Coaching is typically used by successful individuals. Perhaps you may want to consider a coach or mentor for yourself.
Biswas-Diener, R. (2009). Personal Coaching as a Positive Intervention.
Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65(5), 544–553
People are in search of something. They search outside of themselves for this elusive sense of being through books, classes, associations, and a host of other avenues. Sometimes their thirst is slaked, other times their confusion only deepens. Phillip's passion and purpose is to help those who want to grow, take control of their lives, and live with purpose. There is a desire within us to understand the power within. We take control of our lives by understanding ourselves. With this insight, a new perspective is gained. From this we make informed choices based on our desires, and not another's need.
Here, are some insights Phillip has gained over the years and continues to discover more. If you find value in them, fantastic. He has served you well. If you would like to discover more, contact Phillip at firstname.lastname@example.org and see what nuggets of gold lie within you.
When We Distrust Others
To distrust people is to distrust the Divine. The behavior of others is always towards a state of harmony. At the same time, we may wonder what constitutes harmony for any given individual. For most it will always be a sense of satisfaction. What might satisfaction look like? To the observer it may be imperceptible. To the individual it will always reflect their self-image. More precisely, how they view themselves in relation to those around them.
Think of it like this. People tend to act within their character. While their character appears dynamic it changes little. Our traits are sometimes seen as being inherited. That’s because there are only five traits that are recognized. They are extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness. This is said to be the basis of our personality as it blends each of these into our uniqueness. Our special blend is revealed through how we view our social environment, which changes quickly. The way we adapt to those changes is according to our self-image. Through our projected image we become predictable. Therefore, we can trust people will behave according to their perceived image.
Thus, it is not the person we should distrust, it is their motives. To the observer, motives appear confusing because they only make sense to the one applying them. Motives can be extremely complex, so we will reduce them to something manageable. Abraham Maslow proposes a hierarchy of needs consisting of physiological, safety, belongingness, and worth. While he discovered the formula is flawed, many use it as a means of explanation. Shall we briefly look at each of these needs?
Physiological needs are the most basic. They consist of food, water, and shelter. While they may be basic, they are sometimes difficult to meet. Our culture has developed along the path of approving, if not encouraging, taking advantage of the disadvantaged. This occurs through the support of an economy founded on the acquirement of power not wealth. The illusion we must accommodate is how we react to and apply power in its many guises. We must have some form of power in order to obtain our goals. Ours is not a society that invests in social capital as a rule. Respect is not gained through maintaining social harmony, community alliances, or fairness. Community alliances, fairness, and perhaps harmony is brokered through power exchanges directed towards mutual destruction. Although the illusion is to benefit, it is often a guise for self-serving interests.
While safety may appear to be just as difficult to obtain, it is more easily accomplished. Safety is achieved in a variety of strategies ranging from retreat to makeshift bulwarks and squatting in abandoned buildings. Of course, these are short-term solutions. Anything beyond requires a level of responsibility to the self, and some are not ready for that.
Belongingness has no physical markers and exists within the implicit realm. This too is more easily satisfied than those previously listed. We naturally gravitate to those who are like us. If we were to invoke the condition of love, then we have wandered into an undefinable area outside of the written word. No one provides an applicable sense of identification to the term. We shall offer one of own that may encompass the many descriptions given. We identify love with nurture. Thus, if we now apply love, we are suggesting that belonging and love are demonstrated through the ability to nurture and be nurtured.
One other need exists which is mingled with safety. Worth is tied to safety and holds an intimate position. Thus, we will address it on its own merits. Recognizing a sense of self-worth is the most difficult to experience and to hold onto. Self-worth is a primary concern to all and is the most complex of basic needs. Of all the potential motivations one can conceive of, defending one’s sense of worth is often the most incomprehensible to the observer. From our very first breath, our authentic self, which is our sense of worth, is being shaped by others, not we. We are shaped by our parents on so many levels. When we begin to explore the world, virtually every person encountered has had a hand in shaping who we are today. If we are unsatisfied with who we have become, our tendency is to blame those responsible, which serves no one.
The self-esteem motive is a common element to enhancing our perception of self. For many of us, it may also be the least understood motive. When we begin questioning ourselves, we have nowhere to go but to ourselves. The very moment we begin questioning who we are or why we act in certain fashions or what we hope to accomplish, our confidence is shaken. At that moment, we make a choice. We may remain with what is familiar, or we may embark upon an unfamiliar path. The former may be fraught with anger, while the latter is filled with fear. In both cases, we are seeking harmony within ourselves.
Harmony is what we desire, but this is not always our motive. Harmony is something implicit. Only through awareness can we consciously move in its direction. Awareness allows us to choose actions leading towards self-empowerment. Actions without awareness amount to impulsive behavior. This is what is distrustful. Behavior is multi-dimensional suggesting emotional and cognitive states are involved. This also suggests behaviors are selected based on perception, which is often skewed by our faulty beliefs. Beliefs are often based on rational and irrational ideas, but they are the only thing on which we can rely. It is the ambiguous nature of our beliefs that give cause for distrust. Not only the observer, but also the performer should question beliefs and motives.
