Did I ever tell you…

Did I ever tell you – how much I appreciate the things you do?

by Robert S. Vibert

In today’s fast paced, hectic, stressed-out mess that passes for a real life, appreciation and its close cousin gratitude, often get lost in the shuffle. Given the pressures we are all under, with rising prices, job losses and general uncertainty about the future, it is not surprising that we revert to a mode in which we focus on what is lacking instead of what we have. Reversing this tendency is not only a good thing from a social standpoint, it is an investment with lots of upside potential for great return.

 

It’s all about me

I could write for days on all the examples of narcissistic behaviour that one can encounter by simply watching what people say and do. No matter what their physical age, far too many people act as if they were still 5 or 6 years old. You know, they focus almost exclusively on THEIR needs, THEIR desires, THEIR fantasies and when the world does not provide them with what they demand, they throw a tantrum. If they have aged a little, the tantrum does not usually look like a child stomping their feet or rolling about on the ground with arms flailing – no they have developed more sophisticated expressions of childish responses. They will pout, but claim that they are too busy to reply to you. They will retaliate for some perceived slight and pretend their response was an “accident”. They will viciously gossip, and seek revenge. These are all examples of the response and coping techniques we developed as children to keep ourselves safe.

We of the human race all have these “tools” from childhood at our immediate disposal. All of us, including me. ( I told you it was all about me… ūüėȬ† )

But I digress from the storyline.  Since we all know about these childish responses to the difficulties of life and have most likely employed them at some time, what is critical to having a more peaceful life is how we respond when the urge to use a childish response arises. If we are 5 or 6 years old, then we are likely to simply use whatever pops up.  If we are a little bit older, say 25 or more, then we should have at least a notion of some alternatives we can employ.

There are numerous sources of information on more refined and resourceful responses to life’s challenges. Actually, numerous is an understatement – I did a quick online search and found 111,000 references to “dealing with anger”. 111,000!!! That’s a whole lot of information, and if one was to only study and put into practice the approaches found in the first 5 articles, there would be no shortage of ideas, techniques, tips and tricks for that one element of our life. Life skills training is abundantly, copiously and exuberantly available, for free. All you have to do is look for it. And then use it, instead of doing what you did when you were 5.

 

Paying attention

The other part of this puzzle of contributing to a better world rather than detracting from it, is to pay attention to what we do with an emphasis on investing in thoughts, actions and feelings that are positive. Studies show that we get healthier (mainly through stress reduction, but not only) when we do this, so there is a personal payback. It is like being gardeners Рwe cultivate that which we want to grow. If we want more peace, we cultivate being peaceful with others.  If we want more compassion, we cultivate being compassionate towards others. And so on.

Studies have shown that noticing what others do for us and being appreciative of them and/or expressing gratitude helps relationships flourish and provides fertile opportunities for pleasant outcomes. Here is a link to one study, and you’ll find many more with an online search for the benefits of gratitude.

How does one cultivate appreciation ? It is easier to do than it might first appear, especially if you have not seen it modeled for you much. It can be as simple as saying something along the lines of “I like it when you do X” or “I appreciated when you said Y” or the very simple “Thank you”. The more you do this sort of thing, the more natural it becomes, like any other new habit. And the more you supply those around you with sincere indications of appreciation, the better off all of those involved will be.

The sincerity aspect is not to be ignored, as many times we will hear a rote “Thank you” that may as well be coming from a robot. The key to appreciation is the deeper human connection that occurs. It may last only a brief moment, but in that short space of time, a richness of interconnection and well-being can be experienced. If you’ve ever felt truly appreciated, you know what I mean. One time that springs to mind as I write this (and the deep emotional effect it had on me swells up inside me right now) was when a workshop leader brought me in front of the group to publicly thank me for my volunteer work for his project. He took the time and words necessary to make it abundantly clear to all present what he wanted to express and how strongly he felt about it. He used no fancy words and gave me no trophy, ribbon or certificate – this was not about symbolic or token appreciation but about real, heartfelt, sincere human to human expression. In those few minutes I learned firsthand the power of true appreciation and it completely changed my perspective on the topic. I aspire to one day be able to deliver as profound an expression of appreciation. In the meantime, I practice, practice, practice. (So let me take a moment here to say that I really appreciate all of you that read this blog, and especially those who give me feedback and encouragement. I do.)

