Your Pain Isn’t Your Fault

Whatever pain you’re experiencing right now isn’t your fault. 

No matter what you did, or didn’t do, you didn’t choose to be in pain.  Nobody does.  The problem is that when people are in pain they often blame themselves, which just makes everything worse.  They don’t realize that that’s the nature of pain, that pain makes you feel like you’ve done something wrong and it’s your fault.  That pain makes you feel like you’re to blame and deserve to be punished.  That pain can even go so far as to make you feel like you’re unworthy, undeserving and unlovable.  But that’s just the pain speaking.  It’s not true.  This pain isn’t your fault.  You’re not to blame.

Because self-blame is so pervasive, it’s sometimes helpful to make a list of everything you think you did done wrong as it relates to your pain.  Then look at your list and ask yourself, “Was that my intention, to create pain for myself?  Did I choose this result?”  No.  Even if you made a lot of mistakes, your goal wasn’t to create pain.  You’re human and human beings make mistakes.  But that doesn’t mean you deserve to be in pain, ever.

When you can truly internalize that whatever pain you’re experiencing isn’t your fault, then you put yourself into a position where you can heal it.  One way to do that is to ask for help, to put your request out there:  “I ask for healing of my pain, in my best interest with harm to none.”  Then look for the help.  Perhaps a friend will call out of the blue or you’ll see a blog on the Internet or a commercial on TV.  Maybe an idea will come to you as you’re taking a shower or a coworker will say something without realizing that they’re speaking to your pain.  Maybe you’ll take a walk in nature and the beauty will touch you in a way that changes something inside your heart.  Or perhaps without the weight of the blame you’ll suddenly feel a bit more of the love that’s always surrounding you, just waiting to be let in.

When you ask for help and open yourself to receiving by ending the self-blame, whatever you need to heal your pain will come.

–Holly

Circumventing Your Inner Martyr

If you talk with someone and know that they won’t understand, you’re choosing to step into your martyr and it will never go well.

In our relationships there are always times when it’s not a good idea to talk about certain things. With some subjects, it’s never a good time.  Not because anyone is bad or wrong, but because – if we tell ourselves the truth – we know exactly what will happen.  They won’t understand, they’ll likely become defensive and we’ll end up getting blamed for something.  This doesn’t mean that we can’t love this person with all of our heart.  It just means that it’s not wise to talk about this subject right now or maybe ever.

The problem is, we all have an inner martyr who LOVES these types of conversations and will encourage us every time.  One of the martyr’s favorite tricks is to make us feel bad by filling our heads with thoughts questioning everything we said or did that could have contributed to the other person’s behavior.  The martyr always wants to make it all about us – even when it has nothing to do with us.  Maybe the other person is stressed.  Maybe they’re feeling inadequate.  Maybe they’re listening to their own martyred self and feel like no one understands or appreciates them and that they’re being blamed for stuff they didn’t do.

We actually have no idea what’s going on inside their head, but our martyred self will tell us that we do and again, it’s all about us.  Therefore, if we can just explain ourselves or justify our position or get them to see that they’re wrong, we’ll feel good again.  In effect, our martyred self is telling us that unless the other person changes, nothing will change.  That is a lie.  The truth is that we can change anytime we choose and then the situation will change.  It has to.

So how do we circumvent our martyred selves, especially when we’re in the moment and can’t tell the difference between its voice and ours?  We can always access our own wisdom by asking ourselves three questions:

  1. If I talk to this person, do I honestly believe that they’ll listen and understand? If the answer is yes, go for it – honest conversation creates wonderful intimacy. But if the answer is no, tell yourself the truth: if I choose to talk about this, I’m going to be misunderstood and likely blamed. Basically, my martyr will end up talking with their martyr and it won’t go well.
  2. What is happening in this person’s life right now? Have they had a bad day? Are they worried about someone or something? Are they involved in a task that stresses them out? Let me try to understand them versus getting them to understand me.
  3. Do I honestly want to connect with this person? If I do, what else could we talk about that would actually bring us closer together rather than separate us? If I know what they care about, I can always ask them a question and then really listen. Being heard is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give someone. And if I honestly don’t want to connect with them, that’s okay.  I can choose not to engage rather than using my martyr as a way of separating.

Relationships are precious and we are much wiser than we often realize. We don’t have to listen to the part of self that always wants to sabotage them.

–Holly

You’re Right On Track

You’re right on track, you’re right on course.

