Are You Thinking Clearly?

walking on clouds

Photo By E. Rachel Thompson

One of the main premises in my book is that, we don’t always understand what it is about our own thinking that is the culprit. We don’t want to accept that at times, we make decisions that hinder and sabotage those very same goals for which we strive. How does someone who works so hard towards an objective actually “choose” to make a debilitating decision? Perhaps a bit of explanation may provide some interesting insight. Allow me to give a personal example.

When my 22-year marriage came to an abrupt end, I needed to find out what was wrong with me. Fortunately I found a great therapist. In fact, my trust level was so high that I went to the initial sessions with expectations of “Tell me what I need to do! What books should I read? I’m a great listener and I’ll do nearly anything you ask.” No doubt I was determined to fix what was wrong with me. But this was EXACTLY the problem. I was seeking the answers from someone else. I needed him to tell me what to do because I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t trust own judgements. I didn’t understand my own thinking was the major contributor to not just my marriage but many other aspects. Most of my life was spent thinking I wasn’t worthy enough to find those answers from within and because it had gone on for decades, it seemed “normal”. Once there is a normal or natural feel to something, there is no need to fix it.

Society often promotes this kind of reasoning which makes overcoming it more difficult. As children, we are constantly barraged with negative ideas and thoughts from others and when those words come from someone we trust, they contribute to more psychological damage. As adults, if we do not work to overcome these detrimental influences, they will continue to impact us and cloud our judgement ultimately hurting ourselves.

I don’t believe for one second that people who appear to be “stuck” and can’t seem to find the answers, want to be in the dark. People want to do the right thing but when they are unsure, sometimes inaction seems more appropriate than the wrong action. Confusion is not fun for anyone; we all want to think clearly and realizing it could be our own thinking that is the stumbling block could be a great first step.

Here’s another interesting thought. When you read the first paragraph, what came to your mind. Were you thinking, “yes, I know someone just like this” or were you reflecting on yourself to see if it were something you faced? If you think you know someone with this issue then my suggestion is that you look at yourself. It’s always easier to see the other person’s difficulties but self-growth is not about fixing someone else. If you are growing, then you are not the same person you were a year ago. Very possibly not even the same a month ago, or perhaps even a week. We are constantly changing so instead of “being who you are”, perhaps the journey should be to seek who we are and what we will become.

My book, Shame On Me – Healing A Life Of Shame-Based Thinking, is available on the Amazon US website (click here for the link). I also want to thank E. Rachel Thompson for the photograph and as always, your comments are appreciated.

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Making Real Change

Tree on fire

Photo By E. Rachel Thompson 

After my book was published, I needed to find an inspirational quote to accompany my signature on the inside cover, one which would briefly describe the overarching theme of the book. The phrase which eventually emerged was, “Change happens when we change the way we think about ourselves”. Upon first reading this statement it may be blatantly obvious however, there is a deeper, richer meaning that may require some explanation. Please allow me to that opportunity.

How do we really make a change in our lives? With regards to self-confidence, do we simply wake up one morning and find ourselves writhing in its hangover after drinking some magic potion? Reflect on the last time you recall having a boost in your self-confidence. What caused or influenced it or what steps were taken? Did a mentor or someone you admire tell you something which sparked its occurrence? Perhaps, but it didn’t become “self-confidence” until the moment you believed it yourself! YOU had to accept it to be true about YOU or it would not have happened.

Had this mentor not validated those efforts so rigorously attempted or rather instead chastised you for a job horribly done, the reverse may have happened and could have substantially increased feelings of unworthiness. Again, it would not have occurred unless YOU ultimately accept those invalidations of YOU. This is precisely why it’s important that our own feelings about who WE are become the true measure of our own healing and growth.

Our minds are a powerful tools in personal growth but can also be the biggest stumbling block. Understand that no matter who attempts to validate or undermine our self-esteem it is ultimately we who must accept those thoughts to be accurate. It is when WE believe them that they come to pass. Others can greatly influence or contribute to how we feel about ourselves especially when we are very young and impressionable but its the acceptance of that which fundamentally makes this change occur.

It is possible to heal from those past “misbeliefs” and ourselves and here are 2 helpful posts to get you started with that: The Struggle to Heal & The Struggle to heal Part #2 . As always my thanks to E. Rachel Thompson for the beautiful photo and please feel free to comment.

The Struggle to Heal; Part 2

waterfall1

Photo By E. Rachel Thompson

In the last post, I introduced a few observations about healing. (click here to read it)  Namely that it is rarely discussed and when it is, the remedies are presented in vague or unclear ways. I have no doubt that if people who for decades, have been carrying painful memories, knew how to “put it behind them” they most definitely would. I left you with a final thought to ponder and that was healing starts with forgiveness.