The one thing we can rely on in others as well as ourselves, is the desire to achieve harmony. Unfortunately, along the way our perception becomes a delusion. It is the delusion we must distrust if we can separate theirs from ours.
 (Maslow, 1970)
 (Swann, Chang-Schneider, & McClarty, 2007)
 (McAdams & Pals, 2006)
 (Feist & Feist, 2006)
 (Maslow, 1970)
 (Vingnoles, Regalia, Golledge, & Scabini, 2006)
 (Sorensen, 1998)
 (Vingnoles, Regalia, Golledge, & Scabini, 2006)
 (Wahba & Bridwell, 1973)
 (Quackenbush, 2001)
Feist, J., & Feist, G. (2006). Theories of Personality (6 ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Maslow, A. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2 ed.). New York: Harper and Rowe Publishing.
McAdams, D. P., & Pals, J. L. (2006). A new big five: Fundamental principles for an integrative science of personality. American Psychologist, 61(3), 204.
Quackenbush, R. L. (2001). Comparison and contrast between belief system theory and cognitive theory. The Journal of Psychology, 123(4), 315-328.
Sorensen, M. J. (1998). Breaking the Chain of Low Self-Esteem. Sherwood, OR: Wolf Publishing.
Swann, W. B., Chang-Schneider, C., & McClarty, K. L. (2007). Do people's self-views matter? American Psychologist, 62(2), 84-94.
Vingnoles, V. L., Regalia, M. C., Golledge, J., & Scabini, E. (2006). Beyong self-esteem: INfluence of multiple motives on identity construction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(2), 308-333.
Wahba, M., & Bridwell, L. (1973). Maslow reconsidered: A review of research on teh need hierarchy theory. Academy of Management Proceedings, 1973(0), 514-520.
Many teach that fear is an absence of love, however, if we teach that love is nurturing, then this may be false. If the expression of love is nurturing, then to take it away is to inflict pain or to do harm. What inflicts the most pain, both upon the one receiving it and the one giving it? It is hatred. Hatred is not our topic. Our topic is fear. Fear is an absence, but what might it be an absence of?
When we experience fear, we may become paralyzed or apprehensive. The first causes immobility, whereas the second is caution. The latter is more easily understood, despite the two being related. When we become cautious, we must consider why is there a need to do so. I am an investor, which means I buy and sell stocks and mutual funds. I do not buy and sell when the mood strikes me. I research the stock and I monitor the markets. Presently, the market appears to be in a downward spiral. The markets did the same thing during beginning of the pandemic. A lot of investors sold their interests while in a state of panic. They sold their stocks because they were fearful of losing gains and possibly their principle. They lacked confidence in their ability to stand fast. This is what fear is about, confidence, or a lack of confidence.
Those lacking the confidence to perform a task, whether it is investing, speaking, or in relationships with others are fearful of the outcome. What does this feel like? When experiencing fear, we may become anxious, paranoid, apprehensive, our heart may begin to race, we may even experience what is called panic attacks. While love may aid in overcoming fear, it does not take it away. The only thing that will take fear away is to discover its cause.
Fear is often a realization of something lacking. Information is usually what is lacking. Fear of the unknown is due to a lack of information, which leads to unexpected events. Fear of being successful is not planning for what happens after success. Fear of failing is not having an alternate plan. We might say fear is due to our lack of anticipating challenges. By anticipating potential downfalls allows us to prepare and be flexible in our execution. The better prepared we are, the more flexible our thinking, the more confident we become. With confidence, fear is less likely to paralyze us.
We cannot always be prepared unless our approach to life is one of flexibility. Flexibility acknowledges the nature of life, which is change. Knowing that change is the nature of life and accepting that change is the nature of life are not the same. Knowing through change we evolve allows us to prepare and to maintain alternate plans. Accepting change as progress may become our view of life, and those challenges we experience become opportunities. Accepting is not as easy as knowing but acknowledging and anticipating lead to accepting.
The next time fear is experienced, look for the message it is bringing. If love is nurturing, try not to nurture the fear. If fear is lacking, then filling the void with the appropriate response to the message alters the experience. Filling the void properly, does not take away fear, but it does lessen its influence.
The Relationship with Yourself
Western culture encourages us to focus exclusively on ourselves, sometimes with little regard for others. We often follow this path when we are young because we don’t know any better. Only later do we discover the fallacy of such a belief, however, we have so much of ourselves invested in this approach to life it becomes difficult to move through the changes that may be required. We say move through because we are already there and unless we move on to the next crossroads it will always follow us because it is always behind us.
