Posts Tagged Psychology

Dreams: Who’s Directing Your Life?

While aspects of you encourage, “Go for your dreams,” simultaneously other parts threaten, “Don’t you dare.” A cast of characters lives inside of you and at different times you may receive conflicting or contradictory messages. If you are want to be happy, successful, and fulfilled, consider putting your “dreamer” in the director’s chair.

dreamsWhat are the voices inside of you saying? As you turn the volume up on the voice of your dreamer and down on the voice of your doubter, you can practice discernment allowing for greater clarity. To assist you in hearing these voices, let’s set up a simple scenario. Picture something you want, something that matters to you. Choose a personal or professional dream and consider how these various parts of you might respond.

Dreamer – The dreamer inside says, “What if…” and is open to a creative process without over-analyzing it. This is the part of you that imagines, believes in possibilities, has hope, and seeks kindred spirits. Dreamers talk about their ideas with intention, clarity, and passion. Great dreamers get others excited about their vision. And most importantly, successful dreamers take action to make their dreams a reality.

Doubter – This voice is often heard saying such things as, “I don’t think this is a good idea.” The doubter provides concern touting, “But what if…” and imagines the worst. If you crank the volume up it can even become annihilating with accusations shouting things like, “Are you out of your mind?” William Shakespeare said, “Our doubts are traitors.” Carlos Castaneda said, “In order to experience the magic of life, you must banish the doubt.” My favorite quote on this subject is in The Prophet where Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Doubt is a feeling too lonely to know that Faith is its twin brother.”

Realist – “Be realistic…” Modulate the doubter down a notch or two and it becomes the essential voice of the realist. This part wants to know, “What’s the plan?” including where is the time and money coming from. However, in the early phase of dreaming, you may not know. The challenge is not to allow the realist to immediately turn into a doubter who might judge or obliterate your idea. Honor this voice by (to the best of your ability) giving it the information it needs. If you ignore or reject it, it will cleverly agitate or distract you. Being realistic offers prudence and makes you do your homework but if you are overly realistic or go to strategy too soon, you will most likely compromise the dream and kill your passion.

Visionary – This voice says, “Anything is possible so let’s dream big!” These are the leaders and people we look up to and admire. They have learned the process of realizing their dreams and embody what it means to be a big dreamer. Setbacks or failures do not stop them. Simply put, a visionary has a vision and invites others to join them. They are found in all walks of life and we are often so inspired when they are in the presence of a true visionary that we sign up just to be near them or part of what they’re doing.

A visionary is not defined by the size of the dream since dreams are precious and come in all sizes, shapes and areas of life. If you were living your dream life, how would it be different? What do you see yourself doing? How many lives would you touch? What would you change? Who would you help if you were truly living as a visionary?

Avoid Sabotaging Your Dream

When these different voices merge they can become muddled and result in confusion and poor decisions. For example, you might poison your dream by projecting doubt into it. Then with each step you take toward what you want, you also move toward your doubt. Doubt and fear, which most of us may have at some time or another (especially when embarking on a new or big dream) do not belong in your dream. These feelings are simply part of your reality. This is a subtle and essential point.

Here’s a simple technique for avoiding this sabotaging pattern. On a piece of paper draw a line across the middle. On the top half write out your dream with as much detail as possible. On the bottom write out your reality in relationship to your dream, where you are now. Reality usually includes good news and (so called) bad, as well as any fear or doubt you may have. Just state the facts and your feelings about them.

Now, which one are you more committed to; your dream or your reality? We tend to choose “reality” when we don’t have a clearly defined dream or when we saturate our dream with doubt. If your dream is loaded with your worst imagined nightmares, reality will always seem safer and saner. But doubt placed appropriately as part of your reality, allows two things to happen. First, no longer blown out of proportion, it’s an obstacle that basically requires a strategy to manage it. But more importantly, with doubt where it rightfully belongs, you are free to move forward.

