your whole life in pain.  You run the risk of slipping into the “so that pattern”. With the so that pattern, you try to get what you want in a roundabout rather than direct way. You do something you don’t like and do things you don’t want to do SO THAT you can get something you do want. If you want to learn about this pattern, watch my video titled: If You Want to Be Happy, Don’t Do This!  Because you will continue to try to conform to situations and people who are not compatible to what you want, while at the same time trying to subconsciously get them to accommodate what you want, you will not be happy. You will have to “cope” with the pain that arises as a result of being in those incompatible situations. You will become manipulative and you will most likely cause conflict that will cause you to become the ‘problem person’ to everyone else. Using our previous example, Rosalva will not be happy in her marriage. She has to cope with the pain by taking anti-depressants and obsessively cleaning the house. And there are so many fights between her and her daughter and her and her husband regarding whose responsibility is what; as well as conflicts about the pressure that her constant back problems put on the both of them. Rosalva has become the resented person in the house.   The universe will keep lining you up with situations that will force you to clarify and become conscious of and admit to what your truth is. It is an invitation for the universal pressure cooker to escalate. This includes situations where the consequence you were trying to avoid by not admitting to what you want, happen anyways. When this occurs, the worst has already happened and there is nothing more to lose and you no longer risk anything by admitting to what you want. These situations can be extremely painful to everyone involved. You will have very little energy and you will become physically unhealthy as a result of not admitting to what you want. It takes a great deal of energy to deny, suppress, disown and resist what you want. And it takes a great deal of energy to live in a situation that is out of alignment with what you really want. You will be in a state of stress doing so. This lack of alignment and this stress and this energy expenditure, will not only create emotional and mental problems for you. It will translate to the manifestation of a whole host of physical problems. You will run the very real risk of slipping into full on denial and gaslighting yourself and everyone else in the process. You will feel unhappy in a certain area of your life and you will act like it and other people will notice it. But you will say things like “It’s ok” or “I’m happy with it the way it is” or even “I love it”. Then, you will have to develop coping mechanisms to cover it up and deal with the reality that you are denying. No one, including you, will be able to figure out what is actually true relative to you. To understand more about this, you might benefit by watching my video titled: How to Call Bull$#it on Denial.   You will be working against your own expansion rather than with it. This is a bit like turning upstream against the Grand Canyon River. It’s not going to go well for you. It will feel like all forces are against you and like no matter how hard you try to succeed at what you consciously think you want or have decided to go for, it will never work out. The thing is, all forces ARE against you; but because they are actually aligned with what you really want rather than what you are currently going for. When it comes to getting what you want, you must take the first and most important step, to admit that you want it. You have to accept that the reality before you IS the reality and then acknowledge it. From there, you must make decisions and take actions according to it. The good news is, the truth shall set you free!

The Truth About "Wokeism" and Today's Woke Society

I write this article today with a heavy heart, knowing that I am stepping out on a limb by doing it because anyone who shares a viewpoint that contradicts the current “in style” social narrative is immediately branded a villain.
These are strange times indeed within human society. The current trend within society is “wokeness”. And this should make a spiritual figure like myself very happy. After all, awakening is a virtue. Society is served by people being aware and well informed. It is served by people being actively attentive to and responsive to important societal issues. But alas, I am not happy. Because the woke movement is not what people think it is. It is not wokeness at all. Instead, it is a human society that has fallen into yet another pothole of both the ego and unconsciousness.
What used to be a social movement fueled by empathy and compassion and the desire to make a positive change. And what once was a social movement that successfully exposed the dark reality of injustice and backward thinking that was latent within our society, has devolved into a radical political and social ideology that is flirting with authoritarianism and that is wearing a mask of virtue.
Make no mistake. The current “wokeness” trend is not genuine awakening. It is does not reflect genuine awareness or even intelligence. And it is often marked by false concern. If a society was genuinely “woke”, that would be a good thing. But the general direction of change that you are seeing within society today is actually a false wokeness. It is a gaslight. It is something disguised as the opposite of what it is. It is unconsciousness disguised as consciousness. It is virtue signaling disguised as concern for others. It is immorality disguised as morality. It is prejudice disguised as social justice. It is an assault against health disguised as measures that are pro-health. It is racism disguised as anti-racism. It is primitive ego disguised as evolved state of being. It is further damage to traumatized groups of people disguised as help. It is a backwards step disguised as forward movement.
Don’t forget that gaslighting is a form of mental abuse. And this is especially sad because in today’s performatively woke society, we are gaslighting ourselves and each other on a mass scale. This is one reason why being part of society today, you might have a persistent feeling that something isn’t right, you might feel a lingering sense of anxiety and hopelessness. You might feel totally out of alignment with other people. Inexplicably frustrated and confused; maybe even like you’re going crazy or like something is seriously wrong with you. Or you may be noticing yourself leaning towards political views that you never thought you would align with before. By the way, if you want to know more about gaslighting, you can watch my video titled: Gaslighting (What is Gaslighting and How to Heal From It).
Today, we need to take a step towards actual awakening by seeing some of the main problems inherent within the “woke” society we are experiencing today.
The most important thing to understand about the woke-ism of today is that it is gaslighting on a mass scale. This gaslighting will corrode the wellbeing of every member of society. On top of this, we must never forget that gaslighting sucks people into illusion and thus further from the real solutions to the very real problems (such as the social justice issues) that we, as a society, are facing. It is a movement within society that demands conformity and that not only fuels but that supports inauthenticity and dishonesty. It calls for pretense. Make no mistake, the woke movement within society today is one of zero tolerance. Even when it is forcing tolerance on the collective, it is doing so from a place of intolerance. Like all other dogmatic ideologies, it is rigid and black and white. It will not give room to anything that does not comply. As a result, it is just another movement trying to force compliance.
Man is a social creature. When people are put under social pressure to comply and conform, they do so in order to avoid pain and gain rewards. But in doing so, they deny, suppress and disown what is real. They slip into pretense. They become inauthentic and dishonest. And nothing can be done to actually change what is real when what is real is being hidden. For example, if a society decides that racism is out and the new fad is support for a specific discriminated race, many companies will jump on board with that trend and you will see people of that race dominating their marketing campaigns. But that does not mean that the people who run those companies actually agree with the new ideology. The people who run those companies could be racist as hell. But they are disguising themselves as socially a conscious company so as to not be “cancelled” as so as to win public support. Or for example, if a society decides that the right thing to do is to participate in a public health regime and has decided to paint those who don’t as a public enemy, those people who don’t are then marginalized or attacked if they don’t omit their opinion or even lie. The dogmatic demand for conformity to what the majority has decided is “right” kills the ability within people to admit to and express anything that does not conform to that ideal. It kills what is real and true. 
People in society don’t actually have to change. They don’t actually have to be awakened or informed. They just have to say the right things and advocate for specific things in public and demonstrate solidarity against the current “out-groups” in order to be considered part of the newest ‘in-group’. It’s classic unconscious human social behavior at its finest.
Many people are celebrating the current woke trends as if they are a sign that society is changing and is finally headed in the right direction. But it is not true change if people are doing it to fit in with the ‘in group’ or to avoid conflict or to gain social support or to feed their own ego.   Today’s rigid “woke” culture is ushering in an era of cancel culture and an end to the freedom of speech. When something is canceled, it is ended, nullified and eradicated. And today’s woke-ist culture is looking to cancel anything that does not align with its own rigid ideology. This includes silencing voices and blocking information that opposes its own. To learn more about cancel culture, you can watch my video titled: Cancel Culture (What is Cancel Culture and What To Do About It). The woke culture of today is just another flavor of right vs. wrong and good vs. bad, black and white thinking. This is a direct contradiction to actual wokeness because awakening causes your mind to open. It shows you how complex and nuanced things really are. This includes social justice issues. Black and white thinking drags us into the inability to fully comprehend the reality of things. It causes us to draw simple, wrong conclusions. It harms our relationships, shuts us down to learning and to alternative ideas. And it limits our capacity to find the actual solutions to our problems.  And the reality is that the woke culture of today displays the same dichotomous thinking that underpins the very social issues (such as racism or sexism or homophobia) that it professes to be against. Today’s woke society trend gives the unhealthy ego a place to thrive. Because society sees woke-ism as good and right, all your ego needs to do now, is to virtue signal. So many people are saying what they are saying and doing what they are doing, not because of a genuine understanding of what they are saying and doing and not because of genuine concern or actual personal truth. They are saying what they are saying and doing what they are doing so as to feed their own ego and win the social approval of others. A person can feel like they are such a good person by putting a performatively woke sign in their front lawn. They can feel superior by using the right pronouns when referring to another person. They can feel self-satisfied by posting a meme about cultural appropriation. They can feel righteous by publicly championing the latest public health regime. Because of this, our actual subscription to the wokeness is skin deep. This is clearly seen in the fact that our everyday behaviors definitely do not match the concern for social issues that we show online. In fact, our daily behaviors often directly contradict the performance we put on for the public. Today’s woke culture is a byproduct of very wounded individuals who are bitter as a result of having experienced unfairness. And whom as a result, have essentially weaponized their resentment. Because of the unfairness they have experienced, they blame other people (usually a specific “out group”) for their disempowerment and hurt and thus justify any action they take against a person who they think belongs to that group. And in the same vein, when they make other people (especially those in the out-group) responsible for the unfairness they have suffered, they then try to manipulate them into making amends. None of this is actual healing and none of this is actual empowerment.  The “wokeist” culture is keeping the social deadlock triangle of victim, villain and hero alive and well. The very foundation of today’s woke culture is victimhood. There are perks for victimhood. This is scary as well because when there are perks this big to being a victim, everyone wants to be a victim, so they invent crimes so as to be seen by others as a victim. This is an injustice to actual victims and invites false accusations. On top of this, in a virtue signaling society, everyone wants to be a hero. And a hero needs both a clear victim and a clear bad guy in order to exist. People looking to be public heroes seek glory, attention and adulation. They also invent villains, regardless of whether that villain actually exists, so they can portray themselves as heroes. Essentially, woke culture has given people who lack bravery in every sense and who want to be heroes the opportunity to invent causes of victimhood so that they can then tell the world that they are the hero for eradicating the threat. This mentality keeps humanity disempowered. It creates scapegoats and false villains and it destroys the credibility of actual victims. There are many dysfunctional psychological and social patterns that today’s woke culture promotes and advocates for that so many of us in the spiritual, psychological and self-development field are trying our hardest to undo. For example, it promotes the idea that feelings represent reality and that you don’t have to really deeply look into something because you “just know it’ or you “just feel it” when what is true is that while feelings are always a carrier of personal information and are important, they don’t necessarily reflect reality. And you absolutely do have to look deeply into things and question them if you are interested in what is true. Or for example, it promotes the idea that we are either the oppressor or we are oppressed and we are defined by that group that we are born into. When what awakening looks like is ceasing to see the world in this black and white way. To see ourselves in everything and everyone and to decide that your own thoughts and actions to define you. Or for example, that if our ancestors or members of the tribe we were born into did something horrible, it is our offense whether we personally participated or not and thus, we are responsible for what they did. When developing psychologically is to see that you are not guilty for or responsible for what your parents or grandparents did. You could not change what happened. All you can do is to make an autonomous decision for your own conduct. You get the point…. There are so many ways that this woke movement is a direct antagonist to spiritual development, to awakening, to psychological, emotional and physical health and to self-development. Therefore, this current woke culture is not a forward step as many would like to think it is. Today’s wokeism shuts down intelligent conversation and thus, thwarts the progress of our entire species. Many would have you believe that the woke culture is a liberal ideology. It is not. This is yet another gaslight. What defines liberalism is the willingness to respect or accept behaviors that differ from one’s own and the openness to new ideas. Alas, this is not what we see. In this woke culture when someone expresses disagreement around social issues, it means that person is seen as either ignorant or bad. And instead of being open to their ideas, this culture shuts them down. The idea that maybe there is value inherent in the other person’s perspective does not exist. They have already made up their mind and anyone who has a different opinion is wrong. Also, shutting down or publicly destroying someone who “doesn’t see how wrong they are” is now seen as virtuous. It is now not ok to offend anyone by expressing an opinion others might dislike. This new culture is quite literally killing new thought and is also killing the conversation. People are showing an absolute unwillingness to test their assumptions. Without viewpoint diversity, there would never be any progress within the consciousness of mankind.  I could write an entire book on the problem with the woke culture that we are seeing today and on just how not woke it is. But what I will leave you with is this: There is nothing woke about a person who cannot see the dangers inherent in wokeness itself.