Whenever we pursue success, we are also pursuing change.  The bigger the success, the bigger the change.  This is valuable to understand because change always brings some level of chaos and chaos is uncomfortable.  As human beings we like things to be known, certain and settled, not chaotic.  Chaos also frightens us, which means that the closer we get to succeeding and therefore changing, the more fear we’re going to experience.

The ego part of self wants to say that this fear means that there’s something very wrong and then will encourage us to do what we did when we were kids or teenagers and had no effective way to deal with fear.  Try to control.  Feel unappreciated and misunderstood.  Distract ourselves by focusing on something else.  Act like we’re sick.  Eat too much.  Drink too much.  Judge ourselves as weak.  Get angry.   Pretend that we don’t care and it doesn’t matter.  Bully someone.  Try to be perfect.  Withdraw.  Go numb.

These outdated strategies for dealing with fear all have the same effect – taking us off course, which is exactly what the ego wants.  What if instead we truly internalized and then accepted that all success is accompanied by some level of fear because of the change (and therefore chaos) it generates.  That the closer we get to succeeding at anything in life, the more fear we’ll experience and that’s okay, that’s exactly as it should be.  There’s nothing wrong.  We’re not weak, we’re not unevolved – we’re just on the verge of success.

If we knew this, then our ego wouldn’t be able to trip us up.  Instead of listening to its lies, we could simply tell ourselves the truth: “Wow, I’m getting close to having what I want and am feeling really scared right now.  I must be on track.”  And then stay the course.  Maybe we even call a friend and talk about our fear or look in the mirror and talk to ourselves.  Fear is energy and it dissipates when we talk about it.  Our ego will hate this because it never wants us to succeed, but fortunately it has no power of its own.  It only has the power that we give it and when we prepare and protect ourselves by accepting the fact that fear always accompanies success, our ego won’t be able to do a single thing.

–Holly

Appreciating Yourself

The more you appreciate yourself, the more others will appreciate you.

Feeling unappreciated is a very toxic emotional state.  It doesn’t make us bad or wrong – it’s actually quite human – but it does cause tremendous damage.  When we feel unappreciated, it quickly opens the door to: feeling misunderstood; overwhelmed with seemingly unsolvable problems; blamed for things we didn’t do; and burdened with responsibilities that aren’t ours.  All this because we don’t feel appreciated.

Again, this doesn’t make us bad or wrong (nothing does), but it does make us suffer. The ego part of self always wants us to feel unappreciated.  It whispers in our ear that other people don’t see how hard we’re working, that they don’t appreciate all the difficulties we’re dealing with, that they don’t consider everything we do to make things work around here – even things we weren’t asked to do. The ego also tells us that until other people appreciate this, we can’t be happy.

But the exact opposite is true.  As long we keep trying to get other people to appreciate us, we won’t be happy.  In truth, whenever we feel unappreciated it’s an invitation to look deeper by asking ourselves two questions:

  1. What am I not appreciating in myself right now?
  2. What am I not appreciating in others?

For example, let’s say I make a special dinner for my family, going to great lengths to prepare dishes that I know they all enjoy.  Everyone eats and then is off to whatever they do after dinner, while I’m left standing there waiting for some acknowledgment beyond a quick “Thanks.”  Maybe I don’t even get that.  My ego starts whispering about how much effort I put into this meal and yet no one noticed or cared.  In fact, they just expect it of me.  They don’t have any idea of what goes into creating a meal like this and I can’t tell them either because then they’ll just misunderstand and think I’m fishing for compliments.  No matter what I do to show my love, it’s never enough.

And then my ego piles it on by reminding me of all the other things I do for my family that they don’t appreciate.  Before I know it, this special meal that I put so much effort into has turned into a source of anger and resentment, where I feel increasingly unhappy.   And given the Law of Attraction that says like energy attracts like energy, when I go to work tomorrow – if I stay in this emotional state – I’ll just attract more experiences where my hard work and effort goes unappreciated.

But what would happen if instead I used my feeling of being unappreciated as guidance, as a sign that I need to look deeper to see what I’m not appreciating in myself?  Perhaps I’m not recognizing just how loving I am.  Or how generous I am with my giving.  Or the creative ways I express my caring.  I’m wanting others to appreciate this, but I’m not appreciating it myself.  If I can’t or won’t give it to myself, then how can I expect others to?  More importantly, the Law of Attraction won’t allow it.  I’m putting out a vibration of not appreciating myself and therefore am attracting experiences of not being appreciated.  But when I genuinely start appreciating myself, I’ll attract experiences of being appreciated by others, including my family.  The power is within me.

