Today, I’m beginning a fun event for me and perhaps for you. I’m sharing a short synopsis of life as a coach, writer, painter, podcaster, and a person being human. Within each week there seems to be a theme – regardless of the area of my work/life. So this may be interesting, educational or entertaining for you – that all pleases me! And if there are enough viewers, a short coaching session may be offered to someone on the live Facebook.
My job as a life coach is to empower people to empower themselves to create a great life. I sometimes tell clients I’m their Fairy Godmother, and that I will empower them to empower themselves to make their dreams come true! Everyone loves this idea. And, they really pay attention to our conversations – for some reason, they pay better attention to their Fairy Godmother than they do to their life coach.
When Carmen first started working with me – as her Fairy Godmother, she shared that what she wants to have fun again in her work life and to feel at peace with herself. Over the weeks we’ve been working she really gets the importance of following her own advice.
You see, Carmen is afraid to follow her own wisdom. She is afraid she will disappoint people and that they will reject her. So rather than speaking her truth, she holds back – this is with every person in her life, her mom, her boss, her husband, many of whom could be considered unkind or abusive. In our sessions, it is really clear what actions she needs to take, and yet, she doesn’t take them. Why? Most likely she isn’t quite ready to take that leap into trusting herself.
As our sessions continue, as with most of my clients, Carmen is becoming more ready to make those leaps that are right for her.
Today, Carmen started our session with “Rosie, I have a question for you.” I know, in this moment, Carmen will be asking me to give her advice on how to proceed with a certain person. And, guess what? I won’t be telling her what to do. Why?
Here are some reasons why I rarely tell people what to do:
- Even when people ask me to tell them what to do, they rarely do it. People spend tons of money on self-help books, but rarely take the advice of the authors. I’ve been told so many times, by people reading my book, “Self-Empowerment 101,” how helpful it was, that they read through it and plan on going back and doing the exercises at a later time. Guess what – they never do!
- Everyone is different in how they perceive the world. What I think is right to do isn’t necessarily right for them. I’m making assumptions that people are like me, when people are only like themselves – so they need to honor and respect their uniqueness and not rely on other people’s perspective. And, what is really amazing is that people will come up with their own best answers when the time is right. It happens all the time!
- Using my position of authority as a teacher, coach, therapist – whatever I am, to tell others how to do what they should do, enables them to perhaps relentlessly disempower their own capacity to make great decisions, while making me feel special and smart! Even though I love it when people tell me how brilliant I am, they aren’t paying me to be smart. They are paying me to empower them into their own brilliance. I’m wasting their money if all I’m doing is telling them how to be smart. It doesn’t work that way!
- You can’t learn to really trust yourself if you don’t follow through with decisions you know to be right for you. Self-trust is the least found quality on the planet. Few people truly trust themselves to make the right decisions for themselves. And it isn’t because they have failed. It’s that as a society, we are continually bombarded with media that tells us we need to listen to others for what to do, what to wear, who to date, what to eat, how to make money, on and on and on it goes. Rarely are we told how great we are and that we are doing a good job just being us! So we’ve learned to not listen to ourselves.
- Timing is Everything: As I mentioned earlier, for Carmen, maybe the time isn’t right. There is a right timing for everything and everyone. Cultivating one’s capacity to follow through with tough choices can take time. If they try too soon with disappointing results, the judge themselves as a failure. If they follow right timing, the results will most likely be fulfilling, no matter what!
One last thing. Too often, I’m afraid, people who’ve worked with mental health professionals and coaches have reported that they don’t feel heard or listened to. That their coach or therapist tells them what to do, but it doesn’t feel like it’s the right advice for them. If you are looking for support, be clear of what you are looking for. If you want to be told what to do, hire a consultant. If you want to grow yourself up, work through life crisis, or other life issues that are challenging, interview therapists and coaches to find the right fit for you. Why? So you can follow your own wisdom from the very start!
As a Fairy Godmother and coach, empowering people to empower themselves requires me to ask enough questions to elicit the responses that they need to hear themselves say. Then they inevitably know what to do, without being told. They feel brilliant and happy – as they should! And, they are much more likely to follow through with their own advice! It works every time!!