The Truth About Accepting Someone for Who They Are

If you read books on relationships or attend relationship seminars or even go to certain relationship counselors, you will notice that a sacred belief people hold is this: To make a relationship work, you need to accept someone for who they are. To accept people for who they are is considered an evolved, loving and even moral act.
To accept someone for who they are is to accept the reality of the other person. It is to recognize the reality of them and as such, to stop trying to make them something different. For example, let’s say that the reality of someone is that their top value is leisure time. To accept them as they are is to recognize that this is the reality and to recognize that you can’t change it. And as such, to stop trying to get them to value something else, like professional success. Or for example, let’s say that the reality of someone is that they lose their temper. To accept them as they are is to recognize that this is the reality and to recognize that you can’t change it. And as such, to stop trying to get them to be calm and even tempered.
When we accept someone for who they are, the power is then in our hands regarding what to do about it. For example, if you are in a partnership with someone whose value is leisure time and you accept that, you then get to decide what is the right thing for you to do, given that reality. For example, it may be adjusting your relationship so that they can have more leisure time, while you focus on other things. Or, it may be to exit a partnership arrangement and enter into a friendship arrangement. Or it may mean re-examining your relationship to leisure time and learning to see the value in leisure etc.
But people don’t realize this. Instead, they add to the concept of accepting others for who they are and make it mean things that it doesn’t mean. Specifically, people think that to accept someone for who they are is not only to recognize the reality of them and as such, to stop trying to make them something different. They think it also means to then embrace, like, approve of, agree with, put up with, be easygoing about, accommodate and tolerate that thing about them. 
The reality is, when you accept someone as they are, you will either be able to do these things, or you won’t. It will either be right for you to do these things, or it won’t. To illustrate what I mean by this, I’ll give you an example. 
Bob is an athlete with his sights set on career success and with a world cup win in sight. He has to wake up at 6 am for practice. He is in a relationship with Kelly. Kelly loves to party. She is a social creature and often goes to sleep at 3 or 4 am. Bob hates this about Kelly. Since they became a couple, he has been trying to change this about her. He’s been trying to get her to limit her social engagement and go to bed and wake up at the same time as him. When Bob accepts Kelly for who she is and stops trying to change her, he then has to decide what is right for him specifically to do given that reality. He tries on the idea of letting her be as social as she wants and adjusting their sleeping arrangement so that she doesn’t wake him up when she comes home so late. But Bob realizes that in doing that, he will feel like he does not have a partner. Instead, he will feel like he has an obnoxious roommate who lives her own life and who sleeps in the same house. So, by accepting Kelly as she is, Bob realizes that he cannot accommodate the reality of Kelly. And so, he decides that the right thing for him is to end their partnership. 
Let’s imagine for a moment that Kelly was with another man named Jerry. Jerry is an editor for a publishing house, but he is much less interested in career success than he is interested in a romantic relationship. When he and Kelly get into a relationship, he has a hard time with her partying behavior and how late she comes home. Jerry tries to change this about her for a bit before realizing that he may just need to accept Kelly the way she is. When Jerry accepts Kelly for who she is and stops trying to change her, he then has to decide what is right for him specifically to do given that reality. In considering all the various things that he could do given that reality, he decides that the right thing for him to do is to try to socialize more with other people by going with Kelly sometimes when she goes out. And that when she goes out and he doesn’t feel like going too, he will use that time to get all the work done that he can so that he can have as much quality one on one time with her as possible, when they are both in the same place at the same time. After all, he is only working with deadlines and doesn’t have to wake up at any particular hour. 
What you need to notice is that what is right for two different people to do after each accepted the reality of Kelly, is two completely different things. And what you need to notice is that the right thing to do was not for both to embrace, like, approve of, agree with, put up with, be easygoing about, accommodate and tolerate that thing about Kelly. 
Down deep, we want people to recognize the reality of us and to approve of it. We want people to not just recognize the reality of us and stop trying to make us be different. We want them to like the reality of us, want it, embrace it, approve of it, be easygoing about it, accommodate it and love it. And because this is our desire, instead of seeking people who genuinely can do this, we expect all people to do that, even when they can’t and even when it is wrong for them to do. We perpetuate an illusion that this is possible. And we get ourselves into all kinds of incompatible situations because of it. To learn more about this, you can watch my video titled: Incompatibility, a Harsh Reality In Relationships.
For example, you may be a person who must be in charge. But you can’t then go get a job working under a boss and tell your boss they have to accept you for who you are by being easygoing about your power struggles or approving of the fact that you refuse to be told what to do or accommodating you by putting you in charge of everything. 
This universe, being interested in self-awareness and expansion, will line you up with all kinds of people, places, things, circumstances and situations that will clarify what your truth is. Things that will help you to become aware of who you are. This includes things that will help you to become aware of who you are by causing you to consider changing or not. It’s not that you came to this life to never change and to simply find out who you are and stay that way forever. Therefore, there is a place in this life for becoming different. There is also place in this life for choosing to be as you are. 
In relationships, when you run into a point of contention, it will most likely come with the desire for something to be different. And this presents a choice point. The choice for that thing to change, or the choice for that thing to stay as is. The thing is, you have the power regarding this choice relative to yourself. You don’t have that power relative to other people. They get to choose to change to be different or stay as is. And you may just find that the only way for you to move forward and make the right choice for yourself is to accept something the way it is and decide what the right thing for you to do is, given that reality.
Fear is perhaps the greatest barrier we have to acceptance. We are afraid if we recognize the reality of someone, we can’t deal with what that reality would mean or with the consequences. We may spend every waking moment trying to change someone because we know that if we accept the reality, we would have to make decisions that we don’t want to make, take actions that we don’t want to take and essentially, make changes that we don’t want to make. Therefore, if you have been trying to make someone be different to no avail, consider what would be so bad about accepting them the way they are, as if they would never change. What specifically you are so afraid about? 
Long story short, all it means to accept someone for who they are is to recognize the reality of them and as such, to stop pushing against what is by trying to make them something different. It is to then decide what is right for you to do with yourself given that reality.

