Freedom Ladder

Posted on March 29, 2018 in Maintenance

Disloyalty

The stage of disloyalty is the lowest moral and behavioral stage in which a person can function. Lying, cheating, stealing, betraying, blaming others, victimizing, and pretense (pretending) are the behaviors characterizing it.

Negative emotions including anger, jealousy, resentment, hatred, and depression predominate. Relationships are exploitative. People in disloyalty view the world as a place that cannot be trusted and believes that everyone else lies, cheats, steals and feels negative emotions. Moral judgments are made on the basis of pleasure/pain and reciprocity.

Opposition

People in opposition are quite similar to those in this loyalty. However, those in opposition are somewhat more honest about it; they pretended less. Those in opposition tend to blame society, the rules, or the unfairness of others for their problems and state in life. They are in open opposition to the established order.

They tend to be rigid and on adaptable and are more confrontational, hostile, and openly manipulative. Constant conflict is often seen. Moral judgments come from pleasure/pain and reciprocity.

Uncertainty

A person in this stage may lie, cheat and steal, but they are uncertain if they should. They’d typically have no long-term goals and usually don’t know if there is a direction that is right for them. They show rapidly changing beliefs and a basic uncertainty about other people. They say “I don’t know” a lot and sometimes are uncertain whether they should or can change.


This stage typically doesn’t last long. There are moral judgments are based on pleasing others as well as pleasure/pain and reciprocity.

Injury

People in this stage know when they have hurt others or themselves and feel responsible for it.  Low self-esteem, guilt, and feelings of inadequacy often predominate. While they seem to “let down” others and self frequently, they recognize that they are the source of the problem. This is the first age that positive relationships can occur.

People in injury have trouble following through on their goals and commitments. Moral judgments are based on pleasing others, pleasure/pain, and reciprocity.

Non-Existence

Those in non-existence do not have a firm sense of identity and do not feel connected to the world. They often feel little purpose in their life, but do feel responsible for what happens to them.

While they feel somewhat alienated, they can have satisfying relationships. Moral judgments can be made from law and order, pleasing others, reciprocity, or pleasure/pain.

Danger

The major distinction between danger and non-existence is that those in danger have committed two long-term goals.  They feel the risk of danger and have communicated their desire to others. They feel a definite direction in life and seeing relationships as necessary, important, and satisfying. They usually gain their identity from their long-term goals and recognize and requirements of situations quickly.

Most of these people make their moral judgments from the societal contract level and a law and order. Many of them “slip” to lower stages of reasoning and feel a sense of personal letdown when this occurs.

Emergency

A sense of urgency in completing goals dominates this stage because the individual is totally committed to fulfilling their personal goals. The goals of a person in this stage or more broad and include the welfare of others rather than goals being narrow and self-serving. They feel in control of their lives, but often feel that they have over committed and are at risk of failure of a slowdown.

Most of their decisions are based on what is best for society and their organization, but they shall much higher, idealized ethical principles as well. In addition, they sometimes slip to lower levels of reasoning and attempt to rectify this as soon as they realize it.

Normal

People who experience this state have into how they live their lives.  Thus, they have their needs fulfilled without a great deal of effort. To someone in this stage, work is not work. However, their identity nearly always involves the welfare of others, whether it is the welfare of their employees or family. They often become involved in social causes and have genuine concern for others. They give great consideration to their own conduct and are not quick to judge others.

They attempt to keep all their relationships on honest, trustworthy levels where they are held accountable. It is clear that people in this stage have chosen the right identity (set of goals). Moral judgments are based about half and have on societal and ethical principles.

Grace

Few persons reach the state where a person sees others as an extension of self. Reaching grace means one must give oneself to a major cause. Doing the right things, in the right ways, is a primary concern.

Value is placed on human life, justice, dignity, and freedom. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa are a few examples.

Creating a Potent Personal World

Posted on March 27, 2018 in Giving Back

I wish peace for myself. I am motivated by a desire to make my world a better place. If I am motivated by love, rather than by resentment, bitterness, feelings of betrayal, doubt and self-loathing, then all this baggage, all the negative beliefs I’ve dragged around with me most of my life will simply… fall away.

I must check what my motivation is before every decision I make. Before I make a decision, I need to stop myself and ask, with complete honesty, what is truly driving me? Why am I going to do what I am about to do? If, after realizing that complete honesty is required, my answer is that I am being motivated by resentment or vindictiveness, fear or doubt, betrayal, or by any number of other little pieces of garbage I’ve been carrying around with me most of my life, and I am not being motivated by a desire to make my community, my world, a better place, then I need to stop myself from making that decision, regroup and purposefully redefine what is I seek.