Then I can ask the second question: What am I not appreciating in them?  Perhaps my spouse is under a lot of pressure and isn’t paying attention to anything right now.  Maybe my kids are overwhelmed with homework or are totally caught up with trying to fit in with their friends.  Maybe everyone is running a 100 mph right now just to keep up.  When I can find what I’m not appreciating in them, and then take a moment to understand and feel my appreciation for what they’re experiencing, I strengthen the attraction for being appreciated.

Again, the power is within me.

–Holly

Trusting Yourself doesn’t Mean You’ll Do It Right

Trusting yourself doesn’t mean you’ll do it right.

Trust is one of the most powerful tools for creating the life we want, but it’s a very misunderstood energy. Trusting ourselves is not a guarantee that we’ll do it right.  It is a guarantee that we’ll address whatever happens in a responsible way.  Whenever we trust ourselves, there’s the possibility of making a mistake or even failing, but that’s the nature of trust itself.  A situation only calls for trust when there’s the possibility of a positive and negative outcome.  If there’s only the possibility of a positive outcome, it’s not a matter of trust.

Why does this matter?  Because in order to succeed, we have to take risks.  No one gets anywhere skiing on the bunny hill forever.  But if we don’t trust ourselves, taking those risks becomes nearly impossible.  And unfortunately many of us have erroneously concluded that we’re not trustworthy because we’ve made mistakes in the past.  Making mistakes doesn’t mean that we can’t trust ourselves – it means that we’re human.

There’s the classic question: “What would I let myself do if I trusted myself completely?” The invitation is to do it without waiting for our trust to be complete (it doesn’t need to be complete – it just needs to be enough).  And then to accept the possibility of a positive and negative outcome.  If it turns out negative, that’s okay – we can respond, fixing what needs to be fixed, learning what needs to be learned.  And then we can try again.  And again.  And again.  We don’t have to get it right the first time or the second or even the third.  We can trust ourselves to make the necessary changes and then try again.

Life is so much easier when we give up demanding that we do it right – which is another way of saying perfect.  It’s in taking action that all the magic happens, including building our ability to trust ourselves.

–Holly

Choosing Your Own Destiny

You are here to choose your own destiny.

And once chosen, to pursue it for all you’re worth.  Every person who has realized their destiny was told “no” many, many times throughout their journey.  And they all experienced failure and setbacks, more than once.  But the reason they succeeded where others fell short is because they refused to give up.  No matter what circumstances they faced, they were determined to succeed and that determination opened doors they could never have imagined when they began their quest.

The key is choosing your destiny rather than waiting for inspiration or clarity.  What impact do you want to have on the world?  What moves you?  Is there something that energizes you every time you think about – a problem in the world?  An injustice?  Something beautiful? Whatever gives you energy is a whisper from your soul.  This wouldn’t move you if it didn’t come from the very essence of your being.

Once you identify something that energizes you, start pursuing it.  It doesn’t have to be “the ideal” – just take action. With each step you take, you are moving towards your destiny, towards the destination you have chosen.  Even if you hit a wall or reach a dead-end, go back to your original idea, to what energized you, and select a different approach.  Above all, keep moving forward knowing that walls and dead-ends are part of the process and provide invaluable information.  They are not signs of failure, they are signs that you’re finding your way – the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line.

And the shortest distance between you and your destiny is mostly likely not what you’re currently imagining.  Your soul has a much, much better plan for you that can only be discovered by taking the quest.

–Holly

Your Subconscious Mind is Waiting To Help You

Your Subconscious Mind is eagerly waiting to help you change any habit or behavior that you’re willing to release.

Changing negative habits or behaviors doesn’t have to be gut wrenching, hard or even stressful when you access the power of your Subconscious Mind.  This part of you wants you to be happy, healthy and successful, but it doesn’t have the power of choice.  Only you, the Conscious Mind, have choice.  When you combine your power of choice with its ability to implement that choice, you can easily change any habit or behavior.

One effective way to do that is by reprogramming yourself using the following sentence: “I used to ___________________, but now I don’t anymore.”  This statement communicates your choice through affirming your new action – in this case, what you’re no longer doing.  For example:

  • I used to crave sweets, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to like smoking, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to put myself down, but now I don’t any more.

This technique works incredibly well even if you don’t believe your affirmation at first. In fact, many people have been delightfully surprised that after just two weeks of continually repeating their statement it was suddenly true for them – they didn’t crave sweets or like smoking or put themselves down anymore.  Their Subconscious Mind listened and implemented their choice.