I was interviewed by Eric Maisel in 2016 for his Future of Mental Health Series on Psychology Today. This is my take on what Transformational Coaching is and how it differs from psychotherapy.
Rosie Kuhn takes the interesting position that coaching is actually more rigorous than therapy, because coaching by it nature demands that the client work and therapy, which focuses on “diagnosing” (which the therapist does) and “treating” (which the therapist does) by definition doesn’t. Naturally this point of view could be hotly disputed; but it is surely a consequence of the current, dominant paradigm of “treating mental disorders with pills and expert talk” that it fosters passivity in the person being helped. Here is Rosie Kuhn on transformational coaching.
After announcing our June 2019 retreat, the “I’m Giving Up Personal Development” Retreat, I wondered if it sounds as though we are all about hedonism. That we would eat, drink, and mindlessly abuse ourselves to within an inch of our lives. This retreat is just the opposite! Our intention is to mindfully allow the direct and full experience of the kindredness of ourselves with all the glory and beauty life has to offer. On a river boat in France. Because beauty and glory.
Did You Know?
The research of my PhD dissertation, Sailing As a Transformational Experience, revealed that most individuals experienced transformation when they momentarily experienced a oneness with the boat and with nature. They transcended what they believed defined them: relationships, work, power, activities. They expanded their sense of self to include what they once took for granted: beauty, nature, water, wind, sky, clouds, rocks, grass and dirt. They embraced aspects of themselves they hadn’t known existed. And, by doing so they were inspired to live a life that reflected the kindredness of their soul with life. They came to know themselves as their Greater Selves!
Spiritually Transformative Experiences? What the heck are they?
There is an organization that birthed itself about 10 years ago, called The American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (ACISTE.org). Their mission is to train therapists, psychiatrists, spiritual guides and ministers, and life coaches to support individuals who have experienced realities beyond our 3D reality, and who need assistance to integrate these experiences into their lives.
Part 3 – I’ve Never Been Here Before
Every morning we wake to a new day – a new version of our children, of our work, our lives, and of ourselves. Truthfully, none of us have been here before.
The remarkable reality that surrounds us often gets cluttered with a regiment of rituals, in service to getting through the day with relative ease and grace. Mundane patterns of thinking, seeing and acting fog our senses, and we ignore the true beauty that unfolds eternally before us.
I am a Child of Light
Growing up, I was constantly shocked and disappointed that no one saw the light, beauty and love that was my essence – my being. Now, I wasn’t articulating this quite in this way, when I was a child, however, the absence of acknowledgments of who I was – the essence of me, wounded me deeply. And, so I learned to think differently about who I was supposed to be, in order to get the acknowledgments that would prove my existence had merit and value. I learned to forget that my truest value was in my being my light, not in being proficient at dimming my light.
The people around me all were immersed in the mist of a reality based on having too many responsibilities, too much to do, and too little resources to handle the overwhelm. I was a casualty of a dysfunctional environment, as were every single person in my world. No one is to blame.
Positive discipline, requires the utilization of Intelligence! You are reading this newsletter because you are part of a wonderful organization – Maximize Your Talent. You are committed to Emotional Intelligence and you practice cultivating it in your life, your work, and in your relationships. My question to you is: What would shift if you were to enter each new day from the perspective that this is the day you are given – unlike any other? This would mean that you cannot rely on the thinking, feeling, or doing of your previous days? You’ve never been here before, so you have to look at things with a fresh perspective.
My experience is that every single one of us is a child of the light, and that cultivating emotional intelligence allows us to see within ourselves, and those around us, the light and delight that is always present. The practice of positive discipline then requires us to shift the paradigm – the one we’ve relied on for too long – the one that dismisses anything that is not pragmatic, reasonable and efficient; the one that takes the fun and connection and the delight out of so much of the day.
What would you need to shift in order to wake up looking forward to the first glimpse of your children? What would you need to shift to look forward to all that will be unfolding in front of yoy? What would you need to shift to experience fulfillment from the perspective of: “I’ve never been here before!” It is all in the perspective, isn’t it? It’s all in the willingness to open to being in your life with everything you desire available to you now – and in every moment you willingly wake up into a new, fresh beginning. I’ve never been here before!
