When I Make an Error….

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Three products to support mental, physical and emotional well-being

“I think that whenever soul is present, it’s because what you’re doing, whom you’re with, where you are, evokes love without your thinking about it. You are totally absorbed in the place or person or event, without ego and without judgment.” – Jean Shinoda Bolen

Does it ever happen that when you make an error, mess up, miscalculate, etc. you tend to blame your environmental, organizational, or life circumstances for your action? That is, “it’s not about me.” But, when someone else messes up, do you generally point to some character flaw in them you assume caused them to behave badly or inappropriately?

I know what’s wrong with you

What’s operating here is a psycho-social dynamic called the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE). In essence, the FAE says we have a tendency to focus on another’s personality, character, values, motives or attitudes when we judge their actions, while discounting their immediate situation or life circumstances as a reason for their behavior. We assume we “know” the other person and then judge them on the basis of “our knowing,” rather than on the social or environmental context which may be influencing them.

There’s nothing wrong with me

However, when it comes to me, it’s never about me! It’s always about my life circumstances or social context; it’s never about my own personality or character.

Consider:

1. On the way out of the building, I pass a coworker and say “hi.” They act like they don’t even see me, their eyes down, not a word. I assume they’re thoughtless, self-absorbed, unfriendly or even an absent-minded jerk.

2. My partner returns home after work and immediately goes to their computer. Not an “hello” or a glance – just a bee-line movement past me to get online. I choose to make a judgment about how disrespectful, unkind, unloving, cruel and uncaring they are. 

In both circumstances, I have made judgments and assumptions that point to the other’s personality or character – on the basis that I “know” them and what’s going on in their life.

What I don’t know

In the first example, the individual just learned her seventeen-year-old sun was in a car accident – is in the hospital in critical condition; and in the second, my partner was told at 4:45 pm, just before leaving work,  there was a chance they would be let go next week and they should check their email tonight for further information about the company’s possible next steps.

The critical question is: Why does it seldom occur to us that folks like those in these two examples may be preoccupied – in deep thought or reflection based on some challenging life circumstance or event?”

The point here is to be self-aware, conscious of how much our ego-mind, our judgmental-comparative, reactive mind, our human side, drives our habitual and patterned reactive behaviors and thoughts during our day, especially when it comes to interacting with and judging others.

The Antidote to the FAE

“When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion.” – Marshall B. Rosenberg

One way to understand the FAE phenomena is to be curious about how we view others, and connect with others – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. What is the “frame” within which we relate to others?

An exercise

Imagine three walls. On one wall there are ten framed pictures (all ten are the same picture) of the individual in the first situation above. On the second wall there are ten pictures of your partner and on the third wall, ten of yourself. Under each frame is a blank label.

Next, label each individual in each picture in any way you wish – i.e., with a word,  a phrase….

When done, consider the labels, including those of yourself. How many of the labels reflect a “task-orientation” and how many reflect a “person-orientation?” How many reflect an objective, functional, role-playing, positional or impersonal orientation? How many reflect a subjective, heart-felt, or human orientation? How many reflect a human do-ing and how many a human be-ing?

Who’s judging – and the benefit of the doubt

Your labels can provide insight into what’s operating in us when we judge others. When we come from an impersonal, officious or “business-like” orientation to our world – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – we’re more inclined to be critical, objective or judgmental.

On the other hand, when we come from a heart-felt, soul-driven, subjective, personal and more conscious orientation, it’s often easier to be more aware of our reactivity, more able and willing to relate to the “person” as opposed to the “function” or role and be more open to giving another the benefit of the doubt – making no assumptions about another’s character, attitudes, values or motives. We allow that we don’t know chapter and verse about another (even our closest friends or loved ones) and thus refuse to judge them.

In fact, when we view others from a heart-felt place, we choose to be empathic, compassionate and accepting – understanding that, yes, another’s life circumstances and context can affect their behavior. No assumptions; no inferences.

“If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.” – Marcus Aurelius

Why the FAE is our default mode

Simple. It’s easier and less scary to judge others than to honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly get to know ourselves. Judging others lets us off the hook of self-awareness, self-responsibility and self-management. Judging others’ motives and values allows us to forego exploring the truth of our own values and motives underneath our behaviors and attitudes.

Too, because we, in fact, don’t know – and/or don’t care – about what’s really going on in another’s life, we find it easier to focus on the person, rather than their context – assuming, comparing and criticizing based on what we think we know – or make up – about another.

Native Americans approach the FAE in this way: “Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.”

Consider

Everyone is in Chapter Three of their life. No one knows what transpired in Chapters One and Two. Don’t assume you know.

No one gets up in the morning and says, “I’m going to be a jerk today.” Don’t assume you know their motives for acting.

Showing up in life – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – authentically, in integrity, and from a heart-felt place, we are more inclined to forego the FAE habit, or prejudge others. When we relate to others from a heart-felt, compassionate place, we can choose to be more accepting, forgiving, empathic and understanding.

Perhaps something to consider as we navigate through 2023.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Am I often prone to inferring what I think motivates another to act, or behave badly? If so, why?
  • When I behave inappropriately, do I usually justify my negative behavior by pointing to outside events and circumstances, and not to myself?
  • Do I own my negative actions?
  • Do I ever consider how I’d behave if I were in another’s moccasins?
  • Do I consciously observe, watch and witness my negative behaviors?
  • Am I willing to consider unseen causes for another’s negative behavior?
  • Can I be compassionate toward others who behave inappropriately? If not, what prevents me from doing so?
  • Am I generally judgmental about others? What does being judgmental get me? How so?
  • Is there someone on my team or in my family about whom I can be less judgmental, and more understanding? How so?
  • Am I a master of the art form of blame?
  • How do I feel when another judges me – especially when they have no idea of my life situation or context?
  • What would my life be like if I practiced being totally receptive, without judgment, to the circumstances, events and people in my life?

“It’s not differences that divide us; it’s our judgments about each other that do.” – Margaret Wheatley

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(c) 2023, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Experiencing Well-Be-ing in 2023 — Facing the Truth about Change and Well-Being

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(Some of the links below are to articles on my website – all of which have been checked for viruses, etc.)
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“The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.”
Herbert Agar

Think of change this way. Grasp a rubber band between the thumb and forefinger of your right hand and between the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Think of this rubber band as change. Stretch the rubber band. Think of the right hand as representing new ways of do-ing, be-ing and having, i.e., stretching to move forward in your life. Think of your left hand as representing being brought back to old or current ways of do-ing, be-ing and having, i.e., pulled back to remain exactly where you are.