It’s like a play. All the characters have wisdom and insight, but you can’t clearly understand them when they’re speaking at once. Take time to tune in, to listen, and on a regular basis, have the courage to give your dreamer its directorial debut or even the leading role.

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Wisdom From An Indian Elder

mountain dreamer

The Invitation by Oriah

Wisdom from An Indian Elder

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming, from the book The Invitation published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved

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The Meaning of Meaning

Whether we are aware of it or not, we constantly look for meaning in everything we do. Of course, linguistically this makes the word “because” very powerful. If a reason is provided for a request, however inconvenient or unpleasant, it makes the request more difficult to turn down. We want to do things that are familiar and the brain conveniently and seemingly independently “fires” neurons of certainty to keep us comfortable and happy. This constant activity can make changing any situation where we feel limited or unresourceful difficult to alter. We become stuck and feel powerless to adapt.

think-outside-the-boxWhat can be done to make change more accessible and transformation more possible? First of all we can reflect on the meaning we give to many things that we are subjected to. Strangely enough, it is amazing how simple it is to reframe any meaning we attach to something if we are prepared to make the effort. Once we understand that the brain is eager to keep us in a state of homeostasis it becomes easier to stop and reflect on alternative thinking. We have to challenge ourselves and let the unconscious know we want to think differently. This act uses innate creativity and is strengthened by using both hemispheres of the brain.

When we experience an event, we can develop a habit of stopping, reflecting and thinking: What is happening here? What else could this mean? Often we will never really know what the actual situation means, but thinking this way will allow us to broaden the way we habitually respond to a given situation. It is useful to consider that the information is just that…information, and data is open to interpretation and often ambiguous in nature. Let’s face it, data can mean just about anything!

However, interpretation of the data will determine the action that will be taken and often we simply respond habitually and fail to contemplate that there may be a better way to think about the situation. Once habitual reframing takes place it can lead to making more informed and creative decision making.

Now, what is wrong with certainty, you may ask. It’s worked well for me and why should I start to become something I’m not? Well, there is a trap in thinking along conventional, habitual lines. Does your thinking derive the benefits you ideally want? Do you make meaning in the most effective manner? Does your “certainty” get the outcomes you desire? This is where the “thinker and prover” is demonstrated, often to our cost. We busily make sure that everything that happens proves what we think it means. Confirmation is a lightning fast response to what we perceive to be true. But is it? Even when the evidence is sketchy it is amazing how we can adjust it to fit our model of the world.

Thinking differently, even fearlessly, can have a profound effect upon the quality of life. It can open up the possibilities and prevent you from overlooking potential opportunities. If you have been guilty of believing you cannot do something, how uplifting could it be to believe it may be possible? Challenging, but possible. Why saddle yourself with these self-imposed limitations?

Keep in mind that meaning is just interpreted data. Then think about the data in as many ways as you can. Consider the situation in VAK terms – what else could the sights sounds and feelings represent? Throw in smells and tastes if appropriate. Open up your internal dialogue and ask yourself: What else could this mean? There’s no need to restrict yourself; just as the question and wait for the fireworks from your creative juices to do its thing. You can create any meaning you wish and you can decide this is preferable to remaining stuck with no options. Get into this habit and don’t be surprised if opportunities begin to become more accessible.

Mike Lally – About the Author:

Mike is one of Australia’s finest Neuro-Linguistic Programming trainers. He is a sought-after executive coach, speaker and workshop presenter. He is a leading source of NLP, influence, hypnosis, body language and emotional intelligence skills. He has worked as an Information Technology Manager, an Investment Administration Manager and a National Client Services Manager.

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Self-Improvement ~Two Basic Principles.

From a high level perspective, most self-improvement knowledge can be summarized as two principles below:

  1. Love yourself, work on your self-esteem. Take responsibility for how you feel/think/act. Work on reducing your ego. Do not let people/situations hurt your ego, and if hurt, do not act on the thoughts when hurt. Center your mind before you act.
  2. Love others. Boost their self-esteem. Do not intentionally hurt other people’s ego.  Keep developing people skills so you will reduce the probability of even unintentionally hurting others, and increase the chance of making others feeling good about themselves and hence you. 