When Art Delorenzo invited me to write about positive discipline, I initially focused on how to get children to behave through the practice of treating them with respect, dignity and kindness. But, we are all children, and we all desire respect, dignity, kindness and fulfillment. In order to bring this reality into fruition it takes the practice of positive discipline with ourselves and with those around us.
When we willingly practice bringing positive perspective into our own lives we bring it effortlessly into the lives our our children, our friendships and into our work environment. Delighting in the possibility of Never Here Before is a practice that only requires openness and curiosity, with just a pinch of courage to break the cycle of living as if we know how it’s going to end. We don’t!
Enjoy the adventure!
Part 2 – I Definitely Have Some Positive Self-Discipline to Do
Last month, I shared with you the degree to which I was disciplining my children from unconscious patternings that I didn’t know existed. As a young mother – the woman that I was 35 years ago, I wasn’t considering the long term results of what I was practicing in regard to discipline. I just wanted my children to do what I wanted them to do, when I wanted them to do it. I wasn’t successful, and in their teens our relationship degraded to virtually nothing. They couldn’t wait to move out of the house. Fortunately, I’ve done a lot of work on myself and am grateful that I’ve become a different person, which translate into being a much more effective mom – even to grown children: We never stop being parents.
As a child, what I wanted most in life was to have children, which I assumed meant engaging in a dynamic, loving and respectful life together until I died. I assumed I had the wherewithal to discipline appropriately and lovingly, yet I didn’t know what I didn’t know, regarding those hidden patterns that caused my relationship with my children to go the way of my relationship with my parents. Not even my training as a marriage and family therapist made a dent in my patternings.
Learning to Do it Different
When we want to learn something, when we have a true connection to someone, something or ourselves, generally we willingly step into a positive relationship with them, and practice the necessary skills to have what it is we say we want. That means we discipline ourselves in order to have what we want.
When we have a healthy relationship with ourselves, we forego guilt, shame, and self-flagellation, because we know none of that works – ever. We understand that practice makes perfect, and discipline is a necessary element of practice. We attend to thoughts and actions and how they either bring us joy and fulfillment, or they bring us something else. We learn the practice of positive discipline through this process of mindfulness. How do we translate this into our relationship with our children?
The WHY of Discipline
As an adult who has children or works with children, what is the source of your desire to discipline? What are the values by which you operate or wish to operate? Why Discipline? Is it to connect and engage with your children? Is it to teach them to be social? Is it to be undisturbed by them? Why discipline?
A life coach worth their weight in salt is a thinking partner for their clients. They create a space within which the individual looks hard and deep at all the ways they’ve avoided and ignored the practice of self-discipline, in their thoughts, words and deeds! We ask how is it that in any individual’s life there are areas where they are highly disciplined, and are areas where they seem to lack discipline altogether, or not enough to create the results they desire? How do any of us choose how much discipline to implement in any part of life. It comes down to what we want and what we want to avoid. It is what we value enough that we willingly discipline ourselves to have the outcome we want.
Essentially, I believe that everyone who attends to the development of children requires the development of basic coaching skills – the ability to distinguish when one is in alignment with their highest values and highest truths and when they aren’t. Parents, teachers, coaches, ministers, as well as grandparents and guardians, who are effective in their roles as stewards, question themselves and their motives. This allows them clarity, regarding what they truly want in their relationship with their children.
Discipline is required to promote all relationships, whether it be social, personal, or to cultivate mastery in the arts, education, athletics, business or spiritual practices. To whatever degree it is that you want to be accomplished, discipline is a necessary tool in one’s toolbox to make that happen!
Without discipline a person would be unable to sustain relationships with any aspect of life. They wouldn’t be able to feed, clothe or shelter themselves, and they would be unable to sustain relationships that enhance familial, social and cultural connections. Survival requires discipline.
Depending on the severity of an environment, discipline was cultivated primarily through punishment, shaming, guilt, ridicule, as well as rejection, and for some families and cultures these practices are still in place. It makes sense that if survival of an individual, family or cultural is at stake, discipline will align itself with the value of survival.