Each time you stretch (i.e., move beyond your comfort zone) to act in some new way (your right hand), your left hand (your mind, your body and your brain) are pulling you back into old programmed habits and patterns. We often allow ourselves to return to old patterns and continue old habits – even if they are self-defeating, self-limiting, and self-sabotaging – because we feel safe and secure. It’s a question of “the devil we know versus the devil we don’t.” This is the sole reason 98% of the folks who resolve to change in the New Year fail by Valentine’s Day as they fall back into old ways, habits and patterns, of do-ing, be-ing and having. The pull to passivity, to the same old patterns of do-ing and be-ing is just too powerful. Their challenge of something new, i.e., change, or the unknown, is trumped by their need for familiarity, safety, security i.e., their need to NOT change.

The truth about change
“The truth, like surgery, may hurt, but it cures.”
HanSuyin

Creating true and real changes in one’s life is challenging. If you decide your life is more interesting, more satisfying, happier and more worthwhile living by not changing, that is your choice. But, you can’t have it both ways “I hate my life but I don’t want to change.” Or, “I want to change, but I don’t want to be different.” Remember the definition of insanity doing the same thing in the same way, over and over again, and expecting different results each time. Insanity is a choice. Sometimes conscious. Sometimes unconscious. Wanting to change, and doing nothing about it, day after day, year after year is one form of “insanity.” And remember, you’re not bad or wrong for not wanting to change. You are where you are. The question is, “What is it about change that frightens you, causes you concern or feels threatening?” What’s the truth, your truth? Self-awareness is key.

If you are adverse to change, maybe take some time (perhaps five minutes, ten minutes or thirty minutes) on a consistent basis for a while to explore your resistance to change. Being honest and serious about your life is challenging. If you can’t take some minutes for yourself on a consistent basis to explore how you feel about where you are, be curious about that. Are you resisting, and why? What does resisting get you?

So, here are some truths around change and well-being I and my coaching clients have explored over the years, truths which have supported us to change and transform our lives in ways that have resulted in a greater sense of well-be-ing – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, and/or psychological, not to mention personal and professional. Facing these truths in an honest, sincere, and self-responsible way, with love and compassion for yourself, can jump-start your journey towards meaningful change, transformation and a heightened sense of well-being.

Connecting to your life force supports well-being

Your life force is an energy. Life force is not a simple, mental construct. Life force is real. Your life force is what provides you with the qualities of, for example, self-love, compassion, forgiveness, strength, courage, will, discipline, steadfastness, stick-to-it-iveness, truth, deep listening, right understanding, right knowing and right action (notwithstanding those who say change is all about willpower. The truth? Willpower is rarely sustainable).

To connect to your life force, it’s important to engage in some type of consistent spiritual practice meditation (sitting or walking), energy work such as yoga, tai chi or martial arts, self-reflection or contemplation, quietude and silence, or journaling. A spiritual practice is not about religion or theology. I know atheists who have a spiritual practice; I know avowed religious folks who don’t. The truth is, touching in on a regular basis to our deeper self, results in experiencing a deeper sense of well-be-ing that supports us in time of challenge and change, and gives us a sense of grounding, peace and well-being with which we approach life and make healthy life choices, decisions and changes.

Living in a real community supports well-being (But be discerning in how and when you choose to get together given these challenging times)

If you find yourself spending more and more time engaged in online social networks, if you live much of your life communing with friends or family, etc. on Zoom, Facebook, Instagram during these times of self-quarantine, home confinement, etc., there’s a better than average chance your real-world social skills may be eroding. You may find yourself turning down more and more invitations to “real” social events or feeling more uncomfortable when you do engage. You may find your social skills when engaging with “real” people are diminishing. You may find yourself “holding up” in your home more and more, venturing outside less and less.

The truth is, a healthy sense of well-be-ing comes from interacting and engaging in community; real, not fake, community. Our personal growth and positive mental, emotional and psychological health and well-be-ing feeds on the nourishment we get from conscious interaction with others, from community. There’s a host of information describing how belonging to a community, a real community, supports us to, for example deal with loneliness, improve our motivation, health, and happiness, feel supported and connected to and with others, and deal with the stress, challenges, struggles and chaos of daily life, not to mention the sense of camaraderie, connection and caring that can result from being in a community. Experiencing community, real community, is one way to develop and sustain a heightened sense of well-being. Again, be discerning, follow CDC guidelines, and the like.

Eating to live; exercising for health, support well-being

Do you eat to live or live to eat? What’s your diet like? Most everyone knows what a healthy diet looks like. The health of our mind-body-spirit unit cannot maintain without a healthy diet. I’ve come across countless folks over the years who exercise to extreme so they can “pig out,” gorge themselves, and eat unhealthily. So, in the morning, for example, they run, go to the gym, or exercise at home so they can dive into unhealthy food and drink at night. Then, its guilt and shame. A self-defeating vicious cycle. So, the next day, extreme exercise and unhealthy eating or drinking a mental, physical, emotional and psychological roller-coaster lifestyle that results in anything but a healthy sense of well-being. Not to mention the emotional inner turmoil that erupts when one skips a day of exercising, but not a day of unhealthy eating or drinking. I’ve seen countless folks come out of the gym still being angry, unhappy and sad even after a “great workout.” They may be in good shape, but many are not in good psycho/emotional/spiritual health.

The truth is that being in good shape, but poor emotional and psychological health, is bound to lead to a life of self-hate, self-loathing, and utter unhappiness and frustration. Asking one’s self, honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly, “Why am I really been dieting and exercising?” can help one move into a diet and exercise lifestyle that promotes healthy well-being physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. Is your regimen of exercising and dieting about truly and really healthy or something else? The “something else” usually leads to consistent emotional upset, frustration and failure.

Conscious intention, commitment and focus support well-being
“One must know oneself; if this does not serve to discover truth, it at least serves as a rule of life and there is nothing better.”
Blaise Pascal

The reality is, without our being “conscious” of who and how we want to be, and why, without being intentional and focused in every moment of change, the forces of old habits and patterns will take over, reducing change to a small idea in a tiny brain molecule magical thinking at best.

