Love: Are You Struggling with Believing You Are Loved?

Gather LoveIt is the first day of 2016 and I am struggling with the concept of Love.

I’m not struggling with what love is. I am struggling with am I loved.

I know in my heart that I am loved. I can point out examples of people loving me. I can also relate experiences on the spiritual level which are amazing displays of love.

But, somehow, that ability to KNOW I am loved to the depths of my being is elusive.

From working with people as a therapist since I was in my early 20s I know I am not alone.

Love: The Difference between Want and Need

I remember working with a couple where the husband was struggling with his fear of his wife leaving him because she did not need him financially.

She kept telling him, “I don’t need you. I want you.”

For the longest time he couldn’t get past that her choice was based upon a desire to have him with her rather than a financial need that bound her to him.

I’m not sure what she said or what I said that penetrated his fear of losing her, but suddenly his face changed and he relaxed. His expression bordered on awe. He finally got it. I don’t know how long he was able to hold onto it, but that day he finally got it that his wife wanted him. That wanting was more precious than her staying with him
because she needed him.

Most of us have moments in which we feel loved and appreciated. The cares of life seem to chase the memory of those moments away. The people who love us “forget” to express their love and appreciation of us to us. We forget to do the same.

As I was reflecting upon this I imagined how different this world would be if everyone knew how loved they are.

Love and BeliefsLove: We Don’t Have the Same Beliefs and Needs

I realize not everyone believes in God. Not everyone believes there is an ultimate being who created this amazing world of ours. I definitely know not everyone, in fact few people, shares the same perspective I do about God, creation and life.

How can people who don’t have the same concept of God or Universal Energy be able to comprehend my concept of love and life?

I do know that even if those who do not look at life the way I do still struggle with love and acceptance. Some people look for it in relationship with others. Some look for it in power. Others believe they have  found it in money or material goods.

I’m a relationship person and believe that relationship, be it with people or God, is the most crucial. I have a difficult time… Actually that’s not true… I find it near impossible to understand how people are content or fulfilled with power or material goods. I’m sure they find it near impossible to understand me.

Our beliefs and our desires form us. The stronger our beliefs and desires the more difficult it is for us to understand
another person’s perspective. Yet, I believe I am called to accept others where they are.

Part of loving another is acceptance. I may not agree with them and I may not choose to be with them because of their choices in lifestyle, but as one who strives to love, I work to accept them as they are. (Even though I may try to change them with argument and discussion <grin>) I strive to recognize each person is created in the image and likeness of the same God I was created.

Would the world be better if we all accepted people as they are?

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FAQs: How to Change Your Life

ChangeHow to Change Your Life

You can make a choice to change your life on any day, any minute of your life. With 2016 within spitting distance, now is a good time to make those changes in your life you’ve been saying, “Soon.”

To get you started, let me answer a few questions which may spur you on your way.

  1. Do I have an accurate view of the world?

If you spend any time on social media, you are aware of the many different views of the world. People not only express their opinion, they usually do so loudly and with great certainty. How do you know what’s correct?

First know there will always be differences of opinions. You need to be sure you are informed on the issues. Don’t just read about or listen to one perspective. Read varying opinions then go into your heart and ask which is according to your personal values.

  1. Where will I be in five years if I continue the way I am?

Do you like where you are now? If you don’t like where you are now, you need to evaluate what has placed you in the position you are in. If it is a particular behavior, such as procrastination, what can you do to change it?

Ask yourself the following questions about your current actions. Your answers will give you an idea of what will happen to you if you continue the way you are.

  • What did I eat today? Will this pattern of eating bring me long term health?
  • How did I manage my money today? Will this pattern of money managements bring financial security?
  • What social activities did I engage in today? Will these activities engender social connections in my life?
  • How much exercise did I get today? Will this give me a healthy body?
  • How did I treat people today? Will my behavior enhance my relationships?

3. Should I change my career?

Are you happy? Are you challenged? Are you doing something you value? Having multiple careers is common today. If you’re in a career you don’t enjoy, you have other options. If you don’t know what you would like to do, I would suggest taking a series of aptitude tests to discover where your natural talents lie.

4. I’m unhappy. What is causing the problem? Becoming happier isn’t just about adding all the right components. It’s also about getting rid of what makes you miserable. Are there toxic people in your life? Can you release those relationships? Is it your health? Develop a plan to improve your health. Are you holding onto past wounds? Time to let those go and move on with your life.

5. How can I enjoy life more? What are your priorities? If you don’t know, sit down with pen and paper and list the ways you are spending your time. Are you happy with where you are allocating your time? What changes do you need to make? How can you rearrange your time so that you are spending it on what is most important to you?

These FAQs will give you a start in evaluating where you are in your life right now. You are the one who has the power to change things. Do you want the changes enough to take action? Isn’t now an ideal time to move in the direction which would bring you greater happiness?