Some more examples:

  • I used to procrastinate, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to stay in unhealthy relationships, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to hate exercising, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to smoke, but now I don’t anymore. (This is a great affirmation once you decide to quit – and starting with not liking it can be very helpful.)*
  • I used to worry about money, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to overeat, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to drink too much, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to let people walk all over me, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to exhaust myself, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to have a hard time saying no, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to deny the power of my love, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to get involved in other people’s business, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to stress about the future, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to try to be everything to everyone, but now I don’t any more.
  • I used to hide who I am, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to feel afraid all the time, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to stay silent when things bothered me, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to think I was powerless, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to continually tell myself I should be doing more, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to buy things I couldn’t afford, but now I don’t anymore.
  • I used to get angry all the time, but now I don’t anymore.

The only limit to this technique is your own imagination – again, there’s no habit or behavior you can’t change.  The key is continually repeating your statement throughout the day, whether you believe it yet or not.  Every time you affirm it, you’re communicating your choice to your Subconscious Mind and it will respond until one day you suddenly realize that it’s true – it’s no longer an affirmation, it’s your reality.

–Holly

* This two stage approach is very effective for habits and behaviors that have become addictions.  Start with not liking it and then move to quitting.  For example, if you have an addiction to junk food: “I used to like eating junk food, but now I don’t anymore.” Once that feels true: “I used to eat junk food, but now I don’t anymore.”  Or if you have an addiction to self-punishment: “I used to like punishing myself, but now I don’t anymore.”  Once that feels true: “I used to punish myself, but now I don’t anymore.”

There’s Someone Who Really Deserves Your Compassion

There’s someone in the world that really deserves your compassion – you.

For many of us, it’s easier to feel compassion for someone else rather than ourselves.  But we deserve our own compassion, and not only do we deserve it, we need it.  Sometimes life is hard and we have to deal with difficult things.  In those times it’s all too easy to judge ourselves, to think that we should be responding better and that somehow we’re not doing it right because if we were (the thinking goes), it wouldn’t hurt so bad or be so scary or cause so much suffering.

But sometimes in life we hurt, we’re scared, we suffer.  And it’s not because we did anything wrong.  These are the times when we need our own compassion the most.  It is this energy that can carry us through the difficult times, that can heal our hurt or dissipate the fear or end the suffering.  Compassion is an incredibly, incredibly powerful emotion, especially when we give it to ourselves.  When we can feel that depth of caring for whatever we’re going through, it generates a sense that we’re going to be okay because we experience someone having our back – us.  And when we can be there for ourselves, there’s nothing we can’t get through.

So how do you feel compassion for yourself?  One way is by focusing on someone you really care about and then imagining that they’re experiencing whatever difficulty you’re experiencing.  Really envision that they’re having all the same feelings and all the same thoughts – they’re experiencing the same stress, anxiety, despair or whatever impacts you’re living through because of this difficultly.  Perhaps they can’t sleep or are finding it hard to concentrate or have lost their sense of a hopeful future.  Maybe they feel depressed and alone or are angry and frustrated.  Just let yourself imagine that they’re experiencing everything you are, almost as if you’re writing a play and this person is playing you.  Now look at them.  Open your heart and look at them.  Let yourself feel compassion.  They don’t want this.  They didn’t ask for it.  They don’t deserve it.  Neither do you.  Neither do you.

In this space of compassion, make a commitment to yourself.  “Right now I’m a woman/man who is experiencing __________ (whatever the difficulty is).   But that’s not who I am.  That’s what I’m experiencing right now, but it’s not who I am.  I refuse to judge myself.  I refuse to tear myself down.  I refuse to abandon myself.  I stand for me.  I will not give my power away to this situation.  I don’t deserve that and I refuse to let that happen.  What I do deserve is compassion, understanding and the space to be messy and make mistakes.  I give myself that, I give that to me.  And no one and nothing can take that away.  I stand for me. I have my back.”

–Holly

If You’re Finding It Hard To Change Something…

If you’re finding it hard to change something in your life, keep forgiving yourself until it happens.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful energies on the planet and is a catalyst for change.  Most of us have been taught that it only applies when someone has made a mistake, but it need not be limited to that.  We can access this profound energy any time we want to effect change in our lives – and in fact, it’s often the missing ingredient that keeps change locked up.

When we’ve tried to change something, but have failed, look to forgiveness.  Forgiving ourselves doesn’t mean that we’ve done anything wrong.   It means that we’re sorry that we’re having this negative experience.  Because we care about ourselves, we wish we weren’t going through this and feel sorrow around the fact that we are.  Not self-pity, like we’re a victim or powerless or being done wrong, but sorrow.  “I care about myself and because I do, I wish I wasn’t having this experience.”

