It was the weirdest thing the first time it happened to me. My whole life, I had felt very dependent on other people’s approval. And, some people’s opinion of me counted more than others. But, all of a sudden, I just didn’t care anymore about what a particular person in my life thought of me. It was such an intense shift for me that I can still remember where I was standing when it hit me. Now, you would probably think that I was jubilant. But, I felt strangely uneasy. I even thought, “If I try really hard, I can probably get that feeling of dependence back.” What the heck?!Continue reading
This week’s blog is a short video describing the basics behind Quanta Change—what your natural well-being is, what blocks it, and how Quanta Change permanently peels away those blocks. And, for those who prefer written articles, I’ll be returning to a written blog in the next couple of weeks and then alternating between writing and video from there.
Watch this short video to learn about the roots of procrastination and what you can do to move beyond it and get things done more easily.
Connecting to what you really want—to what really matters to you—is vital. It is what allows you to discover your uniqueness, so that you can make the world a better place. So, it’s a bit alarming to me that one of the most common things I hear from clients is, “I don’t know what I really want.” They usually say it when we’ve started to dig into their feeling that they don’t deserve to have what matters to them. We often have to back up a step when they realize that they don’t even know what matters to them in the first place. Then, there are people who are pretty clear on what they want, but as we work together, that shifts pretty dramatically.
When I start talking about the concept of having enough with my clients, I can almost guarantee what the response will be. This conversation is most often about money, but it sometimes is about time or energy, too. I ask them to imagine what it would feel like to have enough, and the response is almost always, “Can’t we say ‘more than enough’?”
Why is it that enough rarely feels like enough? Why do we feel that we have to store up or have excess just to feel comfortable?
I’ll never forget discussing this with an acquaintance while sitting in his million-dollar home with his German luxury vehicles out front. He affirmed that actually having enough isn’t the same as feeling that we have enough when he practically yelled this at me: “All I worry about all day long is where my next meal is coming from!” He then said that they only way he would feel like he had enough would be to have the same income, but live in a trailer home. And then, he thought a moment and said, “No, even then it wouldn’t be enough.”
Wow! Is this guy crazy, delusional, greedy, or a liar? I don’t think so. He’s just a fairly extreme illustration of the feeling that we all deal with in some way or another that there’s never enough for us, or, even if there is enough right now, some famine is coming for which we must prepare.
Now, some people are like this man. They have boundless energy, willpower, and talent to overcome that feeling, at least outwardly. Their situation seems OK, so many of us look at them and think that they must feel like they have enough. Others are overwhelmed by this feeling and feel powerless to do anything about it, and often these people are the ones scraping for money, time, or energy.
This is interesting not only on an individual level, but also on a societal level. How much of our growing income inequality in the world is driven by this feeling that there’s never enough, no matter which side of the equation someone falls?
Where does this horrible feeling of scarcity come from in the first place? On a large-scale level, I think it goes back to the fact that our world does have a limited number of resources. It’s why I’m not a big fan of the abundance consciousness movement, which doesn’t really take into account real world numbers or situations, nor does it seem to lead towards society working together to make sure that everyone has enough. While “the universe” may indeed be limitless, our little, blue planet is most definitely not that way. That’s also why I don’t encourage my clients to follow their impetus to imagine “more than enough.”
On an individual level, we absorb the feeling of “there’s never enough for me” from our parents and other early caregivers early in life. During this time from conception until the age of 2 1/2, the brain is forming the sense of self, which becomes the automatic, generating force behind every moment of our lives. How we felt back gets stored in this tank, if you will, that then generates moments—without our conscious input or control—that feel the same way. This is what leads to repeating patterns in our lives, including not feeling like we have enough of something (or actually not having enough).
When I start to address this with clients, we often have to backtrack a bit, so they can discover what they really want and what really matters to them. I have yet to hear someone say that they want to have five mansions and a luxury yacht and actually stick with that after they’ve really explored what matters to them. Once they get a handle on what they really want, we can start to explore what it would be like to truly have enough of that—always.
One of my favorite success stories in this realm comes from a client who felt tremendous scarcity around time, among other things. Time scarcity is really powerful, because it seems truly limited in a numerical way. This man had to install something for a customer over the weekend and he told me that there was no way that he and his assistant could get it all done in the time they had, based on past experience. I had him do his work around it, and then waited to see what would happen. I was actually pretty surprised when he told me they got done with the job at the level of perfection he required in less time than they had alloted, even. I asked him what it was like—did he feel that they worked faster, somehow? He said that it felt like time slowed down. Each time he looked at the clock, he couldn’t believe how much they had completed. I can’t tell you how shocked he was at this. It was truly unprecedented.
In what part of your life do you feel that there will never be enough? Can you let yourself imagine how you would feel if you always had enough of whatever it is every single day of your life? That is the beginning of leaving behind this awful scarcity feeling that we all live with in some way or another.
As you may know, I live near Boulder, Colorado, which is experiencing devastating floods. While I have not suffered any property damage, myself, many around me have. When I was thinking what I might say to help those who are facing the loss of their homes, their businesses, and most heartbreaking of all, their loved ones, I kept coming back to the article below that I published several months ago. While I focused on grieving here, what I’ve suggested also applies to facing big, unprecedented challenges, as well.