So then, peace, for me, comes from being motivated by making my community, my world, a better place. How do I accomplish this? How do I go about making my world a better place? Firstly, I need to define the boundaries of what I call “my world” or “my community”. My personal world, at this moment includes the computer that I am writing this on, my office, and my apartment. I am alone here when I write. So how can I make this personal world a better place? I can organize this space more effectively. I can ensure that what I need is within reach and I can reduce the amount of interference that might prevent me from achieving this day’s goals. I can turn my cell phone off. I can close my email program. I can eat a healthy breakfast and limit my coffee intake to two cups. I can stretch and exercise for a few minutes before beginning my daily activities. I can put myself into a positive mind-set through affirmations and meditation. I can practice a sense of gratitude and thank the universe for providing me with the opportunity to continually realize my potential. I have power here in my personal world. I operate from a position of power. I am powerful.

As I expand out into the larger community, I can affect this same world-view on a larger scale. I can maintain a positive attitude and hopefully infect others with this same approach to life. I can compliment the check-out lady on her efficiency. I can let my neighbor know how much I appreciate the work he puts into making his yard look outstanding. I can help someone new to the area find the location they are searching for. I can smile and say thank you. I can offer a “have a great day” to a stranger. This may seem antiquated or idealistic to some, but I believe, I know, through personal experience that it works to make the world a better place; even a world as it is today, a world of self-absorbed individuals who would rather wear ear buds on the light-rail than engage in conversation with a stranger. I get it; the world we live in today seems much scarier than the one I was raised in. Conversing with a stranger has plenty of potential pit-falls. Who knows who the person sitting across from you is? But living a life in fear is no way to live. Risk often results in reward.

Am I being motivated by fear? Am I being motivated by resentment? Greed? Betrayal? Regret? Why do I do the things I do? This question must inform each decision I make. If I am motivated by love than the decision can be counted on as a good decision. If I am motivated by kindness, compassion, mercy, or an attitude of abundance then my decision can be relied on to lead me in the direction of my goal – to realize my life’s fullest potential.

[Top]

Making Life Happen By Enjoying the Small Moments

Posted on March 21, 2018 in Change and Growth

Create! Power! Life!

Create a Powerful Life - Realize You Fullest Potential

I want to eat an antipasto salad and a pomegranate and an order a steak fries. I want to watch a bird go about its business and I’d like to discuss physics. I want to roll a hefty stone down a hill and sit on a tree branch about a third of the way up. I want to glance very, very briefly at the sun (so quickly that it doesn’t hurt) and wash the dirty pots and pans. I want to stay up all night and feel good about how suede feels when you rub it against the grain. I want to ride in an old rusty wagon where one slightly out-of-true wheel struggles to keep up and compliment the check-out lady on her efficiency. I want to feel good when I hear a dog scratching on the screen door with both paws; wanting to be let in and I want to learn to appreciate the simplicity of an abacus.

I want to watch a major rocket launch and have my time consumed watching ants go in and out of their anthill. I would like to discover a new method for determining the distance to Jupiter and land on its moon, Europa (at least in my imagination). I want to sleep in late on Sunday and work as a hod carrier. I realize that carrying hod is hard work but so is living, sometimes. I want to read a novel of pulp fiction and value the intricacies of virtual particle theory. I would love to learn to dance Argentine Tango and then master the art of rhetoric. I would like to read Dante’s Inferno and War and Peace but I feel they are too dense for me.

I would like to fall into a field of dandelions and pull a kid around on a large piece of cardboard and pretend I am a horse pulling a wagon in the old west. If the world were flat, I would walk to the edge and look over. I’m not afraid of heights. I don’t gamble but I’m not averse to taking risks. I love how babies look at you and I wonder what they are thinking. I feel good after a late afternoon thunderstorm when everything has an electric feel to it. I want to experience a total solar eclipse where the world looks like an alien planet; black in the middle with stars out, and red at the horizon. I fear that I’m getting old sometimes and I want to immediately remember that I’m actually very young. I want to sit in the library and giggle over some silly comment the librarian made.

I want to tell my neighbor that his dog barks all night long. He must hear it barking.

I would love to see my cat and best friend Rascal again. I want to tell my father how much I miss him. I’d love to go back in time and not say half the things I’ve said. I want to listen actively and speak more precisely. I’d love to see a bright orange Tanager in a green bush.

I want to watch a baseball game and ask the guy next to me which one is the home team. I want to strike up a conversation with a stranger on the street and ask for their opinion. I want to feel the sand between my toes and taste the salty ocean. I want to sit under a big cottonwood tree and watch the sunshine dapple the cool shade. I want to float upon the laughter I hear. I want to tell someone that everything is going to be okay. I want to still my mind and embrace all of my emotions. I want to be free. I want to love and be loved. I want to become a champion.

I know this is a lot, but I believe I can do it.

[Top]

Are You a Procrastinator?

Posted on March 21, 2018 in Procrastination

If you ask the average person “are you a procrastinator?” they will often grin sheepishly and reluctantly tell you about all the things they ‘put off’ doing in their lives. Most people identify with procrastinating on certain tasks at certain times in their life. Studies have found that around 20% of adults in the general population are chronic procrastinators, and it is often much higher in school or university settings (75%-95%). This means procrastination is a fairly typical behavior for a lot of people, so remember you are not alone! However, there is a difference between general procrastination, which we all do at certain times, and more problematic procrastination.

