As I’ve explained in mylast post about relationships, the inner energetic process we go through when we experience a relationship crisis is the same as when we go through a breakup. We have to let go of what is not ours, of all the needs and expectations, and the responsibilities of our partner, and we have to take back our own responsibilities and process our own emotional issues.
The key to experiencing love is finding it within yourself.
The general idea is: We have to return to being whole and happy alone, to being strong and in our own power and strength. When we get to that place, we can know with clarity and without the influence of old automatic patterns, if we want to and can be with the other person. It’s the place of inner strength where we are actually capable of loving the other person, not just our idea of what they are or can be. And it’s in that place of inner strength that we can love ourselves. And one thing is clear: We can only receive love from others if we love ourselves.
A relationship – and that’s the same for a love relationship as for a friendship – should bring out the best in us. It should help us see our strengths and resources, be joyful, laugh, feel good about ourselves, and support us in good and in bad times.
I’ve learned the hard way that one other aspect is very important and crucial in relationships: Balance. Equilibrium between giving and receiving. And many times we catch ourselves working so hard on a relationship, trying to understand, trying to talk, trying to adapt, trying to help and give and be better for the other person. And when we work hard, the responsibilities feels bigger and heavier and we experience less and less love and joy and laughter and lightness, less happiness. Then what we do is try to make the other person see how they have to change to bring about balance for us, to give as much as we have given, in the way that would work for US. Maybe it wouldn’t actually work for them, or maybe they are just not there. The interesting thing is that, whether we want or not, if the relationship is not balanced, if we don’t receive as much as we give or give as much as we receive, it makes us BOTH feel small and inadequate and pressured and just NOT ENOUGH.
We don’t attract people who make us happy. We attract people who make us grow. And when we do grow, we get happy. When we expand and resolve negativity within us and actualize ourselves and feel complete and in our power, that’s when we are happy. And the people in our lives help us get there, but they cannot do it for us. When we are happy and complete, that is when it’s easy for others to love us. It is because we love ourselves, and we can radiate that energy, and others connect with it and mirror it to us. The same way that they may mirror our feelings of inadequacy, doubt, or fear. So there is only one recipe for a long lasting and happy relationship: Both partners have to learn to love themselves, and to take their own responsibility for their demons and destructive patterns. Because of course, our demons and shortcomings and doubts are always part of the relationship, too. The important thing is though, that we raise our awareness of those patterns, have the courage to admit to them, and that we keep the responsibility for our own needs that underly them. When we take care of our own needs, we don’t have to project onto our partners and we can create closeness and sharing. We don’t have to expect our partner to make us happy, and burden them with too much for anyone to carry.
So how can we get out of feeling needy, projecting on our partner, fighting, or living relationship patterns that are not healthy? How can we let go? Leer más
But recently I’ve become very aware that even positive beliefs, or more correctly said, seemingly positive beliefs, can be limiting us and keeping us from growing or having positive experiences.
Let’s take a common spiritual teaching as an example:
Many schools teach the spiritual searchers that they have to accept whatever life brings and not resist it. In the context of acceptance (Hawkins’ consciousness level 350-400), this is clearly a positive believe, because it will keep us from wasting our energy fighting the inevitable, and enable us to focus our efforts where they can have an effect. So when someone subscribes to this pattern of thinking because of the experience of acceptance, he would have a positive outcome, learn and grow, and probably be really happy with this way of seeing the world.
Here comes the problem: our mind can hold on to the mental pattern, and without us noticing it, our motivation or underlying emotion can change. In other words, that pattern can be enacted or applied out of context. Let’s say our spiritual searcher applies his principle of acceptance diligently, but little by little develops the sensation that nothing matters. In his subconscious mind he may reason “if I accept everything, what does it matter if I make an effort? And so this belief he holds, all of a sudden, would be connected to a consciousness field of apathy (Hawkins’ level of consciousness 50-75, a context in which we experience little energy and no push to move and change things. The belief will still sound positive, but the emotions around it are not.
What does that mean? It means that by using our mind alone we can never be sure whether something we think is actually positive or negative. Hawkins has found a way of testing the context, or energy level by the use of kinesiology (a muscle test). So in the ReSource Yourself therapy we can make sure that our beliefs don’t get in the way without us noticing, or that we can let go of the negative concepts and emotions that drag a belief “down”. But in everyday life, we unfortunately have little awareness of all the motivations and emotions that make us think or belief or do anything, and much less of how they change. At the end, life has a way of giving us feedback, but that’s usually painful.