We make a commitment to make changes in our behavior and then attempt to fulfill our self-imposed obligation. While it would be nice if it were that easy, but it’s not. We are creatures of habit, and upon any sense of failure will return to what we are familiar with. This is normal, and we see it in nature. When moving through what is being experienced, embarking on a different avenue is difficult because we are letting go of something. We are moving from a neighborhood of familiarity to one of mystery. While this may seem exciting it is mixed with periods of grieving. Mind interfaces with the wiring of the brain, which is our neuropathways. Thus, mind receives mixed signals which may result in mild confusion or bewilderment.
Any time we experience confusion we become disturbed. Disturbance is unpleasant and we are conditioned to avoid all that is uncomfortable. It is not that we want to abandon change, it is the disturbance we wish to avoid. As our perspective shifts, we experience a stew of varied emotions, uncomfortable emotions. What do we do about this inconvenience? We don’t just rush through it. We don’t just meet the challenge. We get to know the disturbance. We discover what it needs. We give it a name if needed. We don’t negotiate we give it what it needs.
When letting go of something familiar, it is not easy to grab a hold of something else. The reason we experience a disturbed state may be due to a lack of information. Some changes are by choice, others by necessity. Regardless, the process stays the same. Something familiar must be let go and something else used to fill the void. The transition begins with, a question. Why? Why must we let go of something. When we look to nature, we may notice that she is in constant flux. Nothing in nature is still. We, being of superior mind, often believe we are the masters of Nature. This makes for great fiction, but in real applications is fantasy. We expend tremendous amounts of energy resisting change. What would happen if we approached change differently? Chod is a Tibetan practice that cuts through obstacles, more precisely cuts through distractions. Tsultrim Allione, suggests opening lines of communication. Through communicating with the challenge being experienced, we gain insight into what we are reaching for. Sometimes what is needed is more information, or information presented in an understandable format. Other times it may be understanding why we must let go of something. Many smokers would like to stop their habit to improve their health, and often end up exchanging one habit for another. Typically, the cigarette is exchanged for hard candy, which results in adopting another unhealthy habit. We begin to converse with ourselves about the habit.
I apply this method by writing letters to myself. I begin by asking what is wrong. Set it aside a few days, and then come back to it and reply. This communication continues until a resolution is discovered. By discovering the habit’s purpose, in this case smoking, we gain insight into its development and can change or even stop the habit.
Often what we resist, or encounter has a personality of its own. Many have referred to such personalities as our ego getting in the way. This is not the case. It is our ego that desires the change and is sometimes at a loss. When any relationship is severed, there is grief, and it is the grief through which we must work. We will experience the denial; no, we really don’t need to give this up. We will become angry with ourselves because of the difficulty of letting go. Yes, we will bargain; this one time won’t hurt. Depression will find us because we recognize the need for change. Lastly, we come around to accepting the need and will, at last make a serious attempt. This will only occur if we make it through the previous steps. A habit is a relationship, the same as if it were a friendship, or any other type of relationship. While there are many ways to work through changes, and this is only one of many, the path always remains. We can and will eventually move through it. The only question is how.
 (Allione, 1998)
Allione, T. (1998). Feeding the demons. In Rapaport, Buddhism in America. Boston: Tuttle Publishing.
© 2022 by Phillip Falcone
Winter, traditionally, is a time of darkness. In Michigan, and perhaps most of the northern United States, the sun appears to have abandoned us. We can go for days with nothing but seeming twilight or dusk. This is something all must reconcile; however, it often reaches deeper than many would suspect.
I sometimes wonder if nature reflects us, or do we reflect nature? Of course, it is we who reflect nature. Not only does the sun appear to withdraw from the sky, sometimes it appears to withdraw from life, and we are left in darkness. Symbolically, the dark represents mystery, but other times it represents ignorance. Ignorance is a darkness all must enter, and in the midst of ignorance we find ourselves in mystery.
Even those who claim to never experience darkness, experience it. Ignorance is something we cannot escape or avoid. This darkness can be our friend or our jailer. Those who befriend ignorance understand that from darkness came light, and from ignorance comes the light of knowledge. Such does not occur of its own accord. Of those who find themselves in darkness, in ignorance, may choose to endure the darkness, or they may befriend it. How does one befriend ignorance?
When we befriend ignorance, we are no longer alone in the dark. We begin to question our mysterious friend. This is what separates those who endure. To endure ignorance is an aberration of nature. Within this mother, we experience change. Sometimes change is rapid, other times it like the snail, slow and gradual, unnoticeable. Yet, change is the conductor of harmony. Those who choose to endure the dark are resistant to change in any form. Nature is devious in her conspiracy. She eases her manipulations upon us, and we are none the wiser. Enduring the dark alone is foolish.
Those who chose to make a friend of the darkness, have also befriended variation, multiple solutions, numerous paths leading into manifold possibilities. Only one path leads nowhere, and they recognize that. Those who choose to endure, often see only the one path. Why do they only see the one path? There is no guide.
Few may not need a guide, for they carry their own lamp. They do not do so out of habit, they do so through experience. All have walked a single path through the dark, hoping to encounter a way out. Unfortunately, they soon begin to walk in circles. It is not that they have encounter a rut, or that they have created their own rut. They travel in circles in the dark because they have not stood still and called upon a guide. Each of us is a guide, and each of us has the option of calling upon a guide. What does a guide offer?