What Is Procrastination?

Often people mistake procrastination for “laziness.” They talk about it as if it were some nasty character flaw. We hope that as you will soon realize that procrastination has nothing to do with being lazy. If it isn’t laziness, what do we really mean by the term ‘Procrastination’? People will often use definitions like, “putting off”, “postponing”, “delaying”, “deferring”, “leaving to the last minute” – all of which are valid. What we mean by procrastination is; making a decision, for no valid reason, to delay or not complete a task or goal you’ve committed to. You can see from this definition that procrastination is in some way an intentional decision.

Prioritizing

Having said that, it may happen very quickly, almost automatically, and become a habit, so often you may not even realize that you’ve made the decision. Another element of procrastination is that you needlessly put off or don’t complete something you made a commitment to doing. You generally substitute the task for something that is a lesser priority. And most importantly you do this despite there being a lot of disadvantages to procrastinating. What tends to distinguish more general ‘putting-off’ or ‘delaying’ from a more serious procrastination problem is how bad the negative consequences are that follow the procrastination.

What Do You Procrastinate About?

Being a procrastinator doesn’t mean you are necessarily a person who puts off doing everything in life, although this may be the case for some. There are so many different areas of our lives in which we can procrastinate. Some of these areas may be more obvious (i.e., study or work projects) and others may be more subtle (i.e., health check-ups, changing our diet or exercise routine). Really any task we need to complete, any problem we need to solve or any goal we might want to achieve, can be a source of procrastination. For many people, there will be certain areas of their life they are able to keep on top of, and certain areas where procrastination reigns.

Self-Assessment

To help you assess what it is you procrastinate about and what facets of your life you put off, for the next week carry a small note pad around with you. Use this to help yourself become more aware of your day to day actions. Any time you notice that you have put off something important in favor of doing something less important, even though you know it won’t be good for you in the long run, jot down the activity, task, problem or goal you put off. That way you can start to collect some information about what areas of your life you procrastinate on and what areas you follow through on.

Raise Your Awareness

Having paid more attention to your actions over the week, and also remembering past things you have put off, look through the list below and highlight the types of tasks and goals you tend to procrastinate about. This list could include tasks or goals related to work, study, finances, self-development, household chores, health issues, social life, family commitments and relationships.

Now think about which of these causes you the most grief, distress, negative consequences and problems in your life. Choose one of those tasks or goals to work on daily. It may even be a good idea to start with the easiest task or goal first. We know you may want to tackle all of them at once. But remember procrastination is an old habit. To develop a new habit of following through on things, you need to start slowly, and take it one step at a time.

Action Plan

We will still expect our old unhelpful rules and assumptions to be activated when faced with certain tasks or goals. Our unhelpful rules and assumptions have generally been around for a long time, so we can’t expect them to disappear overnight. The key is that instead of being led by these unhelpful rules and assumptions, we choose to do things differently at this point, which puts us on the path to ‘doing’ rather than procrastinating. Over time these unhelpful rules and assumptions may relax, and may not be as easily activated.

So when our old unhelpful rules and assumptions are activated we instead:

  1. Adjust our unhelpful rules and assumptions by challenging them, devising new helpful rules and assumptions, and putting these into practice.

  2. Practice tolerating discomfort using mindfulness techniques (i.e., being aware, watching and observing without judgment, and letting go) and gradually increasing our time sitting with discomfort.

  3. Dismiss our procrastination excuses by challenging and testing any unhelpful conclusions we hold about being better off postponing a task or goal to another time, and instead developing more helpful conclusions It is best for us to make a start on things now.

  4. Use motivational self-talk rather than self-criticism to encourage ourselves to do the task.

Changing your procrastination habit takes time, practice, persistence and patience. Expect setbacks, use your action plan, get support, and recognize your achievements – doing this will help you stay on the path of becoming a ‘doer’ rather than ’procrastinator’.

We will soon make available an on-line course for those of us who procrastinate to the point that it interferes with our ability to realize our potential. Stay tuned for the release date of the incredibly effective online course.

[Top]

Don’t Get Trapped! Overcoming Social Phobia

Posted on March 19, 2018 in Social Anxiety

===Confronting Social Anxiety Disorder===

Some people can have serious problems trying to communicate with peers that are associated with feelings of anxiety or fear. If this is something you deal with, you may have a social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder. There are many steps you can take to help you deal more effectively with day to day interactions.

Confront your negative thoughts. Social anxiety disorder can cause you to think negative thoughts about yourself when faced with a social situation. You may think “I’ll look like a fool” or “I’m going to humiliate myself.” The first step to overcoming them is to identify the thoughts when they pop into you head. Knowing what is causing social phobia can help you overcome it.

Stop yourself when you think these thoughts and say, “No, I will not look like a fool. I am strong and competent and I’m going to get through this.”

