Posts Tagged ‘law of attraction’

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‘I’ve tried everything’

December 9, 2010

How many times in life do we feel or say, “I’ve tried everything”? 

Have we though?  Or is this the voice of our internal dialogue once again telling us things that are not true?  The following is a story from a fitness program I work with, but has great application in any area of life including recovery, business, marriage, relationships, schooling…

Motivational speaker and author Anthony Robbins once told the story of a man at a seminar who was extremely frustrated with his lack of results in marketing his company. The befuddled businessman said that he had tried everything but nothing worked. Here is the exchange that went on between the two of them:

Robbins: “You’ve tried EVERYTHING???”
Attendee: “Yes, I’ve tried absolutely everything!”

Robbins: “Tell me the last HUNDRED things you tried,”
Attendee: ” I haven’t tried a hundred things.”

Robbins: “OK, then just tell me the last FIFTY things you tried.”
Attendee: “I haven’t tried fifty things.”

Robbins: “Alright then tell me the last DOZEN things you tried.”
Attendee: (getting somewhat embarrassed) “Well, I haven’t tried a dozen things.”

Robbins: “I thought you said you tried EVERYTHING! So tell me then, how many things have you tried?”
Attendee: (Shrinking back into his seat), “Two or three.”

Obviously the man got the message loud and clear (Hopefully you did too).

Why do we fall for this?  Is our subconscious panicking?  Are we unknowingly looking for an excuse to quit or rationalize failure?  Are we lazy?  Are we simply lost in self-deception?

I have fallen into this trap.  For this very reason, I seek out outside voices, both written and spoken, to challenge my inaccurate internal dialogue.

Ciao.

Chaz

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“…would it not be likely that their lives are crap”?

November 24, 2010

Ever have a momentary experience with a very challenging person? 

My wife went through two of these in the last two days and came home upset as a result.  One was with an irreverent receptionist at a dental office who seemed to fancy herself for her brashness and exaggerated snippy and sarcastic comments, all in the paper-thin guise of humour.  She made derogatory comments about our dental insurance plan and a scheduling question.  My wife was so taken aback, that she didn’t even know what to say in the moment and just left.  You know those experiences?

The other was in a business situation in which someone threatened to diss our name in the profession we are in.  They made some completely unfounded accusations about us hiring someone away from them, when in reality, the prospective employee approached us and offered up this person as a reference.

What’s my point?  In debriefing these disturbing incidents with my wife, the question that begged to be asked was,

“If these  momentary experiences with these people were typical of how they are, would it not be likely that their lives are crap”?

It was only natural that my wife and I thought of several retaliatory comebacks to these people.  None of which we are following through on.  Why would we?  Their behaviours are likely to carry their own consequences far greater than any rebuttal or reprimand that we could give.  And how is it even worth our time or energy?  We have a tremendous number of priorities with family, business, home, and life.  Where does correcting, reprimanding, or telling-off a stranger fit amongst our priorities.  It doesn’t.

The threat to bad-mouth us was in all likelihood benign.  Besides which, who is likely to take seriously such an erratic person.  Especially if this behaviour is typical.  Is it not more likely that if she did say anything, that others would just roll their eyes, and dismiss her comments as more bitterness from a disturbed person.  And we have an otherwise flawless name in our profession.  Do we not have confidence in who we are and what  our capabilities are?  Are we going to be dissuaded by one unbalanced, rude, probably sick person?

And for the dental receptionist, we may simply and calmly either find a new dentist, or calmly describe the episode to the dentist at next visit.  Surely, this will not be the first this dentist has heard of the receptionists tone and behaviour.

"My life sucks and I am making sure it stays this way"!

Can you imagine what the families of these two people go through?  If the families in fact still have anything to do with them.  Their kids, their spouses?  Seriously, if these were just momentary samplings of their behaviours, what must it be like to be them or be around them continuously?  Clinically speaking, their lives must suck.

Recovery has taught me that I seldom need to retaliate and that the behaviour of the foolish and unhealthy will be its own consequence.  My main responsibility is to myself and my family.  I am not the equalizer of the universe.  I am not the messenger to all who for whom I have a distaste.  And if I have anything to say, it will more often be in a calm, collected frame of mind after processing the initial impact of the disturbing event.  In fact, I am less prone to using words at all, I would just speak with my feet and walk away, leaving them to their own self-imposed misery.

This may sound cold, but a much better alternative to investing time and energy into someone you may never see again or who is not looking to change.

Ciao.

Chaz

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Fortressing a limp

November 6, 2010

Why is change so rare and difficult? I heard a fascinating interview with a doctor this week. He gave an analogy about people who would come to him with back pain who he helped by treating their feet.