The solution is as obvious as is the answer. A guide often listens. No solutions are offered because they know the seeker is the solution. Patiently, they listen as the seeker releases that which has been pent up within. The guide knows the seeker must let go of darkness, let go of ignorance before they can see the many paths. With numerous paths before us, we may become overwhelmed. With numerous paths, we may become lost once more. During such times, a guide is useful. The guide does not direct or cajole. A guide merely points in a direction. A guide merely reflects us, enabling us to see the light within.
As we move out of the darkness of the dying year, we must look for the light of the year being born. We must see where we desire to go. If we cannot see, or if we continue in the darkness, we must have the courage to call upon a guide.
Blavatsky, H. P. (1888). The Secret Doctrine. London: The Theosophical Publishing Company, Ltd.
Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay.
 (Blavatsky, 1888)
Copyright 2021 by Phillip Falcone
Value is an important quality to consider in any endeavor. Most of us associate quality or value with a monetary response. Finance is only one of many facets of value. We will briefly explore this mundane classification before moving on to a more esoteric approach, which is the true focus of life. Price is what we have been conditioned to associate value with due to our legal system – value equals money. We would prefer to consider the philosophical meaning such as satisfaction, appreciation, joy and all their equivalents. Where monetary value fails us, philosophical value may sustain us.
Consider those things we are forced to attach a price to for the sake of justice, which is a fallacy. When injured, we must consider lost earnings compared to past earnings, and then compensation for emotional and mental distress. This last part is another fallacy which has wormed its way into society. Can any estimate the monetary value of a child, a parent, a confidant, or lover? The correct answer would be no, until one is maimed or killed, and then for the sake of compensation, we must. Once we take this complaint to the judicial arena, a price tag must be associated with the role these people played in our lives. How can we place a dollar amount on the life of another? Unless that person was employed by us, we are placed in a quandary. The correct approach to this is to consider the person’s earning potential and extrapolate it into the future, but this has nothing to with the value of a person’s presence or their influence upon the lives of those around them, and those who have yet to encounter them. Estimating one’s earning potential is an impossible feat because no allowance is given for improving or adding to one’s skill set, making them more valuable. No value can be assigned to experience. Yet, this is a common practice among lawyers and those serving in the judicial system. Hence, the fallacy of the judicial system becomes evident. Though flawed, the system has value because it serves those who chose a less esoteric approach to life.
Our existence persists in only one point in time, the present. Until we learn to move through the quantum plane as we move through the common reality, our concerns should remain rooted in the present. This dramatically changes the meaning of value. Value is no longer able to hold a monetary attachment. Value becomes importance and purpose. The question of value in relation to a child, a parent, a confidant, or lover becomes much clearer. Now we can truly examine the role a person plays in our lives by comparing them to criteria relevant to ourselves. However, many will simply say, I love them, which raises a more difficult question avoided by most. What is love?
We have found that each person has their own definition of uniqueness, which is another fallacy. What allows us to be unique is our behavior, which amounts to action and reaction within a range of possibilities. Love often has a variety of degrees of devotion and self-sacrifice. This may be why science refuses to engage in its idiosyncrasies. They simply refer to love as affect, meaning love is an emotional response that defies definition. Affect is simply emotion or mood, which in turn can be associated with biological functions. When it comes to relationships, love is something everyone seeks, despite their inability to describe it. Therefore, we would like to offer our perspective.
Love has an extraordinarily strong correlation with the need to belong. Forget about the concept of servitude, because it comes naturally when we belong to someone or a group. We belong to groups and organizations because we choose to. Why do we choose? Who knows? Only the person doing the choosing knows and often, they cannot find the words to describe their motivation. Suffice it to say, their participation satisfies a need. All relationships have this in common. Friendships, work, religious affiliation, etc. fulfill a need within us. I attend a group of metaphysically oriented people because I derive satisfaction, which is another sensation that defies definition. We share ideas, information, and camaraderie. In short, a sense of belonging, or love for one another.
When it comes to family, the dynamics can be quite bizarre, ranging from a group of supportive individuals to a group of codependent people. I say individuals because despite genetic and empathic connections, oft times members become estranged for one reason or another. Sometimes a person separates themselves from the family group because they choose to, or the family group has isolated them. Regardless, it is the family, which teaches or conditions a person in the criteria of what love is or qualifies as belonging. Many of us seek out relationships that resemble the one we have or had with our family because it is familiar. Some have nursed a desire for a different type of relationship, or a relationship they believe is more beneficial than what they experienced.