So in a sense all discipline is positive if it is seen as a way to instill values and principles of one’s familial and cultural norms. As we consciously evolve and cultivate awareness, we begin to see that our civilizations, in their essence, desire that each of us thrive in own ability to freely think, feel, and act in alignment with the highest values known – not only to survive but to thrive. Tactics of fear and rejection won’t get us there. Perceiving and interpreting an individual’s actions in their highest light, does.
So essentially, as adults, what we want is to cultivate within ourselves and our children a capacity to choose to act in alignment with what it is we say we want. This requires an ability to train ourselves to do what is in alignment with what we want, and control impulses that interfere with following the trajectory of our intended results.
As we take on the role of parents, we read about how to discipline our children without ever taking into consideration that what is required is that we have to discipline ourselves first, in order to discipline our children. And, more importantly, what is required is that we clarify what it is we are desiring through disciplining ourselves and our children. What is the inevitable outcome of the practice of discipline?
As is true with any practice that cultivates emotional intelligence, what is required is that we start by getting clear about the intention of our desires for ourselves and our children. Until we are clear, our practice of discipline will be inconsistent, which inevitably works against us and works against our children too.
If you were my client, and what you wanted from our work together is that your children would be more disciplined, that they would not only listen to you, but they would participate with enthusiasm in life as a family – the first question I would ask you is – what is it that you see yourself having when your child is disciplined, listening and participating enthusiastically as a family member? The answer to this question will reveal volumes, not only about what you are wanting to get from a well-disciplined child, but what are the values and principles that are foundational to your family life.
Beginning Positive Discipline
Bottom Line: Here are some practices – some disciplines, if you will, that will assist you in clearly defining the values of positive discipline. Notice what you do with this list; you may choose to ignore it, postpone it, deny the value of it – just notice. This too will speak volumes about how you participate in your own practice of positive self-discipline.
1) List the values that you want to instill in yourself and your children.
2) Notice when you act in alignment with the values you’ve listed, and when your actions are contrary to those values (Your children will pick up more readily on your actions – ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!) (Perhaps make a second list of values with which your actions are aligned.)
3) Make incremental steps to implementing positive discipline in your life. It takes a lot of mistakes to become a master at anything. And in honor of the practice of positive discipline, respect what it takes in you to make the shifts you are making – it is HUGE!
4) Acknowledge all that you are doing well as a parent, teacher, or steward of children. And, acknowledge all that your children are doing that is brilliant, wonder-full, delightful, and childlike, even if it drives you crazy! They, like you, are learning to be in a world with no one way to be, except to be true to their hearts and their souls.
This is not about Network Marketing… what the??? …No, I’m not selling anything-promise!
My intention in sharing this blog is to invite you to question your cultural norms – not only regarding business models, but all models of reality that we believe are the “only” models of reality. Just for 5 minutes…ready?….Here we go!
80% Are Unhappy in Their Jobs
As a coach I hear quite often that my clients aspire to do what other people are doing, for either the money, the prestige, or the power others seemingly have and my clients want. Life would surely be better if I was doing _____ instead… Of course, they don’t take into consideration that 80% of those people hate their jobs or aren’t happy for a good portion of the time that they are working. As my seven year old grandson Andrew would say: “What The ?????”
I find it fascinating that so many people live the majority of their day hating what they do and wishing they could do what they love to do instead. No wonder therapists are busier than ever with people who are depressed and unhappy. No wonder there is more disease and health care issues stemming from the workplace. No wonder addictions are rampant, not only in food & substances, but also in gambling, debting, pornography, etc. People are trying to deny, ignore, avoid and distract themselves from the restless, irritable, discontent that they live with Every. Day. Of. Their. Lives… Um…. It’s not working!!!
10 More, 5 More, 3 More…
I can’t tell you the number of people who admit to being unsatisfied in their work, yet believe there is no way out! “I only have 5 more years before I can start receiving a pension check. I can stick it out.” The person that said this got throat cancer, and ended up taking early retirement. Now he regrets having postponed living his passion for so long.
Living the American Dream
Especially in the US, but also in pretty much every other first world country, we are driven and inspired by chasing the “American Dream,” an ideal life that we should all aspire to live. At the same time, we are told we can’t make money doing what we love, and are chastised for thinking we can have the life we dream of. This doesn’t add up! I hear Andrew again: “What The ????”