Fear of Failure: How to Push through Fear

Fear of Failure

What is the Fear of Failure

Have you ever had that gut-wrenching fear of failure tie you in knots?

If you define success by the inner quality of feeling proud of your accomplishments, I believe everyone wants to be successful.

Many people who look outwardly successful have an emotional program of fear of failure running in the background of their lives.

For successful people this fear propels them forward. They do everything they can to be sure failure doesn’t catch up to them. The problem is they will make decisions based upon what they don’t want to happen. In other words, they are always looking in the rear view mirror attempting to outrun failure rather than looking ahead to the successful outcome of their actions.

The “rear view mirror” outlook is not a pleasant one. There is a vague, and sometimes profound feeling of discontent and anxiety that failure will overtake them. They “see” in their mind’s eye all they have accomplished laying in shards around their feet.

This is not happiness. There is no Joy in focusing on outrunning that which you are attempting to avoid. There will always be this dissatisfaction driving them to the next activity so they can feel secure, successful. The problem is that as long as the fear of failure is what drives them, there is no safety, no security.

Depending upon how strong the fear is, judgment can be clouded resulting in bad decisions made impulsively. This can make the fear a reality.

The Power of Focusing on Success

Runners are told to never look back and see who might be catching up with them. That second of changing their focus from the finish line slows them down enough where the person one-step behind could pull ahead.

Always focus ahead.

When you’re focusing on success you’re not imagining what you do which can go wrong. You’re focusing on those actions which will move you forward.

This is huge when you realize the role of your subconscious mind in failure or success.

Your subconscious mind doesn’t care whether you fail or succeed. That’s because it only does what it thinks you want it to do. If you are holding failure in your mind, that’s what you subconscious mind thinks you want. It will do everything it can to make that happen for you.

Ahh, but if you hold success in mind, then that is where your subconscious mind will lead you.

Align Your Subconscious Mind with Success

Let’s look at some ways to get your subconscious mind on board with what you want.

Define Success

You have to realize your subconscious mind is concrete. It doesn’t deal in abstracts. If  you say you want to succeed and then move into fear by imagining all that can go wrong, then that is how your subconscious mind will define success. Not what you want!

Give your subconscious mind actual cues of what success means to you.

Vision BoardsRoad to success

This is easy and it’s fun. You may have heard about constructing a vision board. That’s where you cut out
pictures and words and put them on a poster board. The very process of looking for images and sayings of what you wants assists your subconscious mind in knowing what you want.

Post your vision board where you can see it. But, don’t just look at it. Imagine your are experiencing every one of those things on your vision board. If you put a boat on your board then feel yourself on it, the wind in your face, the warmth of the sun. Feel the joy!

Mental Images

These are mental vision boards. I suggest you have several. I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Construct a mental success image now. Yep, right now. It won’t take long.

What do you want to accomplish? See you accomplishing it. If you want to run and complete a marathon, see yourself crossing the finish line. Hear people cheering your success. Feel the sweat dripping down your body and the smile on your face. Feel the emotion of success. Revel in that emotion of success. Hear what people say to you about your success. Hear you congratulating your success.

Now form another mental success image. Perhaps it’s learning a craft. My example will be making jewelry. Bring to mind a piece you’d like to make. Feel the completed gorgeous piece in your hands. Hear people ohh and ahh when seeing it. Again, feel that satisfaction in your body.

Everyday bring to mind these mental images in all their sensory detail. Tell your subconscious mind, “This is success.” Then go into the image, feelings, sounds, tastes and smells.

Use these images any time fear of failure rears it’s ugly self-confidence draining ugly head. Tell that fear, “Liar. This is where I’m going.” Then bring those images to mind.

You can do this. Get rid of the rear view mirror and move forward to success!

I’m cheering you on.

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How to Criticize or Avoid Criticism

Avoiding CriticismThe image tells you exactly how to avoid criticism. Yep, don’t do or say anything. Oh, wait, that won’t work either, will it? You’ll then be criticized for not doing anything.

All of us criticize people. We may not do it to the individual directly. Sometimes we do, especially if criticism, hopefully constructive, is part of our job.

Let’s chat about how to give constructive criticism.

Providing constructive criticism requires you being balanced within yourself and clear about what you want to say. You want to be helpful, but you know some people accept criticism and others are offended by even the mildest form of criticism.

Providing constructive criticism in a positive and helpful manner is a skill. Like any skill it is something you can learn. You can learn how to criticize.