Some important questions around change and improved well-being we can ask are:

“Why am I choosing to change?”
“Do I have any hunch or instinct I won’t be able to keep my intention or change?” The truth is many folks want to change to impress or please someone else. If this is the case in your situation, a deeper exploration of what’s underneath your desire to please others is in order.
“Why do I need to please others and have others approval?”
“What does pleasing others get me?”
“Who would I be and how would I feel if I didn’t please others?”
“Do I love myself as I am, right here and right now?”

Understanding “my mind is not me, but mine,” supports well-being
On the other hand, if you’re honestly and sincerely committed and intentional about your choice to change, consistently monitoring your thoughts, and being self-aware, can support you in your change efforts. When you want to run faster, longer, and harder (when you know it leads to injury or burnout), when you want to eat the whole bag of M&Ms (when you know you’ll be upset with yourself afterwards), when you want to have another cigarette/drink (when you know its unhealthy), when you want to spend the extra $100 (when you can’t afford it and it jeopardizes your credit score), monitor your thinking and explore what mental messages your hearing, what your Inner Judge and Critic is saying, what old rationale is arising to trigger your acting in ways that are self-sabotaging, self-limiting and self-defeating.

The truth is, you are in control of your mind, not the other way around. If you stay “awake'” and ask yourself questions like: “Why am I choosing this?” “Is this really supportive of my choice to change?” “Am I choosing to sabotage myself and if so why?,” you’ll come to a deeper understanding of your behaviors that are self-sabotaging and slowly be able to wean yourself away from old patterns and limiting beliefs that keep you from changing. Emotional mastery supports you to be clear about what you’re feeling moment to moment so that you are in control of your life and the master of your own well-being.

Consistency and specifics, not extremes, support well-being
Sustainable change comes with small, incremental steps. The name of the well-be-ing game is consistency moving forward on a conscious and consistent basis, in baby steps. Wanting to create wholesale and quantum change overnight hardly ever works. Burnout and frustration – mental, physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological – are often what follow the need to change on a dime. How does a mouse eat a round of cheese? One small bite at a time. Some further suggestions here .

One obstacle that interferes with lasting and sustainable change is having a wrong motive for changing. For example, making the mistake of “moving away” rather than “moving towards.” In other words, focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. The energy of moving toward a goal is more alive, juicy, positive, enthusiastic, exciting and motivating than the energy of moving away which is often heavy, negative, and unpleasant. Here’s a much more thorough exploration of the moving towards vs. moving away principle, with many practical examples.

Another obstacle to creating sustainable change and experiencing well-being, is acting in extremes, and “all-or-none” extreme approach to change, i.e., exercising every day (rather than, for example, starting with three days a week or a half hour at a time), meditating for an hour, rather than starting slowly, reading the whole book, rather than a chapter, etc. The problem here is that our Inner Judge and Critic gets in the way with all the “shoulds” and perfection-based ego-driven excuses that get in the way and, more often than not, doom us to failure. The secret sauce of achievement is to start slow, baby steps, be gentle with ourselves, and move forward incrementally and consistently. Remember, how does a mouse eat a round of cheese? One small bite at a time. It works!

Another strategy that can lead to effective, lasting and sustainable change, is to use the word “choose” instead of want, need or should. Shoulds are burdensome and guilt-making; choosing is freeing. The energy of choosing is self-empowering and gives you ownership. The truth is change is about feeling light and emotionally free, not about feeling needy for security, control or others approval. Consistency allows the brain to create the new neurological pathways that have to be ingrained for new ways of do-ing and be-ing to become habitual. No consistency, no sustainability.  Extremes only lead to failure. More about should and choose here . The author writes from a Christian perspective, but you’ll get the point, whether you are Christian or otherwise.

Self-management, not time management, leads to well-being
“Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

If you’re one who says your life is out of your control, that you don’t have enough time in your day to get things done, that you find yourself watching way too much TV or hanging out online to an extreme, the truth is that you’re doing a poor job at self-management. Time management is NEVER – ever -about time. Mismanaged time is a symptom; “me” is the problem. When we work on self-management and self-regulation from a conscious, proactive (not reactive), values-driven place, time then ceases to be an issue. How so?

The truth is, our values or lack of them play a large role when making choices as to what to do, how and when, or being clear as to whether we are spending our investing our time, energy and effort. When our choices are based on values that are murky, misguided or nonexistent, our efforts lead to confusion, mistakes, self-defeating multitasking and chaos that comes from juggling too many balls in the air at the same time. With respect to priorities, many folks ask the wrong question, i.e., “What’s next?” instead of the more-important question, “What’s first?” and why. Lack of self-management skills and clear values produce a lack of clarity and direction so everything is next, everything is urgent and important, and we know this perspective often leads to inner turmoil and outer upset and diminished well-being. Time management is, first and foremost, about self-management. So, what are some ways we can focus on better self-management?

Knowing when to say “no” supports well-being
To achieve peace of mind and well-being it’s important to learn how to say no – to yourself and to others who are asking you for something. This is a real discipline. How often do you give up your own aspirations, dreams, goals or tasks because you don’t want to upset someone? Or because you like doing something that is perhaps a distraction. And then you become distracted by all the things you say yes to?

Learn how to have difficult conversations with others so you can say no in a kind, respectful, gentle, compassionate and positive way and still take care of yourself without feeling guilty, ashamed or fearful. Know how to say no to yourself and not feel like you’re denying yourself.

Ask: “If I instinctively want to say no to someone or something, what am I actually saying yes to?” Go deep and connect with your heart. What’s the truth here? Sense into your higher aspiration, your purpose, which will make it much easier for you to learn how to say no.

Having a clear sense of purpose supports well-being

We want to be productive, effective and successful. But, many of us find it hard because we always feel we have too much to do. When you have a clear sense of purpose, when you’re clear about why you’re on the planet, it’s empowering because you’re clear about what you want from life. Many of us are confused about this. Purpose is your guideline, your beacon, as to your choices and decisions e.g., what party to go to, what to read, watch. You become clear as to how you move forward how to invest your time and energy. Purpose supports you to clear out the clutter, simplify your life and create a heightened sense of well-being. 

Purpose is empowering because it helps clarify our life choices and decisions, what we want from life, the path forward, how to simplify our life and how to invest our time, effort and energy which has a return on investment, as opposed to “spending” time, energy and effort which has no valuable return.  