Now we come to love and its possible meaning. Our culture has limited love to something shared between two people – preferably a woman and a man – as the highest form and then others to a lesser degree. Culture has turned love into a pyramid scheme with two people at the apex, or one, flowing downward into immediate family, extended family, close friends, friends, general associations, and those who are of little concern. For those who profess a religious connection, this is not what Jesus is reported to have said. If we are to follow the teachings of Jesus, we are at the apex of the pyramid; because he said, love others as you love yourself. This eliminates the apex. Whoops, what happened to the pyramid?
If we approach this from the idea of belonging, the pyramid idea loses its effect. We all become equal. We belong to each other. Meaning there is no separation between you or I. When love is inserted into the idea of belonging, love becomes a preference. We love others because we prefer to be with them or in their presence as opposed to another’s. When we evaluate the relationship or what we expect from this preference, we are seeking certain qualities above other qualities. The degrees of love, like a brother, sister, friend, etc. are based on a desired order of qualities. When I say, I love my wife, I am really saying I prefer to be with her because of her self-confidence, I desire to continue to enrich her life, and I have chosen to nurture her wellbeing. Her value to me is the satisfaction I feel when in her presence. I could go on, describing the satisfaction, which would deepen the value she provides me, but that may not be very appealing to others.
When applying value to what we chose to embark upon, we are defining the level of satisfaction we expect. If a venture provides no value, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, we waste energy in its pursuit. Unless we are in the habit of waste, chances are we would turn our attentions to something more worthwhile. Imagine the heartache, stress, and negativity if you will, we could avoid if we looked towards the value of our relationships. To do things we are expected to have no value. Of course, this may bring a host of new challenges, but our life would become more fulfilling. Those we chose to call spouse, significant other, or lover would deepen our experience of life. I can tell you that my life is more satisfying because it is filled with value.
Image by Phillip Falcone.
Copyright 2022 by Phillip Falcone
We are magnets for change because we are always dreaming about what if. What if I had asked her out, would she have said yes? What if I had finished college? What if I had taken the other job? The funny thing about such fanciful inquiries is that they are filled with emptiness.
A lot of us like to say we use the Law of Attraction, but we really don’t know much about it. Yeah, we say like attracts like. While that’s true, we often wonder how we attracted the messes we often find ourselves in. The true question about all of this is what are we really attracting? Think about all of those ideas or plans many of us have on our mental back burner. When was the last time they were revisited? Don’t know?
If any are like me, whenever something seems to click, it’s time to renew investigations. Sometimes they lead to a dead end. When this happens, dump the pot. Other times, innovative ideas are discovered and added to the stew. If we don’t check on what’s cooking back there, it goes bad without any of us being any wiser. What happens then? Everything goes sour.
If any are following the Law of Attraction, at least our understanding of it, we may want to do a mental exercise to see if it's time to get rid of some stuff. For instance, a lot of us like to use the term, I want to be (fill in the blank) when I grow up. If we are in our forties, it’s time to throw that pot out. The reason we are saying this is because most have already made the decision one time or another. Adolescence is not just for teenagers. Sometimes it bleeds into early adulthood. If any are still trying to make that choice, then perhaps they are interested in making changes in their life.
When we begin experiencing poor job satisfaction, we begin fantasizing about a better position. So, if any are daydreaming and wishing, then they may have discovered wishing gets you a handful of nothing. Of course, there is a more colorful way of putting it. This means it’s time to check the mental burners to see if you have any recourse available.
Not knowing what we want leads to confusion. If there is nothing on the back burner, then get a pen and paper and write down all your passions. This means, don’t write down the mediocre stuff. If any want to shift from a state of confusion into a state of purposefulness, then they are going to have to engage their emotions. Become emotional about what we want out of life and live a life of expectancy. What I mean is expect greatness from life and it will happen, but we have to do our part.
If procrastination is an enemy, then find someone to hold us accountable. This means be proactive in our efforts. Enlist the aid of a friend, find a mastermind group, or hire a life-coach. In Neal Conan’s Talk of the Nation on National Public Radio, he interviewed Atul Gawande, they discussed the value of a coach for professionals and suggest others should have life-coaches as well to improve life satisfaction. Accountability is what moves us forward. Step out of confusion, wishful thinking, and daydreaming of life’s scenarios. Step into purposeful actions, clarity in purpose, and satisfaction.
 (Gawande, 2011).
Gawande, A. (2011). Athletes Have Coaches. Why Not Everyong Else? Talk of the Nation. (N. Conan, Interviewer) National Public Radio.
Image by Gerd Altman from Pixabay.
Andrew Carnegie said: “There are 2 types of people who never amount to anything. There are those who never do anything except what they are told to do. And there are those who cannot even do what they are told to do. The people who get ahead do the things that should be done without being told. And they don’t stop there. They go the extra mile and do much more than is expected of them.”
Personal initiative is the inner power that starts all action – it is self motivation.
Hope is the magic ingredient in motivation, but the secret of accomplishment is getting into action.
Major attributes of Personal Initiative:
“It is the nature of the 17 principles of success that each depends upon the others, and you can’t develop one without relying upon and developing others at the same time. How can you develop faith without applying it through personal initiative? And how can you have personal initiative without definite purpose to carry it out?”
