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Thursday, January 28, 2010

First find Love Within Yourself

We often romanticize this time of year with notions of "True Love."  We hold some fantasy in our mind that our soulmate is "out there" somewhere.  Some of us have been fortunate enough to find our soul mates.  To that lucky portion of society, nothing needs to be taught, save that we should aspire to let that person know how deeply you care for them.  But for those of you who will be out looking for that special someone to share this Valentine's Day with, I offer these humble words of advice.

First, we must be able to love ourselves, before we can love another.  Consider "Self-Love" as the training course to finding a soulmate.  Until we can love ourselves, it will be difficult for us to allow others to love us.  Have you ever been in a relationship with a wonderful person and found yourself sabotaging it.  Somewhere in your being, you had difficulty allowing yourself to be rewarded with the love of another.  We must find the means to accept ourselves for who we are, even with our imperfections.  And perhaps we should realize that our soulmate will not be perfect neither, so we needn't be either.  Which brings me to the next point.

Do not expect your soulmate to be perfect.  Very few of us are secure enough to connect intimately with an Ascended Master.  Besides, they rarely have a desire for romantic relations anyhow.  We know that being flawed is part of human existence.  The trick is to be honest with yourself regarding which kinds of flaws you are willing to live with, and which flaws are a deal breaker.  Also keep in mind that each flaw may have different degrees, some you may tolerate while others you may not.  For instance, we all enjoy a good looking partner who has confidence in his/her appearance.  But do we really want someone who is so obsessed with the way that they look, that they spend 3 hours every day preening?  Perhaps that would not bother you, as long as they refrain from insisting that you do the same.  I am not saying that either of those attributes are flaws, but others may think so.  Whatever you levels of tolerance are, be honest with yourself.  Otherwise you are only going to be setting yourself into relationships which will eventually fall apart.

We should also be aware that many of the "positive" traits that we look for in people quite often carry with them a corresponding "less-desirable" trait.  I can't tell you how many women I have counseled that claim to want a man with a strong build.  Then they complain because he spends so much time in the gym, or he is constantly staring at himself in the mirror while flexing.  Or how many men tell me they want a women who is beautiful, yet they are annoyed at the time she spends getting ready in the morning and then they get insanely jealous whenever other guys look at her.  Very often these traits that we are looking for in our mates are a reflection of some need that we cloak deep within ourselves.  If we can get to the root of that need, sometimes we can alter our desire to find that in a mate.  We are then free to avoid any of the "less-desirable" consequences.

The Law of Attraction tells us that we should focus on what we want.  Send that intention out, and it will return with our desire.  That is indeed a good start.  But many of us need to train our minds to only focus on what we DO want.  And we all need to develop the habit of taking action to bring it to pass.  So this Valentine's Day, determine what it is that is TRULY important.  Seek it out.  Then allow it to happen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quit thinking of elephants

Have you ever been told, "Don't think of an elephant?" What happens...well we fixate our thoughts on elephants. Of course we have all struggled with this child's game. My introduction to it was quite infuriating actually. I remember that my friend was trying to convince me that he could control my mind. With a few simple words, he crushed my world. He challenged me to avoid doing what he told me to do, and then he gave me the command....

"Think of an elephant."

Immediately a picture of a large elephant, the kind we would see in the circus, popped into my head. I remember my Self-Talk countering with, "No, don't think of an elephant." But no matter how many times I told myself, and no matter how much conviction I put behind my Self-Talk, whenever I thought the words, "Don't think of an elephant," that circus star always filled my mind.

I was furious at my weakness. How could I let someone else (another child nonetheless) control my mind so easily. So I went home, and like most children, I sought the aid of my father. After telling him about the disempowering events of the day, he gave me a warm, compassionate smile and told me:

"Think of a mouse instead."

Flash! Bang! Pop! All of a sudden the image of an elephant had been chased away by this tiny little field mouse. And from that moment on, the boy from down the street would have no control over my mind (at least not so directly).

How often do we fixate on the things we are trying to avoid? As I work with clients on achievement, it never ceases to amaze me how prevalent this is.

  • I want to quit smoking.
  • I don't want to eat sugary foods.
  • I want to avoid drinking alcohol.
Unfortunately, when we trying to think of the things we are trying to avoid, our mind has to first think of engaging in the item. Neurological studies have shown that the brain has to activate the behavior in order to try to negate it. Unfortunately, each activation is reinforcing the negative behavior! Instead we should try to find constructive, healthy alternatives to the behavior that we are trying to avoid, and focus on that as a means of achieving the emotional fulfillment that the negative behavior was trying to satiate. Using the previous statements as examples, they could be reworded as these goals:
  • I breathe only clean air deeply and calmingly into my lungs.
  • I eat only healthy foods which nourish my body.
  • I drink warm cups of tea in order to relax at the end of the day.
Of course if the emotional reasons for using the destructive substances was different, we could also write the affirmations differently to address those core needs. The point is we need to give our mind and activity it can engage in.

It is just like having a young child who wants to play with a forbidden object. When we take the object away from the child and tell him that he cannot play with it. What is the first thing that he does? He tries to get it and play with it again. No matter how many times we tell the child, "Do not play with that!" we are indeed commanding his mind to play with it. If we however give the child another object which he can play with, and give him permission to "Play with this." then his mind will switch over to the new object, and the struggle is over.

So, the next time you find yourself fixating on an unwanted behavior, just remember the solution is to:

Think of a mouse!