 

Sowing seeds

One of the ways to enhance your gardening of a better world is to be mindful of your language when communicating. When we are stressed out, it can be easy to be curt, sarcastic, even rude. But, if we are mindful  and considerate in the way we speak to others, then the seeds we are sowing are more likely to grow into something  beneficial. One of best resources for this is the Center for Nonviolent Communication which offers books and audios on the subject of how to be clear and nonviolent in our communication.

Many times, the way we express ourselves is influenced by how we feel. OK, it is almost all the time. If we are feeling down, or upset or sad, etc., then it is hard to express appreciation sincerely. As you have heard/read me say before, resolving outstanding emotional issues makes it easier to do just about anything in life. With those emotions no longer intruding into our present day life, we can feel gratitude and appreciation and express it without any taint from that “other stuff”. The system that I developed, AER, is one way to release stored emotional pain. There are other techniques as well, and the important thing is to consciously and diligently release, using whatever tools work for you.

One does not have to wait until one’s pain has been released to start appreciating others. You could start today, with someone, anyone. Try it, notice what happens inside you and with them. You may be delivering a surprise that will pleasantly surprise you right back. The key is the giving without expectation of return, knowing that giving appreciation is its own reward.

Copyright 2011 Robert S. Vibert, all rights reserved.

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AER is a system to enhance the natural human release mechanism. One of the recorded AER sessions is available for FREE at my Facebook public page. Other AER recordings are available for the low cost of $10 each.

Excuse me, my past is calling…

Excuse me, my past is calling

by Robert S. Vibert

Has this ever happened to you?  There you are having a perfectly normal conversation with someone and all of a sudden your past calls you up, grabbing your attention and hijacking your focus! Those uncomfortable feelings from the past surge inside you, maybe prompting your stomach to knot up, your face to flush, your body to feel strange. Or maybe it is an emotional response that pops up, with anger, embarrassment or sadness flooding over you.

You knew that it was your past calling, using it’s speed-dial right to your core, right?

Maybe the feelings were so strong that you missed the connection and thought that these were feelings caused by whatever was happening in the present. This is one of the most common things we humans do – conclude wrongly that our feelings (emotional and bodily) are solely about the present.¬† Hey, popular magazines are always telling you how to “deal with” these feelings, but based entirely on the current situation. This “what to do when this happens” approach ignores the profound impact that our past has on us. There are numerous studies which show how the experiences of our early years have significant effects on us for the rest of our lives (or until we resolve those injuries).

Those who have resolved past issues find that new problematic situations have much less, if any, impact on them as the cumulative effect is now absent. Our past no longer gets to mess with us, throw us off balance or trigger all those feelings that we would prefer to not have.

On the line to the past

Although there is a huge industry of babble-therapy – excuse me,¬† talk therapy, that has people tell their stories over and over, that approach is popular mainly due to some good marketing. Edward Bernays, who was Sigmund Freud’s nephew and the main developer of public relations, invested a lot of time, money and clever marketing techniques in promoting his uncle’s ideas on human psychology as valid and useful. Psychotherapy became accepted and then preferred. This steamroller of “talk therapy is the best way to solve your problems” continues today to be promoted in films, TV and other media, even though there are numerous other methods which are as or even more effective.

One of the major issues that people have with talk therapy is that clients are often called upon to talk about what is bothering them. There are a few major concerns one should have with this, including

Examining our past in detail is often a futile effort, as many influential events are not stored in our brains as conscious items, especially when they happened during our earliest years – how much can you really recall of your time as a baby?¬† And, even if we do have some conscious memories of a traumatic event, the story is pretty much irrelevant anyway as our brain keeps changing the details. There are many influences on our memories, and the conclusion of those who study this area is that memories are unreliable indicators of what actually happened. In fact, if you take the approach of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) or hypnotherapy, one can rewrite or overlay an awful story with a better one. (There is a better approach than this application of “good memory” whipped cream on “bad memory” cow patty.)

