Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Talk to Yourself so Your Unconcscious Hears You

Last week on my radio show, "Your Life, Your Relationships", I had a caller who was so frustrated with his body and his situation that he wanted to 'break up with himself'. He had reached a place where he was feeling negative about everything in his life and wanted to be more positive. I suggested a particular language intervention for him.

I think I should pass this on to you, along with a few more ways of helping yourself think positively. It does take work to make a practice of using these positive language interventions -- and it is well worth the effort.

What follows is a list of what to do to change our most common ways of thinking negatively into more useful thoughts.
  • Avoid the word "not" - The unconscious mind is very literal -- and it believes everything you tell it. Unfortunately,  it is incapable of hearing the word "not". (Don't believe me? Don't think of a purple walrus. What just happened? If you're normal (and don't know the game), you just thought of a purple walrus. Why? Because you have to make a picture of something in order to eliminate it.) Notice I used the word "avoid", rather than saying "Don't use".
  • Eliminate the word "but" - When you use the word, "but", you are implying that what came before it is somehow false, or partly false. For example, when you say to a friend, "I like that dress, but the color isn't great on you" implies that you don't really like the dress, because when your friend asks you if you like it, "do you like it on me?" is implied.
          It's much better to use the word "and" - "I like that dress, 
          and the color isn't great on you" sounds very different, doesn't it? 

          Eliminate the word, "however", as well. As my friend, Janet 
          Crawford, says, '"However" is just "but" dressed up in a tuxedo.'
  • Avoid the word, "can't" -  When someone uses the words, "I can't", what (s)he usually mean is "I won't". It's not that she can't come to your dinner party, it's that she isn't willing to do whatever is necessary to come. Occasionally, when someone says he can't, he really is disabled, as is the man in the wheel chair who says, "I can't run".
          If you choose not to do something, take responsibility for
          that, and say, "I have other plans" (even if the plans are to stay
          home and watch TV). This implies that the other plans are more
          important for some reason, and that's okay. It's okay to make
          choices -- that's life.
  • Avoid the passive voice - "It can't be done" is just a way of avoiding responsibility; what the speaker probably means is either "I can't do it" or "I won't do it". Plus passive voice is boring and confusing for the listener. If you mean, "I'm not willing to do it" -- tell the truth -- say that.
  • Avoid the words, "I'll try" - Right now, put your right foot flat on the floor. Now, try to pick it up. Don't pick it up, just try to. This is what Yoda meant when he said, “Do or do not... there is no try.” 
         Make a commitment. Yes, you might fail -- and you are much
         more likely to succeed than if you just "try".

Friday, March 25, 2011

Podcast of yesterday's (3/23) show is up!

To listen online, click here.

To download by RSS feed, click here, and scroll to the bottom of the page for 'Your Life, Your Relationships". You can get iTunes there, or you can click here to go directly to iTunes.

If you subscribe, you'll get all this great information automatically delivered to you!

My guest,  Andrea Adams-Miller, can be reached at www.sexualitytutor.com .

Those gut feelings? WAAAY more important than you think!

You have to read this (it's short)! Your gut influences not only things like your immune system, but perhaps things like your personality and ability to learn.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WHY Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

My friend, Zoe, is a single mom, divorced for over 5 years now, who works in corporate HR. But for most of that time, she hasn't really been single, she's had a 'boyfriend' (that term seems so inappropriate for people in their 40s). She finally realized last summer that this was not a particularly good relationship for her, and so she ended it.

When I had dinner with her about a month ago, she was telling me all about her new, um, crush. Jeff was a very unconventional sort, living in an intentional community, working as an occasional carpenter. He'd sold a software business a while ago, so it seemed as though he might not even need to work. He rode a motorcycle, which was an aphrodisiac for her. The relationship was still in the stage of 'will we or won't we?', both of them having a great time together, but neither willing to say what exactly was going on.

When Zoe won tickets to a rock concert in a radio station contest, it was the perfect excuse to ask him out on a real date. She had the time of her life!