Why? Because in these cases, he discovered that the back pain originated in a foot problem, which was compensated for by the ankle, which then was compensated for by the knee, then hip, and by the time they did anything about it, their back had joined the chain of compensating adjustments and now was hurting.

The patients had re-arranged most of their body to keep the untreated foot problem alive. They altered the way they stood, walked, sat, and slept to facilitate the foot problem. They unknowingly built a fortress around the original hurt and protected it with everything they did.

Treating the back did not have longterm benefit. The problem kept reoccurring because the cause was the untreated foot. He analogized this to problems in our lives where we experience a hurt or problem such as a childhood trauma or dysfunctional conditioning by our family, then slowly and silently begin re-arranging our life to suit the hurt; often for decades or a lifetime.

Over years, we have actually created a network of supports to enable the hurt to continue and affect us. We unknowingly choose and get into habits of thought and behaviour that help keep this damage alive. We choose people, build relational dynamics, occupations, living environments, and daily routines that also nurture and protect the hurt. We fortress it. Or we let the untreated hurt destroy our relationships and hurt others. Why?

Perhaps simply because it’s familiar and in a paradoxical way, comfortable? And why can’t we detect it to any degree that we can bring about change on our own? Perhaps because it is so woven into our psyche, it has become effectively permanent (so far).

Then, when one part of the compensating behaviour is challenged (the knee-limp), it upsets the whole dynamic (foot, ankle, knee, hip, back) so we resist it. We may be fearful or confused by the new awareness so we retreat to the comfort of the familiar, even if it is only kind-of working.

After years or decades of this protective behaviour, we have a well-rehearsed limp; physically, emotionally, relationally etc.
It is no wonder that we recovering alcoholics, ACOAs, codependents, ragers, etc. cannot affect change on our own and that the journey of change requires time, effort, and lots of support. Equally sick people in our lives often resist change as much as we do because it takes them into the less familiar as well, so they may not want us to change. And they too have fortressed in their limps with compensating behaviours.

I am grateful today for the numerous voices that I can listen to that help me see more of the root causes of my problems, rather than just the symptoms. I am grateful today for the company and influence of healthy people who are also on journeys of recovery, who don’t need me to continue limping in order for them to remain comfortable. I am grateful today to God for bringing these people and circumstances into my life to help break the fortresses around my pains and dysfunctions. I know a freedom and contentment like I have never known. I feel like a freed captive.

Ciao.

Chaz

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“Your momma’s too thin; your daddy’s too fat…”

September 6, 2010

 

… Get over it”!  (really guys? That simple?)

 

Remember the Eagles song, by the same name?  It was about getting over whatever it was that one had to complain about.  Part of the lyrics were…

Complain about the present and blame it on the past, I’d like to find your inner child and kick its little ass.  Get over it”!

Not a ringing endorsement for self assessment and dealing with what lies beneath, now is it?   Nor was my upbringing in a tough, blue-collar neighbourhood.  Nor was coming from an ethnically-proud family whose heritage has a word that best translates, “shear, unrelenting fortitude”.  I have a family member who prides himself so much on this fortitude, he refuses dental freezing.  Nor were a hundred other small or large influences.

So with these biases, how could it come easily for me to as, “whats up with this Inner Child thing”?  It didn’t.  Until after years of recovery, sobriety, and personal growth, I did not have a good explanation why some parts of my internal dialogue have not yet quieted completely.  I still have a faint voice telling me negative things and constantly suggesting I think and analyze everything to an extreme.

Granted, it has quieted significantly and I have learned to dismiss its most preposterous directing.

This set of perspectives and explanations has really helped me find reprieve from the unrelenting internal dialogue that quietly seems to want to direct traffic in my life.

If you are tired of the constant internal dialogue, and are looking for some reprieve, you may find this as helpful as I do…

http://www.acoarecovery.com/

http://acoarecovery.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/the-introject-bad-parent-voice/

Ciao.

Chaz

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Lies from my internal dialogue.

July 23, 2010

Most of us have one.  An internal dialogue that is.  Seems most of us prone to alcoholism, addiction, depression, or anxiety have a fairly outspoken and unrelenting internal dialogue.  For many of us, it becomes our closest and most trusted companion. So close, many of us don’t even recognize as it speaks to us.  So trusted that we follow its advice, even over a cliff if it told us to.

A breakthrough in my recovery from addiction, anxiety, and depression came when I learned I no longer had to follow the guidance of my internal dialogue.  I could take a break from listening to it until it got wiser and more trustworthy.

I found that the advice that those who had more sobriety and whose recovery I admired gave me different advice than my internal dialogue.  So one day, I decided to take a chance and listen to them instead of my old friend inside my head.  I figured following their advice couldn’t be any worse than the advice I was getting.  They were at peace, I was not.  They had prolonged sobriety, I had not.  I wanted to die, they did not.  They could laugh and enjoy life, I could not.  So what did I have to lose?  My misery perhaps?  It was worth the risk.