The Covert Boundary Pattern

Boundaries are nothing more than a defined sense of self. They are like an imaginary line that defines your feelings, your thoughts, your preferences, your aversions, your beliefs, your needs, and your desires etc. from the rest of the world. Healthy boundaries develop as a result of parents allowing you to have a healthy sense of self when you are developing and being socialized. A sense of self (therefore boundary) includes a sense of how someone relates their ‘self’ to the rest of the world. They include rules of conduct built out of a mix of beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning. Personal boundaries help to define an individual by outlining likes and dislikes and what is right for them personally vs. wrong for them personally. Defining these things helps you to make the right choices for yourself and choose the right life for yourself. If you want to understand more about boundaries, you can watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries vs. Oneness (How To Develop Healthy Boundaries).
In an ideal world, we would communicate and hold our bounadaries in a direct way as well as choose the right life for ourselves and get ourselves into compatible social arrangements based off of our personal truth. But some of us learned early in our childhood that we could not have a personal truth (ie. Boundaries) that were different from anyone else’s personal truth. Or worse, that conflicted with their personal truth. When this was the case, there were such massive consequences for our being in touch with our truth and living according to it and overtly asserting our “sense of self” (and therefore asserting our boundaries) that we suppressed our personal truth deep within our subconscious. We stopped living according to it. And instead of overtly asserting our boundaries, we started to assert them manipulatively and covertly. We slipped into the covert boundary pattern.  
Don’t think that manipulation is an inherently ill-intentioned and malicious thing. Manipulation is simply what a person does when they feel they can’t get a need met overtly and directly. They find indirect and covert ways to get that need met. When a person has to manipulate so as to enforce a personal truth (ie. Boundary), it is very painful for them, as well as for others. It leads to all of the pains that come with inauthenticity. And it leads to constant conflict because people will feel manipulated. They will feel like they are suddenly in a situation they didn’t agree to.
So that you can understand the covert boundary pattern, I have three examples for you. Thea was raised by a single mother who believed that the only acceptable thing was for a woman to be strong and self-sufficient and independent. She wanted Thea to be the boss.  Whenever Thea was sensitive or passive or oriented towards supporting others rather than personal achievement, she would be scoffed at and forced to do things like practice hours of piano and perform in concerts and get straight A’s or be forced to take after school classes. Because of having to adapt to her mother’s truth, Thea developed the skill of precision, execution of tasks and self-discipline. In her twenties, this made Thea quite the business commodity. 
Thea took a job working for a company and at first, she loved it because the support and contribution she offered was valued. Then, she got a promotion. Instead of this being a good thing, it was a disaster. She suddenly found herself in the position of being a boss. She had more pressure and more responsibility. She had to self- lead and tell other people what to do. Thea’s truth and therefore boundary was that she did not want to be a boss. She didn’t want to lead and she had a threshold for pressure. Her truth was that she loves supporting and contributing and being led and given tasks to complete. She felt so ashamed of this boundary, that she spiraled into self-hate. She was also afraid that asserting it meant that she would be dismissed by the company because she had failed. So, her subconscious mind took over. And instead of directly asserting this boundary, she covertly did it. On her first project in her new job, she acted completely incompetent. She made all kinds of mistakes. Her demeanor and manner of speaking was drastically more meek than usual, to the degree that her team felt anxious and looked to her boss for leadership instead. And she became incredibly passive. Totally taken aback by this sudden shift in personality, Thea’s boss confronted her about it. But despite the confrontation, Thea’s behavior did not change. Thea did not understand why she was behaving like that. It wasn’t something she was consciously doing. Her behavior did not change because that way of behaving covertly asserted her boundary regarding the position she really wanted to be in and it manipulated her Boss to once again lead her and take responsibility for her team and take the pressure off of her and put her back in the position she really wanted to be in.
Matthew was always obsessed with money, success and personal achievement. He said he wanted to be a millionaire when he was 5 years old. He had an aggressive personality and reveled in winning at any sport or game he played. Matthew’s parents (who both came from wealthy families) blamed the ‘money mentality’ for their pain growing up in their families. As a result, they had completely different values. They sought to reform Matthew’s personality. They sent him to a Waldorf school because that was the school that aligned with their values. Both at home and at school Matthew learned that the only acceptable thing to be was supportive of others and the only acceptable thing to feel was happy with what you have and the only acceptable thing to do was to be of service to the world. At home, he was forced into the position of support relative to his parents and his siblings and his community. His personal successes were not celebrated. In fact, at the biggest deal soccer match of his life, his team won. All the other kids had parents that were celebrating the win. But he was alone, with no one in the stands. He ended up walking himself home after the match. His family valued equality and believed competition to be a direct contradiction to that. Matthew suppressed his true personality and his true motivations because he feels like his true personality and true motivations will mean that he is a bad person and will end up all alone.
In his adult life, Matthew covertly lived in alignment with his truth. He chose coaching professional soccer as his profession. He told himself that he could be the best and succeed the most and make the most money by making his team the best. But he lost interest in coaching any player that he believed wouldn’t take him to the top and occasionally prioritized his own financial gain over what was in the best interest of the players. He justified this by telling himself that money was in their best interests. 
Matthew’s wife is a successful CEO. He came into the marriage offering to be a supportive husband who would prioritize her success. But in the relationship, he forgets to make dinner arrangements, so she has to and he has emotional meltdowns, so she has to spend time emotionally supporting him. He forgets to arrange for things to be fixed around the house, so she has to take responsibility for the household and he breaks his word relative to attending parent teacher conferences and other kid-related tasks.
Matthew’s truth and therefore boundary never actually changed since he was five years old. His truth is, he wants his own personal success and achievement and he wants to be a financial tycoon. He wont acknowledge this truth. It makes him feel like he is an ass hole and is doomed to be all alone. But he is covertly forcing his soccer team to re-direct themselves towards his success. His career is not something he is doing because he loves coaching. It is a “so that” where he uses it as a means he is not passionate about so as to get to the ends he actually desires. And he is covertly forcing his wife into the role of a supportive housewife because that is what he really wants from a spouse… for her to support his personal success and take responsibility for the household and kids. He denies this is the case of course. He knows he would lose her if he were honest. Afterall, a woman who is a CEO will never agree to also being the housewife. But he is in the covert boundary pattern. And she is furious. She feels like she is doing everything. And it will be miserable for everyone until he admits to his truth and starts to live by it directly instead of indirectly. 
Elaine was the victim of incest as a kid. She was victimized by her father and her uncles. Her truth is that she wants to feel safe with men. But she feels that she can’t enforce the boundary that they don’t have sex with her when she doesn’t want to have sex, directly. Her belief is that she can’t stay safe around men unless she is physically unattractive to them. So, she subconsciously decides to enforce that boundary in a covert way. She lets her looks go completely. She does not exercise. She gains tons of weight. She won’t wear makeup. She wears baggy, black clothes. She does nothing with her hair. She eats junk food. And she uses being ugly as her way to covertly assert the boundary she has with men. It has been very successful in her adult life. Men have no interest in her whatsoever. But it also makes her feel like crap about herself. Occasionally, she commits to getting healthy and exercising and putting effort into the way she looks. But she can never seem to follow through for more than a day or two, because it feels like in doing so, she is opposing her own boundary. Taking care of the way she looks, feels like self-betrayal to her.
When someone is in this pattern, maybe it’s you, it will seem like they can’t change a behavior no matter how hard they work on it and try to change it and they can’t make something happen no matter how hard they try (as if they have some limitation or defect). For example, using our previous example, Thea will be unable to change her meek demeanor and the fact that she keeps making mistakes and her passive behavior, no matter how hard she tries to change it. No matter how much shadow work she does or how many seminars she attends or techniques she tries, she will be unable to behave like a strong leader. The reason you will notice this, is because the behavior is actually serving the person. It is serving them because it is a way of enforcing a personal truth. Most likely a personal truth they don’t want to admit to. It is also serving them because it is manipulating others to act in alignment with their personal truth. Essentially, they get compliance without having to actually get other people’s compliance, because down deep, they think (rightly or not) that other people would never agree to their boundary. 
If something doesn’t change, or you can’t make something happen no matter how hard you try, it means you are up against resistance. And that resistance is there for a very important reason. In fact, you’re up against two layers of resistance. 1. Your resistance to making the change/doing a certain thing or being a certain way because it opposes your personal truth (boundaries). 2. Your resistance to seeing the truth about yourself/ being honest with yourself and others about that truth you don’t want to see. Because this is the case, you must deal with this resistance and work to resolve it. 
Because this pattern involves resistance, including resistance involving a part of you that you will be seeing as a self-saboteur, you would benefit by watching three of my videos. The first titled: Urgent, Deal with Your Resistance Before You Do Anything Else. The second titled: Resistance is Not Always a Bad Thing. And the third titled: There is No Such Thing as Self-Sabotage.
There are some questions that you would benefit by asking yourself: What does my behavior (intentional or not) force other people to do or to not do? And what does that mean about what I truly want? Have I been trying to hide something from myself? Is there something I feel ashamed to admit to? If I could do or be anything at all right now with the snap of my fingers and people would not only be happy about it, but also consider me good for it, what would it be? If I could trade places with anyone else’s life with the snap of my fingers and people would not only be happy about it, but also consider me good for it, whose life would I want? What might be so bad about seeing what I don’t want to see about myself? What do people who have been experiencing my behavior keep reflecting to me regarding what it seems to them like I want? If I didn’t want to see something about myself and about why I am doing what I am doing, what would it be? 
As an alternative practice, after you work directly with whatever part(s) of you are resisting seeing your personal truth, you can work directly with the part of you that is setting a boundary covertly through whatever specific behavior you are seeing in yourself. To learn how to do this, you can watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How to Do It). 
There is no way to enforce a boundary or live out a personal truth in a covert way without causing yourself extreme levels of pain. There is also no way to enforce a boundary or to live out a personal truth in a covert way without causing other people extreme levels of pain and ending up in constant conflict. The life you really want to live and the way you really want to feel in that life will come to exist only when you are brave enough to see the truth about yourself that you are trying to assert in covert ways. And when you start asserting that personal truth in direct and overt ways instead.