Test the reality of your fear. After you have confronted and identified the thoughts, analyze the fear. Try to overwrite the negative thoughts in your brain with positive, realistic ones.

Ask yourself questions about your negative thoughts. For example, ask “Do I know I’m going to humiliate myself” or “How do I know I’m going to blow my presentation?” Then ask yourself, “Will it be the end of the world if I mess up?” The logical answers to the questions are: more than likely, you will not humiliate yourself or mess up. Even if you do mess up, you are human, as is everyone watching you. Even professionals mess up.

Stop unrealistic predictions. One unhelpful thing people do when dealing with social fears is make false, unrealistic predictions about the social situation. You can’t predict what will happen. If you try, you will only come up with the worst case scenario, which will not be close to a realistic reflection of the actual event. This only causes unnecessary anxiety.

Remember that you have the power to change your exaggerated thoughts. For example, if you’re going to a wedding, focus on the fact that you won’t be the center of attention.

Visualize being at the wedding and speaking confidently to others and enjoying yourself.

Realize that not everyone is judging you. Often times social fears can be a result of thinking that everyone around you is passing judgment on you. If so, take a step back, and realize that most people aren’t focused on you. If they are focused on you, they are not thinking the same negative thoughts as you are.

Don’t try to read people’s minds. You can’t know what people are thinking. Plus, they do not see the same negative self that you see in your mind.

Use social situations to practice changing negative thoughts about yourself, and practice stopping and altering your thoughts about judgment from others.

Understand that everyone feels anxiety. You are not the only person that feels anxiety in social situations. Over 12% of the population has it, and that number is increasing.

Understanding this can help put you on the same level as everyone around you. You are not alone in your fears. Also, since everyone feels anxiety from time to time, remembering this can help you realize people won’t criticize or judge you if they realize you are anxious.

Understand overcoming this will take practice. Overcoming your social anxiety won’t happen overnight. It takes commitment and lots of practice. You are learning new behaviors, new patterns of thinking, and new social skills. This all takes practice. However, little by little, you will learn these new skills and start being able to overcome or manage your phobia

Change your focus. One of the ways to help reduce your anxiety is to take the focus off of yourself in social situations. Try to pay attention to your surroundings, the conversation, and connecting with the people around you.

Begin to understand that although you are focused with how others will think of you, everyone else is not as focused on you. If you say or do something embarrassing, others may not even notice. Or if they do, they will quickly forget it.

Try to focus on other things when you notice your physical symptoms in social situations. You are not being as obvious as you think. It is very rare that others can notice physical symptoms of anxiety or even panic attacks. Instead notice your experience of the event, such as music you hear, how each bite of food tastes, or other entertainment such as art or dancing.

Most people are just as nervous in social situations as you are. They are too busy focused on themselves.

===Working on Your Fears===

Take gradual steps. Make a list of 10 situations that cause you anxiety. Rank them, placing the most stressful at the top. Starting at the bottom, try to gradually face each anxiety-inducing situation.

Wait until you feel moderately comfortable with the previous situation before moving to the more stressful one. You want to overcome your anxiety, not increase it.

This list may take a while to get through, and that’s okay. You may never reach number 10. But if you have conquered 1-7, you have made your social phobia significantly more manageable.

If you feel you are struggling through this, contact a mental health professional who can offer you support while you attempt to face each fear on your list.

Make observable goals for yourself. Getting over your social anxiety may seem like a nebulous process. How do you know if you are getting better? Just putting yourself in social situations isn’t enough. That might be step 1, but after that, you need to work on interacting more. Make goals for yourself for each social outing. As you accomplish your goals, you can start to see progress and improvement in yourself.

Make small talk with people you see often, such as employees, schoolmates, or other people that you come in contact with. This may be just a comment on the weather, your homework or work project, or the meeting you had earlier. Start by giving yourself a goal of speaking to one person once a week. Then increase it to every day, or speaking to multiple people in one day.

Make a goal to make one comment in class or in your meeting. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. Focus on the fact that ”you did it.” That is progress.

If you are in a group setting, make a pact with yourself to say at least 3 comments in the conversation.

Ask someone to dinner. It can be as a friend or as a date. Don’t focus on the response – only focus on the fact that you were assertive and asked.

This helps you focus on the task and the goal, not the nerves. The idea here is to get control of the situation. You know you can control what you do, what you say, and what you ask. You can’t control the other person, so don’t worry about them.

You can even try practicing with a friend at home what you’ll do or say in social situations.

Try to program yourself to stop worrying about social situations. Instead, relax. Worrying and stressing about the event causes you to have anxiety when you finally get to the situation.

Try thinking about the event while you are relaxed. Take a warm bath, curl up in a cozy blanket, or listen to your favorite song. Think about the upcoming event. Since you are in a good, relaxed head space, this can help you feel better about the upcoming event.

Imagine that you are in the situation. Imagine yourself relaxed and confident. Thinking about the situation in a positive, relaxed way can help you overcome negative thoughts.

