Do You Really Know What You Want?

What do I really want?“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” ~ Lao Tzu

I couldn’t agree more with this quote. Connecting to the very deepest part of yourself is what allows you to know what matters to you. People usually have quick answers for what matters to them—family, friends, pets, their home, what they enjoy doing, etc. But, what’s interesting is that when I ask my clients if it were truly safe to have what they really want, the response I get most often is, “I don’t think I know what I want or what really matters to me.” Does this ring a bell for you? Let’s look at why this happens.Continue reading

Why You Can’t Trust Anyone

Does trust work the way we've been taught that it does?I don’t mean “you can’t trust anyone” in the way that your mother told you when you moved away from home.  What I mean is that trust works very differently from the way we usually talk about it.

You can’t really trust or mistrust someone else.  What you trust or mistrust is what I call your Brain Direction.Continue reading

Is It Love or Something Else?

What is love really?I remember the day that I realized that most of what I had called love, in relation to boyfriends or even friends, wasn’t love at all.  It was a fear of losing someone I felt dependent on.  It was quite a blow to discover that instead of being loving, I was being needy.  Yikes!

I started looking around at my clients and friends, wondering if there were other unattractive feelings that people mistake for love.  I have found at least a couple that happen pretty often.  One is projecting the ideal picture of what one wants in a mate or friend onto someone else.  Another happens when a dictatorial or controlling person finds someone they can dominate.  And the dominated party is often playing the role that I used to—the needy one.

In most cases, these ways of relating to others are believed to be love.  But, all of these are actually based on fear.  Specifically, it’s the fear that “there’s something wrong with me being just as I am.”

To be even more precise, the needy person fears that they don’t have what they need within them to survive, so they feel dependent on others.  The idealist fears that the world will fall apart if life doesn’t conform to some ideal, so they depend on people around them to be some ideal way.  The dictatorial person can only feel comfortable when they’re in control and things are conforming to “their way,” so they depend on dominating those around them.

So, what is love, then?  It is self-acceptance that allows us to unconditionally accept someone else.

Love has freedom built into it.  Freedom for the other person to be who they really are, to grow, change, or even leave.  This freedom is built not on restraining ourselves from grabbing at the other person, but rather on feeling within ourselves that we are enough, that we have everything we need within us, that we are perfectly OK exactly as we are.  The more we feel this self-acceptance, the more others are free to be exactly who they are—because we don’t need them to be otherwise.  And, in my experience, others feel this acceptance at an energetic or non-verbal level, and they want to be around us even more.

The more this shift has taken place for me, the more I am able to enjoy others. Instead of dreading the moment of separation, I’m able to immerse myself in the relationship we have now. Clients have told me that they feel less anxious in relation to others.  They feel more relaxed about others’ behavior, even if they don’t agree with it. They are more able to flow with changes and shifts in relationships. And, they say that relationships just feel easier to be in, overall.

Have you ever wondered if the dynamic you’re experiencing is actually love? Have you noticed other feelings that people mistake for love?

Sara Avery helps people get unstuck in their relationships, health, career, and self-expression. Learn how she can help you tackle your biggest challenges.

How to Move Beyond the Blame Game

Learn why we blame and what we can do about it.“When you think everything is someone else’s fault, you will suffer a lot.” – Dalai Lama

I would extend this to one’s own self, too: When you think everything is your own fault, you will suffer a lot.  So, the problem isn’t whom you blame, but that you blame someone, period.Continue reading

The Surprising Origin of Being Rebellious

I used to be in awe of and even intimidated by rebels.  They do everything “their way.”  They blaze their own trail, make their own rules.  They’re so quick-witted that they usually dominate conversations and win any argument.  I thought that they were really powerful and completely self-reliant, but I’ve come to see it differently.  In fact, I think they’re as dependent upon others as people who are constantly try to get approval.Continue reading

Access Your Intuition and Keep Your Power

People always say you shouldn’t give away your power.  But what does that really mean and why does it happen?  Let’s look at one of the reasons people “give away their power,” three areas where it happens most often, and how accessing intuition can bring about a very different result.Continue reading