There Is No Such Thing as The Fear of Success!

Just about everywhere in the psychology, self-help, self-development and spiritual field, you will hear about the fear of success. Because of this, it is all too common to hear people say, “I think I’m just afraid of success.” The thing is, no one is actually afraid of success! And as long as we keep perpetuating this lie, we will not be able to identify what we are actually afraid of and we will fail to make any headway towards bringing about our desires.
To succeed is to accomplish an aim or a purpose. It is to achieve what you want. No one fears achieving what they want. Therefore, no one actually fears success. What they do fear is some unwanted thing that they think will happen if they accomplish the aim or purpose that they are looking to achieve. If you have formed an association between the success that you want and some unwanted thing, in order to avoid that unwanted thing, you will resist doing the things necessary to bring about your success.
Let’s imagine that you really love trees and you want to go sit under one. But you had an association with trees and snakes. And you are terrified of snakes. You would resist going and sitting under the tree. It would be ridiculous for someone to turn to you and say “I think you’re just afraid of trees!” It could also send you on a wild goose chase relative to solving your problem. After all, we would deal with someone’s fear of trees very differently than we would deal with someone’s fear of snakes because they are different problems entirely.
There are a lot of things people may be afraid of or resistant to when we say they have a fear of success. Here are just a few examples…
The fear that once we achieve something, we may not be able to sustain it and so, we will suffer and cause other people to suffer as a result of not being able to sustain it. So, the real fear here is that we don’t have what it takes to keep our success instead of lose it. The terror of how other people will react to our triumph. So, the real fear is facing negative reaction. The fear that success will mean attention that we don’t want. So, the real fear is attention.  The fear that we might lose connection with someone if we achieve what we want. So, the real fear is loss of connection.  The fear of being seen and opening ourselves to scrutiny. So, the real fear is vulnerability regarding negative public opinion.  The fear that we will lose something we don’t want to lose because success will bring change. So, the real fear is the loss of something we cherish.   The fear of losing a sense of belonging with people we love if we become successful and even of being rejected or ostracized by them. So, the real fear is social separation.  The fear that success will cause others to use us and take what is ours regardless of the impact on us. So, the real fear is parasitic dynamics in relationships. The fear that success will mean people’s expectations of us will increase. So, the real fear is of increased pressure and the fear of disappointing others or letting them down.  So that you can understand this pattern a little better, I’ll give you an example.
Nolan is on a partial scholarship for baseball at college. Nolan is a better baseball player than anyone else on the team. He’s good enough that he could turn professional. But when he had the chance to try to go professional, he chose to be practical and go to college instead. He also chose a college where he could guarantee that he would be the best player on a worse team. Quite frankly, this behavior and these choices he keeps making are infuriating to his coaches and his teammates and his girlfriend. Several times, Nolan’s coach has told Nolan that he has a fear of success. But what is really happening is this: 
Nolan’s sister was born with a severe mental disability; severe enough that Nolan’s entire family revolves around her and her needs. It is something that caused Nolan a lot of pain. But Nolan was taught that the right way to feel towards his sister was pity and the right thing to do for his sister was to sacrifice himself for her wellbeing. When he played with her, he was always encouraged to do worse so that she could feel better and more confident about herself. Nolan learned that this was not only the only way to be a good person. It was also the right way to love his sister. He feels like becoming a professional sports star is unfair to her. He feels like she would be living a life in the gutter and he would be living his best life, leaving her in the dust. As a result, he feels he would be increasing her suffering and therefore be an evil person. Nolan does not fear success. He fears being a bad person. He fears harming his sister and thereby losing closeness with her and the rest of his family. As a result, he is sabotaging his own success in order to avoid that experience. 
If Nolan got hooked on the idea that he feared success, he would not get anywhere because he would not be focused on the actual problem. He might attend seminars where he is instructed to visualize his own success. Or read motivational books about how to discipline himself through the self-defeating thoughts that tell you that you are not good enough. And nothing would change. In order to succeed and progress, Nolan has to face the actual problem, which is his early experiences with his sister and his family and the beliefs he has adopted from those experiences regarding what he must do to maintain closeness with them and be a good person. 
If we keep perpetuating the lie that it is possible to fear success, success will continue to be the smokescreen or scapegoat that keeps us from seeing what the real problem is. It will prevent us from seeing what we are really afraid of. 
If we seem to be sabotaging our own success, we will only ever get anywhere if we identify the unwanted thing that we are really afraid of experiencing as a result of achieving what we want. To do this, close your eyes and imagine achieving what you want. Let yourself play it out. See how that achievement changes or doesn’t change each different sector of your life and your relationship with each different person and thing and place in your life. See what your mind tells you is the reality of what will happen as a result of achieving what you want. Then, answer the question: If I achieve what I want, what bad thing would it mean or what bad thing would happen? 
Once you have that answer, the real work is about addressing that fear or that unwanted thing directly because that is the real problem, not the getting of what you do want.