Let’s look at some strategies on how to criticize:

  1. Be sure what you have to say is helpful. You can say something which is true, but is not in any way helpful. If the person can’t do anything about what is happening, your criticism is not helpful In fact, it might be a form of bullying.
  •  Even if the criticism is helpful, that doesn’t mean someone will take it well. Be prepared for a tearful, angry or hostile response.
  1. Be sure you’re the right person to provide the criticism. What is your past history with the person? Has it been supportive or hostile? If you have a tumultuous history with the individual, unless your job position calls for it, find someone else to deliver the message.
  1. Be specific. Giving specific feedback is helpful. The other person has a specific goal or strategy s/he can focus on. Provide suggestions on how to overcome the situation.
  1. Right Time and PlaceChoose an appropriate time and place. Provide the feedback privately and out of ear-shot of others. Also, as much as possible choose a time the person is doing well. You don’t want to deliver criticism when the individual has just been diagnosed with an illness or received disturbing news.
  1. Remain factual and unemotional. Just give the facts and the solution. Even if you are upset, keep your tone even. In fact, wait until you’ve cooled off if you are upset.
  1. Focus on behavior. Avoid value judgments. Telling someone they’re sloppy is an insult. Telling them their tennis backhand technique is inconsistent addresses the behavior. Don’t make it about a personality characteristic. Make it about a behavior.
  1. Which is better? “Please pick up your dirty socks” or “Why are you a slob?” You’ll receive a very difference responses to the questions..Be Pleasant Everything is easier with a pleasant expression and a smile. Use open body language with your arms by your side, not folded over your chest. Be sincere. This means you need to be sure you don’t have an ulterior motive.
  1. Begin and End with a Positive. Say something positive or give a complement before giving your criticism. Begin your constructive criticism with a positive tone of voice. End the criticism with another compliment. You want the person to be receptive and make positive changes. By beginning and ending on a positive note, the individual is more likely to take your words to heart.
  1. Just Give One. Even if you have 20 things you could discuss, keep your comments limited to the one at a time, or two relevant ones. Begin with the ones most easily corrected. This helps him or her be successful. You don’t want to overwhelm the individual. That will leave him or her feeling helpless. You want them to be their best. This builds trust. Then you can give more serious criticisms which will be easier to accept if s/he trusts you.
  1. Use humor. Be lighthearted if appropriate. Humor can makes things easier. You could relate an amusing story about the mistakes you’ve made. This can ease any tension or embarrassment.
  1. Know when to stop. Watch reactions. It will be obvious when s/he’s had enough. You’re wasting your time and making a bad situation worse by continuing. You can find another time and place to revisit the issue if needed.

These tips can be used with your children, employees, or a significant other. There is no need to give criticism to casual strangers. That’s simply bullying. Providing criticism appropriately is a skill worth learning. There will be a time someone close to you or someone you’re responsible for is driving you crazy. Learn these skills before you lash out in a way which is detrimental to you both.

If you find you have difficulty is giving or receiving constructive criticism, let’s set up an time we can do some healing of the underlying wounds. Often a simple 30-minute session can do wonders. Click here to contact me. This link will take you to my website.

The Difference between Disease and Dis-ease

The Difference between Disease and Dis-ease

[one_half]If you are not feeling at ease with something, what do you do? If you’re like most people you will find out what you can do to become more at ease.

What if you have a disease, say arthritis? What do you do? Most people go to their health care provider and get something to take, something outside of themselves, to manage the problem.

When you have dis-ease, even if it has manifested in what people call disease, you look for what you can do to change the situation. That may seem like semantics, but it is crucial.

The allopathic heath care system has trained people to look for something outside of themselves to fix physical problems called disease. It is a disease model.

As explained in the post in part 1 of distance healing, the key to supporting the physical body in healing itself is to change what is happening inside of you… thoughts, feelings, hurts.

That is the dis-ease which is resulting in the disease. You can change that dis-ease and bring your body to greater ease. This is done through healing.

Let me give you an example from years ago when I was teaching Healing Touch. One of the participants in the class came to me at a break to ask if there was anything I could do about his knee. The doctor’s hadn’t been able to give him much relief except through pain medication. The next step was surgery.

I invited him to lay down on the massage table and was going to do some energy balancing with him focusing on his knee. Intuitively, I was guided to have him communicate with his knee. This may [/one_half][one_half-last]seem strange if you’ve never done it before, but once you learn it is a powerful adjunct to your own healing journey.

After asking him a few questions while he was bringing his attention to his knee, he recalled a memory. He was about 12, riding with his friends on bicycles. They were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. I didn’t ask what it was because I didn’t need to know more to guide him through the process.

As he and his friends were speeding around a corner, his bike tire hit a rock and he went flying. Now, you tell me what 12-year old boy is going to cry in front of his friends when he falls off a bike? Not many, right? Although he wanted to cry, although he had been scared flying through the air for those brief seconds, he buried his feelings. He buried them there in his knee. His knee held the dis-ease of the event.

Once he got in touch with the feelings trapped in his knee, I guided him through an easy process to release those feelings using his breath. The pain was gone when he got up from the table. He walked with greater ease than he had done in a couple of decades.

I don’t know if his releasing the process healed the knee of all its physical problems. He may have had some physical damage to the knee. Let’s say he was diagnosed with arthritis. The arthritis is the disease. The feelings were the dis-ease. Dis-ease can lead to disease. When you release the dis-ease, you give your body the space it needs to heal. The disease is often on its way to healing.