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Monday, October 24, 2011

Listen to Your Gut! (Part 2)


In my last post here, Listen to Your Gut Part 1, you read about the clenching you feel in your gut when someone does or says something that is not acceptable, but you do nothing about it. Remember the hypothetical situation I described of a friend having blown you off for a dinner you were meant to have and you - although you did not like what they were doing - saying nothing?

So I ended that post indicating that if you do not want to let yourself down, it is imperative that you learn how to react in situations where others do or say something you find unacceptable, and that you understand what their different reactions to you (assuming you now let them know you find it unacceptable) may mean as well.

First of all: when you feel the clenching, take it to be a message from yourself through that second brain you have in your gut (also see Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct ), that it is absolutely essential that you do something about it. As stated in Part 1 of this article, if you do nothing when you have that very physical feeling, you are letting yourself down. It is tantamount to saying to yourself on this subliminal level, that you are not worth it; that you do not respect yourself enough to do it, and more importantly, that you do not love yourself enough to do it. What do you think a lifetime of giving yourself that message, does to yourself?

Once you have recognized that something needs to be done, understand that this something is based not on you correcting the other person, or becoming angry at the other person, or showing the other person how horrible they are, or how inconsiderate, or changing their way of being, but it is based on you seeing that you care enough about yourself to speak up when an unacceptable thing is being done or said to you. (Please note that if this is a case of domestic violence, this method should not be used). This means that by speaking up about yourself, you will automatically feel better about yourself!

So if you need to speak up without getting angry, it follows that whatever you do say, needs to come from a place of calmness (even though when you begin to do this, your heart will beat in a most frightful fashion, because you will not be accustomed to doing this, and it will provoke fear of rejection by the other in you). From this place of calmness, you can say something along the lines that whatever was just said or done is not acceptable, that it is hurtful, or inconsiderate, and in the example offered in Part 1, it shows you that the other person (who is standing you up), does not value your friendship the same way you do. You also need to give a consequence (albeit a small one, since is the first time you are speaking up about the matter at hand with this particular person), so you might simply say: Please don't do it again. It's not actually a consequence, but you are putting the other person on guard with respect to a repetition of their behavior.

When I explain this to clients, the reaction is frequently one of tension: no, they say, I could never do that. I could not say such words to another person. Then, of course, when I mention that the reason they feel they can't, is because they fear the other's reaction of potential rejection, I point out that this is a long-ingrained habit of allowing others to step on them in unacceptable ways, that is literally eating away at them, and it needs to be conquered in order that they may begin to feel some love for themselves. Conquering it - as conquering anything at all - is a question of tiny step after tiny step. Practice. Intention. Conscious choice.

Having now imagined that this was indeed braved, and said, I then offer several possible reactions on the part of the other. One, of course, is the dreaded rejection, where the 'friend' generally says something in a rather loud or belligerent voice to the tune of what is wrong with you, it's just a dinner, I don't see what you are getting yourself so worked up about and in the meantime you are shriveling up inside because - just as you feared - you are being rejected.

At this point, I then ask the client: And is this really the kind of friend you want? This bears some thinking about. And remember, the friend is reacting this way in part becasue he/she is used to you allowing them to step all over you. You have accustomed them to such behavior.

However, let's assume the other person had a better reaction, and - hand over mouth - says something like: Oh my God, I am so sorry, I don't know what I was thinking. Let me re-arrange matters and let's have dinner after all. Clearly this is another kettle of fish, and not only are you feeling better now because you spoke up, but more importantly, because something has been cleared up between the two of you, perhaps after decades of 'unacceptable' behavior, and you can move forward on a new basis. Further, you have learned that this person is a true friend indeed.

Sadly, as you can imagine, the former reaction is much more typical, at which point your conversation has probably ended. However, despite all this, you may then nevertheless continue in contact with this person, and some months down the road a similar situation ensues. At this point, you really need to refer to the first time you brought it up: we already had a situation like this a couple of months ago, and I asked you not to repeat it. You clearly care much less about our friendship than I do, so I am going to think about this. I'll be in touch when I've reached a conclusion. Once again, you are affirming to yourself that you care enough about yourself to do this, and you are showing the other person, not only that it is indeed unacceptable to treat you this way, but you are now putting a concrete consequence into the equation: don't call me, I'll call you ... once I've thought about this.

This entire situation (illustrated with one very tiny example) and your new behavior will bring you closer to yourself, to an inner connection to yourself and in this process you will be showing yourself that you are on the road to loving yourself in a new and much more healthy way. This is one of the roads to inner well-being.


For much more about loving the self, living consciously, about being aware of your thoughts and feelings, how you react to others and how you love yourself, as well as about choosing to seek your inner well-being above all, in order that you may have a ripple effect on all those who come in contact with you, get my book Rewiring the Soul: Finding the Possible Self, available at Amazon as a paperback or e-book for Kindle and all Kindle applications. Click here to download the first chapter.

A Review From the Back Cover:

"This meticulously researched and crafted book is clearly the masterwork of a profoundly gifted healer of the soul, one who thinks deeply, feels deeply, and cares deeply about the well-being of the world and its humankind. Reading it will change your life; beginning to live actively any of its ideas, principles, and suggestions will transform your life. And bring you safely and joyfully home to your true self, your soul. I found it dazzling, challenging, and wondrously useful." PEGGY RUBIN, Director, Center for Sacred Theatre, Ashland, Oregon; author, To Be and How To Be, Transforming Your Life Through Sacred Theatre."






Photo Credit: Scottchan

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