You Will Get Nowhere With “Should or “Shouldn’t”

Over the course of our lives, by virtue of the fact that we are a social species, we form a strong framework of should and should nots. Our should and should nots uniquely reflect the beliefs and preferences of the people around us…The people whom we want to be in confluence with. We want to be right and good. We feel the only way to be right and good is to be and do what we have learned that we should be and do and to not be and do what we have learned we should not be and do. As some would say it, we start to “should” all over ourselves. 
For example, to generalize, if you are in the Western cowboy culture, you learn that you should live each day with courage, have the character quality of grit, always finish what you start, do what has to be done no matter how you feel, take pride in your work, in fact always keep your pride and dignity, be tough, keep your promises, die before you quit, get even if you’ve been wronged and protect you and yours. And to the other side, you shouldn’t be unfair, be weak in any way, get emotional, waste your breath because you should talk less and say more, complain no matter how much pain you’re in and be willing to die for your honor. 
Or for example, if you are part of a Buddhist community, you learn that you should be calm and self-controlled and master equanimity, speak right (no lies, gossip, harsh speech or insults), be generous, be wise, be compassionate, have kind thoughts, help others, meditate and be aware. And to the other side, you should refrain from excess sensual pleasure, not have ego, never be prideful or selfish, not have destructive thoughts, never harm other living things, never take what is not freely given, never speak unkindly and not care for personal achievement and success other than enlightenment. 
Often, we take these should and should nots as laws to live by that are simply a given. We treat them like unquestioned rules to conform to. To the degree that they are often so ingrained, they are subconscious. We think that acting in alignment with our “should” or “should nots” is going to guarantee our success in life. But it isn’t. In fact, you can’t get anywhere with should or shouldn’t. Should or shouldn’t does not matter. And here are some key reasons why:
When we think something should be a certain way, we often act as if it is that way. To the opposite, when we think something should not be a certain way we often act as if it is not that way. But guess what? It doesn’t matter if something should or should not be a certain way. That does nothing to negate the fact that something is or is not a certain way. Therefore, if we operate from should or shouldn’t, we tend to be in denial about what is. We may refuse to acknowledge or accept what is. And if we won’t acknowledge and accept what is, we will fail to recognize or work with what is real. If we aren’t dealing with what is real, we won’t get anywhere. We are operating from illusion and there, we have no actual power. We will make the wrong decisions and take the wrong actions.  When we are operating from should or shouldn’t, we are in a resistant state of being. When we have a rule, we resist what does not conform to that rule. Therefore, if we think something should be a certain way or that we should do a certain thing, we are usually in resistance to anything internal or external that isn’t that. And conversely, if we think something shouldn’t be a certain way or that we shouldn’t do a certain thing, we are usually in resistance to anything internal or external that is that. We are walking around in resistance to what is. Pushing against the world and against ourselves.  Should and shouldn’t thinking often implies a lack of personal truth and a lack of intrinsic motive. The vast majority of the ideas we have about should and shouldn’t come from other people. We adopt them. But they are not “ours” because we have not really questioned them and come to our own truth about them. We just swallow them regardless of whether they reflect our personal truth or not. Also, when we operate from should and shouldn’t, we are not showing concern for what we genuinely want. We are losing touch with what we really want. The should or shouldn’t becomes like an extrinsic motivator. And as a result, we don’t get anywhere. Extrinsic motive is a horrible source of motivation, especially if it is not backed by desires or worse, is working against your desires. You will notice that you fail to do what you think you “should do” because it’s not that you really want to, it’s that you simply think you “should”. Free will and drive becomes shaky in the land of should and should not. Should and should not, brings us into the land of inauthenticity. When we are in resistance to what is because we cannot acknowledge what should not be. And when we are in denial about our truth because we have decided that our truth should be something different. And when we are lying to ourselves that we are a certain way because we have decided that is how we should be. And when we are trying to force ourselves to be how we should be and do what we should do, we are not being authentic. Potentially we are trying to convince ourselves that we are something that we aren’t. We are making ourselves do what we don’t want to do. In general, we are either in total denial of ourselves because we cannot acknowledge anything within ourselves that doesn’t fit the picture of how we should be. Or, we see what is, but we are in total resistance to it, and are trying to mold and conform and make ourselves into that picture of how we should be, while avoiding being what we have already decided we should not be.  Shoulds and should nots are often very rigid and black and white and this gets us into trouble. They are painful, not negotiable and do not accommodate for the nuanced nature of our world. They tend to be inflexible and closed. Our should and should nots are often driven by fear. We hold on to them because we are so desperate to avoid something. If we have an idea that something "should" be a certain way, it is often because we are so terrified of it not being that way. And if we think something "should not" be a certain way, it is often because we are so terrified of it being that way. We are also terrified of what will happen if we don’t hold ourselves to a strict standard of how things should be and shouldn’t be. This means, we are using fear and consequence avoidance as the framework of our life. And as such, we are under a lot of pain and pressure in our lives.  Should and shouldn’t is a recipe for low self-esteem and negatively judging others. Our “rules” about the way we should and should not be often causes us to feel like we are never good enough. That we are somehow defective and cannot measure up to our ingrained picture of right and wrong, good and bad. It also causes us to be rigid with others and negatively judgmental. They will also never feel like they can measure up to our idea of what they should and should not do and be. It is a recipe for pain in the relationship with ourselves and with other people.   Our attachment to "should" and "shouldn’t" keeps us split instead of integrated. It causes us to deny, suppress and disown anything within ourselves that is not what it “should be” or that conversely is what it “should not be”. This keeps the fragmentation and lack of cohesion in our own consciousness alive and well. This leads to all kinds of pain and problems. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.  Should and shouldn’t acts as a barrier to awakening and to awareness, including self-awareness. Our should and should nots are often so rigid, we don’t question them, as a result, we keep ourselves stuck in ignorance and unconsciousness. On top of this, when we will not recognize in ourselves what we have decided should not be there and instead, see in ourselves what should be there, even if it isn’t there, we condemn ourselves to a lack of self-awareness. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Self-Concept, The Enemy of Awakening. So that you can better understand how you will get nowhere with should or shouldn’t, I’m going to give you two examples. Louise got interested in self-help and spirituality in her early twenties. As a result, she has adopted a lot of should and shouldn’t from the books she has read and the yogis she has studied under and even from realizations that she has had while doing medicine journeys. Recently, Louise went through a traumatic divorce with her husband. Louise has been doing a lot of reading lately. She especially loves Osho. She reads the things he says such as: The more loving you are, the less is the possibility of any relationship. And relationship is a kind of bondage. And relationship is a substitute for your soul. And relationship is needed only because love is not there. And aloneness simply means completeness. Louise decides that a person shouldn’t have the need for another person if they are evolved enough and a person should be spiritually evolved. She also thinks that a person should be whole in and of themselves and therefore shouldn’t grieve the loss of a relationship because that implies a lack of spiritual development. Therefore, she refuses to acknowledge the fact that she is grieving the loss of the relationship. She walks around saying things like “You know, I really feel like this divorce is exactly what I’m ready for. I just sense that I no longer need to use another person to feel a sense of completeness or security.” 
Louise’s idea of how she should be and should be does not matter. It doesn’t change what is. And what is, is that she is in shock that her life is suddenly so different than she thought it would be at her age. She feels lonely and feels afraid and is angry and her energy levels are decreasing because she is experiencing depression that she will not acknowledge, all because it should be there. Her refusal to acknowledge what is because it “shouldn’t be that way” and “should be another way” has made it so that her mental and emotional experience is becoming physical. Her sleep cycles are all messed up, she keeps getting infections, she is experiencing fatigue which she never used to have and when she went to the doctor for chest pains, she was diagnosed with stress-induced cardiomyopathy. Louise will not get better physically unless she stops refusing to acknowledge in herself what she thinks should not be there and falling into the illusion that she is how she thinks she should be. 
For our second example, Bao grew up in a culture that really, really cares about filial piety. And his parents care about Bao having the right status within society. As a result, they have wanted him to go to the right school and get the right degree and get a job they can be proud of since he was born. Bao takes it as a given that a person should do these things. The problem is, he has no intrinsic motivation to study anything specific in college. He has interests, but none of them fit into the mold of what his parents have always wanted for him. The problem is, it doesn’t matter to Bao what his personal truth is, he knows that he should go to the right school and get the right degree and pick the right job so his parents can be proud. He is living a woefully inauthentic life. And he is also hating his life. Life is something that he forces himself to get through. He has recently started going to a therapist because he doesn’t know why he has these crazy ideas, like stepping in front of the passenger train he takes to campus every day. Bao wants to be happy. But he is getting nowhere because he is living according to what he should do. He is treating what he should do as a given. And his own personal truth and personal desires aren’t even in the picture. So, he can’t make the right decision for himself. Instead, he is making the right decision for his parents and he is subconsciously living according to the belief that a child is born specifically to be in service to their parents.     
All this is why you will get nowhere with your personal growth or shadow work or life improvement when you are doing it to get rid of what you think you shouldn’t be or to stop doing what you think you should not do. It’s also why you will get nowhere when you are trying to force yourself to be what you think you should be or to do what you think you should do. When it comes to life, the shoulds and should nots do not matter. And once you realize this and are brave enough to look at what IS instead, you will be that much closer to finding freedom, intrinsic motivation, self-esteem, integration, awareness, authenticity, personal power and the life you really want.