Last Wednesday, right before my radio show, Zoe texted me, "Jeff just pulled the plug -- pray for me".

The metaphor was very apt. I'm sure Zoe felt like she'd been unplugged from an energy source. Why? Because when we have a relationship with someone, we grow energetic cords between our energy bodies. If you've ever felt drained after being with someone, and didn't know why, here's a possible  explanation. If you've ever felt drained after breaking up with someone, this is an explanation. And there are things you can do to manage your own energy.

You can visualize yourself being protected, or fed energy by loving beings, or even imagine cutting those energetic cords.

There are other explanations, too. Evolution has wired our brains for bonding. According to Rutgers University professor Helen Fisher, being in love lights up the same areas of our brain, parts of the dopamine reward system, that are lit up by various chemical addictions. Remove the beloved and your brain acts like that of an addict deprived of its substance of choice, especially cocaine and nicotine.

As reported in Psychology Today, "UCLA psychologist Naomi Eisenberger, who discovered that social rejection activates the same brain area-the anterior cingulate-that generates an adverse reaction to physical pain. Breakups likely stimulate pain to notify us how important social ties are to human survival and to warn us not to sever them lightly.

"Although Eisenberger didn't study romantic rejection, she expects that it actually feels much worse than the social rejection she did document. "If you're getting pain-related activity from someone you don't care about, it would presumably be a lot more painful from someone you share memories with," she points out.

"The intensity of the pain may be what compels some spurned lovers to stalk their ex-partners; they're willing to do just about anything to make the hurt go away. Fisher believes that activation of addictive centers in response to breakups also fuels stalking behavior, explaining "why the beloved is so difficult to give up."

Monday, March 14, 2011

How to Keep It Together So You Can Help

I don't know about you, but I have been unbelievably sad about the tsunami and subsequent nuclear reactor melt-downs. At the same time, though, I know that my sadness, and even the fear that underlies that (What is going to happen to Mother Earth? Is this planet becoming uninhabitable -- by humans? by anyone?) are not helping anyone or anything. There has to be a better way. There has to be something I can do.

So when I asked my guides for help getting me out of my undeniable funk, here is what they said -- and it applies to all of us:
  • You are a soul. This soul is eternal and non-physical.
  • You volunteered to be here on Earth in a physical body at this most interesting time.
  • You volunteered for a number of reasons. Some of these are personal (working out karma, learning soul lessons, etc.) and some of these have to do with the planet. Although a few souls volunteered solely for the planet, no one came solely for personal reasons. This is not possible, as the destiny of an individual is intimately intertwined with the destiny of the species, and the destiny of a species is intimately intertwined with that of its planet. One of the benefits of these world-scale disasters is to wake up those who have been behaving as if they are here only for themselves.
  • It is your job to discern what your role is in relation to the species and the planet. Some people have jobs that have to do with leading people, or raising their spirits, or simply comforting them. Others have jobs that have to do with creating change, or even maintaining the status quo. Others' roles are simply to bear witness, both here and on other planes of existence. Yet others are tasked with speaking the truth here on Earth.(I'm sure there are more roles, but these are what I am reminded of now.)
  • When you know what your job is, DO IT!
  • Do not despair, simply do your job, with your whole heart and the intention to create a better world. Think how your role might fit into the current situation, and apply yourself to that.
  • As you do this, you will feel divine energy flowing through you. Channel this energy where you sense it is most needed at that moment.
(Of course, give money. Of course, protest new nuclear power plants, which we are now reminded are unsafe. A very clear, completely sane Japanese friend, living in Japan, tells me she thinks the Japanese government is not telling the whole truth about what has happened.)

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Podcast of today's (3/9) show is up!

To listen online, click here.

To download by RSS feed, click here, and scroll to the bottom of the page for 'Your Life, Your Relationships". You can get iTunes there, or you can click here to go directly to iTunes.

If you subscribe, you'll get all this great information automatically delivered to you!

