I’d like to start off by saying that I do not purport to have all the answers – far from it in actual fact. It occurs to me that the old saying “the older you get the less you know” actually holds a great deal of truth… because these days, even though it stands to reason that I have more knowledge and experience than ever before; it’s equally true to say that I have even more questions in my quest to really know the answers. Still, I guess you could say that’s what keeps us curious to grow and learn eh? Even though, it must be said, there are times when I manage to drive even myself mad with my sometimes-obsessive drive to understand!
So I’d like to explain a little about my pathway – and why this quest is so important to me. The very first self-help I ever picked up was Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power Of Positive Thinking” – first published back in 1952, decades before the concept of positive thinking was in our regular vocabulary, and a lifetime before the emergence of mainstream New Age! I can have been no more than 19 years old when I picked it up for the first time, and I remember being somewhat sceptical about the messages contained in it. I remember feeling pretty annoyed at times – angry even – when it occured to me that if what the author was saying was in any way true, then it implied that I was to blame for my personal circumstances. At that time, both parents were already dead, and my little sister and I had recently been evicted from our guardian’s home. So life was pretty grim.
“And this idiot here is trying to say it’s all been my fault? Who on earth does he think he is? He has no idea whatsoever about me or what’s happened to me!” I would fume, slamming the book shut and stomping off to find a coffee or cigarette – my two regular crutches in those days. The fury and indignance passed, however, once I began to get a glimpse of the real message. It suddenly dawned on me that this book and its ideas were offering me a new way of approaching things. A new way that gave me the promise that I really could change my life for the better. A glimmer of hope in what for me had become a dark and dreary existence full of hopelessness and pain.
That’s where it all began, all those years ago. Since then I’ve devoured hundreds of books and cassettes (yes, way before the time of CDs or downloads!) and attended a myriad of workshops. I’ve also trained in various therapies including Louise L Hay, NLP, Coaching, Reiki, Hypnosis, Breathwork and Firewalking. And so far as I can see, the underlying message is basically the same – that the more we become aware of and flex our thoughts, feelings and behaviour, the more we can determine the quality of our life. Also, the more we can honestly assess what kind of experiences are showing up in our life, the more we can identify where our thoughts and beliefs are sitting, so we can then check whether or not we’re on the right track.
Opportunity Instead Of Blame
I am NOT saying that we deliberately invited sociopathic individuals in to our lives. I am NOT saying that it’s our ‘fault’. That we must have been thinking ‘wrong’ thoughts, or giving praise to the ‘wrong deity’ or following the ‘wrong’ leadership. Far from it. What I AM saying is that from my own experiences, having recognised – truly recognised – what had been happening to me, I have found ways to move through the experience and find a deeper sense of peace and joy as a result. It’s not about blame… it’s about opportunity. Grabbing the chance to create something different.
And from where I am right now, I’ve realised that there are far more levels to all of this than I could possibly have comprehended at the time. I know in my heart and soul that I have lived and breathed coaching and motivation for more years than I care to consider – and that the techniques I learned and fine-tuned along the way have helped me to create a fulfilling life. I also know that I’ve been lucky enough to make a positive difference in the lives of many hundreds of people.
I’m also holding my hand up right now to admit “I didn’t fully understand it all then… and I still don’t now” – and still I know I did some great work. But I DO acknowledge that I am ‘getting it’ more and more as time passes – particularly since the relationship with my ex.
For example, last week I wrote about ‘loving myself the way I am’ – and at the same time not expressing frustrations. My reason for doing that makes perfect sense. If thoughts become things, then let’s change ‘bad’ things in to good – then all that can ever happen is good. Right?
Wrong. The trick I believe I missed was to accept whatever emotions or frustrations that were happening at the time. Thinking about them and accepting them was never going to make them any stronger or pose any threat! Far from it. By acknowledging my natural ‘humanness’ and just allowing myself to ‘be’ then I can accept every single aspect – everything – without criticism or blame. And I can then just let it go. Let the angry, worried, frightened (whatever the ‘bad’ stuff happened to be) emotions wash through and past me – while I waved them “Bon Voyage”.
People often ask me whether I think I actively invited a sociopathic personality in to my life. Whether on some level I ‘deserved’ the cruel treatment I received – from my ex as well as from the people in my past. My honest response is this. It doesn’t matter to me where the pain comes from. Who delivers it. Why they’re here. Or what I did to ‘invite’ or ‘allow’ it to happen to me. Rather than dwell too much on the bad situations or people that turn up, or try to label them ‘sociopathic’ ‘abuser’ ‘narcissist’ or any other name, I choose instead to focus on what I can now do about my circumstances. Just like accepting my humanness, I will acknowledge and accept that what happened was wrong and hurtful… and then I’ll do my very best to let it go. And that process may well take some time. Good. I can take all the time I like, because it’s important to honour and accept what happened and how I felt, so that I can move through and past it freely and with joy. While doing that, I also reflect back and do my very best to find the ‘gift’ in the experience – so that I can be certain to recognise and deal with it should a similar person or situation appear again.
But it’s taken me a long time to reach this level of understanding. It’s been a harrowing journey at many times. And, as I said right at the beginning… I’m not saying I have all the answers. Heck, it may well turn out that I don’t have any answers at all – I may be totally wrong in what I’m thinking and believing at the moment! But….
You know what, though? When I look outside at my life that’s surrounding me right now, and compare it to what it’s been…. Even running a mental check right back through the years to my childhood…. I can honestly say that I feel happier, more settled, and more content than I can ever remember before. And I know, I absolutelyknow in my heart of hearts that this is just the beginning.
As Louise Hay says “Our thoughts create our reality, and a thought can be changed in a moment”. Every day is a new day, and right now it’s the most fulfilling adventure I’ve ever experienced!
Love and blessings to all – even more than you’ve imagined before
PS – if anyone fancies experiencing a giggle about the typically good old-fashioned British humour that I grew up with, here’s a link to Morecombe and Wise singing about “Positive Thinking” from their 1976 Christmas special… it always makes me smile http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKN7aWTUrIU