My apologies for the mailchimp mailing that was somehow triggered yesterday morning! I’ll have to consult with my web administrator to find out how it happened… Technology – a learning curve I will always be on!
I will take this opportunity to let you know what’s been happening here — since it’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog for you – I will send one very soon – maybe even in the next day or two. It’s called: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Which is an appropriate phrase to also explain why I’ve not been writing blogs for awhile – I’ve been working on my book which is using up all the keystrokes I can muster up! We’re about 1/4 finished with our (Chris Heath and me) Then we’ll send it to a professional editor. An unexpected gift — I’m finding more insights about the Principles by writing about them! In case you’ve ever thought of writing a blog, Judy Sedgeman recently offered a webinar about writing blogs that was excellent. It can be found on www.3PGC.org.
I look forward to sending my next blog to you soon. Please leave comments for me at the bottom or contact me directly by phone or email, if you wish.
Hope you’re enjoying this magnificent weather we’ve been having!
The post Relationships, Marriage, Couples Counseling, Coaching, Family Counseling appeared first on Lori Carpenos & Associates.
As you probably know, I often stress the necessity of not implementing coping strategies or mental techniques to improve one’s feeling state or performance level. Here are my five reasons why:
- Coping strategies require thought.
If you ask people to explain their feeling state while at their best, they’ll use words that describe a clear head (“no thought,” “simple,” “effortless”). That’s because we feel our thinking—a small amount of thought leads to a good feeling; a lot of thought leads to a bad feeling. Why, then, do therapists or mental coaches suggest techniques like going through routines or remembering past successes? These techniques require thought—they fill our heads—which lowers our moods and propensity to excel.
- Coping strategies never work.
It’s true. Sometimes we’ll implement a coping strategy and feel and perform better. What we miss, though, is the strategy did not cause the improvement. What caused the improvement was the mind’s natural ability to self-correct. If coping strategies or mental techniques truly worked, they’d work all the time.
- Coping strategies obstruct the mind’s ability to self-correct.
Innately, our ability to self-correct—psychological immune system—is extremely powerful (that’s why young children get over their upsets so quickly). However, the more external strategies we employ or therapy sessions we endure, the more we get in the way of this innate process. If you keep coping in a quest to feel better you risk psychological malfunction.
- An insight is not the same thing as a deliberately-applied strategy.
There’s a big difference between an insight (an answer from within) and a mental strategy (an answer from somebody else). Insights fill the space left over after our minds have naturally cleared; they represent truth or wisdom from within. Applying another person’s personal approach to mental clarity has no relevance to you.
- An understanding always trumps a how-to.
People often ask me what they’re supposed to do with the information that the human mind will fix itself to the degree that we avoid coping strategies. My answer is always this: Understanding how something works trumps any how-to technique. Deeply knowing that we feel the natural ebb and flow of our thinking (creating the ups and downs of our moods) is what allows a person’s feelings and perspective on life to frequently trend upward. Remember, those people (even so-called experts) who don’t know that everyone is blessed with a psychological immune system will often look outside for answers. They’ll blame their feelings on circumstance and chase after the latest and greatest how-to technique or strategy.
Thanks for reading. Questions or comments—reach out.
The following excerpt is found in the Afterword of my new book. The Path of No Resistance: Why Overcoming is Simpler than You Think is coming this fall. Enjoy this sneak-peak into the book’s final pages,
Together, we’ve covered the entire path of no resistance as I see it at this moment. But that’ll change. There’s no end to insight and possibility. We’re forever learning; there’s alwaysroom for consciousness to grow.
It can’t be forced to grow, mind you. Simply consider: What are the implications of the paradigm introduced in this book for you, your family, your community, and the world? Then go get ’em. When lived from the inside-out, productivity has a way of taking care of itself.
One topic we covered is the natural fact that we live in a word of form. As a result, everyone is prone to occasional upsets or disappointments. There are far more participants than champions in the sports world, for example, and not every relationship is destined for a lifelong commitment. While this book has detailed why some people handle failure and go on to prosper, and why it seems to scar others for life, I think there’s merit in taking a closing look.
If you ever get stuck and need a soft nudge inward, the following inside-out resilience refreshers might come in handy. They always work for me.
1. You cannot control your thoughts.
The human mind is designed to naturally replace stale thinking with insight. If you obstruct this process by trying to look on the bright side (think positively), you perpetuate struggle and confusion.
