As a partner, a parent and a person, it is likely you find yourself in familiar situations, feeling the same familiar feeling and wondering how you got there. It may be as you walk in the door after a long day at work. It may be when some misunderstanding with your partner or your (teenage) child quickly escalates to an unpleasant exchange of verbal blows. It may just be when you look in the mirror.
All negative feelings are some form of fear and that fear is a defensive feeling aimed at protecting our self from being hurt. Some part of us recognizes certain words or behaviors as a form of attack raises the alert by creating this protective feeling.
The thing is, the “attack” pattern may have been saved in our mind when we were little and certainly in a particular context, both of which are longer in effect. However, our reaction is a subconscious one, which means there is no time for logic, but also that to get rid of this type of reaction we must “talk” directly with our subconscious (this is called Neurolinguistic Programming or NLP).
Picture yourself sitting in an old cinema all by yourself, watching a movie. Turn your head towards the back wall and see there a big window. Behind the window, there is a projection machine. In that machine, a long, wide film is running, a film you have created.
A strong light travels through the film towards the screen. You can see the beam of light getting wider as it travels through the air, showing flickers of colors and movement inside it. Follow the beam of light with your eyes as it keeps on going and getting wider, until you are facing forward and looking at a huge screen, which practically fills your entire fields of vision.
As you look, you become absorbed in the movie, finding yourself emotionally attached to some of the characters, fearing some of the others, hating a few and getting carried away with the story.
Real life is very much the same. We become absorbed in our own story, which we project onto the world. When we interact with other people, we each look at our own “film” and can get into all kinds of trouble.
At the end of high school, my teen daughter Eden took a personal development course for teenagers and came back very disappointed. In a two days workshop, every speaker talked about hitting rock bottom before finding the light and that light, for some reason, was a way to make money.
She paced back and forth and stormed, “I never see myself not having money for food or sleeping in my car because I have no home to sleep in. I never see myself without a family to support me. All I got from these presenters was that I must get very low if I want to be successful, which means I’ll never be successful. What kind of motivation technique is this?”
I said to her, “I’m sure that’s not what they meant” and tried to convince her to find something she could still learn from her experience, but it was no good.
4 years later, I think this course has done more damage to her attitude than I thought initially (although it may still contribute to her personality and attitude towards life in a positive way).
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us” – Jane Austen
Absolutely everybody receives some criticism in life. Some of us have the misfortune of growing up with critical parents, while others bump into their first critic at school, but we all have to face criticism at some point, right?
The word “lesson” makes most people see themselves sitting in a class with a teacher talking at the front. Many times, it brings up extra homework and fear about being tested on subjects learned. What a shame, because life is a long lesson, with lots of work (at home and outside of home) and daily tests!
If you look at the word “conquer”, you will realize that the presence of fear is an indication of war between what you think you should do and what you think you should not. In the past, fear was the guard posted in our mind to protect us, but now it has taken over. Sometimes, we must conquer our fear just to be able to move.
If you are like me, you often find yourself in an undesirable mental state, like panic, rage or regret. Having this strong emotion for a long time can create the wrong outcome for you, so you want to stop it, to break out of it, but how?
Chris called and came to see me the next day. He parked his blue Mercedes Benz in the entrance and came in. He was at his early fifties, beautiful blue eyes, holding his diary tightly.
I wanted a Mercedes Benz so much”, he said, “But now I feel uncomfortable driving it. I can get up in the morning whenever I want, I can have everything I want, I have money, I have Lisa, I am successful in my business but I am depressed and sad.
Do you ever think to yourself, “If only I had a million dollars, I could have everything I want”? Think again! What would you do with that much money?
“And I thought all that time I was crazy and imagining things”, Marina said when she first came to see me. “I have been taking anti-depressants for 21 years, but now I want to stop. Will you help me?” she asked.
During coaching, Marina gradually stopped her medication with the help of her wonderful doctor. She goes out and is has entered a happy new relationship. She has improved her relationships with her kids and is communicating amazingly well with Peter. She has been promoted at work and is considering publishing her story “to help others believe they can”.