For this discussion, let’s keep it to those who want to heal from past memories, abuses, or other tragedies. Please remember that each person has a unique set of circumstances but in most of these cases, there 2 different people we can choose to forgive: the person who harmed us and ourselves. When we forgive the other person, why are we doing it? Is it for their benefit? No. The forgiveness helps us release negativity. However, I believe that the first person we must forgive is ourselves!

Although some may strongly disagree, please allow me an explanation. Many of these incidents occur in our childhood. No matter what type of abuse, many wonder “what’s wrong with me? What did I do to deserve this?” The answer is absolutely nothing. You didn’t cause it; you were the unfortunate person selected. However, we’ve spent our lives blaming us and continuing to live with a constant cloud over our heads that says “why am I this terrible person?”. Can you in any way empathize with this scenario?

This is PRECISELY what needs to be forgiven. The idea that you somehow deserved it or that you were bad. But you weren’t! Forgive yourself for thinking and feeling all those awful, negative things about you. Those horrible presumptions only caused you to make decisions that were hurtful and sabotaging to your life. They made you feel inferior and unworthy. It is high time you forgave yourself for feeling that way. You never deserved it!

Regarding the people who harmed you, do you need to forgive them? I believe that is totally up to you. Now this again may ruffle some feathers but that is how learning occurs. I am not discussing any religion or religious outcome. I’m talking about healing in this life. Taking the shackles off of your figurative self and unleashing your potential. It starts with forgiving yourself. The other person may be gone, dead, or you simply can’t face them. That is no reason to stop your healing. This is how you “let it go” and allow it to “stay in the past”.

Once you forgive yourself that memory now can become one of healing and you change how you recall that memory. Although it may continue to trigger some anger, you can tell yourself that you have forgiven you and this forgiveness allows a peace to overcome you. Try it. That is exactly what I do.

In my book, “Shame On Me – Healing A Life Of Shame-Based Thinking”, I go in to greater detail of the process and what I did to overcome it. Many have recommend this book and I’ve been honored and privileged to help. It is my passion to provide the tools that aid you in overcoming these difficulties. Recalling them perhaps may be painful and difficult but the freedom you earn by becoming victorious over these struggles surpasses the pain tenfold.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments or contact me directly. In my journey, I discovered I had a gift for helping others and showing them how the negative things we thought about ourselves are typically what holds us back. Change happens when we change the way we feel about ourselves. This does sound like a simple statement but in the next post, I’ll explain how this works to give us more self-confidence or create greater unworthiness. As always, your comments are appreciated and thanks to E. Rachel Thompson for the beautiful photos.

The Struggle to Heal

Sunrays

Photo By E. Rachel Thompson

Healing is a subject that is very dear to me. Not only is it the subtitle of my book, it is vital for us when we need to overcome struggles from our past. But how does this process happen? When something is cut, broken, or even severed, healing must transpire before growth will continue. There is one thing in common that every living organism has with regards to healing. The object that received the injury must heal itself. Allow me to explain.

When an abrasion occurs on the skin, there are several steps in the healing process. First the wound can be cleaned and ointment applied. A bandage may be placed over it to speed it up or keep out infection. However, healing doesn’t occur until the body regenerates itself and the veins, arteries, and skin assimilate back together. It’s not the bandage or the salve applied to the skin that heals it. These simply assist and promote the healing but the body must be able to do the work. Although a scar may be left behind our physical body does its best to heal and continue growth.

So how does this work when it comes to healing our emotional selves? How do we take events from our past that have done tremendous damage to our psychological well-being and heal those memories?  If healing must occur in order to continue to grow then it must be an important step. One which I believe is all too often overlooked.

Before I get into my opinions on how it happens, think about what you have heard or even experienced on this important topic; especially those events which occurred long ago in your past. You’ve probably heard advice such as “Let it go” or “leave the past in the past” but what exactly does that mean or how does one go about doing it? I don’t believe those who are haunted by troubling memories want to hang on to them. If they knew how to leave them there, they would! Giving someone such sage advice is probably doing them more damage because now they feel worse for not knowing how to implement that advice.

I am looking forward to your thoughts on ways that you have healed and helped others to understand how this process works. I am very passionate about helping others heal from any and all of these types of situations and want to add your insight into my approach. However, this subject is too broad to cover in one blog but I will leave this one thought to ponder.

Healing begins with Forgiveness

Yes, this sounds very simple but it’s true. “Forgiveness of whom?” you may ask. That will be the topic of the my next post. Please, leave your comments below and thank you.