Isn’t it Logical to Hustle?
A client of mine named Mandy ran into a stumbling block as she shared her ‘truth” about reality as she saw it: It isn’t okay for her to have the freedom, fun and flexibility she craves if she is to make the money and have the lifestyle she dreams of. “Millionaires say you have to HUSTLE to be able to have what you want. It’s the logical way of making it big. There’s no room for ease in my life if I want to be a millionaire.”
My response to Mandy was this: “Does hustle give you love and deep relationships?” Mandy said, “No.” “Does hustle give you positive health and well-being?” Mandy said, “No.” “Does hustle give you freedom and time to enjoy being with people you love?” Mandy said, “No.” “Does hustle give you time to be doing the things you love to do?” Mandy said, “No.”
I finished my little diatribe by asking: “Where is the logic in Hustle? Unless you are passionate and love, love, love, what you are hustling for, you will most likely end up sick, alone, and unhappy, and maybe a millionaire.” Mandy was silent.
We live in a crazy paradigm with contradictions all over the place. Why is it that it doesn’t occur to us to question reality? Why are so many of us like Mandy, who believes it is logical to hustle (ie: suffer, settle, deny oneself of what you want to do to chase the dollar bills), even when research and statistics say that to hustle alone won’t work?
I’m a Covert Fairy Godmother
Part of my practice as a transformational coach is to act as if I’m a Fairy Godmother (I am a Fairy Godmother, but our current paradigm for life doesn’t allow me to admit that!). When I’m acting as if I’m a Fairy Godmother, I wave my magic wand – yes, I have a magic wand, and I ask my client: “By waving my magic wand, I empower you to have exactly what you want. What is it that you want?”
In that moment, the energy shifts from tension and angst to relaxation and relief. There is a big sigh and the client unburdens themselves of their shoulds and shouldn’ts, if only for a moment. In that moment they know who they are and they know how they want to be in their lives. It is a moment that will carry them into discovering all the ways they limit themselves from living in the truth of who they know themselves to be – the fullest expression of their essential Self. I love these moments!
My job, whether it is through writing, coaching, speaking, and being a Fairy Godmother – in other words, doing what I love, is to invite you to have the most magnificent life imaginable. If I can do it, there is no reason you can’t do it along with me.
What’s the point of hating your life? I’d love it if you would actually answer that question! I have no doubt that like Mandy, you have a very logical reason for hating your life, and I want to hear it!!
FOR ACTION: make it social by commenting here on my blog or on the Facebook post for this article. Let’s start a conversation about how we justify living a life we hate. Perhaps we’ll spark some transformation!
Positive Disciple Starts With Me
Positive Discipline is easy when you know your highest intent for disciplining, and you personally practice positive discipline for yourself and for your children. As well, positive discipline is easy when you willingly let go of the need to control, especially when those needs are pretty deep-seated and unconscious. This is not so easy!
I’m visiting friends Sara and Kirk in Bali this month. They have an eight year old daughter Hanna, who is brilliant, creative, playful and sociable. Hanna seems to have a pretty positive relationship with herself and the world. I love watching this family communicate with mutual respect and appreciation. They make it look easy!
For years I’ve had the privilege of watching the way Kirk and Sara discipline Hanna. Consistently they talk to her as if she were a wise human being – well, she is, as are all children. However most parents disregard the wise human being within the child and speak to them as if they couldn’t know better, because they are just kids.
Hanna tests her parents all the time, and for the most part, Kirk and Sara consistently allow the testing without punishment or control tactics. They just know the boundaries that Hanna is testing and in a strong and wise way, they let her know she isn’t going to get things the way she wants through strategizing or manipulating.
Both Kirk and Sara come from families where children were not seen or heard. They have done a lot of work to overcome the traumas of their childhood. They’ve learned how to be aware of everyone’s right to be acknowledged for their needs and wants. At the same time, with compassion, they cultivate fluidity between building bridges of connection and boundaries, which sets the foundation for safe and respectful living for everyone.
I shared with Sara that I was writing this article about positive discipline, and that I’ve been witnessing her and Kirk doing a really good job of utilizing the skills of positive discipline. She laughed, and acknowledged that neither of them are consistent, especially when the stresses of their business of running a hotel in Bali becomes overwhelming.