We have to use the clues we have as to what context this belief is in, which emotions it comes with, and our sensation for whether holding this belief gives us energy and helps us grow, or doesn’t. And those clues don’t so much come from the mind, but we find them in our bodies, in our emotions, in our physical energy, and sometimes even in other people’s reactions to us.
But one thing is clear: Many times we experience things out of context, and our awareness of “good” and “bad” is limited.
Interested? Check out Blog 1 and 2 of this series…
In his teachings, David R. Hawkins distinguishes between what he calls “content”, and “context”. Content is what we say or what happens, and context is why we say it, more specifically, the consciousness level from which a certain statement originates. I can say “I love you” (content) as I feel a wave of gratitude and love raise through my body, or I can say it feeling the fear that the other one might leave me. Or, I could say it out of fear, but not be aware that that is the emotion (context) which I am experiencing. I would be thinking that I feel love, even though it is something I used to feel but don’t feel now anymore (because now, there is fear). That happens frequently, and it is one of the reasons why we get stuck, and why psychological support can be extremely helpful.
(Please click here for reading about Hawkins’ consciousness levels, a more complete description of what he means by context.)
So, a belief comes with certain emotions, and thus, a certain context. But this also works the other way around: When we have a certain emotion, it usually comes with the experience of corresponding beliefs. And our conscious or subconscious mind can “subscribe” to those beliefs, decide that they are true and incorporate them into the own mental structure. That’s how we create our mental landscape, or map of reality, and how we guide ourselves trying to learn from past experiences. When we feel fear, we subscribe to the belief pattern that something is dangerous. And later, that will be a fact for us, even though the fear may have dissolved.
Many times we are not aware of the context of our thoughts. We are not aware why a politician really argues for a certain cause. Maybe he believes in it and wants to do his best in making it a reality (e.g. in willingness, 310). Or he is tired and exhausted but just trying to get through the interview (e.g. apathy, 50). Or he is scared of the personal consequences to him if he doesn’t take that stand (e.g. fear, 100). He might be all excited about it and feel that it is his vocation to make a change in this specific field (e.g., love, 500). Or he might feel that it is the best thing that can be done, and that within the possible choices, he considers this the best one to go for (e.g., acceptance, 350). In all of those cases, the argument might be the same. The words are the same. But the motivation is different, the emotions are different, and thus, the energy level or consciousness level from which the argument is presented, is a different one.
Generally, the more positive our energy around a certain topic, the more impact we’ll have. The higher the context (energy level), the more positive will our emotions be. Then we can reach and touch more people, we have more energy to make efforts, more positive ideas and thoughts, and we get more joy from it, which on its own is contagious.
Context trumps: the more positive, the more powerful.
The Power of the Mind: are your beliefs supporting, or hurting you?
It is common knowledge that what we believe and hold in mind tends to manifest. There is a lot of investigation about the self-fulfilling prophecy. It shows numerous times that a belief we have about reality tends to become true. So if we hold a belief like “nobody loves me” it is more likely that we experience rejection and the lack of connection with others, than if we believe something like “it’s easy for people to love me”.
Beliefs that are connected with negative emotions such as regret, guilt, shame, or anger can be limiting us and keeping us from growing or having positive experiences. It is not the belief itself, nor the words, that are the problem, but the underlying negative emotions. They influence the way we perceive and filter our perceptions, and they actually keep us from letting go of those beliefs. We may reason and rationally know that they are not true, that some people do love us. But emotionally, we don’t get to feel it. So, deep in ourselves, we would feel that nobody loves us, even though people show or tell us the opposite. And when we don’t feel the love we receive, we may behave in a way that will actually push others away. And that, in return, will minimize the situations in which we could experience love.
That is why, with our clients, we put a big emphasis on finding and completely canceling out negative belief systems: Instead of trying to change the behavior with a lot of effort, and trying to change our outside experiences, or just correcting the way we think, we focus on thoroughly changing our inner world of possibilities. And then, when our inner beliefs and attitude are positive, it is much easier for us to actually perceive that same positivity in our lives, and to behave accordingly. So when I believe that I am lovable, I may perceive somebody flirting with me and make a witty remark in return, or just react with a smile… whereas, when I don’t believe it, I may not perceive the flirt, or react with insecurity, and the outcome would be very different.
It is amazing how much a person can change when he or she “simply” lets go of and cancels the 10 most negative beliefs about themselves they hold. All the negativity connected with those beliefs takes up a lot of personal energy, and when they are gone all that energy can be used for creating a different experience and life. So exciting!