Image by Gerd Altman from Pixabay.
From Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich
The fundamental attribution error is a basic and often automatic judgement we make. The basis lays in the failure of individuals to fully consider the dynamics of a given situation and overestimate the traits and personality of another. These two factors lead to false assessments of others. True, everything is perception, which leads us to wonder how to compensate for such gross misjudgment.
For the most part, awareness can significantly reduce the error. We also feel an understanding of how the error manifests may also help. Such a level of awareness is likened to awakening from a long nap.
The fundamental attribution error (FAE) rests on a platform of duality. We’re not talking about good versus evil, but the bedrock of good and evil. The division exists within and without the individual. This can be the basis for dualism on a larger scale. All events are relative to the individual, and it is that individual who develops the appropriate grading scale; a division for all that is considered beneficial and detrimental.
Duality is a platform of opposing forces. It is what a balance depends upon. Wile the balance focuses on proportions, duality focuses on categories within the balance. When we encounter others, we are using this balance to measure them; to determine if they are friend or foe. Often the neutral aspects are dismissed.
Behavior must be weighed within the context of expression. These neutral facets are the circumstances associated with another’s actions. After all, we are prone to drive near the speed limits when traveling to and from work. However, if the preceding event is considered an emergency, limits are ignored.
Perception is a joint venture between us and the world at large, or the common reality. People also assume they are interacting with others like themselves, and when some fail to meet those expectations, another series of judgements occur. The base model for these judgements is themselves and they are evaluated by their self-perception.
Mindful awareness helps reduce the fundamental attribution error. Being aware that we make these judgements allows us to pause before acting through habit. This awareness also points out the fact that we are also being judged. This all to be mindful of their actions.
Behavior by itself is meaningless, just as the image of a tree is meaningless without the benefit of foreground and background to give it context. Events give behavior context. Through understanding context, we respond correctly. Simply put, ask relevant questions regarding the behavior others before evaluating them.
Langdridge, D., & Butt, T. (2004). Fundamental attribution error: A p;henomenological critque. British Journal of Social Psychology(43), 357-369.
Myers, D. (2008). Social Psychology (9 ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
When someone asks us what fear is, the response provided is
a lack of information. Typically, this is true. Unfortunately, this is not
always the case. There are times we remain afraid after we have all of the
information. Thus, when we are afraid, it’s not always because we are lacking anything.
Fear plays another role.
We have these negative emotions because of the role they play. Pain tells us we are already in danger and need to act quickly. Irritation may tell us its time to step away from something. Anger tells us we are being threatened. A sense of unease tells us we should be on our guard or better, we should vacate the premises. All carry messages for us, messages we tend to ignore. Another role for fear may be that we are unsure of ourselves.
Why do we experience a lack of confidence? Usually it’s because we lack experience. Of course, experience is information, but of a different sort. Our confidence comes from our past. The first time we rode a bicycle we were afraid. Our fear was not from a lack of information. Whoever was with us during that first ride probably told us what to do. Try to keep our balance, keep pedaling, and watch where we’re going. Our first time out, we got it wrong. Eventually, we managed to keep the bike up. We even managed to keep pedaling. When we realized what we were doing, we failed to pay attention to where the bike was heading and bumped into a tree or (hopefully) some other stationary object. For some, this small mishap instilled a lasting fear. We got it wrong and we don’t want to make the same mistake again. This can lead to a very narrow life experience. Fortunately, we have choice.
Choice is what separates some of us from those who believe there is no choice. Choice teaches us the value of risk. Many of us don’t know what value means. Value is something we don’t see or recognize, but we experience it. Value brings rewards unseen. Value is something implicit. What we are saying is that choice offers us more than opportunity. Choice offers an enhanced life experience. Choice offers value.
Through choice or value, we gain confidence. Confidence is not something we can purchase or even expect. Confidence can only be gained through experience. We can purchase services such as training, but the training is of little use until we put it into practice. Training provides a sense of confidence, but until we actually perform the actions we have been trained in, and until we match it with firsthand experience, we are paralyzed with fear. Fear not only tells we are lacking something; fear also holds us at bay. Only through action, or only through choice can we overcome ourselves. Fear merely informs us of what we lack. Our lack of choosing not to avail ourselves of experience holds us at bay. Our lack of choosing not to take advantage of an opportunity holds us prisoner. Our failure to recognize opportunities blind us to the value of risk.
We are all in this experience together. We not only share this experience with each other, we share it with all of nature. Every creature faces this numbness. Every creature must decide to act or to become prisoner. Fear is our ally, because fear provides us with valuable information about ourselves.
end the bizarre tyranny of ego is why we go on the spiritual path…" This is incorrect.
When we talk about the spiritual path, we must consider the word spiritual.
When embarking on such a journey, we would be careless if we did not first
consider what it means.
Spirit in the old meaning is breath, and breath is life. We cannot be any simpler. Thus, our spiritual path is about acquainting ourselves with life. The only way this be accomplished is through experience.