Let us look into these in further detail:

Principle #1:

Our ego is the single reason why we experience all the negative emotions and all the suffering.  Our ego is just a thought of who we think we are in terms of what we do, what we own, and what others think of us. The entire spiritual path is about reducing our ego. As our ego’s reduces, wisdom naturally increases, and our life gets better. Loving ourselves is very Important. Self-esteem is the critical component that determines the quality of our lives. The core teaching of self-help is that we are responsible for our lives, and that no matter what happens around us, we are responsible for how we feel. The meaning that we associate to events is what creates our feelings. By consciously assigning empowering meaning  to events, we can always control how we feel. Wisdom is in knowing that it is never others that hurt us, but we choosing to hurt ourselves by the thoughts we think.

Principle #2:

The other side of the the core self-help knowledge is to love others and make them feel valued. Although it would be great to have people around with no ego, practically speaking, all people around us have egos, just like we do. Wisdom thus lies in boosting people’s self-esteem – to make them genuinely feel good and appreciated. While it’s clear that intentionally hurting other people’s ego is not a good idea, what may not be that apparent is that we unintentionally hurt people thanks to our lack of skills in dealing with people. Much of classic self-help knowledge such as ”How to win friends and influence people” and most books on “relationship skills”  are about learning skills so that we become a master of dealing with people. There is a psychology for every situation, age group, sex, and profession. Our ignorance of human psychology leads us to untold pain in dealing with people. Becoming more and more skilled in dealing with people the right way so we do not violate principle #2 is a great asset. This part can take a long time to master, as life always leads to new situations/people in which we have not yet learnt the  proper psychology for the situation. For example, many people struggle with marriages simply because of ignorance of psychology of the opposite sex.

Many relationship problems are a result of not following these principles

Most of the relationship problems between two people, whether at home or work, happens due to people violating either principle #1 or principle #2. The patterns of all friction between two people A and B happens in one of the following ways:

1) A violates principle #1 =>  B violates principle #1

Example:

A gets angry at B due to an expectation B did not meet, and his ego is hurt. B in turn is hurt by the negative energy A is sending him, and reflects back the anger in some way. He may become hurt, depressed, sad or send back anger.

2) B violates principle #2 =>  A violates principle #1 => B violates principle #1

Example:

B unknowingly hurts A, due to some ignorance, perhaps lack of people skills. A takes that action personally, gets hurt, and sends some negative energy towards B. B in turn retalitates with negative energy.

Solution to many relationship problems lies in simply following these principles

The solution to avoiding friction between two people happens in one of the following ways:

  1. A follows principle #1 => B has no problem.
  2. B follows principle #2 => A has no problem.
  3. A violates principle #1 =>  B still follows principle #1 => no problem  (i.e B does not retaliate)
  4. B violates principle #2 =>  A still follows principle #1 => no problem  (i.e A does not retaliate)

Apply these principles on yourself, not others

The interesting thing is that even as we break one of these principles, we expect our counterpart to follow them! For example, we knowingly/unknowingly hurt the other (principle #2), but yet expect our counterpart to not act out as they do when hurt (principle #1). Or, we hurt ourselves by giving disempowering meaning to events related to what the other did (principle #1), and expect the other to make it right ( principle #2) Wisdom lies in applying these principles on ourselves, and not on our counterparts. We can only control ourselves, not others. Expecting others to comply only leads to disappointment.

 The reason we are creators of our life is that regardless of whether people around us are following these principles or not, if we follow them, we are able to completely direct the experience of our life. Not following these principles leads to negative, disempowered and painful situations, and following these leads to positive, empowered, and happy experiences.

Posted by Joanne Wellington for Mediums World

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