As I work on this article, observe Sara, Kirk and Hanna, and as I attempt to articulate my perspective of what creates and supports positive discipline, I observed myself the other day, reacting to Hanna in a way that would inevitable cultivate not so positive discipline techniques. Hanna was wanting something from her mom. Though I was just a spectator, I found myself (not out loud, mind you,) saying NO. Whatever Hanna wanted, in my mind, I was saying no to her, even though there was no reason to say no. It was just an automatic reaction to a child wanting something. Gulp!
People like me who write articles and blogs are supposed to be experts in their fields. We like to think we experts walk our talk and practice what what preach. Here in this moment I found myself being reactive and unconscious to that which is the source of my reactivity. I shake my head, and say to myself, “what do I know about disciplining children positively? Absolutely nothing!” I couldn’t do it as well as Sara and Kirk.
I humbly admitted my little moment of self-deprecationto Sara. She quickly responded by sharing that to say no instills a sense of control. If control is what you want, saying no will give that to you, but it won’t create healthy, loving and safe relationships with your kids or your partners. If you want to build fun and loving relationships with people, especially children, then control can’t be Number One on your list of priorities. You have to choose consciously what it is you believe is the most important life quality and skill you want to instill in your child. And, then actually discipline yourself to live into that practice.
I already knew that what Sara was saying was absolutely true. I’d already written that in the first draft of this article. However, the realization that there were underlying patterns that interfered with me practicing what I preach, triggered the practice of unconcealings the source of all my no’s.
So, when I asked myself why I automatically say no to Hanna, here is what showed up as my unconsious reasoning. I humbly share this with you as a way of articulating deep-seated patterns, which too often override the intellect or wisdom, from which most of us say we want to respond.
My automatic reaction to saying no comes from: a need to control how often children ask me for something. If I consistently say no, they will stop asking. They will leave me alone so I can do what I want; I also say no because children shouldn’t always get what they want; I say no because I can say no to children – I’m not good at saying no to adults; I say no because as a kid, I wasn’t allowed to have what this child in front of me wants. My own disappointment arises, as does resentment and hurt feelings from the past. I say no because I judge this child as privileged and entitled, so saying no deprives them of their assumed position of entitlement.
You might be asking yourself – “What kind of ‘expert’ would admit to each of these reactions when they so go against positive discipline?” I know – Right?
I admit these to you because my experience is that, anytime I think I have the answers, and they may be the answers, there is always the human factor of truth, which interferes with truly and consistently practicing what I preach as an expert, which in essense cultivates positive discipline. If I don’t admit where I lack emotional maturity and emotional intelligence, I will keep utilzing the patterns that override maturity and intelligence.
Each of these reasons for saying no is sourced in my desire to control my emotional environment, which protects me from feeling stuff I don’t want to feel. Inevitably, this will interfere in cultivating authentic, deep and engaged relationships with anyone. Even though I may say I want close, engaging relationships with adults and children, if I don’t unconceal these patterns I’ve just exposed to you, I will continually respond from those unconsious needs for self-preservation and protection. And, I’ll never have what I say I want.
Relationships between parents and children are never ending. My children are grown with children of their own. But, who I am as a human being within this body that gave birth to two beautiful human beings, continually evolves, only if I willingly practice introspection as part of my positive discipline.
Relationships will always challenge us to mindfully choose to live from unconscious patterns or from a conscious practice of positive discipline. The outcome is never known, but the true experience of connection that every parent and child desires is experienced in the moment of truly hearing and seeing each other with honor, dignity and love. I want to know that with every individual with whom I come in contact, especially my children and grandchildren. I definitely have some positive self-disciplining to do!
One of the challenges of being a Transformational Coach, at least for me, is that during sessions, my own unresolved issues are sometimes stirred up by my client’s circumstances. It is as though my clients come to me partly to heal themselves and partly to bring deeper healing to me – healing I didn’t ask for – healing I didn’t even know I needed, but nevertheless am now required to be with!
The intention of me sharing this with you is that it is good to know that no matter how much personal work you have done, inevitably, you will be delivered a surprise package of self-awareness, and all you can do is sigh and say okay – let’s open this package up!… SIGH!
