Emotional Manipulation — there’s an app for that!

In doing research on mobile apps available for emotional development, I found this one (for Android). I haven’t purchased it, but just looking at some of the screenshots of the app make it clear that many people could benefit from this education.

If you feel manipulated, it’s probably true. If that feels uncomfortable to you, then understand that you can educate yourself to overcome those feelings.

It is not the other person’s responsibility to solve this problem for you. It is your responsibility to develop your emotional maturity.

Change is usually not as difficult as you might think, but it’s usually uncomfortable. This is primarily because you’ll be doing things that you’re not familiar with. The benefits you get from changing towards functional, healthy choices will far outweigh the discomfort.

What are the chances…?

Robert Krulwich offers two perspectives on life, one where we are totally improbable, and the other where we are absolutely inevitable. He includes a fun infographic (I love infographics!) that might help make this topics manageable to think about.

I subscribe to the first of the two theories in this piece. Extending that premise, I find that successful couples are astounding, amazing demonstrations of cooperation, love, and respect.

Regardless, the determination of how you “traverse this bardo” — how you engage in this life, with yourself and with others, is based on your choices. Of course, we can’t control other people, places, or things, but we can always choose our own actions.

Just tossing this out there for those that feel compelled to take someone for granted… including yourself.

Are you afraid of change hurting too much? Here’s a reality check.

mature: no longer subject to great expansion or development. –thefreedictionary.com

One of the signs of mental and emotional maturity is being able to process varying levels of a concept or situation; the opposite of simplistic, or “black-and-white” thinking and feeling. Personal change or development is, unfortunately, often bound by fear, a catalyst of immature thinking, and in this article, I am referring to a person’s integrated development.

This challenge can take place in many parts of life: entering into new relationships, job transitions, lifestyle changes, starting a new business, pursuing a dream, dieting, exercise, human development (adolescence, young adulthood, etc…), recovery from addiction, detaching from dysfunctional relations… pretty much anything representing change can be framed this way.

Here’s the reality check… the discomfort doesn’t last forever. In fact, it often lasts for far less time than you might think. I’ve found that the process of change usually follows a curve over time; requiring a period of transition, often with significant effort (usually to overcome the unfamiliar), but then tapering down to lesser change(s) and/or a maintenance routine (see graph below).

The intensity of discomfort (pain) and effort over time when embracing change. 

There has been much written on the debilitating and distorting dynamics of fear, but a generalized way of perceiving its effect is to remove reason, shut down rational thought, and set the stage for “fight or flight” responses. That instinctive ability comes from a reasonable origin; Seth Godin refers to it as the “lizard brain“, and he has much to say about why it’s present, what it does (or doesn’t) do for us, and (most importantly) how we can overcome it. Most recently, he’s been writing about why this is so important.

I picked that particular definition of “mature” (above) because I’ve found that development never stops, that there is always more change, and that change happens regardless. The notion that a person achieves maturity, and then no longer develops, doesn’t make sense to me any more; and I find that to be a limiting factor to many people in their pursuit of peace and happiness.

So, I have two questions for you: 1) do you really believe that, once you’ve achieved something, that you’re done, and 2) if you’re holding off on a change, are you really addressing the fear in a reasonable manner?

Believe me, I only know about this from first-hand experience. I know how debilitating and easy-to-rationalize fear makes things. I know how challenging it is to “buck up” and put out the effort to make change happen. I also know that the effort either dies down, or it gets easier. On top of that, the things I’ve feared doing have always either been easier than I thought, or became far less important over time.

As always, the first step towards making any change is being honest with yourself. If you’re struggling to confront something challenging, find or make a safe place and time for yourself (maybe with trusted friends or advisors), and get to work.

I hate to break the news…

…but that person next to you, that you may or may not care so much about, they’re not going to be here forever.

For your own sake, I encourage you to take a moment to love them, right now, because you value them. Then, love them a bit more because you don’t want to feel the emptiness when they’re gone. Love them some more because they might feel the same way about you. You can also love them even more than that for no good reason. Lastly, love them just because you’re a loving person.