. Deep breathing can be a great way to manage anxiety during or before social situations. Deep breathing can help reduce the physical symptoms of your anxiety, many of which are a result of breathing too quickly. Do breathing exercises everyday so it becomes second nature and comes naturally when you’re in a stressful situation.

Breathe through your abdomen, not your chest. To do this, lay on the floor or sit straight in a chair. Place a hand on your chest, the other on your abdomen. As you inhale, the hand on your abdomen should move while the one on your chest stays mostly at the same place.

Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Hold for a count of 7. Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 8. Gently contract your abdominal muscles to get all the air from the lungs. This is extremely important.

Complete 5 deep breaths. Try 1 deep breath per 10 seconds.

Find support from friends and family. Talking to family and friends about your problems is extremely important. A good friend or family member will help to motivate you and help you overcome your fear. Ask these people to help support you as you gain the courage to try something new.

Ask your family or friends to go places with you that cause anxiety. Sometimes going to new places with someone you trust can help reduce your anxiety.

Make sure you lean on supportive, positive, and encouraging friends and family members. If they are negative, put you down, lecture you, or criticize you, find someone else to support you.

===Interacting in Social Situations===

Socialize more. Although you may be terrified of putting yourself in social situations, you should seek out social situations. The more you avoid something, the more control it has over your mind. The anxiety around it will grow until it becomes something you fear. The more you get used to something, the less fear and control it has over you.

Try making spaces yours. Anything is nerve-wracking when it’s unfamiliar. Go to a restaurant, a part of town, or your gym. Walk around. Become familiar with it. Once you start to become familiar with a place, it can feel more comfortable. Plus, you start to put your focus on your surroundings. Then you can start socializing with people.

Take someone with you. You don’t have to do this alone. Take a friend or family member to an event. Start small. Take a free class at a community center, go to a group class at the gym, volunteer, or join a meet up group and attend a gathering.

Find a club, team, or a group that relates to one of your interests and skills. Finding people with similar interests can help you interact with people. Clubs and groups may give you a smaller environment to socialize in, which may help your anxiety. This makes it easier to force yourself to talk, because you can’t just get lost in the crowd.

Concentrate on the conversation. When you are in a social situation, try concentrating on the conversation instead of your own anxieties. This helps you connect with the other people, which is a good thing, and offers you opportunities to talk. When you start to worry about how you look to everyone else, pause and refocus on the present moment. Add comments and talk when it seems natural.

Focus on the present, instead of replaying things that have already happened.

Try to tough it out. When you are in a situation that causes you anxiety, try to hang in there. At first, the anxiety may feel unbearable, but anxiety gradually lessens the longer you are in a situation. Try to stay in the situation until your anxiety reduces by half. This may take up to half an hour, but oftentimes it lessens quickly.

Some social situations are quick, like saying hello or making small talk. Although that may cause anxiety that you can’t wait through, you can feel good about speaking to the person and making small talk.

Observe and listen when in large groups. Large group situations are great places to practice. You can socialize and be around other people without being the center of attention. There are a bunch of people contributing into the conversation, so don’t feel like you’re pressured to say something. Try to be comfortable. Look around at the other people in the room. Are they all focused on you? Or are they enjoying everyone’s company?

When you get a chance to contribute something meaningful that you think the others will appreciate, throw it in there. You’ll do just fine.

This is a great place to make goals for yourself. Start by saying you’ll say one thing in the conversation, and increase as you get more comfortable.

Remember that most people don’t focus on your flaws. Most people don’t pay attention to people’s flaws. Most people make an effort to pay attention to the good things people do and say. Feel confident in this knowledge and express your good qualities. Be yourself. Most people will enjoy your company.

Those who pick at your flaws usually do so because of a lack of self-esteem on their part. If they are judging you, you don’t want to be around them in the first place.

Be friendly and kind. People like to be around people who make them happy, and kindness is a really easy way to make others happy. Give genuine compliments, make eye contact, show interest, and smile. Whatever you can do to brighten someone’s day is a point in your favor.

===Getting Help===

See your doctor. If you believe you have social anxiety, go see your doctor. Many doctors will work with you to make your visit as easy and anxiety-free as possible. Some may discuss your condition with you over the phone, while others may give you an appointment time before or after business hours. Speak with your doctor so you can start taking steps to helping your phobia.

Try therapy. If your social anxiety is too bad to manage on your own, consult a professional. Therapy may be key to overcoming social anxiety. A therapist can help you with Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which teaches you a different way of thinking, behaving, and reacting to social situations. It can help you feel less anxious and fearful.

CBT helps you learn how to manage physical symptoms through relaxation and breathing, replace negative thoughts with more balanced ones, and gradually face social situations.

Take part in group therapy. In group therapy situations, you undergo CBT in a group setting. This includes role-playing, social skills training, acting, videotaping, and mock interviews. These exercises are supposed to help you face situations that would make you anxious in the real world and prepare for them.

Join a support group. A support group is different than group therapy because it’s aimed at helping you gain support you need during your recovery. Support groups can help you not feel isolated with your anxiety. You can look for support groups in your areas.

