You don't have to know everything

You Really Don’t Have to Know Everything

You don't have to know everythingOne very typical fear that I talk with my clients with a lot is the feeling that we have to know everything. Or, at least, the feeling that we have to seem to know everything.

Have you ever pretended that you knew something when you really didn’t? I’m raising my hand here. I’ve done this a lot! Someone talks about something I’ve never heard of, and I just nod my head knowingly. Thanks to the internet, I can quickly look it up once I’m alone. (How did I even survive pre-internet?!) Does this sound familiar to you?
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We can rely on our own well-being

Find the Wings of Your Well-Being

Quanta Change helps you find the wings of your well-beingA bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch, but on her own wings. ~ Unknown

The issue of trusting ourselves or trusting our own inner resources is something I talk about a lot with my clients. As human beings, we each have our own version of the “branch” that we sit on. And, while the bird might not be afraid of the branch breaking, we are downright terrified of our branches failing us.
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I don't matter is a feeling generated from within.

You Matter. (Easy for Me to Say)

I don't matter is a feeling generated from within.The feeling of “I matter” is one of the most important and prevalent issues I address with my clients. To say it another way, the feeling of “I don’t matter” is at the heart of a great majority of our negative issues as human beings. It’s the generating force behind nearly every relationship conflict, personal or professional. It’s also often a major factor in difficulties with achieving goals. When we feel that we don’t matter, then whatever goals we might want to reach don’t take precedent when our moments and situations are generated.

“I don’t matter” is a tricky thing to address. We gauge the level at which we matter mainly by how others respond to us and treat us. So, when I start working with someone on their feeling that they don’t matter, they almost always want to work on mattering to someone else or to other people, in general.

But, as with everything in life, our moments and situations are generated from within. So, any moment in which we feel like we don’t matter is initiated from within our own sense of self, even if it seems like it is being caused by someone else. We feel like we don’t matter, so our brains generate moments in which we get to feel that, over and over and over again. This never excuses someone else’s bad behavior, but we can only work on our own stuff, and you would be surprised by how much someone else’s behavior towards us can change when we change.

You might think that someone else telling us we matter could somehow overcome our feeling that we don’t matter. But, our sense of self—the part of us that stores how we feel about being ourselves—is a closed system. It doesn’t interact with the outside world. It just stores how we feel and generates moments and situations based on those feelings. It’s a one-way street. No matter how much someone else contradicts our own negative feelings, no matter how strongly or often they do it, their sentiment never makes it into our sense of self. We may feel better momentarily, but the feeling that we don’t matter always floods back in.

So, because this mattering issue has to come from within, I’ve had to help my clients carefully phrase how they tell their brain that they want to feel that they matter. Using the phrase “I matter” by itself usually causes the brain to fill in “to ________.” So, we use phrases like “have what really matters to me,” “express what really matters to me,” and “achieve what really matters to me” to trigger natural well-being to be uncovered and come to the surface.

What’s so great about the changes that come about internally through Quanta Change is that the brain starts generating moments based on this feeling of “I matter.” So, just as someone never worked hard to live out a situation in which they felt like they didn’t matter, the “I matter” situations begin to happen effortlessly. One client last week had a really dramatic change in this way. She said that for the first time in her life, a man had listened to what she had to say and said that he really cared about doing things in a way that felt good to her.

Have you ever had other people tell you that you matter over and over again, but you just can’t take it in or really believe it? Or, are you someone who continually gets the feedback that you don’t matter from every direction? (Or, maybe you feel like you’re a bit—or a lot—of both.) I hope you can understand that feeling that you matter is an inside job, and that shifting that feeling for yourself really can make monumental differences in how your life works.

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

Why “Weird” Is One of My Favorite Words

Personal transformation can feel really weird.“This is so weird. I really should be upset what happened at work, but I’m just not.” This is a direct quote from a client session yesterday, but I’ve heard it many times before from other clients. In fact, “weird” is one of the buzz words I tell people to look out for as a way to take notes on their own Quanta Change process between sessions with me.

This weirdness takes many forms: a lack of anger, anxiety, or sadness about issues that usually are big triggers; a greater sense of ease in performing tasks that are normally difficult; a sense of momentum for getting things done where someone normally procrastinates; an ease in speaking up for oneself or expressing what matters to them; a big change in how people treat my client or respond to them, without my client having taken any action towards that goal.
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How to Free Yourself from Your Internal Oppressor

Free yourself from your limitations.As I was watching the latest Middle Eastern uprising unfold this week—this time in Turkey—I thought a lot about freedom. Often, when we hear about freedom, we think of the kind of freedom that Turkish citizens are demonstrating for—freedom from an external oppressor, their government. But, there’s an internal kind of freedom that many people also lack. It’s what I talk about with my clients all the time.

Their internal oppressor is set up very early in life in the process that forms their sense of self. You can think of the sense of self as a battery that is generating every moment of our lives. From conception until the age of 2 1/2, we all absorb how people around us feel about being human, and what we absorb from them turns into this sense of self—the way we feel we have to be to survive and fit well in the world. Part of what we absorb is what I call Learned Distress, the feeling that there’s something wrong with us being just the way we are. This Learned Distress becomes the automatic, generating force behind our negative moments and situations.
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What if It’s Completely Safe to Feel…Everything?