The other major concern is the PPE (Problem Processing Engine) in our brain which will invent a reason for these feelings so that we can “solve” that problem of where they came from. Someone in a position of authority (“therapist”) asks us to talk about our problem (uncomfortable feelings) and our PPE will kick into high gear trying to “figure out why” we feel that way. The answers it comes up with are often superficial and shallow, along the lines of “I feel this way because Johnny said something nasty to me.” Applying a little emotional detective work to this initial conclusion might reveal that the feeling actually has nothing to do with Johnny or what he said but really arises from some incident that occurred ten, twenty or even fifty years in the past. Our PPE is good for many things, but emotions are not problems per se , so it often reaches the wrong conclusion about what gave rise to the feeling.

Talking about some issue or painful event mainly serves to reinforce those neural circuits so that memory is kept alive, along with all the pain that is associated with it. This is actually counter-productive, as the goal should be to move on from the pain, not keep that fire stoked.

The bottom line is that while talking about something painful does offer some relief (we feel acknowledged and accepted by the listener if they are skillful, and we may learn that others have had similar feelings which means we are not uniquely cursed), this is really only temporary as evidenced by the extensive number of talk therapy sessions “required” to feel better and the reports of those who finally resolved some issue using some other approach after years of “therapy”. Of course, feeling better is what we reach for when we are in pain, but just feeling better for a little while is only a stop-gap measure, not a real and long-lasting solution.

The normal human revulsion to the concept of constantly dredging up the pain of the past in the hope of fixing it and the much better results obtained from methods which aim to liberate the person from the pain instead of teaching someone to “manage it” have combined to lead many people to look for problem resolution approaches that are fast, effective and cost-effective. And, fortunately, they are finding them.

Disconnecting from the past

How does one disconnect from that call from a painful past? The principles are the same no matter what specific technique one uses. These are the principles embodied in the Awareness Expression Resolution process:

  1. Become fully Aware of the pain. Notice it, as it is, without judging it or wanting it to go away or trying to figure it out.
  2. Acknowledge the pain. It is there every time you look, so you gain nothing from denying it or avoiding it other than delaying the inevitable encounter.
  3. Accept the pain as normal and human – we all have pain and it is entirely likely that many, many people have felt exactly the same as you. Accept it as it is, with no attempt to rationalize, explain or understand it.
  4. Allow the pain to be and allow it to go. Feelings come and go and if we allow them, they will flow through and out of us. Pushing it away will only create more neural connections to it, keeping it firmly in place.
  5. Express the pain. No need for any big production here – just writing it down or saying it out loud (alone or with a trusted person) is usually enough. No need to tell the story, just report on the pain itself – “I feel sadness” or “I feel anger” are good examples of simple, clear and precise expressions of the pain. If a name or exact description of the pain escapes you, then use something generic, such as “I feel yucky” or “I feel down” or “I feel stuck.”
  6. Experience the pain, for a few moments. While there is no need to stay in the pain for longer than a few moments, it is necessary to experience it just long enough for the brain circuits where it is stored to become engaged and then release it.
  7. Consciously Release the pain.  Let go of it and let it go on its way. Think of this as being like letting a pebble drop out of your hand. You do not throw the pebble or make it go away Рyou simply let it fall naturally when you open your hand. Painful feelings can be released just as easily.
  8. Stay in the process until you reach full release Рthere is nothing left of the pain and the memory only contains data, not emotional content. You can see the scene but are no longer involved or emotionally engaged in it Рit is like a boring movie that has no interest to you anymore.  At this point, that pain is resolved and you have reached Resolution with regard to it.

Reaching Resolution on an issue is the key to not having this pain from the past speed-dial you in your present. Once you have released the emotional energy around an event from the past, it can no longer make that call to you in the present. As one releases more and more of the painful episodes from the past, the present becomes more pleasant and balanced – there is little if any interference of the past and its pain and whatever happens today is seen and responded to as just that today. This is much better than responding to a current situation with today’s emotional response compounded by past pain from similar situations.