Try a CBT based self-help app like Joyable. This app pairs cognitive techniques, education, and a personal coach to help you through social anxiety.

Use medication. Sometimes medication can be used to help with the symptoms of social anxiety, but medicine will not cure it. As soon as you stop the medication, symptoms such as anxiety will return. Medicine is generally used alongside therapy and self-help techniques.

Common medications used are Beta blockers for performance anxiety that help the physical symptoms of anxiety, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines.

== Tips ==

Do things one step at a time.

Be Positive.

Be Yourself.

You will have set backs. This happens to everyone.  Don’t dwell on failure. Remember, you are learning. Think of ways that you will do better next time.

Find people who are right for you. Choose those who make you happiest over those who look popular and cool.

Be comfortable. They’re just people, and there are over 7 billion of them in the world.

There are social phobia groups. If there’s one near your area, have the courage to visit. You’ll meet some really nice people who are really keen to meet you.

== Warnings ==

Don’t avoid things. Every time you avoid an event, person, or a situation, you let your social anxiety win. You will be proud of yourself later and feel much more confident in social situations. The more you avoid an uncomfortable situation, the worse it can become.

Don’t get all stressed out if some people don’t like you. Everybody has people that don’t like them.

Don’t get discouraged. Have perseverance and patience because in the end the results will be worth all the work and courage you had to muster up for it.

Create! Power! Life! Live Your Life to the Fullest!

© 2018, Abundant Life Science, All Rights Reserved

[Top]

The Reversal of Negative Core Beliefs

Posted on March 19, 2018 in Negative Beliefs

We are all inculcated early in our lives with beliefs that are foundational in nature, or core, both positive and negative. As core beliefs, these are so embedded into our psychic experience as to be difficult at best, to change. Positive core beliefs lead to a positive values system and pro-social behavior.

These beliefs might include “I am a good person”, “hard work pays for itself in the long run”, “love conquers all,” or “knowledge is power.” These positive core beliefs, when reinforced and reconfirmed through positive behaviors can result in a healthy and productive individual with an optimistic worldview. Negative core beliefs, conversely, may have an opposite effect.

Beliefs including “I am a failure,” “I am stupid,” “everyone is out to get me,” or “I am unlovable” might result in behaviors that reaffirm these core beliefs.

Maladaptive, antisocial behavior and activity may affirm these negative core beliefs as the beliefs themselves create situations, circumstances and events that, along with like-minded individuals conspire to foster an atmosphere conducive to failure; a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. These negative core beliefs can often be easily identified through an examination of one’s surface projection or behavior.

The man who projects an outward aura of a hardened tough guy, puffing out his chest at every opportunity and loudly proclaiming his physical superiority in an effort to intimidate, might be said to be outwardly compensating for a core belief that he is a failed weakling. Often these negative core beliefs are unrecognized by the person possessing them having held them from the age of early childhood.

One’s outward or surface projection may seem automatic and natural to them but to the knowledgeable observer constitutes an obvious compensation for feelings of inadequacy.

These surface projections are defense mechanisms then, simply expressed in an effort to cope with or better yet, to deny the horrible truth these underlying beliefs would reveal if brought out into the light of day.

An effective treatment modality would comprise attempts to confront the surface behaviors “head on” and ask, “What kind of person, what belief system would produce such outward behavioral displays.”

This would be conducted in a group setting using the collective to bring pressure to bear on the issue at hand. Who better to confront one’s own behavior than one’s peers who see much more and know the subject more intimately than any outsider?

By confronting the individual concerning the outwardly displayed behavior and with an adequate amount of pressure, an emotional catharsis may be brought to the fore, after the subject voices staunch denials and rebuttals, whereby the subject may reach a point of surrender and be open to suggestions therapeutic in nature.

At this point the negative core belief would be challenged through a dialectic approach in a caring, calm, encouraging manner. For one whose core beliefs might include “I will always fail”, the question may be asked, “where it is that prove that you will always fail? Have you always failed in the past? Have you known success in your life?

Have you ever succeeded in a goal you set for yourself?” The subject will be left, ultimately, with no other option but to admit to having succeeded even to the smallest degree in life.

This is the beginning of the process for tearing down that deeply embedded negative core belief. This small crack in the foundation of this belief will ultimately lead to its complete usurpation.

By building on this first crack the individual would be asked to record instances, on a daily basis, where success offered the realization, no matter how small and seemingly inconsequential, of the achieved goal or desire.

Further support could be offered in the form of evidentiary fact or anecdotal experience. For example, “failure must be embraced in order that one succeed” or “failure is how one learns to succeed.”

Beliefs are the truths people hold on to and guide their lives by. The power of belief can trap you, as in the belief that you deserve only a limited amount of happiness. Or belief can free you, as in the belief that you are safe and protected in the cosmic plan.

When you open your awareness to your strongest beliefs, which are known as core beliefs, two things happen. First, you find out who you are and why you behave in the ways you do.