Anything for Approval

For the first 30 years of my life, getting other people’s approval was the most important thing in the world to me.  It was the main motivator in my life. I got great grades. . .mostly because that earned the approval of my parents and teachers.  I practiced the violin a LOT, got two college degrees in performance, and made that my first career. . .mostly because playing well earned the approval of parents, teachers, conductors, and audiences.  I was really nice to everyone all the time because. . .well, you can guess.Continue reading

Why Standing up for Yourself Often Fails. . .and What Actually Works

stand up for yourselfThe feeling that “I don’t matter” is what troubles my clients more than anything else.  “I matter” is at the core of being human.  We inherently want to be seen and heard, and engage in the activities that matter to us.  We all absorb the feeling that “I don’t matter” early in life, in one way or another, and it becomes stored as part of our sense of self – the part of us that generates each moment of our lives.Continue reading

How a Dream about Shooting Your Mom Can Be Good

A client called me yesterday, very disturbed about a dream in which he tried to shoot his mom.  As I always do with this type of dream, I got really excited for him.  The only thing that can be “killed” in a dream is Learned Distress, the feeling that “there is something wrong with me being just as I am.”  And, the intensity of a dream indicates the intensity of Learned Distress that is removed permanently.Continue reading

Is Your Generosity Sabotaging You?

Giving too muchGrowing up and through my 20s, I was the kind of person who liked to give. . .a lot.  In fact, I often gave so much that my parents, teachers, and friends would really question me on it or even get mad at me.  And, I was often giving to people who didn’t reciprocate at the same level.  In the back of my head, I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t really know what it was yet.

Then I learned that for me, giving was a survival mechanism.  I didn’t feel capable of doing things all on my own, so I felt dependent on others for help.  I gave to them in hopes of getting back whatever I needed.  Traditionally, this is called co-dependence, and while that label absolutely fits, what really helped me was to understand that I felt giving was the only way to survive, even when it started to feel bad.

Others give from survival-based places, also.  For some, survival depends on doing what they “should” or on trying to make everything and everyone around them OK.  If you’re not one of these people, you probably know someone who is.  They might say things like:

“It’s not about ME. I just want whatever YOU want.”

“Oh, I don’t need anything. As long as my family (or significant other or friend) has what they need, I’m fine.”

“I don’t even have time to think about what I need.  I have to take care of all the people who will fall apart unless I help them.”

All of these survival mechanisms are based on burying one’s own wants and needs.  That seems OK – it’s better to give than receive, selflessness is a virtue, etc.. . . right?  These are nice ideas, but when giving is based on denying one’s own wants and needs, it ultimately falls apart.

A tree is a great example of what I’m talking about.  Trees give oxygen, shade, beauty.  But they can only do so when they sustain themselves first.  And, they have everything they need within them to do that.  They draw what they need from their own roots and leaves.  They’re not grabbing onto the leaf of another tree to get what they need or tending to all the other trees in the forest, instead of themselves.  That would be ridiculous, but it is exactly what so many of us have tried to do.

We, too, have our own roots and leaves, and they draw from our well-being and uniqueness, the energy that can sustain us and provide what we’re here to share with the world.  But, our access to well-being gets cut off.  Early in life, we absorb the feeling that “there is something wrong with me being just the way that I am.”  As this negative feeling, called Learned Distress, becomes embedded in our sense of “how it is to be human,” we feel that we need something outside of ourselves in order to survive.

So, we feel dependent on getting other people’s help, or on making everything the way it “should be,” or on everyone around us being OK.  We operate that way as long as we can, but at some point, our energy gets depleted and that survival mechanism stops working.  Our leaves shrivel up and turn brown, and we have no oxygen or shade left to give.

When I begin to talk with clients about removing layers of this Learned Distress, they’re sometimes afraid that they’ll lose their generous nature.  But that isn’t the case at all.  When your roots and leaves tap into your well-being, you have a much more abundant place from which to give.  Generosity feels completely different. . .freer, easier, more joyous, and completely sustainable.  Your natural well-being is a bottomless well, so your ability to give in a way that nourishes you and benefits others just keeps flowing.

Sara Avery helps people get unstuck in their relationships, health, career, and self-expression. Learn how she can help you tackle your biggest challenges.