It's safe to feel all of your feelings.“It’s just a feeling, Sara. That’s all.” I replied, “Yeah, easy for you to say! I think this ‘feeling’ might just kill me.” This exchange from more than a decade ago is so clear in my mind, and now, I am often on the other side of it with my own clients. “It’s just a feeling,” was something that I had to hear many times as I was starting into my own change process. As pockets of deeply buried feelings came up for me to unlearn, it felt like the sky was going to fall. But, I always survived, and I always emerged from that cycle of change feeling better than I ever had before.

Some people’s survival mechanisms let them feel every bit of their emotions from the time they are tiny. But, most of us have at least one area and often several in which we feel that to survive, we have to bury how we feel. It sort of makes sense when it comes to the negative feeling that I call Learned Distress. Keeping the feeling that “there’s something wrong with me being just the way that I am” under wraps seems like a logical part of a strategy to keep moving forward in life.

But, believe it or not, some people’s survival mechanisms require them to also keep their good feelings under control. Early in life, their brain gets that in order to fit well with their parents and surroundings, they need to bury everything they feel, good or bad. What’s safe is to really keep everything they feel under control.

People have various ways of coping with this need to keep their feelings buried. Many people stay very busy to avoid feeling. Others create strong boundaries in order to keep whatever triggers their feelings away from them. Some constantly find themselves sabotaging situations or relationships in order to avoid feeling whatever would be triggered by a success in that arena. These behaviors are all automatically generated out of their survival mechanisms that say, “Just don’t feel anything. It’s not safe.”

The more buried people’s feelings are, the more I caution them that things might feel out of control at times as we begin our work together. Sometimes, they will feel like they are walking a tightrope as their buried feelings start to bubble up. If they could zoom up out of themselves for a moment, they might see that they are walking on a wide plain, but to them, it feels like they might fall off their thin wire into the abyss at any moment. That’s just because their sense of what’s safe is to not feel at all, so when they do start to experience their feelings, it seems extreme. Another way to understand this is to imagine that you have worn 10 layers of clothes all of your life, and suddenly, you take off all but a tank top and shorts—even the slightest breeze would feel pretty shocking to your bare skin.

There’s a huge payoff for those who dare to walk that seeming tightrope or do away with their thick layers of protection. Our most profound level of feeling is our pipeline to the core of who we are. This core, which I call natural well-being, is what allows us to feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is the source of our creativity and uniqueness. And, it is what allows us to discover and fulfill our life’s purpose. When uncovered and allowed to flow freely, our natural well-being works for us (not the other way around), allowing our lives to work more easily and joyfully.

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

Why Expressing Anger Is Good for You

Why expressing anger is good for youPretty often, I have clients who are surprised when I tell them it’s not only OK but actually even good and necessary for them to express their anger. Some of them feel that it isn’t safe to express anger. Many think it’s not even OK to feel it internally, much less have any outlet for it. Many have been told that it isn’t “spiritual” or “evolved” to express anger.

No matter whether you feel it isn’t safe or it isn’t right to express it, anger is energy trapped inside you, and it needs an outlet. Specifically, anger is a form of what I call Learned Distress, the feeling we all absorbed early in life that there is something wrong with us being just the way that we are. Learned Distress can take many pathways out, including sadness, depression, obsession, physical ailments, and many more. You may experience these other pathways more than anger, or you might be like me, and have a fairly high percentage of your Learned Distress expel itself as anger.
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You Want the Best for Others…but Why?

Why you want your child to succeed matters.Clients often share with me intense concern for their loved ones or friends who are struggling in some way. There’s a very natural and positive side to wanting those around us to be well and succeed, and I celebrate that. But, there’s often an element of Learned Distress at play, also.

Learned Distress is the feeling we all absorbed early in life that there’s something wrong with us being just the way we are. This negative feeling becomes the source of our negative moments and situations, and it is largely the basis for the survival mechanism we use to move through life. Learned Distress can be very demanding; it can make us feel like things have to be a certain way for us to survive. Sometimes, that “things have to be a certain way” can extend to those close to us.
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The Soul Grows by Subtraction

Soul growth can take place when Learned Distress is removed.The soul grows by subtraction. ~ Meister Eckhart

Every day, I’m fortunate enough to witness the wonder that 13th century mystic Meister Eckhart was talking about. It seems so paradoxical, doesn’t it? But, it gets clearer when you understand what needs to be subtracted to allow the soul’s growth.

It’s what I call Learned Distress. It’s the feeling we all absorbed early in life that there is something wrong with us being just the way that we are. Learned Distress comes to overwhelm our natural well-being, which is our soul’s energy embodied within us. Well-being is not only what allows us to feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally, but it is the source of our creativity and uniqueness. And, it is what allows us to discover and fulfill our life purpose.
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Does EVERYTHING Have to Be Hard?

Does everything have to be hard?I laughed out loud yesterday when I found a piece of music I had worked on in the course of my professional violin career. At the top, I had written, “This is not hard.” Even though it was in my handwriting, I can hear my teacher saying it. He was always having to remind me that I already knew how to play the violin, and that meant that some things just were already easy. One of his favorite ways to say it was, “You’ve already played all of these notes before, just not in this order.”

It happens all over the place for me. I notice it in the smallest, everyday things. I look out at the weeds in the back yard and feel like it’s an insurmountable task. Yet, it only ends up taking 15 minutes to pull them all. Some administrative task goes undone for weeks or even months, just because it feels like it’s going to be so much work. And then, when I get it finished just before the deadline, I find that it takes all of five minutes and was a breeze. Now, playing the violin isn’t as easy as pulling weeds or filling out some form, but when someone reaches a professional skill level with it, there are still plenty of things that are indeed just easy to play.
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