Now sometimes we can point to something that we’ve done and of course it’s essential to forgive ourselves.  We’re human and thus make mistakes and will make mistakes for the rest of our lives.  Sometimes we’re prepared and handle things beautifully in life and sometimes we’re not prepared and blow it.  That’s okay.  We’re here to learn and grow and become more and making mistakes is part of that human experience.  In fact, it’s our task to learn how to love ourselves enough – not perfectly but enough – to forgive ourselves when we make a mistake or cause harm, rather than punishing ourselves for being human.

But sometimes we can’t point to anything that we’ve done.  We’re just experiencing something unpleasant or even painful and it’s no one’s fault.  This is also an essential time to forgive ourselves because this energy generates change.  The mere act of bringing forgiveness into the situation begins an alchemical process of change.  We don’t have to know how it works, we just need to open ourselves to this energy by forgiving ourselves.  “I’m sorry that I’m having this experience.  I care about myself and really wish I wasn’t going through this.  I haven’t done anything wrong and deserve better and want to give myself better.  I forgive myself for this situation.”

Then take a few moments to really let it in.  Whenever we forgive ourselves, we’re essentially drawing a line in the sand and saying that this is complete.  “Through the act of forgiveness, I now have a new beginning, a fresh start, a clean slate.  Things can be different now.”  And even if nothing changes right away, we can keep this energy going by forgiving ourselves every day.  In time, we will experience a difference because forgiveness is not only a catalyst for change, but also an unstoppable force.  Its ways are mysterious and undeniable.

–Holly

With Love, Will And Determination There’s Nothing You Can’t Do

When you’re in touch with your love, will and determination, there’s nothing you can’t do – nothing.

In southern cooking the holy trinity is onions, bell peppers and celery.  These form the base for many Deep South dishes and are considered a kitchen staple.  When it comes to creating what you want in life, there’s another holy trinity: love, will and determination. When you allow these energies to be the base of what you do, there’s nothing you can’t create.

The recipe is simple:

  1. Think of something you want to create. I want a loving relationship. I want a more fulfilling or better paying job. I want to heal this health condition. I want a group of friends to do things with. I want to go on this vacation. Whatever you want – don’t limit yourself by what you think is possible. Let yourself have the courage to tell yourself what you really desire.
  2. Now feel as much love as you can. It doesn’t have to be related to what you want. In fact, sometimes it’s easier if it’s not. Think of someone you love or who loves you and really feel that emotion. Or remember an experience where you felt a tremendous amount of love. Or think about something that you just love to do. It doesn’t matter how you get there – the key is totally immersing yourself in feeling love.
  3. Now summon your will – singular will. Will is focused intent and when it’s singular, when you have one focus and one focus only, it can become an unstoppable force.  Developing singular will is a skill that requires practice and the more you do it, the easier it gets. Let’s say you want a loving relationship. To hold singular will is to imagine that it’s already done: you have that loving relationship, it’s yours, it’s manifested. But because you’re human, thoughts usually creep in: what if I can’t find someone? This splits your will in two – it’s already done and not finding someone – which makes it less powerful. Then another thought comes in: what if I get hurt? Now you’ve split your will into three and it’s even less powerful. And then another: what if I can’t handle it? Now your will is split into four and has even less power.

    This is why it’s important to practice. When you want something, thoughts of not having it will surface. That’s totally normal. The key is to drop those thoughts immediately and focus on your singular will. “I have this loving relationship. It’s already done. It will manifest.” Then imagine it. Day dream. Spend time in your mind being in this loving relationship, imagining all the things you’ll do together and how it will feel. Let it be as real as possible, again holding the singular will that it’s already done, it’s already happened and it’s coming to you in the right time.

  4. The fourth step in this recipe is to draw upon your determination. This is where a lot of people mess up. When what they want doesn’t show up right away or when it does, but it’s not what they wanted, they give up. They may tell themselves that it’s impossible or that they can’t really have it or that they’re unlucky, but the truth is that they quit. When you’re determined, you don’t quit. You learn whatever you need to learn and continue to go for it, no matter what – even though your ego wants you to fail and you may have other parts of yourself saying that you don’t deserve or have other objections. It doesn’t matter, not when you’re determined. If you want it, that’s good enough.

    Determination requires a lot of strength. But when you immerse yourself in love and have singular will, you’ll have all the strength you need.

Happy cooking!

–Holly