Support leads to a greater sense of well-being
I know of very few people who have been able to make honest and lasting change by themselves. Very few. Most folks who succeed with change have a support system of one kind or another. A support system helps us overcome the immune system many of us have towards change. The truth is going it alone hardly ever produces real and lasting change. Who is your support? Are they nonjudgmental? Are they affirming? Do you feel safe talking about your life with them? Do they help you gain clarity?

Find a professional coach or other professional support person to help you clarify your goals, the “why” of your life.  Working with this support, be guided by your purpose in your choices and decisions as to how you invest your time, energy and effort.

Living with awareness creates well-being
“In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves into crustal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.”
-Mahatma Gandhi

When we are in touch with our deeper Inner Self, we become free(er) and this sense of freedom helps us make those change that bring lightness within, and a heightened sense of well-being. Awareness supports us to become more center-focused and allows us to discern (as opposed to judging) what serves us from what does not, what needs to change and what doesn’t.

The one major element that we can truly control in our life is self-awareness, the awareness that says “I’m the master of my life,” the awareness that brings meaning and purpose to our journey on the planet, the awareness that supports us to move forward along the right path. The truth is, without self-awareness, chaos rules our lives and with chaos comes unhappiness, unfulfilled dreams and unmet goals, finger-pointing, blaming, confusion, overwhelm and stress.

So, what’s the truth about you and your life? What’s the truth about the stories you tell yourself about why change is so hard and frustrating? What’s the truth about your definition of “insanity?”

Finally,

Most people are free-falling through their lives, ping-ponging from one crisis to the next. Living in this type of spiral or chaos leaves no room for conscious living.

The real truth about lasting change and transformation, and a true and real sense of well-being, is that true change, transformation and sense of well-be-ing comes with self-awareness and a healthy integration of body, mind, and spirit. Change is a reality that can happen in every moment of our lives, every moment of every life but only if we are aware of it and see the truth of “who I am” and “how I am” as I live my life.

In essence, experiencing a true sense and real sense of well-being comes when we know the truth about how we live our life, and why.  As Galileo said, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

So the question we want to ask, moving forward, “If I truly want to experience a heightened sense of well-being in 2023, and I’m not, what’s getting in the way – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically?” What’s the truth?

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Who are you (can you describe this without defining yourself by what you “do”)?
  • How do you feel when you define yourself?
  • What do you want?
  • Why do you think you’re on the planet
  • How do you feel when you define what you want?
  • Where are you in your life at work, at home, at play and in relationship and, why are you there?
  • How do you feel when you describe where you are and why you’re there?
  • Who are your allies in life?
  • What are the “truths” about you and your life?
  • How do you feel when you speak the truth of your life?
  • Do you have a spiritual practice?
  • Are you drowning in distractions of one kind or another? How so?
  • Is time your friend or enemy? Why?
  • At which end of the rubber band do you live most of your life? Why?
  • Is your social community more real or virtual?
  • Are you optimistic or pessimistic about your life in 2023? Why?
  • You feel you’re in control of your emotional life? Why or why not?
  • On a scale of 1-10, where are you when it comes to experiencing a real sense of well-be-ing?
  • Can you visualize a world where you are moving effortlessly and consistently toward personal change and transformation?

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(c) 2022, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

One Down* – Two to Go**

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Three products to support mental, physical and emotional well-being

*     – Thanksgiving
**   – Christmas (and other seasonal celebrations) and New Year’s

The holiday season is often difficult to navigate – mentally, physically and emotionally. The frivolity, laughter, glitter and shine often turn to blue. For many, the holiday season is a season of darkness, not light, facing the challenges of resentment, jealousy, guilt, shame, quiet or overt anger, sadness, stress, loneliness, and unfulfilled longings – a time to get through, rather than truly enjoy.

Successfully meeting these challenges can be likened to the way white-water rafters approach their task. Beginners watch for the craggy rocks, the problems to avoid, the risks to circumvent, usually ending their runs feeling emotionally and physically drained. Experts focus on the flow line where the currents safely guide them through the roughest areas with a minimum of mental and emotional stress, ending their runs on a high, with energy to spare.

So, I’d like to share some perspectives and strategies to support you to create a nurturing holiday experience resulting in peace in body, mind, and spirit and a heightened sense of well-being.

Body:

Fall and winter are Nature’s time for hibernation -being quiet and lying dormant. The tendency to live frenetically – shopping, partying, and going at ninety miles an hour, is unnatural. The physical stress alone can affect your immune system, resulting in energy depletion, lethargy, and illness. It’s important to take time to relax and reduce stress, to maintain consistent harmony and balance. Some suggestions:

Your body monitors how you’re doing. So, notice levels of tension and/or fatigue. With a cupped hand, lightly tap your arms and neck, and other areas to relieve stress and to increase energy flow and vitality. Is your breathing deep and relaxed, or shallow and quick? Remember always to breathe deeply, especially when facing stressful circumstances.

Nurture yourself. Take time for reflection and being alone. Go to a movie, take a hot, soothing bath, treat yourself to a massage, cuddle up and enjoy your favorite music, take a quiet walk. And, breathe. Release the tether to your electronic devices.

The holiday season is defined by social gatherings and often the focus of such gatherings is food. People often overeat (often emotionally-driven) during the holidays, and then experience guilt or shame. In addition to the usual tips of eating before you go to a social gathering to avoid starving when you get there, and socializing away from the food center of gravity, you might:

Design a conscious eating strategy so you don’t fall prey to unconscious patterns of medicating with food and drink. Savor the tastes, the pleasure of the aromas, flavors, and textures of seasonal treats. Don’t beat yourself up or deny the pleasure. Harmony and balance are the keys. Plan your daily intake of calories, so you have room to indulge and still experience well-being, rather than indulge and feel badly both physically and emotionally. And, breathe.

Stress is a major excuse for eating. Reflect on what’s stressing you and reflect on how you can reduce or eliminate stressors, over and above eating or drinking. And, breathe.

Maintain a consistent exercise regimen to alleviate guilt about overindulging. Your body needs to move to feel well. So put on some music and dance, or shake out tensions and stresses so you don’t become stuck in a holiday funk. And, breathe.