On this particular occasion, the surprise package arrived during a session with Barney, a new client from New York. Barney has been with his girlfriend Nancy for four years, and loves her tremendously, yet he continues to meet with women in an escort service. He shares with me that his sexual relationship with Nancy is unsatisfactory – and he admits it’s mostly because of him – not Nancy. Barney says “I’m not using Nancy for love. I just know she will leave me if she knew I was doing what I was doing.” Oh Boy!!! I just got stirred and shaken by Barney’s sharing. He is lying and he doesn’t even know it!
What got stirred in me wasn’t judgment of Barney. What got stirred was the truth of all the times that I said those very same words as Barney – “I’m not using them/him/her, I just know that if I tell the truth, then I will most likely be left and rejected.”
Self-Awareness Doesn’t Always Feel Good
As I sit here writing, I experience emotional discomfort – a lot of discomfort! I experience the Nancy aspect of me. Barney loves Nancy but isn’t loving Nancy. He isn’t in integrity with her, nor does he respect her to the degree he openly explores how to have a more satisfying sexual relationship. For me, I’ve lived in many relationships where I knew myself to be insignificant – not mattering enough to actually experience lovingness from my partner, and therefore didn’t receive it.
On the other hand I experience the Barney side of me – that part that is so afraid of his own insignificance, he hides it in his denial, in his justifications, and in the way he compensates for where he believes he is powerless and hopeless.
All of this is me – still – after decades of being open to knowing myself to greater and greater degrees. Now I open myself to this! Sigh!
I am Barney; I’ve lied to protect myself, I’ve used people, and I’ve made choices that were self-serving, but I never meant to hurt anyone. And I’m Nancy; I’ve been lied to, I’ve been used, and I made choices to ignore this truth, thus in fact using other people, even though I acted as if I were the victim, but I never meant to hurt anyone. Sigh!
Why Do We Lie?
In my coaching practice, what occurs more often then anything else is that people lie to protect themselves from humiliation and powerlessness. The experience of being found out is excruciatingly humiliating. The experience of finding out you’ve been lied to is also excruciatingly humiliating. Coming out of denial is one of the hardest human experiences I know of. There is an implosion into nothingness – annihilation of reality as it has been known, from which there may be an explosion of rage, anger, & hatred as an expression of the powerlessness and the betrayal underlying it all.
Humiliation is a shattering of our ego-created reality. We avoid that experience as if it were the Plague! However unless we shatter our denial – AKA, Don’t Even Know I Am Lying, we are trapped in brutalizing ourselves. Barney hates himself because he is living a lie. Nancy will hate him if he tells the truth. He is in a dilemma!
I remember a moment in my life where I confronted myself with the lie I was living. I knew the moment I revealed that lie to myself my marriage was over. I couldn’t live with the truth of that lie any longer. In that moment I chose to be significant in my own life. It is sad to say that deciding to be significant in my own life meant the end of my marriage, however the dynamics of conditions I created with myself and my partner had it be what it was. Sigh!
None of Us are Bad or Wrong
I believe each of us are doing the very best we can with the conditions we were given. One way I have come to be with this whole aspect of life – the degree to which we create a reality based on lies, is using the prayer Jesus spoke as he was dying on the cross: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.” I say: “Forgive them Rosie, for they know not what they do.” And, I add: “Forgive me Rosie, for I know not what I do.” This helps a lot!
Being with the raw reality that we lie, and we are lied to, is hard to be with. And, I think each of us is attempting to protect ourselves from the fallout of this reality. It is a hard and necessary practice if we want any degree of peace, serenity, and prosperity in our lives.
I’m finding there is way to shift this dynamic: I’m teaching myself to witness when I’m lying. I’m teaching myself to stop lying. I’m teaching myself to say what I mean and mean what I say.
Most of this lying now only occurs with myself – and I’m vigilant to only speak my truth with others. It is a big practice, but now absolutely necessary for me. Why? Because to do otherwise violates my human-spirit. Where this was once normal it is now no longer acceptable.
And so it is in being with others as they confront themselves that I teach myself to be in integrity with my truth. Thank you clients for healing me softly in moments that sometimes feel like Killing Me Softly!