The tyrant is not we. The tyrants are what the Gnostics call the Powers that Be. On those occasions when we are not in control, others are in control. However, this too is a myth. We are forever in control. We control the manner in which we react. This is not ego. This is us. Ego is part of the process.
The entire process is composed of the id, the ego, and the super ego. The id and super-ego represent influences upon the ego, or more precisely, us. Ego is us. The id represents our fears and desires. Super-ego embodies the social standards many strive to live up to. The ego reconciles them because they are often at odds. Thus, to rid ourselves of ego is to rid ourselves of ourselves. In short, without ego we are powerless. Power is the ability to influence. Without influence, we fail to exist. Our very existence is dependent upon the ability to influence ourselves and others. In order to accomplish this, we must act. Thus, ego is not the enemy. Ego is the diversion.
Ego is the method employed by others to establish a sense of stature. They divert our attention from growth by insisting we are imperfect. What is the difference between insisting we are imperfect and being of sin? They are sales pitches for the alleged spiritual gurus and teachers. They mislead the unwary. It is the life experience we should consider. If we are dissatisfied with the life we are experiencing, we should discover where the fault lies. If we are satisfied with our experience, we should discover how it can be improved. This may come through the assistance of others or to become more indistinct.
Bahm, A. (1964). The World's Living Religions: A searching comparison of the faiths of East and West. Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL: Souther Illinois University Press.
Blatt, S. J., & Auerbach, J. S. (2000). Psychoanalytic models of the mind and their contributions to personality research. European Journal of Personality, 15(3), 277.
Haug, I. E. (1999). Boundaries and the use and misuse of power and authority: Ethical complexities for clergy psychotherapists. Journal of Counseling & Development, 77(4), 411.
Rinpoche, S. (1992). The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. (P. G. Harvey, Ed.) San Francisco: Harper.
Alternative, Complimentary and Conventional Medicine: Is integration upon us?
Complementary Alternative Medicine therapies are meant to be used alongside conventional medicine, not as stand alone replacements.
Bruce Barret (2003)
I often read articles and stories where the authors describe life as being filled with stress, tension, and everything that creates difficulties. The idea works great for stories because an antagonist is needed to create struggles. After all, that is the purpose of drama. However, this may leave a person with the impression that life is one big struggle with reprieves being added as spice. I want to tell you that life is not about struggle. Life is about participation.
The way I participate in life determines whether it will be filled with joy, drudgery, or a mixture of the two. What determines the blend is how I choose to perceive the events around me and those involved. After all, while we may be part of one another’s version of life, we do not dictate their experience. In the same fashion, I don’t decide if someone’s experience with me is one of excellence or one of disgrace. Each of us plays a supporting role in the lives of others. We are the main characters in our documentary and are able to portray them in a variety of styles. Most of the time we are caught up in the expectations of others or of the culture we identify with, and for many that is the Western culture.
Western culture is not a bad lifestyle, if we remember its flaws. We don’t have to describe them, because we are already familiar with them. While reading Lynne McTaggert’s, The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us (2011), I came across a part where Americans were said to be miserable. Well, the only reason I can think of a description like this would be that many forget to do something vitally important to their well-being: play. This can also be called ‘me time.’
When we think of playtime, we may associate it with kids. Has anyone noticed how resilient kids are? They are more than just survivors; they are teachers for adults who feel they must put away childish things. Children are able to take what troubles them and turn it into a game. These games help them work out whatever troubles them. They do this through role-playing. Being adults, we may find this a bit awkward, but if we pay attention, we may find ourselves playing roles that help us to express our feelings. Being connected to our authentic-self or higher-self is more important today than it ever was. Of course, our authentic or higher self is being who we are and not pretending to be another.
Many are familiar with the changing energy of the planet and cosmos. For those of us who are out of sync with whom we are, this is creating havoc with our lives. Familiar patterns are being uprooted and replaced with those that are more in tune with our beliefs. Part of the way of getting in tune is through play.
I encourage you to make a play-date with friends, yourself, or just spend time in the company of strangers. You don’t have to do anything that is uncomfortable. Even if you decide to spend the evening curled up with a good book, a friend, or a canvas. Just take time to unplug yourself from the complexities of the life you created.
I had a conversation with someone about manifesting. She said, “I was telling a friend that I remember holding my hand out, wanting an apple, and one would appear. Just like that.”
No eyebrow was raised in astonishment. No lip curled in sarcasm. Events such as this are common. Not the fruit appearing out of thin air, but events that seem as though they did. I nodded my head in agreement. Nothing new here, just advanced manifesting.
She asked. “How can we get back to that?”
If I had taken the time to think, I might have realized the oddity of the question. “The best we can do is give it back,” I responded, as though this question were normal.
“What,” she shot back at me in disbelief.