Mind:

During the holidays our internal judge and critic bombard us with how we should act and behave. Listening to this onslaught of “I should” is enough to drive one to Grinch-dom. I must get the right gift. I should go to that party I must eat less. I have to send a card. I need (or don’t) to say what’s on my mind. I need to make this the best holiday ever. I should exercise more. I need to meet someone else’s expectations of me. I should be more joyful, sincere, outgoing, religious, appreciative, generous, peaceful, etc.

In family gatherings; you may feel a need to debate issues, feelings, or past memories. Instead, initiate a truce. Place resentments and grievances on the back burner. You can address them after the holidays with greater thoughtfulness and clarity when extra seasonal stresses won’t affect you.

So, beware of the “shoulds.” Rather than beat yourself up whenever your inner judge tugs on your sleeve, just allow yourself to witness and observe the “should.” Then, breathe deeply into your belly a few times and move on. Experiencing guilt indicates you’re allowing your inner judge to grab you and hold you up to some imagined or impossible holiday ideal. Let go. And, breathe.

The focus during the holidays, and all days, is being authentic, allowing your integrity to shine, to be yourself, and not struggle to meet either someone else’s expectations or some ideal you have of yourself that is impossible to meet. This is a good opportunity to practice the Four Ls of well-being: lighten up on yourself, laugh at yourself, love yourself, and leave yourself alone. You can defend against your internal critic and judge by telling it to back off, using whatever silent or oral language works for you.

You may overeat, or over drink, to take care of and nurture yourself, perhaps to find sweetness and comfort from food where you cannot find sweetness elsewhere, perhaps to distract yourself from boring people or events, or to deny what you’re feeling. So, be aware of what’s eating you and reflect on whether food or drink are the only alternatives. And, of course, breathe.

Spirit:

No one consciously wakes up and says: I’m going to be a jerk today. The opposite is normally true – almost everyone is trying to do their best and, in their own mind, operate from positive intention. So, when it’s easy to become stressed and react to what we perceive as others’ rudeness, insensitivity, or stupidity, take nothing personally. Use these opportunities for your spirit to come through, be accepting of others, give others the benefit of the doubt and look for the noble humanity in others. For example:

When a shopper inadvertently bumps into you or cuts in line;
When a driver cuts you off;
When someone inadvertently says something you take to be critical or demeaning;
When a family member brings up an embarrassing or unpleasant past event in your life;
When a retail/service person doesn’t meet your expectations for quality service;
When someone forgets to thank you for your gift;
When your family doesn’t decorate the house, or prepare food, exactly as you would;
When the priest, minister or rabbi offers a sermon you feel you could have given better.

Be appreciative and grateful for all you have, come from your heart, not your mind, focus on what you love and what truly gives meaning to you, and on what this season means to you – whether its family, community, or religion. Stressful events present opportunities to be bold and brave, allowing your light and joy to shine, no matter what anyone else is doing. Wherever you are, wherever you go, know that you are a blessing! And, breathe!

And if in doing your best to take care of yourself, you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. Speak with a counselor, therapist, a coach, trusted friend or minister. Folks in the helping professions are aware of, and sympathetic to, the pain which people experience at this time. Yes, this too shall pass, but if you find yourself swept up in the blues of your holiday, it will pass more quickly if you seek support.

So, gift yourself and use this time to practice following your own flow line as you navigate the white waters of this holiday season.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you find yourself getting sick during the holidays? (Note: the main cause is a weak immune system. Another major factor is the stress of dealing with our families.)
  • What stresses you during the holidays?
  • Are you attached to how folks react to the gifts you give them? If so, why?
  • Do you tend to overeat or over-do during the holidays? If so, do you ever consider if you overeat or over-engage in too much activity to fill some type of emotional hole?
  • Are you really, really happy during the holidays? How can you tell?
  • Do you take time for, and care of, yourself during the holidays? If not, why not?
  • What are you doing differently this year to reduce stress during the holidays?
  • Who’s driving your holiday activities? You, your friends, your family, others? If it’s not you, why not? How do you feel about having others dictate how you spend your holiday time?
  • What were the holidays like for you when you were growing up?
  • —————————————————–
    (c) 2022, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Pain – mental, physical, emotional and/or psychological? It’s part of the human condition. Suffering? Not so much. It’s optional.

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Three products to support mental, physical and emotional well-being

(c) 2022, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Envy – tearing yourself apart, from the inside out

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“Our envy of others devours us most of all.” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines envy as “painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage.”
 
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.
”  – Proverbs. 14:30,

While some experts believe envy is a positive motivator (and it can be in some cases), mental health statistics and reports seem to point in a different direction – that envy is the catalyst that leads to depression, anger, resentment, malice, greed, violence, abuse, incivility and deep-seated negativity. When our “bones rot” they don’t rot alone. Our mind, our heart and our body follow.

You’re experiencing abject fear about losing your job and a friend or colleague lands a dream position in a new company while another receives a promotion. You’re a sole proprietor whose client base is drying up and your competitor seems to have clients beating her door down. You have trouble making your mortgage payments and your closest friend has just purchased a new home. You’ve just taken your car in for repairs and your neighbor drives up in a new expensive sports car. You’re experiencing  conflict in your relationship and the fellow next door, newly divorced, brings home a new “trophy wife.” You’re putting on weight while your partner has just shed 40 pounds. Your child is struggling academically and your brother’s son has just made the honor roll. Envy.

 “Envy is the ulcer of the soul.” – Socrates

In the throes of envy, we become mired in a sense of lack and deficiency. And, like an ulcer, envy eats away at you, consciously and subconsciously. It seems to be the energy that is running your life –  a life of frustration – feeling like you’re being decimated from the inside out.

“Envy is like a fly that passes all the body’s sounder parts, and dwells upon the sores”. – Arthur Chapman
Envy drives our perspective, and not in a positive way. Envy make us want to “get even” and in the process of getting even we usually end up doing, speaking or thinking in a way that most often is self-destructive. We either obsess about inflating our egos or denigrating others for what they have or who they are. Either way, it’s a lose-lose proposition.
The honest truth about envy is that it’s never – repeat never – about the other person. Envy can be a blind spot. As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Few folks realize they are their own worst enemy when it comes to envy.