2. Keep goal-setting in perspective.
Focusing on a goal limits opportunities by stifling the ever-changing nature of your thinking. That’s why if you set goals and don’t reach them, disappointment will fester. Even though they might feel down in the moment, those who overcome failure recognize that all outcomes are opportunities for growth, new possibilities, and future success.
3. External circumstances are neutral.
Why is it that one moment we can be distraught about a circumstance like losing, and the next moment look at the exact same circumstance and wonder why we were so upset in the first place? One reason is that, in principle, outside events are neutral (you don’t feel your circumstances). Realize this and you can overcome anything.
4. Your reality is created from the inside-out.
Your experience doesn’t create your state of mind; your state of mind creates your experience. It’s reasonable to feel upset if you don’t win, but those who learn from the experience of losing know that their thinking, and not the loss itself, is the cause of the upset. The loss remains (at least on paper), but your thinking and perspective is guaranteed to change.
5. Your feelings are your guide.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with you if you can’t shake a disappointment. But remember: The “off” feeling in your gut is an intuitive sign that your thinking and perceptions are momentarily off kilter. Those who prosper from defeat know better than to fight through momentary lacks of clarity.
6. From a low mood, distrust your thinking.
Nobody sees clearly when low. One secret to rising above failure is to not believe what you think when this type of mood sets in. From a low state of mind, your thinking is never helpful—or true.
7. Stay in the game.
What happens when you sit on the sidelines and think yourself into a troublesome experience? Right, it grows. Strategically pausing to figure out or fix a dysfunctional mind-set only holds dysfunction in place. Rather, the key to overcoming adversity is to stay in the game and allow your psychological immune system to clear the dysfunction on its own. Answers will then find you. Win or lose, every experience leads you inward—where resilience truly rests.
Thanks for reading. Here’s hoping our paths cross one day soon.
The wonderful thing about knowledge is it is not absolute. Throughout a life of learning, we think one thing is true, and then we learn more, see more, understand more — and we change our thinking. Again and again. When I was little, I thought there was a man in the moon. By the time I was in 4th grade, I knew that the moon was a hunk of space dust and rock and that the “man” was an accident of its geography. By the time I was in college, I knew a lot about how moons and planets and stars and galaxies were formed, and about gravity that held astronomincal systems together. By the time I was a young woman teaching in college, I saw a little spacecraft land on the moon and men from earth walk upon its barren surface, and describe the experience, and I knew a whole other dimension of the moon. By now, I know the moon is an untapped resource of various minerals and even possibly water that eventually could lead to competition on earth among those who wish to exploit it. Who knows what I may learn about it before I die?
The point is, nothing we think we know is the final possibillity. Our life is all about allowing one set of assumptions to fade as another comes into form, and then letting those fade — and so on and so on. There’s no end to what more we could yet see and understand about anything.
OK, you’re thinking, that’s all pretty obvious. What’s your point?
My point is, yes, that’s obvious. Except when it isn’t. I am noticing it isn’t obvious to people that just because they think something about themselves, it doesn’t make it true. In the past several weeks, I’ve started seeing individual clients for mental health mentoring. They generally are people I’ve never met until the day of their first appointment, and the common thread for all of them is that they’re suffering psychologically in one way or another and they want relief. Many of them have a lot of experience with the mental health system — over time they have seen a number of professionals. They have learned a lot about mental illness, and it has not occurred to them to ask what that has to do with mental health. So I sometimes find myself in a kind of dance. The clients want to talk in great detail about the past and all that has gone wrong to contribute to their suffering and how many previous professionals have assured them they are doomed to suffer. I want to talk about the present, and what insight might do for them to take the sting out of all of that and set them free.
Here’s a typical example of that dance:
Client: My Mother was abusive to me; I had a horrible childhood. Nothing I ever did was good enough. She pushed me away from things I loved to do to force me to do things I hated. She was trying to make me over in her image;. she never saw me as a person. Let me tell you some of the stuff I went through…
Me: Let’s just stipulate that you did not enjoy your childhood. How old are you now? And where is your mother?
Client: I’m 30 and my mother has been dead for five years. But she did a number on me…
Me: That was in the past. What about now? You’re a grown up with a life of your own and she is no longer in this world. How is she hurting you NOW?
Client: My last therapist told me it would take years to recover from all that abuse, if I ever did. It scarred me for life.
Me: What if that’s not true?
Client: It would be great if that’s not true, but that’s ridiculous! Of course it’s true! Counselors have been telling me that for years. I’ve read a lot of books about childhood abuse and what it does to people.
Me: Experts told everyone in Europe that the earth was flat for years, too. But it turned out it wasn’t.
