Forget Positive Thinking — Watch Television Instead

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Every negative emotion (i.e., flavors of fear, anger, sadness, regret, jealousy, resentment, etc.) we experience as an adult is sourced by unresolved childhood experiences (between pre-birth up to about the age of seven). While adult life events and circumstances may change, our negative beliefs about life and emotional child-ish reactivity to life remains constant. Positive thinking, affirmations and the like hardly ever create a “new reality” that is sustainable or consistent, (i.e., lasting through a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year) or actually overcomes or replaces these negative beliefs, assumptions, and associations. Why?

It’s not only that unfortunate and unpleasant events happen to us in childhood; it’s that we become “fused” with these experiences and the feelings, emotions, physiological responses, beliefs and associations we create around them, i.e., our “stuff.” We “futurize our past,” carrying our past “stuff” into the present moment, in an adult body, wearing adult clothes, albeit experiencing our childhood emotions at the same time. An example might be experiencing betrayal or abandonment as a child and bringing this “stuff” into our adult relationships – at work, at home and at play – where we continually feel vigilant, suspicious and guarded. When we’re “fused” with our past, it’s well-nigh impossible to create a “new reality” because most of us are “unconscious” of the dynamic that’s taking place.

Why affirmations and positive thinking seldom work
Reflect for a moment on positive thoughts or affirmations you might be using to create your new, “positive” reality.  I am/have (state your affirmations/thoughts here.) Now, when you express your thought or affirm yourself, there has to be a conscious or unconscious “compared to what?” state that you’re seeking to eliminate. The reality is that we cannot simply dislodge negative thoughts or beliefs by replacing them with positive ones. You might change your mind, mental activity, or cognitive process, but you won’t change your “consciousness.”

By affirming over and over again, for example, “I am capable,” won’t change the “I feel deficient,” “I feel lacking,” “I feel fear” won’t necessarily transform the deeper physiological/emotional state in your body or your consciousness. They both will continue to exist in your body and consciousness and the affirming just becomes more of a struggle, effort and exhausting “Sisyphus-like” exercise. You’ll seldom “erase” the negative thought/feeling/emotion and for most folks it’s always there, just underneath the surface, like a low-grade fever. You might experience a short burst of enthusiasm in your mind, and an initial state of peace or relaxation in your body, but these experiences are generally short-lived, not sustainable, or transformative. That is, before long, your’re right back where you started: “I feel deficient,” “I feel lacking,” “I feel afraid.”

The initial negative belief that causes all our negative, emotional reactivity is our reference point. All our positive thinking and affirmations are a “compared to what” exercise that continually points to this initial, negative reference point. Why is it that we continually tell ourselves we are intelligent or capable, or and keep studying, acquiring new knowledge, skills, degrees, certificates, over-achieve and yet still feel “deep-down” we are still not smart (or “smart enough”)? We’re continually comparing ourselves to our initial feeling of inadequacy because we are fused with the original negative belief as a reference point.

Once we see that we were not born wit these negative thoughts and perceptions, once we see we existed before we created our negative thoughts and beliefs – by becoming the observer of the one who is filtering life through self-limiting beliefs – we can then “step out” of ourselves into a new consciousness, and way or perceiving and release the filters that create our negative, emotional reactivity.

The antidote to positive thinking? Watch television
So, here’s an exercise. Sit in front of your TV. But, don’t turn it on. Look at your reflection on the screen. See this reflection as just that, your reflection. Know that it’s not “you.” Stare at it without judgment. Breathe slowly and deeply into your belly. Now close your eyes and see your reflection. Do this a number of times. Then, with eyes closed, see your reflection and also visualize yourself as a 3-4-5 year-old sitting next to your adult self. Be intentional about this. Focus and concentrate on the two images – the reflection of your adult self and your child self.

Now, recall an unpleasant childhood experience to which you reacted negatively, where you felt angry, hateful, resentful, or fearful, etc. Sit with this experience and allow yourself to feel the feelings and experience the emotions in your body, not just “think” about it. Notice your breath. Sense into your body. Be in it. Sense the little child next to you who is also afraid, angry, etc. Feel his/her anger as well.

After a few minutes, take some deep breaths, open your eyes and look at your reflection. Then, close your eyes and now “unzip” a zipper that is on your back and “step out” of your self, and sense yourself sitting in your chair opposite the TV. Sitting there, visualize your adult self and your child self on the TV screen.

Observe, non-judgmentally, your adult self and your child self. Watch as they think “their” thoughts and experience “their” emotions and feelings. Watch their mental, emotional and physical upset. Just watch and observe. See them as “separate from me, not me.” In this place you are neutral. “They” have their emotions and their stuff. Not “you.”

Now, sense into your body and allow any physical sensations you may be experiencing. Separate from any story around the sensations. Just witness and observe the sensations, the energy, and see what these sensations and energy want to do. Remember, no stories. Just physical sensations, energy. In time, with eyes closed, as you witness and observe your adult self and child self on the screen noticing them having their experiences, your negative energy will begin to dissipate and you’ll actually feel “separate from” your adult self and the little child on the screen.

What “you” will begin to experience is your True Self, your Essential and authentic self, the “you” who existed long before you “created” the “child” and “adult” self on the screen.

In this place, you have no “compared to what” negative reference point. You have no old associations, memories, or conflicting beliefs; there are no beliefs. “They (your reflections on the screen) do,” but “you” don’t.

In this state of presence, you may experience “space,” and a sense of freedom to “be me,” no longer attached to past associations, memories, and reactivity. Right here and right now you’re coming from a heart and soul-driven place not a mental, ego-driven, past-reference place.

In this place, you can access your soul’s capacities and essential qualities that support you to be who you are, not “who you have (unconsciously) taken yourself to be.” You have no sense of “history” here. There’s only now.

In this place you can be positive and create a new reality based on your True and Real Self. How so? Space.

When sitting in a movie theater, focused intently on the screen, you are fused with the story. When you “step back” and notice the screen, the walls on either side, the ceiling, and the lights, the seats and the audience, you create “space,”a different perspective,  and see the “story” for what it is. The space reduces the “significance” of the story, making it more “insignificant” than “real.”

With this exercise and practice, you are adding space to your life’s portrait – stepping back, not “identifying” with past thoughts, emotions, or associations, etc. There’s no “stuff” going on. The negative thoughts, beliefs and associations you thought were “real” no longer are. There’s just you with no history, no reference points.

Here, you can take a deep breath and honestly, sincerely, self-responsibly and effortlessly affirm, “Now, this is me!”

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Do you ever think about how you’ve created your self?
  • Do you ever wonder how you came to be attached to, and identified by, your associations, beliefs, worldviews, assumptions, etc?
  • If you stare intently at a picture of yourself, and then step back and focus on the space around the photo, do you see the self in the picture differently in any way?
  • Stare at yourself in a mirror for five minutes. What is that experience like for you? Do you believe that you’re looking at “you”? If no, how do the two of you differ?
  • Are there people, places, things you are fused with (“evoking” some type of “natural” reactivity) and you aren’t sure why?
  • Do you ever consider there are “parts” of your personality self that aren’t your True and Real Self?

Exercise Source: Quantum Consciousness – Peter Smith

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(c) 2019, 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

What is Spirituality Coaching?

indra

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Spirituality coaching is more than creating goals and holding someone accountable. Spirituality coaching takes into account the whole person, that is, mind, body and spirit. Spirituality coaching focuses on one’s essential well-being that can only be accessed from one’s Inner Core, one’s Essence, one’s True, Real and Authentic Self.

The aim of spirituality coaching is true and lasting transformation, and a true congruence between one’s inter behavior and outer behavior, allowing one to show up in integrity and authentically. Transformation is different from change. Transformation meals you are not who you were before; you will not become the person you were before. The following nine spiritual guidelines can serve as a foundation for spirituality coaching.

1. I AM A CELL IN THE BODY OF HUMANITY. Like the acres of sage in a desert that are connected by a single root, I know that I have a connection with, and an impact on, on every other cell in this body called Humanity. I know my thoughts, words and actions affect all the cells in this body. I am aware my thoughts, words, and actions are either “healing” or “killing” these other cells. I operate on the belief that all of life is relationship, and that how I treat one person is reflected out to every individual on the planet in some way, shape or form. I know the planetary impact of my thoughts as I know a butterfly flapping its wings in Japan can cause a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.

The guiding principle “How are my thoughts healing or killing someone right here, right now?” guides and makes me consciously aware of my spiritual responsibility in every one of my day-to-day interactions, choices and decisions.

2. I EXPERIENCE ALL OF LIFE AS DIVINE. I respect, and have unconditional positive regard for, the humanity of each person I know and meet. I am aware that everyone possesses a spark of divinity. I make warm and embracing eye contact and refer to each individual by name when referring to him or her directly and indirectly. I first choose to relate to each person as divine, and only then do I relate to them in their “role” as a client, a neighbor, a direct report, a manager, a leader, a clerk, a wife, a child, an athlete, a coach, a clerk, a repair person, etc. I refrain from referring to individuals as “my client,” “my 2:00,” “the guy who,” etc.

“Am I seeing this person with the eyes of Spirit; am I speaking with the voice of Spirit; am I listening with the ears or Spirit?” guides me to consciously connect with another’s divine humanity.

3. I MANIFEST AUTHENTICITY AND INTEGRITY THROUGH HONESTY, SINCERITY AND SELF-RESPONSIBILITY. I am first responsible for “walking the talk,” and so I consciously monitor my own behaviors and performance and refrain from judging another’s motives, intentions or behaviors.

“Am I “being” and “doing” honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly right here, right now in my relationship with myself and with others?” guides me to be consciously conscious of living from a place of integrity and authenticity.

4. THE PRACTICE OF PRESENCE ALLOWS THE SPACE FOR EVERYONE TO BE HIMSELF OR HERSELF. Presence allows me to be in my body – inside – rather than in my mind, to be in the moment, to be present, in the Now. In presence, I am not in the past or future. I am not judging, evaluating or being “mental.” I am still and focused. In every interaction, I set my intention to quiet my mind and open my heart through the action of presence. I serve as the space or container in which coaching happens. “Out beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field; I”ll meet you there.” (Rumi)

“Is it OK to allow whatever arises in this space, in this moment?” allows me to “go inside” to find inner and right wisdom, inner and right knowing and right understanding, and insights into my BE-ings and DO-ings in every relationship and interaction.

5. EVERYONE IS EXACTLY WHERE THEY SHOULD BE AT THIS TIME, IN THIS PLACE, ON THE PLANET. It is not my job, role or responsibility to “fix,” “change” or tell anyone “what’s best” for her or him. Each person is exactly where he or she needs to be in the evolution of his or her consciousness and soul’s growth right now. Each person has all the answers inside himself or herself. Everyone comes to find right action, right knowing and right understanding from within. My choice is to serve and support others to look inside to discover what they need to know. Whenever a client is in an “I don’t know” situation, rather than tell or suggest, I ask: (1) “Is it OK not to know?” (2) “How does it feel not to know?” or (3) “What if you did know?” I have no wanting or needing to fix, make the “right” suggestion, have an answer, and be the coach-turned-consultant. For me, this is acting with honesty, sincerity and responsibility to myself and another to just be the space and be present, in the Now, and allow whatever arises in the other to arise, knowing that their “answer” or “solution” or next step” will naturally emerge.

“Is it OK to be where I am right now?” helps me discover and explore if my need for “control” forces me to gravitate away from my true and real self.

6. EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE OF MY LIFE IS AN INTERACTION OF SPIRIT WITH MY SOUL. I know there is no such thing as luck, circumstance or coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. I am consistently receiving lessons and teachings.

“I’m curious about this,” encourages my continued practice of inquiry and reflection to delve more deeply into conscious awareness and understanding of my Self as I continue on my journey as a coach and Earth Human.

7. CIRCUMSTANCES HAPPEN “FOR” US, NOT “TO” US. I remove myself from a “victim and “martyr “consciousness” and perspective. Blame, jealousy, defensiveness, and resentment are not a part of the fabric of who I am. I am grateful and appreciative of every circumstance, event and person that I meet on my path.

“So, what’s the learning and lesson here?” guides my responses to life and enhances my personal and professional growth and development.

8. GREET EVERYONE WITH A WARM SMILE. A smile of greeting is a gift of appreciation. There are no “little people” anywhere, who I can ignore or be insensitive toward.

“What seems to be separating me from you?” reminds me that I am in alignment with everyone with whom I come into contact.

9. SPIRITUALITY IS A LOT LIKE BEING PREGNANT. Either I am or I’m not. I can’t be “a little bit” pregnant, nor can I be “a little bit” spiritual. If I’m not coming from a place of spirituality, i.e., my Essential Self, what’s getting in the way? Ego? Limiting thoughts and beliefs? Stories? Misperceptions? Misconceptions, Sabotaging self-images or self-concepts? Regret, because I’m living in the past, or fear, anxiety and worry about the future?

“What will it take for me to come from my essence and align my outer behavior and inner behavior as one?” reminds me to let go of my ego and “little self” as I continue my journey toward transformation.

So, spirituality in coaching and being coached is not a matter of convenience. One needs to be aware of the discrepancy between genuine spirituality (which comes from Essence and divinity) and counterfeit spirituality (which is an “ego ideal” of what it means of be spiritual) that one puts on like a robe when meeting with a person being coached, or in fact, with anyone.

These spiritual guidelines for coaching serve to inform one’s coaching practice and one’s life. When individuals make an honest and sincere effort to allow these spiritual guidelines for coaching to be the beacon that drives the direction of their practice, they and their clients most often experience greater inner peace, harmony, balance and well-being at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

 One Question for Self-Reflection:

  • In your day-to-day interactions with others – at work at home, at play and in relationship – in your role as leader, manager, supervisor, wife, husband, spouse, partner, father, mother, son, daughter, friend, colleague or any role or position where you support, help, counsel, advise, recommend, suggest, give feedback…i.e., formally or informally “coach” another, what would those interactions be like, feel like, sound like, look like (what would others be saying about those interactions), if the thread running through each of them were based on a spiritual (not religious, not theological) approach?

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(c) 2019, 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

Being in the Moment

now

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“Love the moment, and the energy of that moment will spread beyond all boundaries.”
– Corita Kent

I’m a great believer in living in the now – albeit, for many it’s easier said than done. Being present. In the moment. And if you think about the future, where many of us live, what is the future? Actually, the future is nothing more and nothing less than billions and billions of “NOWs.” So, there’s now, and now, and now, and now, and now and now – no future, just “now.”

Life is a very long journey, sometimes pleasant, sometimes challenging. However it unfolds, life is still just a succession of moments – NOWs.

One moment is joyful, another sad, another frustrating, another benign, another terrifying. In fact, most of our NOWs are plain and ordinary. No highs, no lows. Just consistently ordinary.

Choosing
The choice is this: Do I choose to love the moment I’m in right now, or do I choose to loathe and suffer through the moment I’m in? The former points to experiencing a life you love, cherish and enjoy; the latter points to surviving, resisting and hating your life. How you view the moment is a choice. No one is twisting your arm; no one is pointing a gun to your head. It’s about you and how you choose to relate to your moments.

The “right time”
In essence, this moment, this NOW, is all there is. If you’re one whose mantra is “I’m waiting for the ‘right time’,” there’s a better than average chance you’re experiencing some degree of pain or suffering in some way, shape or form right now. (and, by the way, we all know the “right time” never comes; something inevitably gets in the way, and if/when it does, it’s not when you expect it)

(Note: dreaming is fine except when you find yourself missing so many moments, so many NOWs because you’re living in the “future.” Lots of folks like this often lament, “Where did my life go?”. These are the folks who never truly “lived.” For these folks, the future never comes and when it does, they’re usually caught up in some other type of pain and suffering and waiting for another future, and another future and another future to arrive and bring their happiness.)

Now is all there is

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
– Anonymous

One key to happiness is to appreciate the moment and see the “sacredness” of each moment. Not the sacredness of religion or theology, per se, (however, that’s available, if you choose), but appreciating the specialness, the good and seeing what joy exists in this moment, right here and right now. There is some degree of happiness in every moment, if we choose to focus on that happiness. (Victims and martyrs hardly ever do). Living in the future negates the happiness available in the moment.

Let go of the past and future
The reality is, life only happens now. Letting go of the future (and the past) allows you to bring the happiness you are into the moment, regardless of what you’re doing or what’s going on around you. Being in the moment, sensing into whatever element of happiness is available right here and right now (and it is, if you look for it, or allow it to arise) supports you to live this moment, and this moment, and this moment with ease, grace and joy.

Appreciating the NOW
“The more I give myself permission to live in the moment and enjoy it without feeling guilty or judgmental about any other time, the better I feel about the quality of my work.”
– Wayne Dyer

Living in the NOW and appreciating the NOW is not all that easy. Appreciating the NOW is about cherishing who you are, what you have, recognizing how good things are, and choosing to not focus on who you aren’t or what you don’t have. Appreciating the NOW is about allowing the ordinary. It’s about finding the inner peace within, right here and right now, just where you are – at your desk, on the elevator, commuting, doing the dishes, watching TV- reading this piece.

Appreciating the NOW means choosing to surrender any discomfort, upset, negative emotion and feeling. When you can do that, and choose to do that, then a sense of appreciation, positivity, OK-ness will come in to fill the void in this NOW, and this NOW and this NOW.

Rather than waiting for quantum events to happen, appreciate the ordinary. Experience the happiness of a Wednesday signaling the middle of the week, or being at home on Friday night watching a movie or a sporting event or stopping for your favorite cup of coffee.

The ordinary is more than ordinary
As you choose to live in the moment, focus on the ordinary –  the sights, the sounds, the colors, shapes or textures, the tastes and aromas, the space in which everything exists, or the space between objects. That’s presence. That’s the state where we can become immersed in what is happening NOW, and NOW and NOW.

Finally, living in the moment means focusing your mind on what is good, just and right with your life and with the world, right here and right NOW, and NOW, and NOW and NOW. Soon, you’ll be able to see life in a (more) positive light, even in the ordinary moments, and this new way of being will become second nature.

Allowing yourself to look for and appreciate what is here NOW and what is happening in this moment, and this moment, and this moment you’ll begin to notice that your mind relaxes and embraces the moment with greater ease.

The moment is about living your life NOW, not tomorrow, and certainly not yesterday.

“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves. ”
– Maria Edgeworth,

Some questions for self-reflection:

“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.”
– Abraham Maslow

  • What “one day” or “right time” are you dreaming about, waiting or wishing for? Are you one who is consistently waiting for some other time so you can be happy? How is this strategy working for you?
  • How do you experience “newness” in your life?
  • How do you feel about your life in this moment? How so?
  • Do you run on a treadmill of unhappiness? If so, why?
  • What are you attached to? (e.g., money, possessions, status, etc.)
  • What’s holding you back from experiencing happiness?
  • When are you most alive? How so?
  • In what ways does fear constrict you?
  • Do you spend an inordinate amount of time fantasizing?
  • Do you live much of your life in the past or in the future? If so, why?
  • Do you spend a lot of time catastrophizing, worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet and might not happen at all, or ruminating  – thinking bleakly about events in the past? When and where did you learn to do that?
  • Can you imagine yourself living in the moment, in the NOW?
  • How did you parents or primary caregivers experience “now?” In conversations, how much time did they devote to the past or future?

“I always wanted a happy ending… Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”
– 
Gilda Radner

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(c) 2019, 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

Digging Yourself into a Hole

hle in heart

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In the arenas of developmental psychology, spiritual psychology and related fields, there’s a given understanding that most of us, simply by nature of being born and raised in this world are “hurt” or “wounded” in the process. Even though our parents or primary caregivers are doing their utmost best to raise us well, nurture us and socialize us, the fact is that most primary care givers’s care comes up short – even in those homes where folks say their childhood was “the best.” or completely stable. “Wounding” is a fact of life of the human condition for most of us. This wounding can be mental, emotional, physical, psychological and/or spiritual.

One reason we come into this journey on the planet, and especially in our journeys in various relationships, is to “heal” this hurt so we can grow emotionally and spiritually into mature and competent adults and, as mature adults, show up in our life at work, at home, at play and in relationship – authentically and emotionally healthy, alert, alive and awake – whole.

One manifestation of this hurt or wounding is that, if asked and answered honestly, most every human being will admit to feeling some degree of “deficiency,” or “lack” in some way, shape or form, at some point, at some time.

Individuals who have done or are doing “personal work” or “spiritual developmental work” will most readily admit to experiencing this experience of deficiency. Those who are on the other end of the spectrum may engage in denial, resistance, or just out-and-out- rejection of the notion they are somehow not “all that I can be” right here and right now.

One of the feelings associated with this “hurt” is that often folks may feel “empty,” “worthless” or “valueless” in some way – perhaps in some aspect of their work life, play life, home life or relationship life. They don’t feel they are all they can be and often experience confusion, frustration, fear, resentment, guilt or shame about who they are and how they feel about themselves.

This experience of feeling “less than,” or “not enough” in some way, or ways, is often referred to as a “hole” (being “empty”), and so when in a state where they may be experiencing their hole, people might feel a wave or cloud coming over them where they feel they lack value, or worth, or feel they are “not enough” or feel “limited.” The “hole” is a natural state that comes with being born. Often folks fail to show up authentically as they consciously or unconsciously allow their feelings of “deficiencies” to drive who they are and thus they show up as phonies, frauds, fakes, bullies, or fearful, quiet, submissive, deferential, etc. on some level.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that the hole of deficiency can be filled. The question is how one chooses to fill the hole. The degree to which one experiences true and real inner peace, happiness, harmony and relaxation in their life (at work, at home, at play and in relationship) is a function of how one chooses to fill their hole.

There are two methods for hole filling” – from “without” or from ‘within.” The former results in digging a deeper hole; the latter results in reducing the size of the hole, perhaps eliminating it altogether.

From without

When folks attempt to fill their hole – their feelings of deficiency and “not enough” – from “without,” they tend to look outside themselves for whatever they can to provide a “quick-fix” that will bring a short-term feeling of OK-ness. Some of these folks will effort to inflate who they are in order to fill their hole of emptiness while others deal with the emptiness most often by filling it with stuff, stuff and more stuff.

Because of the nature of the hole, many folks who don’t feel safe or comfortable in their own skins, in who they are, and continually live life seeking recognition, approval, and emotional and psychological security through self-serving actions and activities.

The downside of filling the hole from “without” is the hole can never be filled but the intensity and degree of the activities they engage in to fill their hole become more and more progressive (like needing more and more of a drug to gain the same “numbing” effect). Living a life filling a hole from the “outside” results in a life characterized by an insidious sense of toxicity, intensity, agitation, and feelings of envy, jealousy, anger, shame, guilt, sadness, depression, despair, etc. to some degree. Hole-filling for them is a never-ending struggle, exhausting on every level – mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, social – as their hole grows deeper and deeper.

The narcissist is one example of an individual who tends to fill their hole from the outside – with their incessant need for admiration, approval, acknowledgement and recognition.

The narcissist lives from a perspective of needing to always “stand out,” to be seen and be “somebody.” So, in their life at work, at home, at play and in relationship, filling their hole of deficiency drives them to be the center of the Universe, living a life characterized by vanity, arrogance, lack of humility and egocentricity. The result, however, is digging one’s self into an ever deepening hole that requires more and more filling.

The tools and practices for filling the hole from without are those that anaesthetize one to their feelings – numbing out, denying and withdrawing – through TV, entertainment, sports, sex, alcohol, chemical and non-chemical medications, exercise, shopping, eating, and gathering stuff, or activities that require always being on – the life of the party, the know-it-all, the expert, always being “out there” in an effort to be seen, heard and acknowledged and “doing, doing, doing,” i.e., keeping busy.

From within

Filling the hole from within means pursuing a conscious and honest exploration of one’s sense of deficiency, knowing that their feelings of lack and deficiency are not “their fault” and moving to an inner place of peace, understanding, strength, will, courage and compassion from which one takes the necessary actions to allow their hole, to be OK with it and in that very process – i.e., allowing me to be me just as I am – experience the hole reduce and resolve. From this inner place, one acquires the insights, and awareness of the tools and practices that support one to understand the nature of “holes” and to forward the action of their life to begin to reduce and eliminate the hole by doing the “quiet,” deep developmental work that supports their growth process (through their own spiritual work, spiritual coaching, or the support of a trusted friend, partner, clergy person, counselor, etc). As part of this process, these folks are guided, internally and insightfully, to master the knowledge, tools and skills that support their self-actualization in their life at work, at home, at play and in relationship, a life they live with authenticity, sincerity, honesty and self-responsibility. From this place of acceptance of the hole, understanding how the hole supports us to grow and mature, the hole begins to fill itself. Here, we come from a heart-felt place, not an ego place. The work of filing the hole from within is quiet, deep, personal, inward directed and outwardly manifested.

The tools and practices used to fill the hole from “within” include journaling, self-reflection, meditation, silence, inquiry or deep questioning about “Who am I” and “What am I?,” listening for an inner voice to inform us and often working in dialogue with a support person who can guide them in their journey. From within, the more one’s hole is reduced, the more one’s heart-felt inner strength and courage arise to allow one to “be myself” – without needing any false or phony packaging or shoring up.

In the process of filling the hole from within, many folks are able to acknowledge their feelings of inadequacy and deficiency, accept them, learn from them and then move to a place of inner fortitude and steadfastness where they gain an inner, deeper, true sense of their value and worth and generate he capacity to show up more authentically – not needing to put on the cloak of a “false self” in order to be “somebody” other than who they really are.

What we resist, persists. When we resist the hole and look to fill it from the outside, the hole will persist, and grow deeper. When we do deeper the inner work to not resist, and allow the feelings connected to experiencing the hole, the hole will begin to dissipate and dissolve,

The bottom-line question is, “How do I want to show up in my life at work, at home, at play and in relationship?”

The answer will result in reducing and eliminating the hole, or digging a deeper hole. Life is choices.

Some questions for self-reflection: 

  • In what ways do I often feel I am “not enough,” deficient or lacking? Why do I think I feel the way I do? How do I feel about feeling the way I do?
  • Do I engage in “outside” activities to an extreme to feel secure, engaged and have some sense of OK-ness with my life? If so, what does all this activity get me?
  • Do I feel and show up authentically at work, at home, at play, in my relationships? Really authentic? Do I ever feel like a fake or a phony? Do I ever consciously need to be a fake or phony? How so?
  • Do I often find myself rationalizing my behaviors?
  • Do I often feel a need to be “out there” – the life of the party, the “know-it-al,” the expert, etc?
  • Do I play “small,” feel unseen and invisible much of the time? If so, do I know why?
  • Do I have a “spiritual” (here, not theological, or religious) life? Do I meditate, write poetry, walk in nature, sing, dance, paint, journal, self-reflect…as a source of quiet, silence, inner journeying and personal discovery?
  • Who in my life pushes my buttons? What do I see about my reactivity (not about them) that points to an area or areas in me where I might be in denial or have possible blind spots where I need to do some deeper exploration?
  • What one or two baby steps can I take in the next week or two to move toward exploring my feelings around lack or deficiency?
  • When did I first realize that I had “holes?”

—————————————–————
(c) 2019, 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

Behaving Badly – Would I do That?

incivility

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Increasing incivility
Over the years and more recently, it seems to me at least, we’re experiencing a greater amount of rudeness and incivility in politics, college sports, professional sports, the workplace, our politics and government – to name a few of our cultural arenas. The one common denominator in these instances? IMHO, a demonstrated lack of people skills and disrespect.

The events and circumstances describes in the links above are indicative of this country’s move towards an increasingly, deepening dark energy that results in overt anger, resentment, rage and verbal abuse.

We seem to be gravitating towards a country where anything and everything goes, a country where people skills are unnecessary, where verbal violence and rage are acceptable, and fewer and fewer truly care about showing respect.

In the world of newscasts and talk-shows, and the world of texting, blogging and tweeting, many seem to care less about the “how” of what they say, focused solely on the “what” – “I’ll say what I want, how I want, whenever I want and to hell with anything or anyone else!”

While not all of society lacks appropriate people skills, it seems fewer and fewer folks are exhibiting civility and decorum in their interactions.

Worse before it gets better?
More and more research studies from social scientists, socioeconomists, and social psychologists are pointing to the increasing unsettling social mood in the United States, and across the world. Many say this mood will become a lot worse before improving.

The research points to a natural ebb and flow of social mood (positive vs. negative), especially noting that in darker times, socially and politically, we experience increased tension and negativity. We seem to be inhabiting these darker times.

Incivility, bullying, disrespect, meanness, and demeaning behavior are fast becoming the norm. Conversation, discussions, and interactions are fast moving in the direction where outrage, vitriol, rancor, incivility and disrespect are the tools one uses to get one’s point across.

And, let’s say this up front. Passion is never – ever – a reason to show disrespect, incivility or anti-social behavior.

Why do we behave badly?
One’s ego-based needs for control, recognition and security drive their thinking. We live in a culture where many folks’ identity (which gives them a sense of mental, physical, emotional and psychological control, recognition and security) is based on “what I know is true.” Agree with me, and we’ll get along. Disagree, and we’re enemies. When you agree with me, you acknowledge I’m “somebody.” When you disagree, you’re saying I’m a “nobody.” That’s the kicker. This way of identifying ourselves.

Unfortunately, agreeing to disagree and engaging in constructive dialogue are losing their allure in Western culture, being replaced by a knee-jerk reactivity characterized by a high-pitch, ever-escalating level of disrespect, incivility, meanness and personal attack.

The question beneath the question is: why are so may so uncivil? Shakespeare said, “An event is neither good nor bad, only thinking makes it so.”

The question beneath the question
So, “What am I thinking?” is an apt question. “What’s going on in me that brings me to act in an uncivil manner?”

In a word, fear. Fear that I’ll loose my identity, fear that I’ll be relegated to the ranks of “a nobody,” fear that no one will “see” me. And, in this fear state, the logical, thinking, rational, executive part of the brain shuts down while the reptilian, reactive emotional brain takes over and induces one to a fight, flight or freeze response. What we’re experiencing so much today is the unconscious, knee-jerk “fight” response.

Becoming conscious
So, how does one become more conscious of one’s often self-limiting and self-destructive “fighting” response? By consciously being curious about what’s underneath one’s choice to be uncivil, mean, disrespectful, and demeaning. By recognizing that one’s uncivil behavior is about needing to feel “seen” and “heard.”

In our culture of right vs. wrong, good vs. bad, win vs. lose, and me vs. you, there is less and less room for “fighters” to accept differences. So, to survive as “somebody,” they resort to “ad hominem” attacks, threats and “put-downs” as a way to save their identity, feel better, by hoping to make the other a “nobody” – and by operating from a place of always needing be “right” – no matter what, no matter how.

The fighter, enmeshed in a reactive state of anger, fear, worry, resentment, defensiveness, feeling “small,” unseen, invisible, unrecognized, and unappreciated – a potential “nobody” – needs to “act out,” to make their point and feel secure and in control.

Becoming conscious means choosing to create an environment, an interaction, where one accepts and appreciates the uniqueness of another’s perspective, point of view, position or premise without automatically assuming a “me vs. you,” “intelligent vs. stupid,” “right vs. wrong,” or “good vs. bad” approach to dialogue.

Becoming conscious means choosing to move away from one’s intellectual zip code (“It’s all about me and what I know or think.”) and approach discussions and interactions with the curiosity of a “beginner’s mind,” a neutral mind, a curiosity, asking, for example, “How so?” to engage, rather than alienate another.

Becoming conscious means taking a deep breath, sensing into the body, experiencing (not acting out on) feelings and emotions, not being reactive and asking, “Why would a reasonable, intelligent, decent person like me consciously choose to be disrespectful, uncivil, mean and harm another person simply because their “information” is different from my “information?”

Be the change
Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see.” So, if you find yourself engaging in uncivil, disrespectful, demeaning behavior, perhaps be curious as to why.

Rumi says, “Out beyond right doing and wrong doing, there is a field; I’ll meet you there.” – and respond from that place, interacting from that part of our self leads to respectful, accepting, compassionate, empathic, and civil interaction and dialogue.

We can choose to play in that field with our friends, colleagues, co-workers, even with those with whom we disagree. Or we can choose to engage and fight in a battlefield of words, ego, hostility and lost (or mistaken) identity. The former brings happiness, collegiality, collaboration, contentment and well-being – mentally, emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. The latter leads to deeper pain, suffering and disconnection on every level.

Incivility, rudeness and meanness are all about “resistance” to someone or something “out there” with which one feels threatened and uncomfortable. Incivility and rudeness are unconscious, reactive behaviors stemming from the fear of loss of control, recognition and security. Incivility and negativity are largely about being right rather than happy, or about being a “somebody by making another a “nobody.”

The conscious question is “Why do I choose to be reactive, hurtful, negative and uncivil? Why? Really, really why? The conscious, deeper, sincere, honest and self-responsible answer will indicate it’s never – ever – about “him, her, it or them.”

Hmmm. That leaves only – me.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Have you engaged in uncivil, demeaning, or disrespectful behavior recently? Did you justify your behavior? How so?
  • How do you generally interact with folks who disagree with you?
  • Do you live life at work, at home, at play and in relationship from an “I need to be right” perspective? Would you generally rather be right than happy? If so, why do you think that’s so?
  • Do you ever view compromise as a weakness? How so?
  • Do you ever rationalize or justify another’s uncivil or disrespectful behavior? If so, how or why?
  • Do you ever use “passion” as an excuse to behave inappropriately?
  • Have others ever accused you of behaving in an uncivil or disrespectful manner? If so, how did you respond to their accusations?
  • How did you learn to deal with disagreement as you were growing up? How did your parents deal with disagreement, either with one another, or when interacting with others who disagreed?
  • Can you envision a world where it’s possible folks respond to disagreement without being uncivil, bullying, angry, enraged, or otherwise disrespectful? What would that look like, sound like, feel like and be like?

 

—————————————————–
(c) 2019, 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

The Unexamined Life is not Worth Living

examime

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book

Socrates made this comment at his trial for heresy. He was on trial for encouraging his students to challenge the accepted beliefs of the time and to think for themselves. His sentence was death and Socrates did have the option of suggesting an alternative punishment – he could have chosen life in prison or exile, and would likely have avoided death.

Socrates, however, believed that these alternatives would rob him of the only thing that made life useful – examining the world around him and discussing how to make the world a better place. Without his “examined life” there was no point in living. Thus, he suggested that Athens reward him for his service to society. The result, of course, is that they had no alternative – they voted for the death penalty.

At his trial in 399BC, Socrates declared that from his incessant questioning (to become the “Socratic Method”), he found his contemporaries “spend” their time and their lives  pursuing various goals — money, ambition, possessions, pleasure, physical security  – without asking themselves if these goals were important. Unless people posed such a question and seriously, consciously, sought the answer — through careful reflection, alert observation and critical arguments — they would not know if they were doing the right thing.

The truth is, most folks avoid leading an examined life. It’s not that they don’t have time or make time. They actively choose not to examine their lives. Curious.

People who do examine their lives, who consciously think about where they’ve been, how they got here, and where they’re going, are much happier people. No one has all the answers. And no one’s life is free from trouble, strife and challenges. But those who have some sense of where they belong in the universe also have a ground for understanding how all the elements of their life fit together.

If there are two people, one with a map and one without a map, who has the better chance of reaching their destination? The one with the map, of course.

When you set aside time to examine your life,

  • you get to choose your destination;
  • you get to choose and set your goals;
  • you get to determine your path and direction;
  • you get to decide how long it will take;
  • you get to decide whether you’re on the right path or the wrong path.

In other words, you begin to know “thyself,” to take control of your life, to become the Master of your life. You decide who you want to be and begin to become the person you want to be.

Examining your life brings tremendous freedom. You can take control of your life. All you have to do is set aside some time every day (15 minutes, a half hour, an hour…) and commit to the practice.

The hardest thing about examining your life is getting started. You have to sit alone, be still, and be OK with doing nothing but focus and reflect.

Socrates doesn’t mince words. He doesn’t say that the unexamined life is “less meaningful than it could be” or “one of many possible responses to human existence.” He simply and clearly says it’s not even worth living – a powerful statement.

Why does he make such strong, unequivocal statement?

Socrates believed that the purpose of human life is personal and spiritual growth, that permeates all of our be-ings and do-ings – at work, at home, at play and in relationship. We are unable to grow toward greater understanding of our true and real self, our authentic self, unless we take time to examine and reflect upon our life. As another philosopher, Santayana, observed, “He who does not remember the past is condemned to repeat it.”

Examining our life reveals patterns of behavior. Deeper contemplation yields understanding of our subconscious programming, the powerful mental software that runs our life – our self-limiting beliefs, our assumptions, our “stories,” our misconceptions and misconceptions about life, the world and people in the world – our world – at work, at home, at play and in relationship Unless we become aware of these limiting, self-sabotaging, self-defeating patterns, habits, beliefs, self-images, “stories” and perspectives, much of our life remains rote, “unconscious,” just a series of sleepwalking, unconscious, habitual, repeating patterns.

As a coach, I experience many examples of the effect of an unexamined life. I remember Lori, a sensitive, attractive woman in her late forties who realized that a series of repetitive, doomed-from-the-beginning relationships had used up so many years of her life that it was now too late for her to realize her dream of a husband, home and family of her own. I recall Chris, a caring, hard-working man who ignored his wife and family for too many years and found himself depressed and living alone in an apartment by the time he came to see me.

If only Lori and Chris had taken the time to examine and reflect upon their lives as they were living them, they might have made changes and had a different experience during their lifetime.

The good news is that it’s never too late to start examining our life more thoroughly – and to reap the rewards. Lori never had the child she wanted but she stopped recreating her past and eventually married a loving man who helped her heal her childhood wound of a father who deserted her. It was too late for Chris to get a second chance with his wife, but he was able to build strong relationships with his children.

We all have blind spots. Sometimes when we examine a chronic problem in our life, we have that unsettling feeling that we must be missing something, but we can’t quite see what it is. We try to examine ourselves, but none of us can see our own “shadow” or our blind spots.

That’s why Socrates’ method of self-examination included an essential element that became known as “Socratic” dialogue. Dialoguing with a close friend, a spouse, a partner, a skilled coach, or counselor who supports us to reveal those blind spots we cannot see by ourselves.

Our society discourages self-awareness with a weekly cycle of working and consuming that keeps us too busy to slow down for self-reflection. Consumer capitalism’s game plan prefers an unaware, unconscious, and vaguely dissatisfied and subtly agitated population that tries to fill the void inside with shiny new products, or designer clothes or food, Reality TV shows, exercise, alcohol, sex or workaholism

It’s a radical act to stop and contemplate your life. But according to Socrates, it’s the only game that really matters. Are you up for playing?

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Can you name three six-month goals, three annual goals and three lifetime goals you are currently pursuing? If not, could you? Would you?
  • Is your short-term life/work plan tonight and your long-term life/work plan next Friday? If this typifies your current lifestyle, what’s wrong with this picture? How so?
  • Do you take time on a regular basis to reflect on where’re you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re heading in your life vis-a-vis your career, your relationship, your life at play, your personal and professional development? If you don’t reflect regularly, why not. (Tip: “no time” is an “excuse”, not a “reason”.)
  • What value and worth to you derive from your life at work, at home, at play and from your relationship with your spouse/partner?
  • How do you feel about examining your life? Curious, adventurous, excited….afraid, anxious, resistant, guilty? How so?
  • What would it take for you to begin spending 15 minutes every day in quiet, in solitude, and explore your life?


————————————–
(c) 2019, 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

The Difference between Happy and Have*

happy-have2

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(*attributed to PAULO COELHO

An American businessman was at the pier of a small Caribbean coastal village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.

The businessman complimented the fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The fisherman replied only a little while. The businessman then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish

The fisherman said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The American then asked, but what do you do with the rest of your time The fisherman said, I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a siesta with my wife, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play the guitar with my friends; I have a full and busy life, sir.

The businessman scoffed, I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move open in a larger city, then LA, and eventually New York where you will run your expanding enterprise.

The fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.”

What then, senor? The businessman laughed and said that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich; you would make millions.

“Millions, senor?  “Then what”, asked the fisherman?

The businessman said, “Then, you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar.”

The fisherman responded to the businessman, “That’s what I am doing now without going through the effort for another 15 – 20 years. Why should I struggle to get the same which I am already having now in my life?”

Interestingly, the businessman had no answer for that!

The difference between “happy” and “have” is one of the hardest lessons in life learn.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Does your happiness lie in material comforts and wealth? If so, when do you think you’ll have accumulated the right amount of “stuff?”
  • Are you currently “happy” with what you have achieved in your life?
  • Are you happy with who you are? Do you identify yourself by your achievements, by what you have?
  • Who might you be without all your stuff?
  • Do you believe happiness is an “inside job?”
  • There is a difference between being “wealthy” and being “rich.” Any idea what that difference might be?


————————————–
(c) 2019, 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

Valentine’s Day – Just Candy and Flowers?

candy_flowers.ju

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Valentine’s Day is quite upon us. It’s a time when the majority of us turn our thoughts to hearts, flowers, cards and candy. For many of us, it’s a time of expressing through “things” what we find hard to say with words. For many of us, speaking from the heart and expressing our sentiments is challenging or uncomfortable, so, “we say it with flowers.”

Many of us long to be able to look our partner in the eye and say what’s in our hearts, to be completely open, to be transparent. Many of us long for the intimacy that allows connecting without words, an intimacy that allows connecting with but a loving glance or a loving touch.

Many of us long to be in relationship…not just “acquaintanceship.”

Many of us long to be wrapped up within each other’s heart and soul and not just caught up in the wrapping of our partner’s “packaging.”

So, this Valentine’s Day, it might be a welcome opportunity to take some time for self-reflection and consider what your ideal relationship would really, really be like, right here, right now…not somewhere down the road…in the future. After all, the future begins now.

So, some questions to inquire about?

Do you see your relationship as a “problem to be solved,” or as an adventure to embrace together?

Do you see conflict as a friend and opportunity for growth or connection, or as a pain in the butt?

Does your partner support your becoming “whole,” or as someone who keeps you from being all that you can be…on every level?

Are you willing to cross the bridge to “meet” your partner, or are you only waiting for your partner to come to your side?

Do you recognize that your partner’s bewildering behavior is a cry for your help, or do you see his or her behavior as an irritant that only results in your resistance or resentment?

Do you recognize that every frustration is a gift for your relationship?

Do you and your partner honestly, sincerely and openly dream your dreams together?

Can you and your partner gently and lovingly hold one another’s hand, or do you need to grasp on tightly and chain your partner’s soul to your way of be-ing and do-ing?

How do you view love? Does love allow you to stand tall and upright or does love mean “leaning” on the other?

Do you accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of a woman or a man, or with the grief or resentment or begrudging of a child?

So, on this Valentine’s Day, can you plant your own garden without waiting for someone to bring you the flowers?

On this Valentine’s Day, can you experience your own sweetness without waiting for someone to bring you the candy?

On this Valentine’s Day, how are you in relationship with your own heart? Can you look in the mirror at your own reflection and say: “I love you with all my heart; I am complete?” or do you “need someone else” to complete you?

Do cards, candy, and flowers create your sense of well-being, or can they simply the icing on the cake of a full, and complete heart, your own full and complete heart?

On this Valentine’s Day, are you in relationship or in acquaintanceship? How do you know?

Perhaps, take some time and ask your heart where your heart is this Valentine’s Day, and be still, and listen. What is your heart telling you?

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(c) 2019, 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

Trust in the Workplace and Why We Lie

 lying2

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Like it or not, believe it or not, we bring our biology and biography to work, i.e., we bring our “family” and history to work. It’s a fact of psycho/emotional life – even at work.

So, at work, many of the folks we interact with, in some way, (consciously or unconsciously, emotionally, energetically and psychologically) remind us of members of our families.

Early wounding
As young children we learned to act/respond in ways that (1) brought us mommy and daddy’s love, approval, acceptance and acknowledgement and/or (2) kept us safe from harm, trauma or abuse. As children, it’s also a fact of life that everyone is “wounded” by parents or primary caregivers who are doing their best, but, nevertheless – unintentionally – are wounding, harming or traumatizing their child in some way through their language, judgments, criticisms, verbal, emotional or physical abuse. This is true even in those households on Candy-Cane Lane where everything was “just beautiful and loving and no one raised their voice.” In childhood, wounding occurs.

The wounding imprint
Thus the child grows up with an imprint on their brain and carries an emotional make-up in their body that translates into feelings -feelings they are deficient, lacking, unworthy or not good enough. As the child enters into adolescence, they have come to “know” or “believe” they need to think and act in certain ways to protect their self from others- real or perceived disapproval, negative judgment, criticism or verbal or physical harm.

The 3-4-5-year-old adult
So, we now fast-forward to adult life at work (and, truth be told, at home, at play and in most relationships). Since most folks who have not done personal work are usually unaware of these childhood experiences and the resulting psychodynamics, many folks are really acting out their 3-4-5 year old emotional selves in adult bodies, wearing adult clothes – especially those who insist, “Hey I am adult; I am mature, I am! I am! I am!”

So, when these individuals face people, circumstances  or events at work that can affect whether or not they receive the energetic, emotional and psychological equivalent of “mommy or daddy’s” love, acceptance or approval, their knee-jerk reptilian brain reactively compels them to “do what it takes” to “get the love.”

Consciously and unconsciously, feeling deficient, feeling lacking, feeling unworthy and feeling afraid that truth-telling might end in some type of  “punishment,”  disapproval or rejection, they resort to lying as one option or defense to deflect “being punished” and losing the love and acceptance they truly want and are seeking.

The AHAs
When folks do personal growth, and spiritual awareness work, they often discover the various ways they have donned masks, veils, and put on false personalities to cover up their sense of “I’m deficient,” “I’m not good enough” or “I need to make people like me” beliefs and self-images. With personal work, self-awareness, they uncover or discover the truth of why they are who they are as adults. With this awareness, they can then shed their self-limiting beliefs, their masks and their need to lie. They begin to see the false self-images they created to protect themselves and learn how to “show up” as authentic, as their true and real self and “tell the truth” first, to themselves and then, to others.

The truth will set you free
From this place of emotional, psychological and spiritual maturation, a place where the “truth sets one free,” folks move to a place of being real, a place they experience as refreshing, light, and honest. In this place, they have no need for duplicity, disingenuineness, faking, phoniness, or fear. And, amazingly and refreshingly, they discover “telling the truth is not as bad as I thought.” As the expression goes, “The Truth shall set you free.”

The deeper question, the curiosity, is why so many of us refuse to believe the truth will set us free.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What was truth-telling like when you were growing up? (for you, your primary caregivers, relatives, friends, etc.)? How so?
  • When did you first discover you had a need to lie?
  • What did lying get you? Specifically?
  • Did anyone teach you how to lie? How so?
  • So, today, where/when do you find yourself lying? How so?
  • Do you ever admonish others for lying? When and why?
  • When you lie, do you blame it on events or circumstances and not your character?
  • When others lie, do you blame it on the events and circumstances in their life or on some character flaw they have?
  • Would you say you’re a trustworthy person?
  • Are you a trusting person?
  • Has anyone ever told you they can’t trust you? If so, what was that like?
  • Do you lie to yourself? About what?

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(c) 2019, 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

Work, Play or Misery?

fft

 

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

In the current economy, it seems obvious that having a job – any job – is better than having no job at all. But is that really true?

In the Journal Occupational Environmental Medicine, a study by Dr Peter Butterworth, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University found that as far as mental health is concerned, some jobs are so demoralizing that they’re worse than having no job at all. While the study was conducted a few years back, the findings are as valid today as they were then, perhaps even moreso.

The study followed more than 7,000 Australians over a seven-year period. It found that people who had been unemployed felt calmer, happier, less depressed and less anxious after they had found a job. But not just any job. They only felt better is that job was rewarding and manageable.

In exploring individuals’ mental state, employment status, and (if they had a job) working conditions they either enjoyed, or didn’t enjoy, the survey respondents were asked to what degree they agreed with statements such as “My job is complex and difficult” and “I worry about the future of my job.”

The research pinpointed four job characteristics linked with mental health: work complexity and demands, job security, compensation, and – crucially – control over one’s job (i.e, the freedom to decide how best to do it).

Recently-unemployed people who rated their job positive in these areas reported substantial improvements in their mental health. However, those newly employed who felt overwhelmed, insecure about their job stability, underpaid, and micromanaged reported sharp declines in their mental health, including increased depression and anxiety. Interestingly, those who couldn’t find a job fared better.

So the conventional wisdom, that “any job offers psychological benefits for individuals over the demoralizing effects of unemployment” – or any work is better than no work at all – is just not true.

What’s more, Dr Butterworth also suggests that certain jobs and job environments (notably call centers) are more likely to adversely affect one’ mental health.

Finally, the study suggests something that most of us know all too well. Namely, that managers have a direct impact on employees’ mental health and well-being. “Bad bosses will make anybody unhappy – and – stress comes from bad managers.”

And this brings me to a second, related point.

Marshall Goldsmith, the world-renowned executive coach, recently explored (in a piece in Business Week) why folks work. He asked, “Do you work to live or live to work?” (given the notion that most folks spend at least one-third to one-half of their waking hours at work).

In this vein, Mr Goldsmith asked a number of leaders how they viewed their work. They had three choices; they estimated the percentage of work that fell into three categories (you might want to give this a try yourself):

Play – work is fun; would do this regardless of whether or not you were paid to do it; it provides an outlet for creative energy or self-development and self-actualization.

Work – not play, not fun but work which you would do if you were reasonably compensated for it and work towards which you are committed.

Misery – not fun and no amount of money could make it fun; often tasks or activities you would attempt to avoid.

Here’s what Goldsmith found.

  • 15 percent of what professionals do is considered play;
  • 75 percent of what professionals do is considered work;
  • 10 percent of what professionals do is considered misery.

So if our mental health can be put at risk depending on how we spend our time at work, what should we do about it? Generally, when you explore your life at work (and you might also consider at home, at play and in relationship as well), consider those activities that bring you fun (real fun, not faux, a “make-believe-this-is-fun” appearance of fun) and those that bring you some flavor of misery.

To do so, first clarify your natural tendencies related to how you interact with your world, so you can make better life and work choices and decisions.

Second, reflect on whether you are a good fit for what you choose to do in your life – both at work and at home. Do you ever make choices that really don’t fit you very well because you feel that you have to make them – and then resign yourself to living a life of quiet (or not so quiet) desperation?

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What proportion of your work would you define as “fun,” “work” or “misery.” Are you OK with this?
  • What proportion of your relationship would you define as “fun,” “work” (in the sense that it “works” you and you “work” it to keep it conscious and healthy) and “misery?” Are you OK with this?
  • If you’re uncomfortable with any of the above, what steps can you take to move in a direction that would make you more comfortable (and “leaving” is an option)?
  • How much freedom do you have on your job? How about in your relationship (really, do you ever wish you had more freedom)?
  • Is your mental health suffering due to your job or your relationship?
  • Are you worried about your job? About your relationship? If so, why?

Third, do you know yourself very well – over and above your “packaging” and “trappings?” Do you understand your personality, your motivation, your triggers and the values that underpin your choices, actions and behaviors?

Often, “fun,” “work” and “misery” are functions of one’s personality or inherent traits. And being a square peg in a round hole is a recipe for misery, not fun – anywhere. Moreover, often the “square peg” is not ready, willing or able to adapt in order to make work more fun and less miserable.

So, does your life at work (and, yes, even at home, at play and in relationship) really, really fit your personality and style? Does your life at work (and at home) tend towards the “misery” side of the equation more than it does the “fun” or even “work” side? (“Work” in the context of a relationship meaning it is worth the effort to be in a relationship.) Every (worthwhile and healthy) relationship demands “work” – you work it; it works you.

Your mental health and well-being depend on how honestly, sincerely and self-responsibly you explore these questions and discern how much of your life is fun, honest “work,” and how much is just plain, unadulterated misery.

—————————————————–
(c) 2019, 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