One of my clients says that she “always has to work twice as hard for half as much.” Do you know this feeling? Or, maybe you even feel like you work really hard for no pay-off at all. This is such a frustrating piece of Learned Distress, the feeling we absorbed early in life that there’s something wrong with us being exactly the way we are. It’s something I’ve dealt with quite a lot, myself.
Do you notice patterns in your life? Is there a certain thing that just keeps happening? It could be good, like making friends easily, completing tasks quickly, or something as small as having “good parking karma.” But, I bet that’s not what you thought of first. You probably thought of some negative pattern you see in your life, whether it’s in relationships, health, career and achievement, personal expression, or some other aspect of your daily life.
Well, not real strip poker. First of all, it was in a dream, and second, it was only my client stripping, ordered to do so by a sniper. In Quanta Change, the worse the dream, the bigger and better the change. So, you can imagine how much anticipation I had for this client’s potential good change. And, I’m happy to say that my anticipation turned out to be fulfilled.
Humility is a great thing, right? “Being humble is a virtue.” “The meek shall inherit the Earth.” Actually, I think that message is not meant for everyone. What about those of us who humble ourselves out of the picture entirely?
You know who you are. Someone pays you a legitimate compliment, and you find a way to downplay it or dismiss it. Someone asks for volunteers to lead, and even if you think you have the best skills for the job, you shrink back and let someone else step forward. When it comes to speaking up for yourself, you inexplicably find your voice squelched internally. You have a good idea for something, but you just can’t put it out there in the world. If you’re some kind of entrepreneur, you are horrible at self-promotion. Maybe you’ve even tried to step forward many times, and you have found that it just doesn’t work or that you even get negative feedback when you do.
Maybe, you say, it’s just my role in the world to be in the background, to serve those who are meant to be in the spotlight. People certainly do need to fill every kind of role in the world. Not everyone can be a prima ballerina. There also need to be chorus dancers, musicians filling the pit, people selling tickets, ushers leading people to their seats. But, it’s not really that external, structural role I’m talking about. It’s an internal, energetic sense of knowing that we matter, that our voices matter, and that the world is a better place when we freely and openly share ourselves with the world. And, I bet that you’ve met many a person who plays a supporting role in the world and yet who lives their uniqueness loud and proud.
So, why are some of us such wallflowers? Why do we find it so hard to speak out, even when we know it’s the right thing to do? It all goes back to how we fit with our surroundings early in life. From conception until the age of 2 1/2, we’re constantly learning in a really specific and different way than we often think of learning. Rather than learning information and how to do things in an intellectual, cognitive way, we are just sponges before age 2 1/2, absorbing how it feels to be human. This “sensory learning” time puts into place our sense of self, which is how we feel about being ourselves and how we feel that we need to be to survive on the planet.
This sensory learning time was meant to grow the core of who we are, which I call natural well-being. We were meant to absorb the feeling that it’s good being human and use that absorbed feeling to enhance and develop our uniqueness. But, because people don’t feel good around us every moment, and because sponges can’t be choosy in what they absorb, we also took in the feeling that there’s something wrong being human, and our little sensory sponge brains took it personally. These negative feelings became the sense that “there is something wrong with me.” This Learned Distress becomes embedded in our sense of self, and it becomes the automatic, generating force behind our negative moments. To cope with the Learned Distress, our brains form survival mechanisms to control or otherwise deal with it. This is where being too humble comes in.
Our Learned Distress and survival mechanism develops as sort of a puzzle piece that allows us to fit well with our parents and other surroundings. For some of us, fitting well means keeping ourselves, our opinions, what matters to us, under wraps. “What’s safe is to be quiet and hidden.” For some people, that’s most of it. “As long as I keep myself under control and hidden, I’m OK.” Others must not only keep themselves hidden, but then work hard to make sure everyone else approves of them. Either way, survival depends on keeping what matters most to us under wraps. And, the part of us that stores the survival mechanism isn’t open to rational-level change, so we can’t think our way out of it, even when we know it isn’t good for us.
When I start working with clients on this issue, I ask them, “What if everyone wins when you openly share what really matters to you?” This often elicits one of two responses—either laughter and disbelief or anxiety and fear. Either way, I know that I’ve hit the right button. Their survival mechanism is speaking up and saying, “Don’t listen to her. That’s not possible, and it’s not good for you.” My brave clients start working with this concept, anyway, telling their brain what they want it to change for them during sleep, when change on the level of how we feel can actually happen.
The results are really fun to watch. They say things like, “Someone gave me a compliment at work, and instead of deflecting it, I just said thank you, and it felt so good!” Or, “Instead of staying silent through one more house move, I spoke up and shared how horrible our past moves have been for me and how I thought this one should work. To my surprise, my husband thanked me for sharing what he hadn’t even known about our past moves, and then he asked me to create the plan for this one.” In this latter case, this couple had the smoothest move of their lives, and my client felt that she mattered more than ever before.
Does any of this sound familiar? Are you “humbling yourself right out of the picture”? The world needs everyone’s unique voice, and that includes yours! I hope that you’ll consider that there really is such a thing as being too humble and think about what good could happen when you come out of your comfortable hiding place.