I like to walk around our beautiful neighborhood in the morning. It is one of the things that make me happy. I do it to warm up my body and mind, get my creative juices flowing (into the voice recorder on my mobile phone) and be ready for another great day.
About half way through my walk, when I was already going at a good pace and feeling pretty pumped, I saw a young Chinese woman leaving one of the houses and saying goodbye to a young man standing on the doorstep.
Suddenly, the young woman noticed a bus at a stop about 200 meters away. She became visibly uptight, her pitch rose and she looked like she was asking the young man what to do (as I do not speak Chinese, this is all my interpretation).
The man gestured towards the bus and looked like he was urging the woman to run for it and try to catch it. She kept pleading with him until he joined her and they started running toward the bus stop.
By the time they decided to run and crossed the street, I had been half way to the bus and it was still there. There were no passengers in sight, its doors were closed and it kept waiting.
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).
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).
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!
My psychology teacher Miss Morrison was one of the most inspirational teachers I have had. She came into my life early in my teaching career. I always thought she was a bit “cuckoo” and had a few loose screws in her brain, but she was a fascinating teacher. Little did I know what a huge impact Miss Morrison’s would have on my life, because every time I go over her lessons in my head, I still find new messages I was too young to understand at the time.
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”.
I have a feeling this post will get some responses, so by all means, if you have something to say, post a comment below. As a life coach, my role is to empower people. From my point of view, every person has all the power in the world to achieve great and wonderful things, but that’s not the way most people are brought up, so I help my clients find the power inside them and become independent in their thinking, feelings and actions. Now, if you’re living in suburbia like me, and especially if you’re working from home like me, you have heard the knock on the door, gone to see who it was and found someone collecting donations for …