Free of our past pain, we start to see people as they really are, with our vision and interpretations no longer distorted by past pain and memories.

The main thing getting in the way of more people using this sort of approach is that we’ve been sold two erroneous messages which make it hard for us to accept the simplicity of just letting go of the past:

Life problems take a long time to be solved and require a lot of effort.

We need to understand why we feel a certain way in order to get past it.

Both of these messages are baloney. I know of many people who have released painful memories in minutes. And, they did not need to talk about their past or pay someone thousands of dollars or euros to effect that release or give them some explanation. They just needed to commit to trying a little experiment and allowing themselves to take a walk down Release Lane.

Releasing stored pain from the past is really something that needs to be experienced to be understood – no volume of words can describe how free one feels after releasing some past pain that has been calling us far too often.

Copyright 2011 Robert S. Vibert, all rights reserved.

 

AER is a system to enhance the natural human release mechanism. One of the recorded AER sessions is available for FREE at my Facebook public page. Other AER recordings are available for the low cost of $10 each.

How to Successfully Ruin Your Life in 3 Easy Steps

How to Successfully Ruin Your Life in 3 Easy Steps

by Robert S. Vibert

Here you will find exactly what you’ve been searching for! This vital information is not covered by those magazines at the checkout counter that you have been browsing through for years, nor those hundreds of websites and books you have been reading. Here you will also discover the latest and greatest details on what you absolutely need to do. And, best of all, it will be explained in three easy steps! Read on!

If you have paid any attention to the average recent article on just about anything, then you’ll not be surprised by the claims made above. They are rather routine and common while still being new and improved! And, best of all, they are not to be found anywhere else! They are yours exclusively… not counting everyone else who is reading this, of course.

Now, on to the meat of the question, or the pumpkin, if you are vegetarian. How exactly does one ruin one’s life in three easy steps? You may be surprised to discover that it is very easy and requires no initial investment. In fact, it will cost you nothing at all! (Unless you want the hard copy, which is available for a modest processing fee…)

Without further ado, here is what you’ve been waiting breathlessly for all your life, or at least since you started reading this. (Do take a breath now, as it will make it even easier, if that is possible, to take in all this wonderful material.)

Step One: Pay no heed to what is going on with you and the world

Even though there are all kinds of important things happening around you all day long, you really should ignore them as much as possible. If you pay any attention to them, you might make informed decisions, and you certainly don’t want to do that. Ignorance is always the best defense!¬† You can claim that you did not know that products go on sale at the supermarket every week, and that is one of the reasons why you are always short on cash.¬† You can also state for a fact that you have no idea why your car keeps breaking – who knew it needed to be serviced regularly??! Generally speaking, you want to be as oblivious as possible to the happenings of the world.

With regard to your self, it also best to completely ignore the signals your body and emotional heart are giving you. Numb down those physical pains with massive doses of painkillers and distractions, as you don’t want to know that you might need to change your habits or get out of that chair and exercise a little. And, if your heart is complaining of emotional distress or pain, do your best to medicate that as well, using as many substances as you need, ranging from chocolate to ice cream to brownies and if that does not work, bring out the heavy guns: alcohol and drugs.

For good measure,  distract yourself with massive doses of TV, sports, romance novels, and any other distraction you can find. The last thing you want to do is look at what might be troubling you. After all, if you notice anything about your life, you may have to own your part in it, and have to resign your membership in the Professional Victim of Circumstances Beyond Our Control Club.