“There are many roads to hate, but envy is the shortest of them all.” – Anonymous

The road to hate at work, at home, at play and in relationship can be quite overt or very subtle. We find ourselves overtly attacking others, gossiping, bullying, slandering or libeling, being abusive or spiteful, or quietly reveling in others’ mistakes or secretly wanting others to fail while we seethe inside. Envy is the cause of eroding relationships, camaraderie and collegiality. Envy eats away at intimacy, openness and connection.

“It is in the character of very few men to honor without envy a friend who has prospered.‘ – Aeschylus

The underlying energy around envy is wanting what others have. While focusing outward on what others have, the envious one is also dwelling on “what’s wrong with me.” In this place of self-loathing and self-pity, when we feel “less than;” we tend to focus on what we don’t have. And we know the Law of Attraction says that we attract to ourselves that which we dwell on. Lack attracts lack. And caught up in a downward spiral of envy, you’re moving backwards, sowing seeds of doubt and limiting your potential.

The antidote to envy
The way out of envy is first to admit your envy. See it for what it is without judging yourself for your envy. The next step is to choose to eliminate or reduce your distraction with what others have. That’s a conscious choice. When we fill our mind with thoughts of lack, there’s no room to focus on a “way out” –  no way to put your energy on your feelings of self-worth and self-value (they’re there – just covered over and veiled). Rather than being caught up in feelings of depression, hopelessness and worthlessness that accompany envy, the choice is to move towards letting go of the doubt, the envy, and self-criticism.

The antidote to envy is to make an honest, sincere, steadfast, and conscious effort to explore your intrinsic self-worth and potential. When you let go of beating yourself up, and take time consistently to relax, breathe, go inside and reflect, you can often access your sense of inner self-worth and esteem – an inner sense of worth, value and esteem that is not connected to anything or anyone “external.” An inner sense of worth and value that can promote energies of positivity, strength, courage, self-discipline, steadfastness and compassion for one’s self.

You can decide to not be envious or jealous. It is a choice. The choice to be free of envy also allows an opening to possibility, to potential. Why? Because the control that your negative feelings had on you is released.

As you consciously choose to let go of the feelings of envy, breathe deeply and sense deep down into your heart center, in the middle of your chest, and with a sense of adventure and curiosity, begin to explore your potential, possibility and opportunity. When your mind comes in with judgments and criticisms, recognize them and allow them to float by like the clouds in the sky on a windy day.

Return to your choice to explore your potential and possibility and see what arises.  Relax, breathe deeply and allow your heart and your body (not your “logical” mind) to inform your reflection. Focus on your self and be curious about what arises. Don’t judge or rule anything out.

When a nugget of information that seems important arises, write it down and return to your deep reflection. When you feel complete with this session, explore what you saw, what you discovered and, objectively, look at the potential inside of what arose. Then, make a list of “baby steps,” small discrete tasks you can undertake to make the potential reality. What might you need to do next? Who might you need to talk with? What skill might you need to develop? What knowledge or information might you need to gather? Then, organize the small action steps, prioritize them, schedule them and execute them. And begin your journey.

As you spend time creating or re-creating your self, your feelings of envy will begin to dissipate, replaced with feelings of possibility, hope, optimism and self-worth. From this place of well be-ing and positive esteem, you can begin to move your life forward with a sense of power, control and freedom, unencumbered by the weight of envy.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Who are your friends and acquaintances that you envy? (hint: Think of people that you privately criticize, judge, make fun of, slander, resent, or are malicious or insecure towards.) How so?
  • Do you often find yourself throwing “pity parties” for yourself? Why?
  • Do you find it hard to acknowledge, compliment or praise others? How does this make you feel?
  • Do you constantly put yourself down? How does this make you feel?
  • Do you feel folks are better than you? How so?
  • Do you make up stories to justify your envy and your envious behavior?
  • Did anyone ever tell you they were envious of you? How did that make you feel?
  • Do you ever collude to support others’ envious feelings? Why?
  • Do you ever feel fake, that your life is a facade? How so?
  • Do you have a strong need to be seen, appreciated and admired?
  • Is it easy or challenging for you to empathize with others?
  • Can you visualize a life without envy?
  • What was your experience around envy when you were growing up?

—————————————————–
(c) 2022, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

You Know Best

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No-one else knows what’s best for us. And, conversely, we don’t know what’s best for others. So our job, our responsibility is to determine what’s best for ourselves.

“I know exactly what you need.” I know what you should do.” I have the answer for you.” I don’t think you should do this.” “This is what you should be working on, focusing on, or pursuing right now.”

Being disrespectful
Each of these statements is bold, presumptuous, disrespectful and discourteous. These statements (or beliefs, as they often are) separate us from how we operate from a spiritual perspective in all aspects of our lives, be it at work, at home, at play and in relationship. Each of us has the ability and capacity to be able to discern our own path and our own way forward through our lives. This is not always easy. Life is often about the struggle and effort that’s sometimes requires us to go inside and rest in this quiet, still place of discovery, the place of right knowing, right understanding and right action.

Advising others, educating others, making decisions for them, plotting and planning their journey and crafting their strategy for moving forward, is not our responsibility, nor should it be. Nor is it their responsibility to direct our journey, to find out path for us.

Self-responsibility
Even if you have some kind of “contract” with another – if they are a friend, relative, coach, or counsellor – they don’t know what’s best for us, nor should we trust or expect that they do.

Each of us is responsible for listening to the information that comes to us. It is also our responsibility to consciously sift through and sort out that information, and then “go inside” to weigh the merits of that information, to discern what we think and feel is best for us. Nobody can know that but each of us in our own way.

The way we can support, honor and respect others is to trust that they have their own internal guidance system, their own internal source of wisdom and their own internal capacity to discern what is in their best and highest good and interest, and that they will discover their path through trial and error – living life.

And us? To trust that we, each of us, through discovery in this moment, and the next moment, and the next moment – through the process of living life, making mistakes, taking wrong turns, stumbling and getting up, and being resilient- is the greatest gift we can give ourselves.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you depend on others to make life choices for you – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? If so, do you know why? How has this approach been working for you?
  • Do others rely on you to make life choices and decisions for them? And do you? Why? With what results?
  • Is carving out your life’s path fearful, shaky? How so? Does the fear stop you? If so, why?
  • What have you learned about yourself while discovering your own path?
  • How/what did your parents or primary caregivers teach you about depending on them or others for support?
  • Have you even been in a co-dependent (needy) relationship with another – parent, sibling, spouse or partner, coach, counsellor or religious or spiritual guide? What was/is that like for you? What does/did it get you?
  • Do you take time for journaling, reflecting or contemplation on a regular basis? Do you ever practice presence or mindfulness? How so?
  • What’s it like for you to sit in stillness or silence?
  • How do you access your inner guidance or wisdom? Do you believe you have the capacity for inner guidance or wisdom? Do you trust your gut? When do you/when don’t you? How so?