Exposing The Codependency Mind Trick

To be honest with you, the word codependency was a horrible choice. After all, it is a learned relational style that has nothing to do with being “dependent”. I could write an entire book on this relational style and what conditions give rise to it and what behaviors come along with it. One thing you need to know though is that this relational style is an adaptation that a person makes to an unhealthy social environment at an early age. People adapt this relational style and carry it through the rest of their relationships in life. If you would like to learn more about this, you can watch my videos titled: The Truth about Narcissism and Codependency, as well as: Codependency has Nothing To Do with Dependency.
What is important to understand for the sake of the information that I am about to share with you in this video however, is that people who develop the relationship adaptation style of codependency decide at a subconscious level that because no one is really concerned for their welfare, benefit and best interests, the best way to survive is to get their own needs met by sacrificing parts of themselves so as to conform to other people’s interests and creating an attuned emotional contract with them, whereby their own needs are manipulatively met in exchange for doing so. It is also important to know that you will hear pretty much everywhere that codependents place a lower priority on their own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. This is not true. It only looks like that on the outside. The reality is that if we have adopted the relational style of codependency, the preoccupation with the needs of others is our method for getting our own needs met.
In any relationship, confluence is the feeling of “we”. It is the feeling of togetherness, agreement, unison, ease, harmony and alliance. The best way to conceptualize of confluence is to think of two rivers flowing together to become more. Confluence is the opposite of being against each other. It is the opposite of conflict. Confluence is something that feels good to people in general and it is something that we all seek in relationships. But not at any cost. If we are someone who has adopted the codependent relational style, what sets us apart is that we have learned to establish confluence at any cost. We go to lengths to establish confluence that are detrimental to ourself and to anyone we are in a relationship with. For example, we usually grew up in households where difference meant conflict. Therefore, for the sake of creating confluence, we abandoned our authenticity and made ourself the “same” as others or made ourselves into whatever they wanted us to be. Or for example, for the sake of confluence, we also learned to enable dysfunctional behavior in others. And we are perfectly willing to fake confluence. The reason being that we have learned that anything but confluence is dangerous. We normalized going to great and horribly self-abusive lengths to distort ourselves so as to feign confluence, even to the degree that we fooled ourselves. For those of us with a codependent relational style, establishing confluence in any relationship is a subconscious desperate attempt to avoid danger and ensure that our needs will be met. We don’t just like confluence… We hold onto it like a buoy that our life depends on in the middle of a deep ocean squall.
It is important to understand this attachment that people with a codependent relational style have to confluence. Because it is this attachment that creates a mind trick that keeps you stuck in a state of inauthenticity, thinking that it is authentic. Here is the trick... If you have adopted the relational style of codependency, you care so much (often on a subconscious level) about confluence, that it registers in your system as your top value and therefore your top priority. This means that letting go of any other personal truth you might have so as to establish confluence with someone will actually feel like relief. It will feel good and right and authentic because in doing so, you are in-alignment with your top subconscious value.
So that you can understand this mind trick, here is an example: Tom is married to Sandy. Tom has adopted a relational style of codependency. The truth is that Tom loves adventure. He also loves taking risks because it makes him feel alive. But Sandy is someone who likes predictability and routine. She enjoys staying at home in her garden and with her cats. She gets upset any time that Tom changes the routine or suggests they take a trip. Sandy is not a master of relationships to be sure. But interestingly enough, she does not have a narcissistic relational style. Still, Tom does not know how to deal with incompatibility in a relationship and whenever Sandy gets upset, the feeling of not being aligned with her is viscerally terrorizing. His desperate attachment to confluence is triggered. And so, Tom goes to work denying the truth that he loves adventure and trying to getting rid of his tendency towards risk taking. He does this in many ways. First, he denies, suppresses and disowns the personal truth that is a threat to his sense of confluence with Sandy. He decides that being a risk taker is not a truth about himself, instead it is an unhealthy addiction that he is meant to cure himself of. To validate this, he reads books on the addiction to risk taking and watches movies about bad things that happen to risk takers to discourage himself from taking risks. He also attends Buddhist seminars about being in the present moment and about the beauty of the mundane. He decides that even exploring his own neighborhood can be an adventure if he decides to make it one. He forces himself to stick to the routine and engage in the many home-body activities that Sandy is engaged in such as reading, cooking, gardening, watching TV and taking neighborhood walks. At first, doing this feels so good and so right. He will believe because of this that he is being authentic. After all, he is in alignment with his first subconscious priority… confluence. The problem is, he had to suppress other parts of his authenticity in order to be aligned with his authentic top priority, which is confluence.
Tom is not satisfied in his life because he is denying the truth about himself to be in alignment with the truth that he wants confluence in his marriage. Again and again, these feelings of dissatisfaction will creep to the surface and when it does, he becomes compelled to break the routine or go for an adventure or act out in some way. But when that happens, it threatens his sense of confluence. So, he quickly suppresses them again. And when he does, again he feels relief. Again, he feels like he is back on track and doing what is right and true for himself, simply because he has attained confluence. Tom will confidently look at you straight in the face and say, “We love being at home. We’re just two homebodies. Honestly, I think that people now a days are just addicted to intensity and are never satisfied. They have forgotten the beauty of simplicity.”
 The mind trick is that your attachment to confluence acts like a smokescreen for your personal truths in that you do authentically want confluence. So, anything you might do to attain it, including being dishonest and inauthentic may feel like you are being honest and authentic to you.
If you are someone who struggles with this mind trick, here are some suggestions:
Recognize when a personal truth would stand to grant you confluence with someone and therefore you could be at risk of being in this pattern. And if a truth would stand to grant you confluence, that truth needs to be treated with suspicion. You need to really question whether that truth is in fact your truth, rather than trying to prove it is your truth. On top of this, you need to seriously question your relationship with compromise… to giving up things or changing things about yourself in order to be in confluence in a relationship. For this reason, you would benefit by watching two of my videos. The first titled: Why You Should Never Make Compromises in a Relationship. And the second titled: Do You Base Your Relationships on Compromise or Compatibility? Familiarize yourself with and memorize the difference in sensations between something being real or true vs. something downregulating your nervous system because it gives you relief from danger. One exercise you can try is to close your eyes and imagine a situation where you feel like you are in trouble with someone else. Now, imagine that you are able to get out of trouble and please them so the other person is happy with you. There is a relief that feels right and good in the body. Feel that in every cell of your being. What does this feel like?  Now change exercises. Think about a truth that you can’t take away. Something you believe in to your absolute core. Or something that can’t be denied, like that you were born in the city that you were born in. There will be a kind of solid, unshakable sensation near your core. Feel that in every cell of your being. What does it feel like? Notice that these two sensations both feel “right” but they are very different feeling flavors. Realize that if you fall into this mind trick, you struggle with denial as a coping mechanism. For this reason, you would benefit by learning about denial. To do this, watch my video titled: How to Call Bullshit on Denial. In alignment with this, chances are very high that you are not being honest with yourself. It’s hard to be in confluence and know that you are lying to yourself. So, you are most likely in the pattern of fooling yourself. To do this, you are in the pattern of suppressing, denying, disowning and reframing your own emotions. Telling yourself stories about them so as to obscure the truth they contain. Each emotion is a carrier of personal truth and information. It is critical to notice your emotion and listen to the personal truth carried by your emotions. Not tell yourself a confluence supporting story about them. When something feels “off” in your life, but you don’t know what, chances are high that you are not being honest with yourself because your truth threatens your sense of confluence with someone in your life. If you find yourself in a pattern of self-sabotage or of breaking your word, it means you are not being honest with yourself. If you complain but you don’t take action, it means you are not being honest with yourself. And to be honest with yourself, you are going to have to be willing to risk losing confluence. If you are in this pattern of confluence attachment, in your relationships, what you try to suppress will keep coming up again and again. It is not hard to live in alignment with something that is genuinely true for you. If it is not true for you, it will be hard to live in alignment with it. It will feel like you are having to be very disciplined to do something despite some part of yourself that you disapprove of. This is an indication that you are suppressing and denying and disowning a personal truth. For example, imagine that man is looking for a relationship where he doesn’t have responsibility and instead is taken care of. But he got into a relationship with a woman who has no interest in doing that. He will have to actively work against this truth. And he will notice that because it is second nature to live according to your truth, he will “slip” into behaviors where he doesn’t take responsibility or where others are forced to take care of him. Probably slips that lead to repeated conflict. Essentially, the real truth keeps rearing its head. Commit to the mastery of relationships. The reality is, if you have a codependent relational style, you are afraid of people and relationships induce fear. You don’t know how to have yourself and have other people too at the same time. You have only known zero sum games and manipulation in relationships. You look to placate people before there is even ever a conflict. You don’t understand how to create genuine repair without compromising your personal truth. And you don’t know how to find a third option. This means, you must un-learn and also learn how to have a relationship. It is important to know that someone who is codependent enough, does not have to be in a relationship with someone with a narcissistic relational style in order to fall into this trap or behave in codependent ways. A not so funny joke is that all it takes to be considered a narcissist in a relationship with a good enough codependent is to have an opinion or a preference. All that being in a relationship with someone with a narcissistic relational style does, is make these patterns harder to break free from because it reinforces these behaviors. After all, there is even more incentive to create confluence in a relationship when the person you are with is genuinely willing to destroy you for the sake of their own best interests.
When something is real, it is very stable and solid, even if you don’t feel “good” about it.  When something is simply confluence, there is no stability or solidity to it. You are looking for something to feel good, even if there is no stability or solidness to it. Underneath what you are saying and doing, it will feel like: “Like me, like me, like me”. You will be looking for one thing: for your nervous system to relax, making it a strategy.
This strategy of creating the false experience of confluence in a relationship in order to try to establish and maintain connection does not actually work. It gets you in the moment relief yes. But it does not allow you to build a relationship based on what is true. So, there is no actual relationship. If this is your pattern, you will be prone to duping people. Because of your relationship to confluence, you will seek to establish confluence from the very beginning by lying to the other person about yourself, often subconsciously. They will feel like they have found THE most compatible partner, only to realize that there is something different hiding underneath the initial person you presented to them. How do you have a relationship with a person that changes who they are in order to be whatever they sense that you want them to be? How can you feel solid with that? If you can’t pin someone down to anything, you are building a relationship with a shapeshifter. Anything that you think is compatible one minute, won’t be the next. As a result, you can’t find actual compatibility and you can’t create actual security in a relationship, only temporary – in the moment relief. It is a recipe for building a life that is counter to who you actually are and counter to what you actually want… A life and a relationship of pain. 
You cannot suppress, deny and disown personal truths, even in favor of the personal truth that confluence is your top priority. They end up coming out in subconscious ways. Therefore, this safety strategy is a guarantee that your relationships will in fact become unsafe, painful and will most likely end. It is also an exhausting exercise in self-hate.