Love as much or as little as you want, just don’t wait to do it.

The Great Motivator

I don’t know Diane Ransom personally, but I do know the person she writes about here: http://www.dianesansom.com/2011/10/the-great-motivator/

This post describes an excellent example of “tough love”, of love with respect. Children ideally get love and guidane like this, and are then able to organically internalize it over time, providing it for themselves as they mature into adulthood. People who seek this later in life are able to “reparent” themselves by finding appropriate mentors, healers, and counselors; then healing/growing/developing as an adult. This level of personal responsibility is incredibly necessary to have in place in order to maximize any other personal development/growth/education..

Not getting this healthy form of love and guidance is a major contributor to people developing, what I call, “personal hell”; that being a common tendency for holding others responsible for our happiness. It’s called a “personal hell” is because it’s our own; no one else is responsible for it. Many people don’t receive this very clearly, though, and the dysfunction it causes is prevalent (reality TV, tabloid sensationalism, unnecessary drama, etc…).

The crux of this is the Power of Choice. We get to choose how to perceive our situation, what we think about it, and how we choose to respond. This goes for every single situation, every moment in our lives. We live in “hell” when we don’t take responsibility for this power that belongs to us.

While it may be beyond our imagination to see ourselves as Roberto Benigni in “Life is Beautiful”, he epitomizes this power of choice. Anthony Robbins describes countless ways for understanding how and why we can master this power. I’ve heard many examples of people overcoming their horrid situations by using their abilities to choose their “reality”.

While it may take a person of authority to speak to us with tough love, especially if we’ve never had it modelled successfully for us in the past, the bottom line is that we are all capable of being the “Great Motivator” that we each need for ourselves. That, too, is a choice.

Opportunity and support is always available

“The support you need is always here for you.  It is simply a matter of opening to receive it in the form it shows up in.” –Nancy Parker

As my friend Nancy Parker says, “You’re not alone.

Ever.

In a professional capacity, I offer help only when it’s requested. It’s oddly ironic… I recently mused over my reluctance in the past to ask for help myself. I had an over-developed sense of self sufficiency, and an unconscious lack of trust for others — a stifling combination.

I’ve come to see clearly, though, that the stricture was clearly within myself. On the other side of that blockage, I’ve enjoyed the profound and sometimes-strong-sometimes-delicate nature of cooperation, and many of those experiences have been borne out of my own requests for help.

The people I’m most interested in helping are those that have disbeliefs. There may be someone feeling alone, that just can’t imagine someone helping them, someone relating to their experiences. Perhaps someone has become discouraged because they’ve exhausted all the possibilities that they could imagine themselves. Maybe they find themselves exhausted from overwhelming circumstances.

I can relate to all of those thoughts and feelings. In addition, I’ve found that most people can relate as well.

I’ve found that much of the apprehension comes from specific experiences that lead us to certain beliefs. The problem is that many of those beliefs no longer apply and/or are based on false assumptions. Perhaps a playground incident led us to believe that people were mean. Maybe a painful relationship led us to believe that it would be impossible for find a suitable partner. Have you ever asked for help and been turned down, disappointed, or maybe discovered that the cost was far higher than you expected?

If those experiences occurred in emotionally charged circumstances, they may have felt more significant than they really were. All of those situations may have been true at the time, but they’re probably no longer relevant or “real”. Situations change, and so do people. Continuing to live with those beliefs means that we’re “living in the past”, continuing to respond according to circumstances that are no longer present.

Seeing the truth of the matter, we have opportunity to change. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see these truths; it can be as easy as asking a trustworthy person for their perspective.

Note: Just as a “for instance”, if you’re looking for healing or development within your body, people like Nancy or Monika can help. If you need support in some other facet of life, I can help with that as well — I know a lot of qualified people that can help.

If you, or someone you know, feels stuck or discouraged, or if there are aspects of your life that no longer work for you or could use improvement, seek help. It’s out there.