Second, new energies become available when you pursue the core beliefs that are life-supporting, fulfilling, and spiritually transforming.

What Are Your Core Beliefs?

What you believe about yourself has both positive and negative effects. If deep down you believe, “I must be successful at all costs,” you will gain strong motivation, which is positive.

But if you believe success involves ruthless, selfish, and hurtful behavior, your motivation is compromised. This is what it means to have your belief control you instead of you controlling your belief. Here are some other common core beliefs that people identify with:

  • I want to be intimate as long as I don’t get hurt.

  • I deserve love as long as it doesn’t make me too vulnerable.

  • I want to be of service as long as it doesn’t cost me too much.

If your beliefs are compromised the way that these are, you have not found the true power of core beliefs yet.

How to Create Positive Core Beliefs

A powerful core belief is pure and direct. It gives you a clear sense of who you are. It isn’t confused, conflicted, or compromised. Let’s take steps to make this the kind of core belief you are activating. Step one is to bring your core beliefs into awareness. The four key beliefs you want to activate are:

  • I am loving and lovable.

  • I am worthy.

  • I am safe and trusting.

  • I am fulfilled and whole.

You already have existing core beliefs in these four areas of love, self-worth, security, and fulfillment. Your beliefs can’t be changed simply by throwing out an old one and adopting a new one like changing your wardrobe.

The change must come at the level of self-awareness. At the core of your being, where your true self resides, the truth about you is clear and unequivocal: You deserve unconditional love; you are of unique worth in the universe; you can trust Nature to protect and uphold you; and your fulfillment comes from being whole.

To overhaul your beliefs means that you get closer and closer to your core beliefs, these four inner truths, which are absolute. Right now, there’s a gap between them and what you experience.

For most people, the positive and negative side of their core beliefs depends on how good or bad their experiences have been in the past. If you have been deeply hurt in love, for example, it is hard to adopt the core belief that you deserve infinite love.

A Self-Awareness Exercise to Create Your Core Beliefs

But experience from the past only keeps you stuck in the past. Your core beliefs are activated in the now, every day. They can only be changed in the now, also. Here’s how:

  • Look upon what’s happening now as a reflection of your core beliefs.

  • If the reflection is negative, pause and ask yourself why it fits the storyline your beliefs create. If you experience any kind of abusive treatment, for example, this reflects a victimhood story supported by a core belief that keeps you in the story. If you experience unexpected kindness, on the other hand, this reflects a storyline that includes compassion and reflects a core belief in how much you deserve love.

  • Whenever you get any hint of the story you are living, tell yourself that you don’t need stories. You only need to live in the present moment.

  • In the present moment, your true self is trying to bring you closer to an improved level of love, self-worth, trust, and wholeness. Keep that in mind as your daily vision, and remind yourself that you are always moving in this direction.

Using self-awareness is the key to changing your core beliefs, and as you know, self-awareness expands through your meditation practice. By experiencing the silence, peace, and wholeness at the core of your being, you automatically begin to melt away self-defeating beliefs, opening the door to core beliefs that reflect the perfection of pure consciousness.

Create! Power! Life! Live Your Life to the Fullest!

© 2018, Abundant Life Science, All Rights Reserved

[Top]

Be Still and Reap the Rewards – Operating from a Position of Power

Posted on March 17, 2018 in Change and Growth

man standing in field, looking to the sunset

There is a gentleman here who since his arrival, is constantly complaining, becoming angry about how the correctional officers speak to him and act toward him. Shane feels he is being disrespected and makes vague threats concerning officers and staff.

I overheard him complaining one day and offered to him that the correctional officer doesn’t lose any sleep over the situation, perhaps doesn’t care, and most likely doesn’t even know his name. Perhaps Shane could let go and find some peace in his life.

He is constantly operating from a position of weakness rather than a position of power. And by weakness and power I’m not making a moral judgment call. Operating from a position of weakness doesn’t make one a bad person.

Weakness and power in this context refer to positions of unrealized potential versus realized potential, inefficiency versus efficiency in inefficacy versus efficacy.

Man standing in field, looking to the sunset.

What Shane has done is to externalize what he perceives as the problem. The problem he is experiencing is “out there,” it is a problem with the correctional officer and the correctional officer’s attitude, in Shane’s way of thinking.

However, by externalizing the problem, by taking no responsibility for the situation, he has abdicated all power in his ability to solve it. In Shane’s eyes, he might solve the problem by verbally assaulting the correctional officer or by physical assault.

But this solves nothing. It would only serve to compound the problem. It would result in further loss of freedom, an increase in his stress level and to generally make his life more unmanageable. As long as the problem is “out there” it is completely unsolvable.

He is operating from a position of weakness.

No personal problem, if it is externalized, can be solved. All problems then must be internalized in one’s mind. They are a function of how we view ourselves in the context of our place in the world. This perception is based on our beliefs, values, attitudes and result in a particular behavioral pattern.