The Power of Simple Pleasures

When it comes to happiness, most of us are concerned with the big stuff. Stuff like having a sense of purpose, career satisfaction, having a good self-concept, financial security, being physically healthy, achieving our goals and relationship satisfaction. In the pursuit of happiness, we get so wrapped up in these big things, that we forget to really experience the small, simple pleasures that are available to us every day. Simple pleasures that make our life experience rich and that are the ‘stuff of joy’.
When we are so busy being fixated on achieving the big things of happiness, we tend to be more aware of what isn’t than what is; and more aware of what we don’t have than what we do have. Because of this, we often don’t even recognize when these moments of simple joy are happening and we don’t really “resource” them. We don’t really take them in. Because of this, we deprive ourselves of joy in our everyday life. 
For this reason, a powerful practice is to recognize, embrace, seek out and fully take in the simple pleasures that exist in the world for you on a daily basis. Your assignment this week is to write a list of your simple pleasures so that you can become aware of them. And to engage in at least one simple pleasure each day. And while you are engaging in that simple pleasure, fully feel it. Take it in with all of your senses. Be totally present with it with your mind, emotions, body and spirit. Let it “take you over” in a good way as if you have no filters to the full experiencing of that thing in life. 
So that you can have an example, I will share with you some of my own list. If I shared the whole thing, we’d be here all day…
Sitting at the summit of a mountain peak when it is completely covered in snow
Watching horses graze and feeling their utter contentment or lying backwards on them and watching the clouds above me while they graze
Trying a new tea at a tea shop
Walking very slowly through a grocery store, looking at everything they have for sale
Meeting up with someone for a catch up and some connection
Cooking something for the people I love and calling them into the kitchen to try it
The feeling of bright, warm stage lights against my face 
Gifts and Giving them!  
Big downy flake snow storms with no wind
Writing poetry
Hot baths (especially when they are colored pink by a bath bomb)
Watching someone’s hands and face in movie theatre lighting
The feeling of Velvet and Satin
Sitting in a shaft of sunlight when it is shining through a window
Picking huckleberries
Sitting in a hot tub in the winter
Going for an intuition walk
The way my dogs greet me when I come home
Going on a run first thing in the morning with music playing in my headphones
Finding the perfect song to fit my mood
Reading a book or journaling in the haybales in a barn
Watching great British bakeoff
Standing on the beach and letting the waves wash up over my feet 
Pulling the fluff out of Cat Tails (plant)
Mindful eating
Sleeping with the widows open but with a super warm comforter, so it’s super cold outside and a warm cocoon inside when I sleep.  
Funny memes
Swimming in swimming pools with goggles 
Going to places in the city where birds hop around at my feet
Walking through artisan markets
Sticking my fingers in uncooked rice
Being topless 
Waking up before everyone else does
Building igloos
Making treasure hunts for children
Re arranging rooms
Attending hockey games
Eating pomegranates (pomegranate is my favorite fruit)
Skipping rocks
Eating snow out of a cup
Watching children in toy stores and soaking in their excitement
Popping tar bubbles in old roads
Now let’s imagine that I decided to engage in the simple pleasure of trying a new tea at a tea shop. I don’t care if I have had tea a thousand times in my life, I’m going to experience this cup of tea as if it is the first time that I am drinking tea on earth. I’m going to intentionally notice everything about the experience. I’m going to pay attention to every visual image and to every sensation on a physical and emotional level. The feeling of the cup against my hands. The fragrance of the tea. The sound of a spoon against ceramic and the liquid pouring. The look of the steam rising from the cup. The heat of the liquid in my mouth. The way the flavor plays on my tongue. The way it makes me feel emotionally to feel and hear and smell and taste all these things. I’m going to use the experience itself to pull me into the present moment and deeper into the full immersive experience of that tea… as if I came to earth specifically to try this tea.
When you are doing this exercise, make your list as big as you can and remember that simple pleasures come in all different shapes and sizes. Different simple pleasures are available to us based off of where we live and the unique lives that we have. And remember that one of the greatest joys in life is enjoying simple pleasures with others, most especially when we have the chance to introduce one of OUR simple pleasures to someone else, who has never experienced it before.
When it comes to the big things in life, people often feel like they are beyond reach and so, many people feel powerless to being able to bring about joy. What you will find is that these simple pleasures on the other hand are usually well within our control to experience. Meaning that joy is always within reach, we are not powerless to it and we can bring it about on any given day. This is a big deal when you finally accept that a happy life is really just a string of joyful moments. And it is these simple moments of joy that make for the best memories. A person who is truly living is someone who can fully immerse themselves in the simple pleasures occurring in any present moment and fully soak it in through all their senses.