Step Two: Focus exclusively on the small stuff

There are significant changes happening in the world today, including pollution, growing inflation, widespread bankruptcies, food shortages, catastrophic natural disasters, severe depletion of fish stocks, and increasing contamination of food by toxic industrial chemicals, to name just a few.¬† To be successful at ruining your life, you should have ensured that your mind wandered off in the middle of that last sentence. After all, you do not want any more than milliseconds of your attention to be on these sorts of problems. They are serious ones, so best you make sure to only pay attention to what immediately concerns you.¬† You know, stuff like the sports game on TV, what your favorite¬† celebrity is up to, and how traffic is flowing on the roads and behind the checkout counter in your local big box store. You can also add to this collection of minor stuff that you pay excessive attention to your latest sitcom and “reality” TV programs, fashion trends, computer games and anything else which is really not all that important to your survival or personal growth, but that does provide for mindless distraction.

You want to keep your attention firmly on those things which will keep you away from noticing that the world you live in is being neglected and abused at a wholesale level. Surely someone else will take care of all that boring stuff so you can focus on “whatever”.

Step Three:  Gain more skills

This last step is not so obvious to many people, as it has become part of the mantra of modern life. Much of the “education” we receive is based upon learning and perfecting skills. Day after day, we learn more and more skills and credential-ism reinforces this trend, as getting a new job often requires that we can list off an impressive group of skills and courses that we somehow managed to complete.¬† Whether or not we can actually remember and apply these skills in an effective manner or even judge when to apply one or none of them is usually ignored, so best you ignore that too. Just keep on acquiring more and more skills until you cannot remember when to use them or even how to really use them. You need to stockpile them, like arrows in your quiver, ready to be shot at a moment’s notice.

If you are trying to improve your relationship, for example, the Relationship Obtaining, Improvement, and Repair (ROIR) industry has dozens and dozens of skills they want you to learn as they are sold as absolutely essential to relationship success. You read about these all the time in the magazines of impeccable research sold at newsstands everywhere – you need to communicate better, you need to tickle more, you need to pander to your partner’s insecurities by constantly telling them how wonderful/pretty/thin/handsome they are, etc., etc.¬† Never mind that most relationship problems are caused by unresolved¬† inner emotional pain and traumas, and no amount of skills will fix that. The ROIR folks want you to learn these skills which are actually pretty useless for those who are suffering from the wounds of their past (i.e. about 99% of the population), so get out there and do that! Read another magazine article about how to fake it until you make it, even if that is a dismal approach to real success.

And, there you have it! Three simple steps guaranteed to make it easy to ruin your life. Consistently applying these steps will ensure that you regularly get sideswiped by things that happen in your life, that you waste a lot of time and energy on activities and substances that provide only temporary relief from what ails you, further draining your bank account and spirit. In short order, you can join the hordes of happy sufferers who spend most of their time complaining about the sad state of their affairs, looking about puzzled at where they are in their life. If you really want to ruin your life, there are many more steps that you can take, but given that they actually might require some effort, best we leave them for another day.

What’s that you are saying? You don’t actually want to ruin your life?¬† Then why did you read this article? Were you enticed by the “three easy steps” and missed the part about it being an article on ruin, not on success? Oh, you are actually looking to improve your life? And you noticed how many of the resources you have been consulting are like recipes that require lots of steps and skills you must develop and yet you wonder how they could actually work.

Well, far be it from our normal procedure to present more than one main concept in a single article, what with all the union rules on that sort of thing, but here’s a hint:

When you find it hard to improve on any life skill, look for what is blocking that effort. More than likely, it is an emotional issue with that subject. Once you resolve the emotional issue (usually by simply releasing the stored emotion) you can then get back to improving your life and developing whatever it was you were trying to, without that major distraction getting in the way. Succeeding is not complicated, but it does require that you put some effort into it, and stay focused on the important things in life, which are not money, celebrities or entertainment.  Any time you find it hard to focus on the bigger life picture, look inside and see what is being stirred up. Take care of that and the rest will much easier fall into place.

If on the other hand, you do want to ruin your life and remain a victim, then please diligently follow the three steps above and successful ruin is yours to be had!

Copyright 2011, Robert S. Vibert, all rights reserved. May be posted elsewhere with proper attribution and a link back to this blog.

 

AER is a system to enhance the natural human release mechanism. One of the recorded AER sessions is available for FREE at my Facebook public page. Other AER recordings are available for the low cost of $10 each.

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