—————————————————–
(c) 2022, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Spiritual Bypassing

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Robert Augustus Masters, Ph.D., defines Spiritual Bypassing as “the use of spiritual practices/beliefs to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs.” Masters suggests spiritual bypassing is so common “that it goes largely unnoticed.” In his book, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Chogyam Trungpa focuses on our deeply entrenched misuse of spirituality, and how  we use (and abuse) spirituality.

My curiosity is how and why folks use spirituality as a means to evade, deny, avoid and otherwise detour around their unresolved psycho-emotional issues.

Aletheia Luna explores ten of the most common forms of spiritual bypassing (summarized here):

1. The Optimistic Bypass

They love to laugh and smile, (and) seem to be forcefully optimistic. ” Focus on the positive!’ “See the glass as half full!” and “Don’t let a frown get you down!” are some of their common phraseology; they view optimism as a way of avoiding the more somber and troublesome realities of their life.  The optimistic bypass is often a side product of anger-phobia, or the inability to deal with their negative emotions.

2. The Aggrandizement Bypass

This is a type of self-delusion that some spiritual seekers use as a way of masking their perceived deficiencies and insecurities.  The aggrandizement bypass is adopted by those who seek to feel enlightened, superior or having reached higher planes of existence.  It is sometimes used by self-proclaimed masters, leaders, awakened souls, and gurus.

3.  The Victim Bypass
When one becomes a victim of their gifts, or of other people, this takes away the pressure of responsibility for shaping a satisfying life and taking responsibility for one’s happiness such is the case with the Victim Bypass.  This type of spiritual bypassing is often used by spiritual seekers who believe they have extrasensory gifts of some kind, but due to their gifts they are unable to feel happy or healthy.  Identifying as an Empath is sometimes a good example of this type of bypassing, as it can be interpreted as the fault of other people and their emotions for behaving in self-destructive and volatile ways.

4. The Psychonaut Bypass
Many spiritual seekers explore the frontiers of the mind, the soul and reality through the use of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, DMT, psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline and other entheogens that expand the mind and perception of existence.  While this is a fascinating way of exploring reality, entheogens, like any other drug, can sometimes be used as a way of escaping reality and avoiding committing to personal development and soulful refinement.

5. The Horoscope Bypass

When we frequently look outside of ourselves for help and guidance, as is with the case with Horoscopes and Psychics, we are failing to tap into our inner wellsprings of wisdom and strength and are allowing external predictions to control the outcome of our lives.  The Horoscope Bypass is derived from a fear and mistrust of ourselves, our inability to make decisions, and our inability to deal with anything tough that comes our way.

6. The Saint Bypass

Since we were little we were taught that spiritual people were kind, compassionate and saintly.  We continued to repeat this story to ourselves when we ripened into adulthood, and for some of us it turned into our biggest nightmare.  The Saint Bypass is a reflection of extreme black or white thinking, promoting the underlying belief that spiritual people can’t have dark sides because that would make them unspiritual.  This type of bypassing is essentially an avoidance of one’s own Shadow Self by overcompensating with the guise of a sweet, heavenly, exterior.  Self-sacrifice is a major symptom of this type of bypassing.

7. The Spirit Guide Bypass
I have an angel called Raphael who protects me.  In some spiritual traditions it is a God who protects, in others an angel, an animal or an ascended being.  No matter who the Spirit Guide is, the belief that they are there to protect us is pleasing to the mind, but harmful to the soul.  When we place our faith in another beings power to ward off danger and keep us safe, we are committing a classic spiritual bypass: that being avoiding responsibility for ourselves and our lives, and sidestepping the tough development of courage and resilience.  We are not children, but when we think of ourselves as being so we mold our lives in such a way that we fail to develop strength of spiritual character.  Spirit guides serve to teach us rather than to baby sit us.

8. The Praying Bypass
Similar to the Spirit Guide Bypass, the Praying Bypass circumvents personal responsibility by putting faith in a higher being to solve all of our problems and issues.  While praying can be a healthy practice, it can easily become limiting and destructive.

9. The Guru Bypass
Often it is beneficial to latch onto a particular guru, shaman or spiritual teacher to learn and grow from, however, too much attachment can serve as another form of spiritual bypassing.  While not everyone has the ability to independently follow the path of spirituality, when we begin to worship another living being, we fall in love with the rose-colored illusory image we have of the teacher rather than the essence of their teachings.  Not thinking or discovering truth for ourselves by treating the words of a guru or master as scripture subtracts from our growth and our own mastery on our personal spiritual journeys.

10. The Finger-Pointing Bypass
On our spiritual quests we begin to see through the lies, delusions and crazy behaviors committed by our fellow human beings and this can make us angry, downhearted and greatly frustrated.  However, when we get caught up in everything that is wrong with the outside world and other people, dedicating our lives to the self-righteous quest of finger-pointing, this can be another form of spiritual bypassing.  Finger-pointing instills us with a false sense of righteousness, taking away our responsibility of looking inside and working on ourselves.  At its roots, the Finger-Pointing bypass is sourced from fear and avoidance, and is a powerful form of procrastination.

Author Linda-Ann Stewart, psychotherapist and meditation teacher, says, “I’ve known many people who’ve used spirituality and meditation as a way of avoiding dealing with their issues. Since they feel good when they’re pursuing a spiritual path, guru, or new technique, they think that will make all the uncomfortable stuff dissolve and go away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Spirituality is no more a magic bullet than anything else.”

Lawrence LaShan suggests further, “…meditation can help strengthen the structure of our personality, making us better able to deal with our challenges. And it may give us more insight into our issues, but meditation doesn’t do away with them. It may reduce overall anxiety, make us feel safe, therefore better able to face ourselves, but we still need to do the internal work needed to bring about change.”