“What is the one thing people take away,” I began. “A sense of self-worth. Parents spend a good deal of time telling their children they can be anything they want, and how great they are. As they get older, they invest the same amount of time disenfranchising them of their self-worth.” This seemed like an appropriate explanation, but it wasn’t. The confusion she was experiencing wrinkled her face.
“I remember when I was eight or ten,” I began, “one night after a school program, I commented that none of them had said they were proud of me, loved me, or even enjoyed the show.” Come to think of it, they didn’t even bother to correct it after the fact.
She blurted the name of some well-known author, who escapes me now, that others are not here to validate us. Our purpose for being here is not to be validated.
Disturbed, I chose not to pursue the conversation. That night, I dreamed of being in a crowd searching for someone to acknowledge me. Oh, I was there, but anything I did was empty. To them, action, and words were empty.
Validation is confirmation. Self-satisfaction is about developing self-worth. How does one build self-worth? We’ll share how our sense of worth is developed.
Before developing a relationship with our energy-based friends, I was a miserable piece of existence. My path seemed to go from one screw-up to the next. Whenever I thought I had accomplished something good, someone else came along and made it seem as though it were a wasted effort. Does any of this sound familiar? We’re not that different. My opinion became, why bother, I’ll get it wrong anyway. Eventually that’s what I did. I didn’t bother doing anything.
Fortunately, this was a short-lived endeavor. Eventually, I did what most do, I adopted the attitude of not caring what anybody thought. Personal satisfaction became the goal. Criticism was immediately followed by choice words. Who cares what others think anyway? Well, we should care about what they think, especially if we want someone talk to, to hear us, or just to socialize. Nobody cared about me because I didn’t care about them.
Self-validation is worthless. In order to be recognized, you must recognize them. In order to determine if our life is satisfying, we need a comparison. Without a comparison, we have no way of knowing if we are doing something beneficial or destructive. We’re left with one big question mark. Nothing can be considered worthy unless we have a comparison. Thus, we need others in order to establish some sense of worth.
All strive to be accepted by others. If it were not so, we would have no need for friends, lovers, spouses, or family. In order to satisfy our need to belong, people will endure abusive relationships, even insist on returning to the abuser. Why do they do this? A person will continue a detrimental relationship because they need to be accepted; they need recognition. Being accepted is validation.
What if we are looking for validation for our actions?
Searching for validation for actions is a desire for others to see us as being competent, someone to be valued. Myself, I was not only searching for acknowledgement, but acceptance. When our actions are acceptable, we know they are appropriate. Choosing appropriate behaviors promotes value. Being satisfied with what we accomplish doesn’t mean we’ve accomplished something good, bad, or mediocre. Acknowledgement comes in the form of compliments. We need some form of recognition for comparison. We cannot improve ourselves if there is nothing to compare.
Albert Bandura developed the theory of vicarious learning, which is simply that a person can learn from observing others. By observing the behavior of others, we learn to correct our flaws. When doing this, our self-identity changes.  This identity is what guides along our path. Validation from others determines the behavior we select. This validation comes in the form of recognition, not whether we did something correctly or not. Acknowledgement is the foundation of self-worth, of value. The expression and emotion associated with acknowledgment is the mortar of our foundation.
The role others play in developing our worth is through validation. The need to be accepted is a gift from Nature. From the time we are children, we strive to please others. We are social creatures and crave acceptance. One of the Natural Laws is to nurture. Our closest evolutionary relatives survived through the act of nurturing, socializing, and belonging. The desire to be a part of a group may override our need for self-worth and survival. This is an innate need and is universal. When we refrain from contributing to another’s sense of worth, and subsequently our own, we contribute to their and harm ourselves.
Yes, that may be an overstatement, but consider this. We hold positions of authority in the lives of others. Mental health professionals, ministers, doctors, readers, life coaches, etc. literally hold another’s sense of value in their hands. They have an obligation to validate their existence, and nurture them on their path.
We all need of acceptance, recognition, and the approval of others. This is part of the Natural Laws. To do otherwise is unnatural. Something as mundane as hello or a nod can elevate another’s demeanor. We would like to close with this narration. We attended a group meeting and greeted each other in this fashion. I am Phillip. The group responded together, Phillip, we see you. This means that I am important to them and they recognize that I am in need of them. We closed the meeting in this fashion. I am Phillip. They responded, Phillip, we will remember you. I responded; I will return.
We are who work with Phillip. We greet you, for you are important to us.
 (Hergenhahn & Olson, 2005)
 (Myers, 2008)
 (De Wall, 2009)
 (De Wall, 2009)
De Wall, F. (2009). The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society. New York: Three Rivers.
Hergenhahn, B. R., & Olson, M. W. (2005). An Introduction to Theories of Learning. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson; Prentice Hall.
Myers, D. (2008). Social Psychology (9 ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
Sometimes the best way to deal with difficult people is to not avoid them.
Like everyone else, they may lack the necessary tools to communicate their thoughts, their challenges, and requests. Often, they don't hear the words they speak. Try repeating what they are saying in your own words. When we're on the same page, life is much easier.
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