Links from today's show (3/9/11)

Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (Miki Kashtan)

Conflict Hotline

Info on self-compassion, including a test and exercises:


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Quit Being So Nice!

My friend, Stacy, is a well-known marketing maven, having had several books published by major publishers. She called me in a complete panic on Saturday morning. Apparently, she had just had the latest in a series of run-ins with a former collaborator, Stan, and couldn't figure out what to do.

Stacy and Stan had written a couple of books together about a decade ago. He began undercutting her right from the beginning -- they agreed that he'd do the East coast promo, and she'd do the West Coast, but of course, he booked a fair amount of the West Coast promo for himself. They had agreed to do the TV shows together, but he just booked shows, and never told her, so of course, he did them alone. After their first couple of successful books, he got a four book contract for himself, without ever mentioning to her that he was even thinking of more books.

In the last few years, Stan's begun one of those seminar businesses where people pay several hundred dollars to be told that they, too, can have his success, if they just buy more courses from him, and from the other people who are selling from his stage. (Of course, he's paid half of everything everyone sells from the stage.) Stan keeps inviting Stacy to be on his stage, but only as part of a panel, or in a very short time slot -- and tells her she can't sell from the stage in that case.

Last weekend, he invited her to be a part of a panel again. It wasn't worth her time to travel to LA for just that, but she figured that if she taught her usual Marketing 101 course on Thursday and Friday, then she could work the panel in on Saturday, and maybe schmooze a little and pull in a few new clients. It happened that Stan's 'seminar' and Stacy's course were held in the same hotel, a hotel they've both used for years.

When Stan found out that Stacy was teaching (all of 9 students) in the same hotel he was preaching his 'seminar' to several hundred, he hit the roof -- and began screaming at her in front of others. (Did he think he owned the hotel?)

Believe it or not, Stacy was worried about how she could fix this! She was worried that she'd offended a 'heavy hitter' in her industry.

As I pointed out, there was nothing much to lose -- he had never helped her, only himself. While she had picked up some clients from networking at his events, she could definitely live without them. And given his explosive nature (this was not the first time he'd blown up over pretty much nothing), why did she want to deal with him at all? Why expose herself to this horrendous treatment?

Stacy felt that way for a number of very common reasons, listed below. Do some of these apply to you, too?

** As a spiritual person, you feel that you must be accepting - Acceptance does not mean being a door mat for other people's bad behavior. Rather, it means accepting that this person is acting however he (or she) is acting, and that you can't change it.

The only choice you have is how to respond. By allowing someone to treat you badly, you are depriving that person of the lessons he needs to learn to grow. So a good way to operate is to have some boundaries, to have the attitude that the person can act however he chooses, and that you will not be present for it. That is, 'do whatever you want -- anywhere but here."

** You feel that if a relationship isn't working out it's your fault, so it's your responsibility to smooth things over - It takes two people, acting with integrity, respect, honor and mutual appreciation, to have a good working relationship.

Own your own part -- are you acting honorably, respecting the other person? And is the other person honoring and respecting you?

If the answer to this second question is 'no', then it is your responsibility to bring it up with the other person, along with clear consequences for not acting honorably and respectfully towards you. If this is not realistic, that is, if the other person is not likely to listen to your point of view, especially if he is in a position of power over you, then your only responsibility is to take care of yourself and get away from the situation.

** You worry about negative consequences of letting a relationship end, especially on a bad note. -- Yes, there can be negative consequences, sometimes serious ones. Most often, though, these are temporary, because when you remove a less than positive relationship from your life, you make room for better relationships. 
More than that, every time you allow yourself to be treated badly, you damage your own self-esteem. How can you think well of yourself if you are clearly allowing others to think less of you? Even more, each hit to your self-esteem makes it even harder to extricate yourself from this relationship and others like it. (How do you think battered spouses get that way? It's not all at once, it's a thousand little cuts, each a tiny bit more serious.)

Stacy heard all of this, and decided that the email she had sent explaining the situation was more than enough. She took a deep breath (or three) and decided to let it go -- and enjoy her newly found free time in LA.