Client: That’s different. That was a long time ago. People are smarter now.
Me: So you’re suggesting that all expert opinion you hear now is true? What about when experts disagree? What if you’ve only heard from a tiny sample of “experts” and there are lots of people in the world who would tell you different things?
Client: OK. So maybe I’m not really scarred for my whole life. Then explain to me why I’ve been suffering all these years and when it’s going to stop. If it was going to get better, wouldn’t it be getting better by now?
Me: That has more to do with your understanding than with “it”.
Client: What do you mean by “understanding”?
Me: In all your life — and please stop and really reflect on this before you leap to answer it — in all your life, have you never had even one moment where you knew, deep down, that you were OK, that you were stronger than your circumstances? Where something occurred to you that lifted you out of some situation, even briefly?
Client: Well, yes, but my counselor told me that was just Denial. That I needed to work out my problems, not set them aside.
Me: What did you make of that?
Client: I was sad about it because I was hoping maybe it was a turning point, but I don’t have any training in mental health, so I had to assume he was right. And as we kept talking, I felt bad again, so he was proven right.
Me: What if I could explain that whole scenario to you in a simple way that helped you to see that you really know a lot, innately, about your mental health — we all do — and you might have to reconsider who to trust when it comes to your own good feelings?
At that point, the door cracks open to explain how we use our life energy to create thoughts or entertain the thoughts we’ve adopted and then experience them as reality. In this client’s case, she did not know that she was holding her “scars” in place with a long history of thinking, talking, complaining and feeling bitter and sad about her childhood. She had no understanding of the inside-out logic of thinking — that we use our energy to create thinking and ruminate about it and try to figure it out, with no recognition of the link between that thinking and how bad we continue to feel. Once we start to understand how thinking works, we can allow thoughts that bring our feeling state down to pass, and think again. And that’s how we learn. We can trust our own wisdom, not the experts, to learn about ourselves.
Consider this. It’s all too easy to adopt ideas from people who are supposed to know a lot, without any consideration of our own intuition about those ideas. If something occurs to us in a moment of quiet and it feels uplifting, could that be a prelude to learning something new? Why are we so quick to doubt, then abandon, our own wisdom and insight?
I love how Sydney Banks put it:
“There is an enormous difference between finding your own inner wisdom and adopting someone else’s beliefs. If you take on someone else’s belief to replace a belief of your own, you may experience a temporary placebo effect, but you have not found a lasting answer. However, if you replace an old belief with a realization from your own inner wisdom, the effect and results are superior and permanent.” The Missing Link, pp. 92-93.
Here’s a question you might find revelatory: If you’re strolling through a garden and feel insecure, are your insecure feelings coming from the garden?
If your answer is no, then why do you usually blame your feelings on your circumstances or environment?
Instead, consider: You (like all people) are prone to errant feelings—even when you’re strolling through a garden. If you don’t blame these feelings on what’s outside, your feeling state will improve. But if you do, your errant feelings will spiral.
In other words, pausing to look outside for explanations (and fixes) when you struggle is what obstructs your innate ability to self-correct. So, just like you instinctively do in a garden—stroll on. Insecurity will be forgotten in no time.
Believe it or not, courage boils down to one simple thing: the ability to look thought right in the eye.
Notice I didn’t say it’s the ability to analyze your thinking. Or to try to change it, or make it more positive.
Courage comes from understanding the nature of Thought. Without this understanding, our minds spin out of control, because when you don’t understand the nature of Thought, it makes you inherently insecure. Insecurity leads to a great deal of unnecessary thinking, making you more and more stressed and vulnerable.
Understanding the nature of Thought clears unnecessary thinking out of the way. When you realize that all of your feelings are coming from your thinking in the moment, absolutely and without exception, several things happen that give you the courage needed for great leadership:
- Your thoughts settle themselves, giving you the gift of a quiet mind, inner peace, calm, contentment and well being.
- You’re able to look the facts in the eye and make good decisions
When your mind is overactive, your mental clarity gets blurred. You lose your perspective and often don’t look at what’s really going on, because you feel like you don’t have the mental wherewithal to do so. When your mind settles and clears, on the other hand, it gives you the clarity to look directly at the facts of any given situation. You’re no longer frightened by feelings you can’t handle. You can see the big picture, and access the quality of thought needed to tackle the challenges in front of you.
Courageous leaders are leaders who understand the nature of Thought. And with the challenges we face in our world today, courageous leaders are needed now more than ever.