Whatever supports us to feel joy, or bliss or euphoria alcohol, drugs, food, sex, spirituality, meditation – can become addicting. We cling to the feeling and effort to experience it as often as possible. It makes our bad feelings go away. True, spirituality is a “healthier” escape than any of the others, but it still can be an escape. We need to ask ourselves, “What am I trying to escape from or avoid?”

“There needs to be a balance and a grounding at the same time. Getting carried away with bliss can mean not attending to day to day affairs, such as paying the bills, eating right, and having healthy relationships. The euphoria from spirituality and meditation doesn’t erase our personal responsibilities. But as long as it’s being used to avoid our feelings and deep issues, we can’t move forward. Were either resisting discomfort or moving toward wholeness. We can’t do both”

Truth be told, we need to be able to balance our spiritual practices with our everyday and emotional lives and responsibilities. Spirituality and meditation can provide a sense of connection that we can then take into the rest of our experience. When we are able to acknowledge our issues, work through them, and accept all of ourselves, were honoring our spiritual essence.

“What gives light must endure burning.”   Viktor Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning

Life is not easy. A life worth living is hard. The pursuit of harmony, balance, meaning, integrity, authenticity, love and all the rest takes “work” – work that is uncomfortable, scary and damn challenging. It requires honesty, truth-telling (to our self to others). It requires exploring our shadow self, our illusions, our fears, “stories,” biases, prejudices, self-limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs, even our fake and phony spiritually-bypassing self.

Life is choices. Even a spiritual life.

Questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you ever use “spirituality” as a defense mechanism or a drug – a way to escape, avoid or deny painful aspects of your life?
  • Do you ever allow yourself to be walked all over, used, or disrespected in the name of “being spiritual,” or being “loving,” or “compassionate?” How so? What does your behavior get you?”
  • Do you ever immerse yourself in spirituality” as a way to avoid painful emotions – your anger, sadness, depression, guilt…? How so?
  • Do you ever use spiritual terminology, labels and the like to mask the shadows of your personality? How so?
  • What do you feel it would take to move from a place of self-deception to self-liberation, or from a place of idiot compassion to honest self-awareness and personal accountability in your interactions with others and with yourself?
  • Can you say with honesty, sincerity and self-responsibility, you are taking responsibility for your life physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually?
  • Do you engage in addictive behaviors such as over-exercising, hyperactivity or workaholism, eating, watching/reading porn, other internet activity, material obsessions? How so?

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(c) 2022, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering

Firecracker or Dud?

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Three products to support mental, physical and emotional well-being

On this holiday weekend in the midst of fireworks and fun, leisure and lightness, fun and frolic, how about taking a few minutes of quiet and solitude to reflect on how you’re doing as a leader, manager or supervisor.


Is your leadership, management or supervisory behavior cause for celebration? Are you a firecracker who inspires those around you to sparkle or a dud who rains on their parade? To help you find the answer, here are 25 simple statements to rate yourself against. Think about them on a scale where:

3 = Always
2 = Usually, or Often
1 = Reasonably
0 = Rarely or never

1.    My mission, objectives, and goals reflect my highest values and principles.
2.    My vision and values are in alignment with my organization’s mission and values.
3.    My team is committed to achieving our company’s goals and objectives.
4.    I lead my people by example. I walk my talk. I am in integrity.
5.    I have the knowledge, skills and resources necessary to perform my tasks effectively.
6.    My team members have the knowledge, skills and resources to be optimally productive.
7.    My team members understand the benefits of collaborating to move in a unified direction.
8.    I observe on-the-job activity and am available for questions and feedback.
9.    My team members establish priorities for tasks to be accomplished.
10. I listen carefully to my team members and encourage them to express their opinions.
11. I resolve conflict as it occurs, and consider the best interests of all concerned.
12. I inform my team members immediately about changes, policies, and procedures that affect them.
13. I am firm and fair-minded when dealing with my co-workers.
14. I have the best interests of my co-workers in mind.
15. I recognize optimal performance, and express appreciation in a timely manner.
16. I delegate responsibility, accountability, and authority effectively.
17. My team members receive adequate training, coaching and participation on the job.
18. When I delegate a task, I trust my co-workers can do the job and I do not interfere.
19. I encourage initiative, involvement, and innovation from my co-workers.
20. I use constructive feedback to optimize the productivity of co-workers.
21. My decisions are consistent with corporate policies, procedures, and objectives.
22. I take calculated risks, and develop contingency plans for major decisions.
23. I develop objectives and performance standards with my people.
24. I systematically evaluate the performance of my people.
25. I motivate my people to do their best on the job.

Looking at your answers, how would you rate yourself as a leader or manager? As a real firecracker, a dud, or somewhere in between? Why? And what about other people? How would they rate you? Do you know? Do you care?

Casting your mind back to this time last year, have you made any positive changes that have improved your leadership or management capabilities? What about making some this year?

And a bonus question. Do you depend on alcohol, drugs, excessive intake of food, sugar, caffeine, or other external stimulants to enjoy this holiday? Could you experience true and real joy, peace, pleasure, happiness and OK-ness without these? What would your experience be like this holiday without dependence on external sources or stimulants to give you a boost or to artificially make you feel joyful or happy?
Are you willing to try this? If not, why not?

Happy 4th!

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(c) 2022, Peter G. Vajda, Ph.D. and True North Partnering. All rights in all media reserved.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to share this reading with you and I hope you find it insightful and useful.
Perhaps you’ll share this with others, post it on a bulletin board, and use it to generate rich and rewarding discussion.

What is the one thing that is keeping you from feeling successful, happy, confident, in control or at peace as you live your life – at work, at home, at play or in relationship? Maybe you know what that “thing” is…maybe you don’t. You just have a feeling that something has to change, whether or not you embrace that change. And how would that change support you to show up as a “better you?”

I’m available to guide you to create relationships that reflect honesty, integrity, authenticity, trust, and respect whether at work or outside of work. I support you to focus on the interpersonal skills that enable you to relate to others with a high level of personal and professional satisfaction – unhampered by personal inconsistencies, beliefs, “stories,” and behaviors that create barriers to a harmonious, pleasant, conscious, compatible, healthy and productive relationship.

I coach by phone, Skype and in person. For more information, 770-804-9125, www.truenorthpartnering.com or pvajda(at)truenorthpartnering.com
You can also follow me on Twitter: @petergvajda. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrueNorthPartnering