I quote; therefore, I am.

quotes

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” – Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

Don’t do as I quote; do as I do
As one who works in the self-help arena, I’ve been noticing an ever-increasing phenomenon these days and that is, throwing around quotation after quotation in the sense that the quote will, what? Support one’s own movement towards change or transformation or spur another towards change and transformation or that it might be taken as a  sign of one’s wisdom, intelligence and the like?

Perhaps, it’s the social media focus on the sound-bite, the emphasis on 140-character communication.

In either case, my curiosity centers around “not what I quote” but “do I live what I quote?”.

I think quotes have a place, depending on how we use them. Do motivational quotes on corridor and office walls honestly and truly motivate? Do success quotes in sports arenas, locker rooms, and in schools really produce successful athletes and students? Do pithy management and leadership quotes truly result in inspired leaders and managers? Do love and relationship quotes lead to healthier and more conscious relationships? (And, by the way, the same might be said of affirmations, or books, or visualizations, but that’s another reading.)

“I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do quotes “work?”
In my experience, yes; but in few cases. How so?

Some folks have actually changed their lives, transformed, partially as a result of integrating, embodying and “living” quotes. A vast majority, however, cannot seem to integrate the sentiment, message or inspiration of a quote into their actual, daily do-ing and be-ing — at work, at home, at play and in relationship – in a sustainable, long-term, self-disciplined way to effect  true and real change, to self-responsibly forward the action of their life and become a new, different  person.

If you Google “self-improvement quotations,” you’ll come up with some 199,000 hits; “management quotations,” 6,650,00017, “leadership quotations,” 4,250,000, relationship quotations, 8,610,000, and “success quotations,” 7,980,000. (This does not include other descriptors such as “inspirational quotes…,” “sayings,”  and the like.)

I quote success; I am success – there is a difference
Let’s look at success quotations as an example. What do these success quotes have in common?

“A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do.” – Bob Dylan

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value. He is considered successful in our day who gets more out of life than he puts in. But a man of value will give more than he receives.” – Albert Einstein

“Just as the tumultuous chaos of a thunderstorm brings a nurturing rain that allows life to flourish, so too in human affairs times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm.” –  I Ching No. 3

“The successful man is the average man, focused.” Anonymous

“Getting what you go after is success; but liking it while you are getting it is happiness.” Anonymous

So, what do they have in common?
What these quotes have in common is that they’re all someone else’s quotes, someone else’s notion of success. And this is important. Why?

Because I’m curious how many people’s lives – tens, hundreds, thousand, millions – have actually been demonstrably changed for the better, over the long-term, as a result of reading one or more of someone else’s quotes? I suspect few, very few. Why?

What I often experience are folks who share, quote or think about someone else’s neat, cool, pithy quotation as a “nice idea,” but have never consciously taken the time to internalize, integrate, chew on, digest, metabolize and deeply reflect upon it so it becomes part of their own cellular, molecular make-up, their being. Instead, beyond the time it takes to utter or write a 140-character idea-string, or utter a quote, they often return to a life that’s characterized by misalignment, dis-harmony, imbalance, confusion, self-doubt and overwhelm. They want “success” or happiness, or a better way of being a leader, manager, partner or spouse from someone’s else’s dream, aspiration or quote; but, it’s not working. They haven’t personalized it.

Don’t quote the quote; be the quote
For me, the most important tool for success in life is reflection, deep reflection which many cannot or will not undertake, then goal delineation, planning and conscious self-management and self-discipline to be(come) the quotation. Many, living lives of indecision, dis-harmony and self-deceit, find they can only quote the quote, not be the quote.

Sometimes, folks do incorporate the quotation as a “living” quotation. For example, they define “success,” or “relationship,” or “motivation” as “results.” But, achieving results without learning something about one’s self often leads to an incomplete and often “un-success-ful” “lived quotation” in the short or long term. Do-ing alone (i.e., results), without be-ing, is not a solid formula for success, or happiness, or successful leading, managing or relating. The “successful” Bernie Ebbers of Enron, or Bernie Madoff, or Arnold Schwarzenegger who ended up in ignominy and infamy are testaments to this.

These folks who accomplish results (“success?”) but without personal growth, often wonder why they don’t feel better, alive, fulfilled. They often admit they don’t experience good health, energy, enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind. They are “successful,” after all. So, what “off?”

So, what does quoting get you?
Many of us love quotes – about life, love, relationships, leading, managing and the like. But these quotes are simply ideas, each as grand as the tiny molecule in the brain tat holds it. Unless “operationalized,” and practiced, as a practice, the idea can be gone in an instant. Then what? Another quote, another quick burst of a feel-good moment?

For many, the idea, the sentiment, the quote is quickly obliterated just as if they had written in the sand on the beach – ephemeral – wiped out in a moment.

For others, the idea, like a “success” quotation is engraved in an indelible way in their brain, in their cellular make-up, in their psyche and their being. They are a living embodiment of the quote. Big difference.

So, I guess there are quotes and there are quotes. It’s what we do with them, and why, that matters.

Some questions for self-reflection: 

  • Do you often quote others? Why? What does quoting others get you?
  • Do you incorporate others’ quotes into the fabric of your daily life – i.e., the way you live life at work, at home, at play and in relationship?
  • Can you recall the last ten quotes you shared? Last five? Last one?
  • Has your life changed, truly changed, as the result of any quotes you took to heart? Were you truly inspired and motivated to be or act differently, consistently? How so?
  • Do you ever feel empty, unhappy, or unfulfilled even though you know a lot of “happy” quotations? Do you live in a prison of self-defeating or self-limiting thoughts even though you “know’ a lot of motivational and inspirational quotations? Why is that?
  • Do you ever use quotations to persuade others you’re intelligent or wise?
  • What might happen if you never used quotes? How might that make you feel? If you seldom or never used quotations, would you feel lacking or deficient? Why?
  • Is your self-worth partially defined by how often, how much, you use quotations?
  • Did you grow up around quotations? Who did you parents or primary caregivers quote?
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.” Does that resonate with you? How so?

—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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

Advertisements

Skirting The Truth — How Collusion Impacts Your Life and Relationships

elephant

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

One of the most insidious and (self) destructive behaviors impacting life – at work, at home, at play and in relationship  – is collusion, a tacit and unspoken agreement where two or more folks choose to overlook their honesty and authenticity in order to support some joint fake, phony or duplicitous sense of themselves.

We most often collude with one another in order to feel psycho/emotionally safe and secure. The price of collusion is that the parties engage in deceitful, self-destructive and self-sabotaging behaviors in order to gain some form of acceptance, approval, recognition, and security. Dangerous territory.

Let’s collude
Basically, collusion is saying (silently and/or covertly): “I’m going to look the other way so you can behave the way you want or need to, and I’ll make believe our relationship is honest and genuine (even though I know our collusive behaviors are inappropriate and self-destructive.) AND, I expect you to do the same for me.”

Collusion is fraud – plain and simple – living my own lie while supporting you to live your lie, and vice-versa. That is, no one “shows up” in integrity or with authenticity, and they know it! Repeat. They know it! On a deeper level, collusion obscures the “real-ness” of each person and phonies up the so-called honesty with which they relate to one another. It’s tap dancing around one another’s personal elephants in the room.

Flavors of collusion
There are various flavors of collusion. Generally, collusion can appear as:

  • Giving up one’s honesty and authenticity in order to get something in return.
  • “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”-type motives for interacting.
  • Going along to get along: engaging in denial or “turning a blind eye” to others’ questionable activities with the expectation they will do the same for you at some point.
  • One hand washing the other: building up a store of tacit, mutual “IOUs.”

People collude when they pledge loyalty to an unscrupulous or incompetent leader, manager, colleague, friend, neighbor, spouse, partner or relative – when they turn a blind eye to the inappropriate behaviors of others in an effort to feel safe with one another, “making believe” all is well.  Living an illusion all is well.

People collude in order to feel appreciated and “seen” – the foundation of many dysfunctional and co-dependent relationships.  Our denials notwithstanding.

For example
People collude when they share information with a select few and create a clique – in order to feel special, or be accepted as part of the “in” group. They feel acknowledged at being “chosen.”

People collude when they gang up on another through bullying, sarcasm, or gossiping – in order to experience a (false) sense of connection and camaraderie with their co-conspirators.

Folks collude when they withhold honest and forthright comments about inappropriate behavior because they fear alienating another or being ostracized in some way.  Resisting the truth and “making believe” another’s behavior is acceptable, colluders play the game of mutual acceptance while perpetuating a phony relationship based on false respect.

Why?
Everyone – everyone – experiences some sense of deficiency. It’s the human condition. Just about everyone harbors some real or perceived notion they are not “good enough” or are lacking, “bad” or deficient in some way. So, facing our innate sense of deficiency, we have two choices:

  • We can choose to face our sense of insecurity honestly, ignoring our underlying temptation to collude. Taking this approach requires conscious steps to act authentically and honestly, and sidestep any urge to be a fake and a phony. It means resisting the temptation to “go along to get along” with others who aren’t taking a line of integrity, authenticity and sincerity.
  • We can “play games” with others and ignore, deny, or resist the truth, ignoring “the elephants in the room.” Here, we put on blinders, censor our words, refuse to hear what needs to be heard, say what needs to be said, alter our actions to convenience, and tell whatever lies are necessary – always hoping that our state of denial will keep the emotional peace (my own and others’) though at the price of perpetuating an insincere, co-dependent, and dysfunctional relationship.

Collusion hurts
Collusion is lying to protect our own and another’s fragile ego at the expense of speaking the truth and acting with integrity and self-responsibility. Collusion is a progressive drug that leads one to engage in deeper and deeper levels of lying, deceit and fakery.

Colluders need to lie and deceive themselves and others more and more to sustain their false sense of physical, emotional and/or psychological safety. As a result, colluders live in a constant state of vigilance, preoccupied with whether they will be “found out” and have their false facade penetrated. Colluders are consistently preoccupied worrying whether their co-colluder(s) will be “outed” leaving them to face the unpleasantness, even terror, of being “found out” themselves one day.

Colluding is exhausting – demanding an inordinate amount of physical, emotional, and psychic energy. It demands continually shoring up fake and phony relationships that have no real foundation except that of mutual convenience. Like all lying, collision demands constantly remembering which particular lies you are currently telling – with the additional burden of recalling the other person’s lies as well. It is corrosive to head, heart, and soul.

The antidote
Honesty, happiness, and true friendship most often appear as the top responses to the question, “What’s really important to you in relationship?” You can’t collude and expect to find real, meaningful, sincere and authentic connection with another – at work, at home (yes, even at home; sometimes, especially at home), or at play. Acting as if you can, demands collusion.

The simplest approach to ridding oneself of the need to collude is twofold:

  • To seek understanding of the reasons (and excuses) why you refuse to tell yourself and others the truth.
  • To set your intention on complete honesty, even if it would be easier to take the low road of lying and deception.

The truth will set you free: mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and psychologically. Telling the truth allows you to show up authentically and with integrity in an honest, sincere, and self-responsible way. Telling the truth is the only real way to experience a life of real happiness and self-fulfillment, and to experience deep and true relationships with others – to dance through life in lightness and freedom, rather than continually tap dancing around all those looming, invisible elephants.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • If you have a tendency to collude, what are some of ways you do it?
  • Do others collude with you by telling you only what they think you want/need to hear? Why do they do this? Is it for some benefit  or for fear of how you might react?
  • Do you find yourself lying and being phony to maintain specific relationships? Why? How so?
  • What keeps you from telling the truth? What are you afraid of? What are you trying to hide?
  • How do you feel when you’re in a situation where you know you’re colluding (i.e. giving to get, going along to get along, etc.)?
  • What’s “right” about colluding? What does colluding get you? Is there another way to get that result without colluding?
  • Did you experience forms of collusion as you were growing up? How so?


—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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

Transparency – Easier Said than Done

face_obscured1

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

What is transparency?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines transparent as: free from pretense or deceit; easily seen through; readily understood; characterized by visibility or accessibility of information, especially concerning business practices.

Google results show 257,000,000 hits for transparency in the market; 87,400,000 for transparency in the workplace; and 227,000,000 for transparency in relationships. Transparency – popular and widely-discussed. So, why is transparency easier said than done?

Transparency is a quality built on truth-telling, openness, honest and sincerity. The essence of truth-telling is being comfortable in one’s own skin. Transparency is the “secret sauce” of trust. Conscious, healthy relationships thrive on trust, integrity and transparency.

Being transparent in the way we speak, act and think allows others to see us as being congruent, harmonious, and in alignment with who we say we are. This congruency and alignment lead to win-win, trusting and psycho-emotionally healthy relationships.

The reverse is also true. Lacking transparency, others relate to us from an arm’s length, view us suspiciously, vigilantly look over their shoulder at us, and feel unsafe around us. When we’re not transparent we’re judged as lacking credibility, reliability, dependability and trustworthiness. Transparency – it seems so simple, but, for many, not easy.

The challenging question is: if transparency is a behavior in high demand, why are so many unable or unwilling to behave transparently – at work, at home, at play, in love relationships, friendships and acquaintanceships?

Having transparency and losing it
Very early on in life, most children are truly transparent. We share our thoughts; we engage in lively, free expression; we openly and honestly disclose how we feel. We trust and are trusting. But not long after, we are often met with resistance, first, from our parents or immediate care givers, then from extended family, teachers, clergy, friends and others. The push-back we experience is often expressed as:

“You think you’re so smart!” (with a negative edge)
“Little boys/girls should be seen and not heard!” (you’re an irritant)
“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard!” (you’re stupid)
“What do you know!” (with a negative dismissal)
“Who told you that?!” (skepticism; disbelief)
“Don’t say/do such a thing” (how can you say/do such a thing!)
“I don’t believe you.” (you’re lying)
“You better not talk like that!” (what you have to say is unacceptable or inappropriate)
“That’s not true.” (you are lacking or deficient)
“You don’t make any sense!” (you’re stupid)
“You don’t think straight!” (you’re unintelligent)
“What makes you think that way!” (your approach/ideas are weird)
“You don’t have half a brain!” (you’re stupid)
“For someone so smart, you’re really stupid!” (you lack intelligence)
“You’ll only cause trouble.” (you’re not mainstream; you’re not ‘like me’)

When we have been hammered and attacked again and again, we begin to believe that what we say, think, feel and do is not “good enough,” or we are “bad” or “wrong.” We begin to shut down or otherwise hide our essence, our openness, our vulnerability, i.e., “being who we are.”

Loss of self-value and worth
The belief – “transparency is not a good thing;” “transparency is bad;” “I’m bad” – becomes an imprint, hard-wired on our brain, in our unconscious, and we then carry this belief into adolescence and eventually into adulthood. This belief is translated into, “What I think, say, do and feel doesn’t have value.” and we believe “I don’t have value.” And, “If I don’t have value, then I better change the way I am in order to have value and worth” in order to garner the love, recognition, acknowledgement, approval, acceptance and all the other “goodies” that will only come to me if I contract, shut down and become opaque – anything but transparent.

We create a self-image, an identity, that I am not credible, I’m not smart, or intelligent. And in order to be heard, seen, and “met,” we give up our voice; we believe we have to hide our truth, our intelligence, ideas, emotions and feelings, and squash our True, Real and Authentic Self. We defer, become quiet and passive. We learn to lie, deceive, cheat and blame – to avoid being transparent. We morph into “good little boys and girls” – quiet, afraid, passive and fake.

In the workplace
In the workplace, where transparency is a hot topic, it’s important to remember that we bring our “family” to work – our biography and our biology. In interactions at work (as well as at home, play, and in relationships) we can feel like a child – when interacting with others who unconsciously remind us of the reactive, judgmental, critical parent or other authority figure who criticized us when being transparent as a child.

So, we hold back, defer, shut down, resist disclosing and become opaque so we can feel seen, heard and accepted. Transparency becomes a scary proposition. For example, we’re reluctant to discuss our motives and feelings about our plans, policies, processes, procedures with colleagues or clients. We’re reluctant to be up-front with customers, vendors, suppliers and other stakeholders. We’re afraid to disclose how and what we really think and feel, and why. We’re opaque.

The antidote to opaqueness?
Clarity and light.

As we become more self-aware – emotionally, psychologically and spiritually mature – we’re able to show up authentically, allow our voice, our wisdom, our thoughts, our motives and be who we really are – our True, Real and authentic Self.

When, with clarity about who we really are – our Essential Self – being transparent, and allowing our voice, feelings, emotions, honesty and openness, we transform (back) into our authentic self, alive and, once again feeling secure in our own skins; we’re not afraid to cultivate relationships that are transparent healthy, conscious, and trusting – leading to real connection, collegiality and collaboration. From this inner place, we access the courage, strength, will and steadfastness to speak “our truth” and not be concerned or caught up in what others think or believe about us.

Transparency supports us to know and be who we are. If we’re not open and transparent to others, we cannot be open and transparent to ourselves. If we’re not aware, open and transparent to ourselves, we cannot mature and become fully self-actualized.

You are the lens in the beam. You can only receive, give, and possess the light as the lens does. If you seek yourself, you rob the lens of its transparency. You will know life and be acknowledged by it according to your degree of transparency, your capacity, that is, to vanish as an end, and remain purely as a means.”  – Dag Hammarskjold

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • Are most folks clear about the motives underneath your thoughts, words and actions. Are you?
  • Would you describe leaders and managers in your workplace as transparent? Why/why not?
  • Would you describe yourself and your spouse/partner as transparent?
  • Do you demand transparency from others while being opaque yourself? Are you trustworthy? Transparent? What would your friends and colleagues say?
  • Does the standard of transparency by which you measure yourself differ from the standard of transparency by which you measure others? How so?
  • What stories do you use to rationalize and justify your lack of transparency?
  • Can you admit when you don’t know what or how, or don’t have an answer, or feel afraid or uncomfortable?
  • What was transparency like when you were growing up?
  • Have you ever been “found out” in some way, shape or form? What was that like?
  • Can you envision a life where transparency is an everyday operating principle?

—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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

Why Change Triggers a Fear of Dying

 

change image

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

“Just as the tumultuous chaos of a thunderstorm brings a nurturing rain that allows life to flourish, so too in human affairs times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm.” – I Ching No. 3

Probably the greatest obstacle to a life worth living is the fear of death – not death itself – but the fear of death. Think about the last time you chose to, or were asked to, embrace true and real change – at work, at home, at play or in relationship. What was that like for you?

Attachment
There are times when we have the opportunity to meet someone who truly has no fear of dying. Exploring this individual’s perspective, it’s often the case they came face-to-face with their own immortality through a deep and intense “life-changing” experience, e.g., illness, divorce, job loss, financial ruin, loss of a loved one, and the like. In the process they most likely hit a spiritual “rock bottom.” In this place, one usually let’s go of their “human” identity – who they took themself to be. They let go of their “ego identity,” their self-images, their “human-ness” to a degree.

In this heightened conscious state, dying is not seen as a typical “temporal” end with all its characteristic fears: “Gosh, I’d hate to give up all my money.” “Gee, my wife will still be here, and I won’t be able to be with her after I divorce/leave/die.” “My job/position/title was all I had and without it I’m nothing.” “I’ll miss so much that I had here.” “I’ll wither away if I can’t run/work/paint/cook…any more.” “I can’t go on without it/her/him.”

These fears are based on our ego’s attachment to life as we know it – attachments which define “me” according to my ego mind. Here, the thought of loss sends fear throughout our being. And, from an ego perspective, justifiably so.

Defensiveness
When our human side, our ego self, is confronted with this type of “death,” our knee-jerk reaction is to become defensive – we try to protect ourself from change, we deny the change or the thought of change; simply, our ego doesn’t want to die. It’s like when we were a child and when there was upset in our home, we covered our ears with our hands and yelled in order to silence the noise. Ego death is certainly “noisy.”

Change can be upsetting.
Consider the many instances of change in your life. Perhaps you’re experiencing an illness, or the result of an accident, the threat or reality of a job loss, an impending divorce or separation, the loss of a loved one, a financial demise, a geographical relocation, etc.  What’s underneath all these events is some type of experience of “not knowing,” a “not knowing” that requires a letting go. Our emotional connection to letting go arises as fear and if explored deeply, the fear is not unlike a fear of death, i.e, “I don’t know what will happen”; I don’t know who I’ll become”; “I don’t know.” And, not knowing, or fear of the unknown, often evokes fear and anxiety. The “future” is where death happens.

The past as antidote
When change happens, the only safe haven for many is the past – an experience we do know; an experience which we survived. So, the greater the change, the greater the fear, and the more driven we are to seek refuge, safety and security in our past.

Hanging on to our past, we re-orient to our conditioning, our programming, and our habits and patterns of thinking, be-ing and do-ing. The greater our fear of death and dying, the more we dig in our heels and hang on to “the familiar – “the old me.” It’s safe.

The paradox
Our orientation to (or fixation on, obsession with) our past is the major obstacle that snuffs out the life, the vitality and potentiality of our being. We are actually denying life because we fear death. Right here and right now, we are potential, we are possibility, we are becoming. However, when we fear change and pull our self back into our past, we negate our present and our future – we choose death over life. In nature (the seasons, for example), a lack of life is – death. However, death is a requirement for new life to emerge.

The solution?
Perspective. When we change our perspective, we can choose to become laser-like focused in the here and now, with an orientation towards our future. We can choose to trust that what is coming is greater, richer and more fulfilling than what was. We can choose to trust in the limitless possibilities for well-be-ing, happiness and self-fulfillment. The fact is, there is a part of every living soul that does not die. When we contact this part of our self, we can access our Essential qualities and experience our True Self – a Self that is courageous, powerful, strong, steadfast, and capable. When we allow our True Self to emerge, we engage life with a dynamism, a vitality and a love that melts and erases our fear. Love and fear are diametrically opposed to one another. They cannot exist together.

Accepting change
If we choose, we can accept change in its various shapes and forms. We can choose to become courageous, stalwart and positively view all life as opportunity. But to do so, we need to be in touch with life, not fear. In this place, nothing can stop us or harm us. In this place, endings are beginnings, upset is a blessing, and death is (re) birth.

Our ego says the world is a dangerous place, that life is threatening and hurtful. This is a life perspective based on fear – fear of death. Another perspective is that of welcoming the unknown, welcoming death. From this perspective, life presents a huge opportunity – life is supportive and the world is a safe place. This is the place where true aliveness, change and transformation happens.

“The call of death is a call of love. Death can be sweet if we answer it in the affirmative, if we accept it as one of the great eternal forms of life and transformation.” – Hermann Hesse

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What significant life transitions have you experienced? What was the “death” involved? How were you transformed as a result? What did you see about yourself before, during and after the experience(s)?
  • As you contemplate your future, can you envision positive outcomes for specific hopes and desires?
  • What current life changes are you experiencing? Are you fearful? How so? Are you in denial or hanging on to old patterns and habits of resistance? If so, why? What does resistance get you?
  • What changes in your life are you most proud of? Why?
  • Do you spend much time longing for the “good old days?”
  • What was change like for you/your family when you were growing up?

—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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

It’s 7:45 am – Do You Know Where Your Character Is?

no-right-turn-450x900-reflective-aluminium

 

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

Along the main road I used to run in the morning, there is a side street on the right that runs through a winding residential neighborhood. One can take that side street and reach another through-street much more quickly than staying on the original road for another half-mile, and then taking a right to get to the same through-street. Oh, and, by the way there is a sign just before this side street that says, “No right-hand turn between 7:00 and 9:00 am.” You can’t miss the sign.

From time to time, I stop my run, pausing at this intersection and sign just to watch with curiosity. Most recently, I stopped for a 15-minute period (7:40-7:55 am), during which time eleven cars came by – eight made the right turn.

What piques my curiosity is what these folks are thinking, assuming they are, as they make the right turn. I’m sure we all can muse about their reasons, excuses, stories, rationalizations and justifications.

Character
One definition of character is: who you are at 4:00 am in the dark when no one is watching. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.” How we are in the world – at work, at home, at play, in relationship – and even while driving – is a reflection of our character, or lack of it. Character is a type of internal guideline, a moral compass that operates 24/7, 365 – a compass that one cannot tinker with to change its bearings or settings. It always points to true north. Always. A flawed character, on the other hand, has been tinkered with, like fooling with the odometer of an automobile, to give it the “appearance” of authenticity.

What muddies character?
In a word – pride, an inordinate sense of self-esteem, which often morphs into hubris, an exaggerated sense of self-confidence. What really happens when we become immersed in a sense of pride or hubris? Separation – separation from our True Self, from our authentic self. And when we separate from our true and authentic self, we abdicate responsibility for accepting responsibility for how we live our life. When we abdicate responsibility for how we live our life, we lose our sense of self-respect. And when we lose our sense of self-respect, it follows we lose respect for life – so rules of right conduct, right living and right relationship don’t matter. In essence, “the rules don’t apply to me.”

The Buddha writes: “…the thought manifests as the word; the word manifests as the deed; the deed develops into habit; and habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of all concern for all beings…as the shadow follows the body, what we think, so we become.”

When our pride – our ego – is in charge, our “thinking” often becomes warped and self-centered and our character suffers. Over time, as our character suffers, so does our reputation and we become known as one whose orientation to life and work is self-serving, self-centered, egocentric, and uncaring about others, i.e., doing what we need to do to “get by.” It’s all about “ME!” So, from this place, we circumvent the rules, we ignore principles of right living, and right loving, and assume inappropriate, and perhaps even illegal behaviors, with the justification that it’s okay “as long as I don’t get caught.”

The one and the many
So, that’s one person – perhaps me. What happens when this one person, lacking true character, becomes ten, then 100, or more?

The strength of a team, or an organization, is represented by its character, the character of its people (think Enron, AIG, WorldCom). What happens when a team, for example, loses its character? It begins to atrophy, to become dysfunctional, to engage in in-fighting and sabotage. It loses its way. The one and the many suffer. It’s character has become corrupted.

Character is a reflection of moral purpose, or the lack of it, and reflects those classes of things that an individual, or group, or team either chooses or avoids. That is, one’s character is constructed from what one does, or does not do.

Character and values
There are basic principles of effective living – for example, in the way we allow our True and Real self, honor and respect others, think rationally, help others succeed, listen with our heart, collaborate and cooperate, embrace diversity, protect the environment, see the meaning and value of work, treat others with respect, and act in moral alignment with compassion, integrity, justice and fairness – and true character means integrating these principles into how we live our life, even at 4:00 a.m. when no one is watching. Character is determined by how closely we choose to allow our value system to integrate into, and affect, our lives – in every moment.

The foundational building blocks of character are integrity and courage. Once we become dishonest, even when no one is watching, then we lose all sense of character. Then, mistrust, lying, and (self-)deception define who we are. The toothpaste is out of the tube. Once we compromise our values, it is well-nigh impossible to regain or reestablish our reputation, credibility or integrity.

In the end, moral shortcuts, cutting corners, and “turning right at 7:45 am” will always – always – find a way to catch up. The Universe insures there is always payback for inappropriate and indecent behavior.

Blaming and excuse-making – “making the turn at 7:45 am”
“But, I’m late for work.”
“But, I didn’t see the sign.”
“I had a spat with my spouse and was distracted.”
“A friend said it would be OK.”
“I have an important meeting to get to.”

Blaming and deflecting self-responsibility are art forms in our culture. Only now we’re using the adult form of “my dog ate my homework.” Doesn’t wash. Our obsession with blaming and excuse-making is simply an indication of how we’ve become a nation of narcissists, victims and adult-children. Emotionally and spiritually mature adults are self-responsible, make conscious choices, and do the right thing. As Helen Douglas (the politician 1896-1956) said, ” Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action.”

Each of us faces issues and challenges every day – some complex, some simple – at work, at home, at play, in relationship, even on the road. Our character is tested when we make split-second decisions and choices about what to do, and not do, and why.

So, practically, or metaphorically, when you come upon the sign that says, “No right turn between 7:00 and 9:00 am,” and it’s 7:45 am, where is your character?

Some questions for self-reflection are:

  • What matters to you?
  • What blocks you from acting in integrity? How so?
  • What do you most want in life?
  • “Do the right thing” vs. “Do things right” – which drives your everyday actions?
  • Do you believe you have character? What would your colleagues, friends, spouse/partner, and neighbors say?
  • Have you lied, cheated or stolen recently? What was your rationalization or justification? How about running a red light, stop sign or a sign that says “no right turn…?”
  • Do you use a different measuring stick to judge your inappropriate behavior from others’ inappropriate behaviors?
  • Who are you at 4:00 am in the dark when no one can see you?
  • When did you first know you had character?
  • What was “character” like in your family as you were growing up?
  • Can you visualize a world where everyone operates with character?

Character is the foundation stone upon which one must build to win respect. Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character.” – R. C. Samsel

—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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

Do You Use Protection?

symbol

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

No, not that kind.

This kind:

Developmental psychologists say most every child experiences some type of emotional, psychological, or physical wounding, hurt or pain as part of their upbringing – even (especially) that child who says their family was “perfect.” The child’s experiences may include a parent or primary caregiver who was physically or emotionally absent some or much of the time, or overbearing and bullying, or one who was a taskmaster, rarely complimentary, or was “guilting,” shaming, or overly judgmental and critical, or was a betrayer, or physically or sexually abusive.

The degree of wounding can range from unacceptable, but tolerable, to extremely inappropriate and intolerable. Whatever the degree, it was wounding and affected the child’s psyche. As the child moves into adolescence and adulthood, there is a part of their psyche that consistently, yet unconsciously, chants the mantra: Never again!

Protection
As adults, many of us view life – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – from a defensive posture. We view our world as obscured, with a veil of protection over it that shields us from (re) experiencing the wounding, hurt and pain of childhood. Protectors are the inner parts of us – voices, judges, critics, authority figures – whose role is to keep us safe, in a comfort zone where we won’t experience hurt, shame or fear. Protectors are the inner parts of us that initially arise when we explore “inside” ourselves. Our protectors have no idea we’re adults so they operate as though we are still children who need protection from continued hurt and pain.

How protectors operate
Protectors are mental or physical ways of thinking, doing and being. For example, protectors help us shut down emotionally while we show up as smart and intellectual; close down our heart while we act out physically through exercise and sports; move us into denial – “all is right with the world,” posture when it’s not the truth; project our feelings and emotions on to others so we don’t have to own our “stuff,” shop, drink, eat or work excessively to mask our inner pain; make us need to be “good,” successful and perfect so others won’t judge us as less-than or deficient; be lovable so others won’t abandon us; be busy so we won’t sense our emptiness; or co-dependently fawn over others and meet their wants and needs in order to deny our own emptiness and needs which were not met as a child. Protectors attempt to keep us from being harmed by others and/or from confronting our own feelings and emotions.

So, we control.
Protectors are all about control. Our protectors attempt to control our internal and external self so we can push away real or perceived threats – from bosses, colleagues, friends, spouses/partners, or others, so we can experience some sort of “faux” comfort – autonomy, approval, acceptance, admiration, and not be judged, abused, or blamed. We abhor feeling vulnerable.

Working with protectors
In working with protectors, we acknowledge them for their positive intention, appreciate their roles and see how they’ve worked tirelessly for us over the years to keep us feeling safe and secure. The next step is to develop an open and trusting relationship with our protectors – telling it/them we understand their intention: “I understand why you do what you do;” “I appreciate what you did for me when I was young;” “I see how you contribute to how I live my life;” etc.

As you acknowledge and befriend a protector, you’ll begin to sense a “moving away,” a separating from it at which time your True and Authentic Self arises. This experience can be tricky at first as the protector thinks it is the whole of you, not a part. You may feel this protector, this voice, is, in fact, “me.” Well, it isn’t .

As you breathe, sense into your body, allow whatever you experience (i.e., be curious, not judgmental) and begin to notice a “relationship” between your True and Authentic Self and your protector. You may begin to experience a sense of harmony, balance, groundedness and well-being. As your protector becomes aware of  “you” (your True and Authentic Self), you’ll experience a shift. The protector becomes more relaxed (quiet), and eventually you (the real “you”) might notice a difference in the way you relate to your world.

In real time
In everyday situations – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – when you feel a protector is arising to keep you safe and secure, notice its arising, acknowledge it, ask it politely to separate from you, so your True and Authentic Self can emerge. Tell it you will handle the situation (giving it permission to relax) and, allowing your True and Authentic Self, your “adult” self,  you’ll begin to experience qualities and capacities that will support you in the moment – strength, courage, will, wisdom, compassion, love, discipline–and “right knowing,” “right understanding,” and “right action.”

The more consistently you acknowledge, appreciate, trust and reassure your protectors that you can “do” or “be” from the place of your adult Self, your protectors will relax and allow you to lead – as an emotional, spiritual and psychological adult – not the fearful, scared or wounded little child in an adult body, wearing adult clothes. From this place you’ll find yourself engaged in relationships – with your self and others – from a place of openness, honesty, trust and authenticity – without a need for protection.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What are one or two protectors that often show up for you to keep you feeling safe and secure, away from harm?
  • What are their roles and how do they guide you to relate to others (i.e.,  to protect you from pain)? What do they tell you to (not) do or (not) be so you can feel safe and not threatened? What are they protecting you from (e.g., embarrassment, being judged, ignored or rejected, feeling small, stupid, or “not (fill in the black with some quality or characteristic) enough?”
  • Choose one protector you know well (e.g., one that says people are untrustworthy; I’ll be betrayed; I want to stop trying to please people; I need to be free of criticism.). When you experience/hear it, what does it feel like in your body? Where is it located in your body? What does it say, exactly, and how do you act when you hear/experience it? What people, places, events or circumstances trigger it? Who or what is it protecting you from?
  • What protectors do you remember experiencing when you were a child? And why were they there?
  • Can you envision a world where you can acknowledge, appreciate and understand your protectors and be able to separate from them to experience your True and Authentic Self? What would that be, feel, look and sound like?


—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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

Reality vs. Reality

blank-male-mask.jpg

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

“I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” – William Shakespeare

If you put 200 people – diverse in as many ways as possible – in a theatre and then project the world going by in real time, no doubt these 200 folks will have -more or less – 200 different opinions, reactions, observations, judgments, or takes on what they’re viewing.

Reality vs. reality
As these folks sit and watch, what’s informing their interpretation, their perception, is their internal map of reality. While “Reality” (capital R) is what’s passing by on the screen, most everyone is seeing that reality from their own “inner” reality — their beliefs, assumptions, perceptions, misperceptions, premises, “stories” they’ve created, paradigms, that is, their history, memory and experience, describe what they’re viewing. No two people are “hardwired” the same; thus, their views about life and living are products of their respective life experiences, beginning at birth.

So, then, what is “real” reality and what is the reality we create in our immediate experience? The answer to this question can help us understand why we experience so much conflict in dealing not only with ourselves but with one another – at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Koan
In Zen and Buddhism, a “koan” is a challenging question or statement that prompts one to engage in reflection – the intention is to lead one to a higher state of understanding or awareness. There is a Zen koan that says: “Show me your original face before you were born.”

This koan asks us to stretch — in a way that allows us to access sour True, Real and Authentic Self — the self we are/were before being born. In this process, we transcend our “database” of thoughts, concepts, beliefs, etc., and move to a place of no-mind — where we experience Reality as it truly is, experience our self as we truly are. Our true face before we were born is actually who we were (and still are!) before we were shaped and crafted by our “life experience.”

“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

The koan is not meant to cause a reactive: “How can I have a face, or exist, before I was born?” It is a question of “Who am I without my set of beliefs, or my image of myself or an identity that I’ve adopted for myself?”

Reflecting on the koan can help us see how attached we are to “my reality,” – my beliefs, assumptions, theories, perceptions, perspectives, etc. Deep reflection can also support us to flow in a space of no-mind, an “original space” of mental quietude, unencumbered by our thoughts and thought patterns – i.e., our personal history, memory or experiences.

Letting go
The point is that when we become more naturally and internally quiet, and we are able to let go, we can better interact with others, not as a robotic, human collection of beliefs, opinions, or assumptions, etc., but as one who is open, curious, and accepting in the way we experience our world.

“False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” – William Shakespeare

We sort of “re-birth” ourselves each time we draw a conclusion about “who I am.” Each time we make a decision/judgment about our self — “I’m not good in social situations with others,” I’m a great leader,” “I have problems with difficult people,” I’m not very smart,” — we create our identity, our “subjective face and move farther away from our “original face.”

But, each of us has an “original face” — the face of who we were before we identified with anything or anyone. And, the good news is we can return to our original face, the place of inner peace and well-be-ing, if we learn to let go of our “false face.”  Our “original face” is not only devoid of the superficial, surface elements of make-up, but the “false face” of beliefs and assumptions about who we think we are, most often, beliefs that really don’t serve us and cause us pain and suffering.

Don’t take it personally
When we don’t take (react to) the people, events and circumstances of our world personally, we can move into a place of deep relaxation and peace – i.e., our “original face.” Here, we can watch the projection of the world go by right in front of us – at work, at home, at play and in relationship – without the need to become reactive. Rather, our experience is one without tension, pretension, fakeness, or phoniness — none of the “shoulds” telling us how to be or what to do.

“Don’t laugh at a youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find his own.” – Logan Pearsall Smith

Surviving
So, what takes us away from our “original face?” In a word, survival. First, as young children our survival — physical, emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual — depended on our unconsciously taking on others’ beliefs as to how we should behave. If we behaved accordingly, we “survived.” If not, we lost out on love, recognition, approval and for some, safety and security. As we developed, we took on more and more beliefs, assumptions and ways of do-ing and be-ing that we felt would help us “survive” — at work, at home, at play and in relationship.

Now, as adults, we no longer have access to our “original face.” How so? We wear masks, and have various personas we take off and put on daily so we can “survive.” Having lost our “original face,” we’ve become unconsciously controlled by our ego/judgmental/comparative mind as reflected by our inability to just let the world pass by as we sit in that theatre. Rather, we have an unconscious need to react, judge, compare, contrast, offer opinions, and be “right.”  We put our best face forward, to survive. We hold on to all our faces so we have them just in case.

“Solitude: sweet absence of faces.” – Milan Kundera

When we let go of our false faces, of our need to “survive,” and habitual and patterned ways of thinking, do-ing and be-ing, and allow ourselves to sink into and penetrate deeply into our core Self, we set ourselves free — free to allow our “original face” — free from self-limiting, self-defeating, and self-sabotaging thoughts, beliefs, “stories” and identifications. In this place we can sit in the theatre of life and experience the world — at work, at home, at play and in relationship — without needing to take it “personally.”

Our “original face” is what supports us to see the freshness of life, in every moment, free of conflict and the need to be judgmental, confrontational, combative or controlling – free of attachment, pain and suffering.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • When was the last time you experienced your “original face?” How so?
  • Aside from physical elements such as make-up, surgery, or hair coloring, etc., what mental, emotional or attitudinal elements obscure your original face?
  • Do you tend to take people, events or circumstances “personally?” If so, how so and why?
  • Do you recall behaving in ways you didn’t want to, as a child, to get your parents’ or primary caregiver’s attention, love, acceptance or approval? Do you still behave in those ways now to get others’ acceptance and approval?
  • If you were sitting in that theatre, would you be able to simply watch, witness and observe without feeling the need to judge, critique or inject your $.02? Be honest. How about in your everyday world?
  • In addition to your closet of clothes, do you have a closet of faces and personas you take out and put on for different events, circumstances and people? Why is that?
  • Would folks describe you as authentic? How do you know? Would you ask them? If not, why not?
  • What was being authentic like for you when you were growing up? Were you able to have your “original face?” Were you encouraged to have your “original face?”
  • Can you envision a world where everyone wore their “original face?”

“There are people who think that everything one does with a serious face is sensible.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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

 

Envy – Tearing Yourself Apart, from The Inside Out

envy

 

Speaker pageFacebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

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 façade? 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 like when you were growing up?
    —————————————————–
    (c) 2018, 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 Microwave is Too Slow”

directions

Speaker page,  Facebook Page, Becoming a Better You book page

“There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.” – Franz Kafka

The other day I was speaking with a friend – a single, 50-something woman who’s a high-level executive for a Fortune 50 company. She was returning from work in the evening, carrying some packages. At the end of our conversation I said, “Enjoy your evening.” She replied, “Oh, I will. I have some delicious take-out.” Taking a step, and perhaps feeling guilty or…, perhaps feeling she needed to add some context, she stopped and added, “I have some good food in the fridge but the microwave just takes too long.” Takes too long. Hmmm.

Impatience
If you Google “impatience,” you’ll come up with about 25,100,000 hits; “feeling impatient,”18,500,000”  It’s a familiar topic these days. So, let’s consider some aspects of living life from a place of impatience, and patience.

If we reflect on how we live life from a place of impatience, here are some ways impatience might show up:

At work:

  • Being short or rude with co-workers, colleagues, clients, customers and other stakeholders; cutting them off, interrupting them, and verbally and emotionally pushing them away;
  • Incorrectly taking in/down information; e.g., a phone number, email address, or other data-entry bit;
  • Making faulty choices or decisions when it comes to strategic planning, new business or new product development, hiring errors;
  • Jamming the copier or fax machine;
  • Spilling food or drink or making other messes;
  • Completing tasks and projects which require re-work or additional resources;
  • Giving up too quickly on tasks that require deeper focus and concentration, leading to less than optimal, or disappointing, results;
  • Cutting corners, being unethical, and not acting in integrity;
  • Experiencing stress, burnout, absenteeism, presenteeism, rustout and dis-ease;
  • Needing to control

At home:

  • Treating our spouse/partner, children, parents with disrespect as “we don’t have time for them;” “you’re being a bother (or irritant)”;
  • Overcooking or undercooking meals;
  • Making accounting and banking errors;
  • Carelessly completing inside/outside work and repairs;
  • Engaging in love-making and intimate moments that are rushed, impersonal and meaning-less;
  • Being rude and insensitive towards retail and service personnel – in person or on the phone;
  • Having fender-benders more often due to driving too fast and too close;
  • Going through the motions of an exercise routine or spiritual practice without a conscious focus and awareness;
  • Inappropriate shouting, escalating tension or unhealthy silence.

At play:

  • Being argumentative and defensive when things don’t go “my way;”
  • Experiencing repeated sports and exercise injuries or accidents;
  • Losing out on the “joy” and “fun” of sports and exercise;
  • Being hasty and inconsiderate of colleagues or teammates;
  • Cheating.

The downside of impatience is we often spend inordinate amounts of time and energy repairing, re-working and re-doing what we did when we were feeling impatient.

The bane of patience? We’re in a hurry.
We live in a culture of “hurry up.” Fast-food, drive-throughs, immediacy, getting here and getting there – almost as if any delay spells “death,” – not unlike the shark that needs to keep moving to get oxygen into its lungs. The question underneath the question is, “Why am I so in a hurry to get to the next thing?” Why is it that so many folks’ define “short-term” as tonight, and “long-term” as “next Friday night?” What’s the rush?

The loss of joy
The obsessive need for people to “be somewhere else,” results in a joy-less life for many – joyless in the sense they cannot find deep meaning in where they are in the moment. Joy must be “over there” and so their obsession to “finishing this to get to that”  – a perspective that creates a life akin to living in a void bereft of pleasure, joy and happiness. And in that place, devoid of happiness, pleasure and meaning, they cannot settle, breathe or be at peace.

When we lack joy, we suffocate, and in our state of suffocation, we grasp on to anything, anyone who might be a source of oxygen – i.e., pleasure, joy and happiness. But, alas, it never works – we’ve become too conditioned to being impatient, resulting in a “fast food” approach to life that keeps us from being in the moment and from seeing there really is joy, meaning, and happiness where I am – right here and right now. So, we move, continuously – agitated, irritated, seeking the unattainable – until we learn to be patient and peaceful right where we are.

In a state of impatience, we race through life and in the process lose our capacity to experience true and real happiness, joy, fun, and appreciation for where we are in the moment. Impatience leads to states of frustration, anger and fear – like living in a consistent state of frenzy or overwhelm.

The antidote to impatience? You guessed it – patience.
“Infinite patience brings immediate results.” – Wayne Dyer

So, here are some tips that can support you to experience patience:

  • Be aware of your feeling of impatience. Sense where and how impatience shows up in your body. Allow your impatience. Don’t fight it. Don’t judge it. Don’t tell yourself a story about it. Just allow it to be. Continually ask, “What am I thinking?”, “What am I feeling” and “What’s going on in my body?”
  • Breathe deeply into your belly. Feel your feet on the floor and, if sitting, feel your butt in your chair. Allow the floor to support you; allow your chair to support you. Breathe deeply.
  • As you breathe deeply, send your breath to any areas of discomfort in your body. Don’t make any effort to “fix” anything or make anything happen. Just send the breath to the areas of discomfort.
  • Welcome the breath and invite it to go to those uncomfortable places. Notice your experience and as you do, time will  begin to expand a little, then a little more, and a little more. As you watch, witness and observe your self in this experience, the discomfort, the agitation the impatience itself will begin to dissipate. Then, notice what comes in to replace the impatience. It might feel like an inner peace, or quiet, or relaxation, or softness in the once-tense areas of your body. Stay with your experience and see what arises.  As your feeling of impatience subsides, you’ll fine an opportunity to experience an inner OK-ness, right here and right now, in this moment. And in this moment, there’s no need to be “somewhere else.”  Patience has arisen.

Impatience is an ego-mind quality. The mind always needs to be “somewhere else.” Patience is a heart/soul quality. The heart/soul is just fine, right here, right now.

Patience brings focus, clarity and discernment – the capacity to be in the moment and gain clarity in terms of “right knowing,” “right understanding” and “right action.” That is, we are in a state of responsiveness, not reactivity.

Patience allows us to experience the moment, no matter where we are or whom we’re with without the urgency to be “somewhere else.”  In this state, we are practicing presence or mindfulness – the antidote to impatience – focused on the moment – during a meeting, speaking with a co-worker, standing in line at the supermarket, hitting a golf ball, eating a burger or peeling a carrot. Again, no need to be in the future, no need to be somewhere else.

Even when using the microwave.

Some questions for self-reflection:

  • What does patience mean to you? Has patience taken on a pejorative, negative, connotation? How did you come to view patience as a vice rather than a virtue?
  • Write ten words or phrases you associate with patience. What do you see about yourself as a result of dong this exercise?
  • When you hear the phrase, “Be patient,” how do you feel?
  • Do you dislike waiting? If so, why?
  • Do you have a daily spiritual practice, e.g., walking, meditating, journaling, etc?
  • What was your experience of patience like when you were growing up?
  • Can you envision a world where patience is the virtue it once was?

“Learn the art of patience. Apply discipline to your thoughts when they become anxious over the outcome of a goal. Impatience breeds anxiety, fear, discouragement and failure.” – Brian Adams

—————————————————–
(c) 2018, 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