Therefore, problems must addressed through an internalization process by realizing that they exist within ourselves. How then could Shane, by internalizing his problem, address the issue at hand?

He could realize that he is being driven by ego and false pride. He could realize that a solution might be to walk away knowing he can become mentally still, calm his emotions and find peace spiritually.

The most powerful position we can operate from is one in which we are still mentally, calm emotionally and peaceful spiritually. Only then can we see ourselves in the context of our place in the world with any real clarity.

I play the card game Hearts with three other gentleman here. It is a fantastic game in that it represents a microcosm of the world complete with the joys and sorrows, the grief and the ecstasy that the real-world provides.

One’s, often hidden or guarded, personality traits come to the fore when playing; passiveness, aggression, compassion. Alliances are formed and betrayed, hopes are realized or abandoned and ultimately the game is either won or lost.

One’s alter ego may take hold in a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type of mentality. It is truly a wonderful game and above all it is played in an “every man for himself” method.

The card game, Hearts, is a very pure game and there is an expectation by seasoned players that a certain protocol or method of play be followed. When this isn’t followed, animosity and resentment may result.

Enter John, a player who understands the mechanics of play but perhaps not the subtle spirit which guides the game.

When challenged, John may abandon all hope and proceed on a streak of self-destruction to the detriment of the other players. His feelings become hurt and his sense of false pride compels him.

He loses the perspective that Hearts purists rely upon for quality game play. I originally saw John’s attitude, toward the game and the other players, as a problem. The problem was that John was not a good Hearts player, at least in the context of the spirit of the game.

If only John could get over himself, if he could just see and appreciate the games purity all would benefit and the games would be of a much higher quality. I had externalized my problem and I could not change John nor his playing style.

Although these options were beyond my purview, I focused my energy on changing something beyond my ability to change. Since my problem was externalized I had completely abdicated my power and my ability to solve the problem.

I took a step back and honestly viewed my motivation for wanting to change these externalized concerns. I asked myself what the true nature of the problem was and I realized it was an issue of how I saw myself in the context of my place in the world.

It was predicated on my core beliefs, values, attitudes and emotional state. What I realized was that John and I suffered from exactly the same problem. So I assumed responsibility. I took ownership of the problem by internalizing it.

This required a brutally honest appraisal of what motivated me. Now solutions abounded. Now I was operating from a powerful position. I could accept John’s game play as a challenge and learn to grow from it. I could simply walk away and no longer play with him.

I was in control! I felt completely and utterly powerful. Empowerment is a heady experience. Being still mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, along with an honest motivational appraisal are the linchpins for the ultimate power position.

All great leaders understand this. It allows one to lead by example and to bring out the best in one’s subordinates, family, friends and associates. It is a major support in our ability to grow and to learn.

Operating from a position of power, via an honest calm and centered self, is what I have sought my entire life.

This position has brought me peace, comfort and an ability to ultimately realize my fullest potential. My advice to all those who have sought a similar state of being? Be still, be true to yourself, and reap the reward!

Create! Power! Life! Live Your Life to the Fullest!

© 2018, Abundant Life Science, All Rights Reserved

[Top]

You Will Tap the Universal Natural Order

Posted on March 17, 2018 in The Natural Order

There is a natural order to the universe. Everything with the exception of the human species and its potential is fully realized. Water flows downhill naturally. A flower has bloomed without planning, work or fore thought. The deer in the forest is a deer neither happy nor sad. Everything is as it is by the order of nature. I observe the housefly and say to myself, “What an exemplary fly!” It is the best fly that it can be. It has completely and totally realized its fullest potential. It is neither resentful nor frustrated, neither saddened nor remorseful. It is all that it can be. If a common housefly can achieve this state, why can’t I?

I however, swim upstream. I allow myself to degenerate, to challenge the order around me and to fall into a pit of despair. I do not thrive like the life around me. This life is directed primarily to fill a space larger than it currently occupies. It, without direction or guidance, moves toward its fulfillment naturally. Yet I am part of this natural order. When did I learn to fight that which should be my destiny? Why do I feel lonely surrounded by the city’s multitudes? Where have I gone wrong? Where is my full actualization of self? If life is directed to fulfill its potential why do I sabotage mine? If I have been cowardly, prone to selfishness, full of hate, I pray that ultimately my fate be courage, selflessness, compassion and love.

The human brain is said to be the most complex organ known. We are capable of creating the most sublime beauty, the most amazing feats of technology, and the most agonizing acts of brutality. The human mind is capable of understanding the fundamental truth of the nature of reality, from the sub-atomic realm, to the awesome expanse to the edge of the universe. Yet, despite this power, despite the incredible ability of the human mind, I still struggle. I am tortured with understanding my place in the natural order. Who am I? Where do I come from? What is my purpose here?

We all have a duty to realize our fullest potential; a duty to ourselves and the rest of society to become all that we can become. To live rich, full lives, free of all that hinders the fullest extent of being is our goal, our obligation.

Create! Power! Life! Realize Your Fullest Potential!

[Top]