Lo and behold, the very first day was a success.  Someone suggested attending an AA meeting a day for 90 days straight.  My internal dialogue balked,  “Only real losers do that.  You don’t need to.  You’re too busy”.  

I eventually got to the point where I would actually speak back to the dialogue in my head.  I would say, “fine, you sit here and debate about the viability of a meeting, the rest of us (body parts) are going”.  And off we went.  Not once did I regret going to a meeting in those 90 days.  My internal dialogue was wrong 100% of the time with respect to meetings.  Instead, the thinking I borrowed from others who suggested I do 90 in 90 turned out to be 100% right.  Every meeting was a new adventure and new lights came on.

My burden of depression and anxiety began to lift measurably.  I remained sober and began to help others do the same.  Yet this was just the beginning.  Now, years later, I am finally learning to be able to trust my internal dialogue much more because it has grown up and recovered a lot.  Not completely, so I am cautious to discern each bit of advice that my head tells me.  But it is reliable far more often than it used to be.

Now, instead of casting a dark shadow on so many things, my internal dialogue helps me see positive and light, even in painful situations.  My internal dialogue is learning to tell me the truth.  This is one of the powers of recovery.  An AA reading states it, “Intuitively, we will know how to handle situations that used to baffle us”.  And, “We will know a new freedom and a new happiness”. 

There is such freedom and serenity being able to trust that your own thinking isn’t constantly setting you up for failure with its lies and negativity.

Ciao.

Chaz

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What if I don’t?

April 17, 2010

When faced with the temptation to habitually do something I feel is unwise, I find simply asking the question, “what if I don’t”? to be the most amazing simple solution to the dilemma.

When I first started sobering up, I asked this question of my desire to drink.  Not once did the answer to “what if I don’t” return a negative or painful response.

Fast forward a few years, if I find myself slipping into negative thinking patterns like dread, resentment, or regret, I simply ask myself the question, “what if I don’t (dread, resent, regret)”?  Same result.  Not once has the answer to this question resulted in pain or negativity in any way.

In fact, it is now a game I play with my thinking.  I turn it around and say, “I wonder what is on the other side of this dread, resentment, regret”?  Then I push through to discover the answer.

It is like a gateway to a whole new world that I never suspected existed.  And my thinking is beginning to change.  I dread, regret, and resent far less than I used to.  And I seldom get swept away in the current of these thought patterns anymore.

This to me is “keeping it simple”, and “progress, not perfection” applied.

Ciao.

Chaz

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Pain + Drama = Self-Pity

March 19, 2010

I find the tricky part of self-pity to be the fact that it is usually rooted in some amount of genuine pain.

Our culture has encouraged us to wrap our pain in drama and the result is usually self-pity.  Betrayal, loss, abuse, injury… they all hurt.  There is no getting around this.  They are however entirely typical and frequent events.  Nobody is exempt.

We unfortunately, whether knowingly or unknowingly, add drama to our pain and thereby, throw a bucket of gas on the fire.  We multiply our pain.  We often say, “It’s not fair, How could this happen to me? I don’t deserve this, How could he?  How could she?  I’ll show him/her, Why me? etc”.

Closing in on my mid-40’s, I have yet to meet the person my age who has been spared some form of painful calamity or gross injustice in life.  I would be wary of anyone who felt they hadn’t.  Illness, loss, injury, divorce, betrayal, financial setback, job-loss, abuse, natural disaster.  Who hasn’t been through one of these?  None are fair and they all hurt.

The day I learned to simply say, “this hurts”, and drop the followup statement like, “how could she? I don’t deserve this? I’ll show them? Its not fair?, etc”… or a real sneaky one, … talking about the injustice over and over with as many people as possible, was the day my pain stopped morphing into self-pity (as often).  Life took a turn toward becoming more manageable.

When we express our pain with the addition of drama, it is usually distasteful to others and they become intolerant.  So we are often unable to find genuine help because we push others away.  Instead, I have found that simply saying, “Man this hurts and I don’t really know what to do about it”, was often an effective way to seek help dealing with the pain.  Especially from those who have walked a similar path before me.

The advice back was often, “You just have to go through it a day at a time”.  This was not what my self-pity wanted to hear.  It didn’t feed the drama.  Yet when I finally learned to go through the pain a day at a time and function as best I could with minimal drama and focus on positives, life did indeed get better and the pain began to subside.  Very quickly in fact.

Others relate to the pain of the experience more than the drama.  So today, I do my best to separate the two, and avoid the drama altogether.  This is the easier, softer way.  Even though the unrecoved parts of my thinking want to run to the drama.

Undramatically….

Ciao.

Chaz