You can apply the knowledge about the self-fulfilling prophecy: Change what you think, so you’ll change your experiences!
Interested? Check out Blog 2 and 3 of this series…
One of the hardest things is to watch someone we love struggle, and not being able to help. Seeing your child sick or angry, and knowing things have to take its course, there is nothing you can do to speed it up or take away that suffering from your child. Or watching a friend go through hard times, when for you it seems evident what the friend should or could do to get better. But they may not be ready yet, they may still have to learn something. And learning and growing many times happens through suffering, and experiencing it all. We can’t always jump over it and skip the process to get to the solution.
As a therapist, I am faced with lots of human suffering. Leer más
Lately I’ve been very aware of the fact that what we really want in our relationships is closeness. So maybe you’re lucky and when you ask yourself, “do I feel close (enough) to the people I love”, the answer is yes. But maybe you have to answer no, even though you consider your relationships good, or don’t have any major problems.
So what makes us feel close to our loved ones? It does not have to do with how much time you spend with the other person, or with how close you live or how much you get to share. It’s about – being seen. Truly and honestly. It’s about the other person “getting you”, feeling you, understanding your feelings however complicated they may be, and having them in consideration.
I love growing as a therapist and a human being. My newest source of inspiration is a course of family constellations, a systemic method which rather than looking only at the individual, tries to give solutions to difficult symptoms or problems in the light of the family system and its characteristics.
Having moved to a different country than the one where I was born and raised, I was not so focused on how much our roots influence us, even if we are not exposed to them, and what’s more, even if we never were, as is the case with emigration or adoption, or with the part of our roots that happened before we were even born. Somehow I thought we could just consciously choose which part of our roots we allow to influence us. Lately, I’ve been seeing that that’s not the case. In the memory of our families, and in our (mostly) subconscious mind, exists a big imprint of the things that have moved and affected the generations that came before us. And we can find how this imprint, over and over, influences our decisions and choices, likes and dislikes.
Family constellations make something visible that always has come up in my work energetically, or if you will, emotionally. They can sometimes help us make sense of things we feel, because they put them into a bigger context.
Our ancestors and their experiences influence us more than we think.
Let’s put an example: There are cases of people who despite of having all the resources, don’t allow themselves to be successful. Maybe that is because they are in deep alignment with someone in their family who in the past, could not be successful, and so now being successful ironically brings up that memory of the failure and all its pains. If the person were successful, in her subconscious it would mean being disloyal with her ancestor. So even though our conscious mind reasons that being successful makes us feel good, and that there is no reason not to go for it… looking at the bigger context, for some people there may be just such a reason.
The basic thought of family constellations is that there are certain rules, a certain order. If these rules are complied with, then love can flow, and the people can have positive experiences. If they are ignored, it creates pain and difficulties not only in the same generation and for the people involved, but for those that come after.
It’s really fascinating to learn about this, and I’ll surely keep sharing my discoveries.
When I first started dating I learned a valuable lesson that keeps coming back to me in crucial moments in my live.
I started seeing that American guy who was older, quite traditional, and more experienced then I. We went on our first date to a restaurant in Germany, had great food and good conversation, and enjoyed ourselves. When it came to paying, the waitress came and handed him the plate with the ticket, and I all of a sudden became aware that he must not know the German way to go about the tip – tell the waitress to round up or charge more, rather than leave it on the plate. So I started telling him (in front of her) how he should handle the situation.
Needless to say, he got very angry and we left the restaurant in a tense mood. When things calmed down, we talked and he told me: “You don’t get to correct me. You get to take the choice of whether or not you want to go out with a guy. And once you choose, you experience how the guy is and leave him his responsibility of doing things.”
It made sense then, even if it was – and still is – hard to do.
How many times, when things get difficult in a relationship, we expect or demand the other person to change? Leer más
Having a son was one of the best things that ever happened in my life. It turned my world upside down. It challenged me in so many ways, it brought me to my limits and past them so many times, and sometimes it let me fail with my ideals in such a painful way that for a while I really didn’t quite know who I was anymore.
I think it saved my life, or if we don’t want to be too dramatic :-), at least it helped me through a really rough patch. It helped me stop. It helped me calm down. It helped me reconnect with myself, and with the people I love. How did it do that? Because in a very credible way, Pema Chödrön made old Buddhist knowledge and practices accessible and tangible for my difficult life situation. Her book helped me stop fighting, breathe, and accept what is. And once that happened, my life force came back and helped me to move on and grow.