Find Your Self Rejector (Your Inverted Advocate)

Many of us are engaged in self-sabotage. We do things that hinder our own success, that go against what we want the very most and that cause our own destruction. It is easy to assume that we have parts of ourselves that are against us, almost like living with an enemy inside of our own skins. But what we don’t realize is that these self-sabotaging parts of us, these “enemies within” are not enemies at all. 
The way that consciousness works is that when we encounter difficult experiences, our own consciousness fragments. Even though we call ourselves by one name, we have many different parts of ourselves. They exist like internal Siamese twins because they share one body… the body we call ours, but they have very different perspectives and personalities and values and reasons for being. To understand more about this, you can watch my video titled: Fragmentation, the Worldwide Disease.
A significant portion of our internal fragmented selves are comprised of parts of us that contain traits that are vulnerable. Things that didn’t keep us safe in our specific environment. And parts that are protectors for those vulnerable selves. For example, a person who grew up in a family that only cared about productivity and disapproved of anyone who wasn’t busy, may have a vulnerable part of themselves that is slow and loves to be in the present moment. But may have created an internal protector for that part which is driven and disciplined and is constantly pushing to do more. 
What most people do not understand, but what people must come to understand, is that the parts of someone that are self-sabotaging, are in fact protector parts within them. You could consider these parts of self to be inverted advocates. They are convinced that what they are doing, is helping the person in some way, even if what they are doing has negative consequences. They perceive that the harm they have chosen is less dangerous or painful than the alternative. 
Today, I want to talk to you about one specific un-recognized protector within people that perhaps causes the most damage to a person’s life… The Internal Self Rejector. When we are young, to experience rejection, is soul shattering. It not only causes us to feel like our survival is at risk (because we are relationally dependent as a species), it causes us to form the self-concept that we are bad, wrong, unwanted, unlovable, defective and that we lack value.
Before you become comfortable with the limited image in your head of rejection, being something that only looks like a child who is abandoned or a child who is being scapegoated, keep in mind that when a child in a family finds a way to change themselves so as to become exactly what a parent wants (as is more typical with a golden child), underneath the acceptance and praise they receive, they too feel as if their real self is rejected. So does a child in a family who is largely ignored or who spends a lot of time alone and who we might call more of a lost child. Rejection can take on many different forms.
When we experience rejection, we subconsciously think that we have one hope of actually maintaining alignment with the people we need and love… the very ones that are rejecting us… To triangulate against ourselves. We split our consciousness so that one part of us pushes the rest of us away, so as to gain rapport and alignment with the person rejecting us by virtue of having a common enemy. Only this time, the enemy is US!
As seemingly backwards as it sounds, we create a part that is protecting us, specifically by rejecting us. We create an internal rejector. The goal of this part is not actually to destroy you, even though this is often what ends up happening in the long run. The goal of this part is the following: 1. It is more painful when someone else does something to you than when you do it to yourself. Therefore, taking the power away from those who would reject you by internalizing rejection, beating them to the punch and doing it pre-emptively, is experienced as less painful. 2. It is done to maintain connection with those who originally rejected you and who may currently be rejecting you by agreeing with them about yourself. 3. To cause you to withdraw or isolate so as to avoid the constant pain of disapproval and of not being able to do anything to change the parts of yourself are being rejected. 4. To get you to stop doing what is getting you rejected (when you can).
The internal self rejector is similar to the inner critic in that it is established in response to the exact same experience. Only the self-critic is designed to alter your behavior to conform to what would get you acceptance. To understand more about the inner critic, watch my video titled: Inner Voice, The Inner Critic is your Friend, not your Enemy. The self rejector on the other hand, is designed to get the external rejection to stop no matter the consequence to the self… To control other’s behavior or gain power over their behavior. 
So that you can understand this dynamic better, I’ll give you an example. Martin’s father left when he was 2 years old and his mother hated men. She demanded that Martin become exactly what she needed, so she could lean on him like a surrogate husband. His whole life, he felt as if his father could not have left unless the truth was, he was worthless. And his mother’s constant rants about men and demand for him to be exactly how she wanted him to be, made him feel as if he was not only rejected by his dad, but also his mother. The vulnerable part of himself that experienced all of this abandonment and hate against his maleness and deliberate molding so that he would be something else, tried to get the rejection to stop by creating an internal rejector. Over the course of his life, this part has managed to keep him safer by taking the heat away from people’s conflicts with him and pacify them by agreeing with everything bad they say about him. It has managed to get him to stop doing things that would make it so he is all alone. It managed to get him to be able to stay a part of his family. It managed to get him to live by himself, so that he can be himself and not be living directly with people who would inevitably reject him. 
However, let’s look at the downside to this sabotaging strategy. Martin was a budding tennis star. In his first international tournament, he won. But unlike the other players, when he won, his family was nowhere to be seen and all his friends, being bummed about their loss, did not celebrate his win. He felt more rejected for winning than he felt for losing. And as a result, Martin chose to quit being a tennis player and he decided to deliberately lose matches and then quit to be a coach of other winners instead. Believing that no one will actually value and love the real him, Martin has never put energy into figuring out his truth and genuine desires. He does not know who he really is. He establishes relationships on the basis of codependency. He goes into relationships by figuring out what will get him approval and cause people to want him and conforming to that. But he can’t keep it up long term. So, he ends up going into incompatible relationships and inevitably being rejected any time his real colors come out. When people have issues with him and shame him, he agrees with them about himself, reinforcing the internal rejection. Instead of examining whether he genuinely wants to change something about himself and doing so in a way that is for himself instead of against himself OR instead of really positively owning that thing about himself and putting himself in a compatible situation to it, he feels guilt, feels he “should” change, but puts no actual energy into changing, and tries to overcompensate by doing something else unrelated that would get him approval. He is actively engaged in self suppression 24-7. And he dissociates in his relationships so as to keep himself close to the people he loves but also distance himself from the pain of their rejection at the same time. Martin sabotages his life and his relationships over and over again because this protector of his is willing to do anything else damaging, just to avoid external rejection or to get other people’s rejection to stop. 
When you have an internal self rejector as a protector part, you will be so concerned with getting the external rejection to stop or avoiding it, you will not embark on a process of self-discovery so as to be authentic. You will end up putting yourself in incompatible situations where people will inevitably reject you. It is a set up from the get go. Not only that, it’s your only familiar way of interacting socially and therefore the only social situation you feel comfortable in… it’s the devil you know. On top of this, because of the law of mirroring (often called the law of attraction) when you have an internal self rejector, you will be a match to people who reject you. 
It is essential to see, hear, feel, understand and appreciate your self-rejector part. It is also essential to help it to make a decision about whether the consequences of what it is doing are genuinely worth the rewards and to re-purpose this part of yourself so that it is more of a direct advocate rather than an inverted one. 
All this being said, one of the most powerful things you can do, is to work with and integrate the part of you that is your internal self rejector and the vulnerable part that created it as a strategy of protection. To understand more about how to do this, you can watch my video titled: Parts Work (What is Parts Work and How to Do it). You would also benefit by watching two of my other videos. The first titled: The Truth about Narcissism and Codependency. And the Second being The Secret to Overcoming Your Problems, which is about the process of exaltation.
The internal self-rejector is an attempt to stop suffering and pain from happening. But you will find that often our attempts to avoid one kind of pain, only land us in another kind of pain.


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