Sparking the Creativity, Love, and Playfulness of the Human Spirit

Posts tagged ‘emotional health’

How to Get to Feeling ‘Un-Stuck’ If you Feel ‘Stuck’

How to Get to Feeling 'Un-Stuck' If you Feel 'Stuck'

As uncomfortable as being ‘stuck’ or feeling in a rut or perhaps even feeling mildly depressed can feel, the feeling of ‘stuck-ness’ and the resistence to happiness or feeling at ease can serve as motivation to begin new activities or adopt new attitudes about life and people that can help you to feel happier.

Some people refer to old patterns of thought or old attitudes which no longer offer relief as the mind playing ‘old tapes’. While these old tapes are familiar and possibly comforting in some ways, just like maps can grow outdated, and not describe in detail the size and actual locations of cities and countries, so too can these ‘old tapes’ become limited in their ability to lead your thoughts and behaviors to give you a sense of peace and happiness.

So, how do I get ‘un-stuck’ if I feel ‘stuck’? (more…)

Arrogance vs. Confidence

Over the past few months, I’ve been on a healing and personal journey that taught me a lot about myself and human nature in general. And it has indeed been eye-opening.

This past Wednesday evening, I started a class at the Human Potential Center on Building Healthy Self-Esteem, and I’m everso excited. As someone who started looking deeply inward when I was about 25, seventeen years ago, it is no news to me that the foundation of many of my issues and shortcomings and fears (especially fears) are based in my lack of healthy self-esteem.

Ridiculous, really. I’ve written and published seven books, several of which have won awards and were Amazon bestsellers; produced and directed two documentaries, one of which premiered theatrically in Paris; and have two degrees in English Literature. Some would say I was well accomplished, but my self-esteem is lower than nearly anyone I know. In fact, it’s at a really crippling low level…

What’s up with that?

Self-esteem is something that is gifted to a person in childhood. Or, in far too many cases, isn’t. After one hits puberty without it, they’re pretty much on their own.

Healthy self-esteem can be the difference between success and failure. Seriously. Especially in one’s own mind, which is really where it counts. Even if the world sees you as a success, one word from a critic can cause you to crumble. That’s low self-esteem.

But what many people don’t understand (it wasn’t clear to me until very recently), people who are arrogant also have low self-esteem. Arrogance does not equal confidence. Quite the opposite. (more…)

What is Self-Esteem?

What is self-esteem? There are a few different theories.

A woman at the Video Discussion the other night, said that when she feels her passion, her self-esteem goes up. I asked her if that was the only time her self-esteem was high. She couldn’t tell me.

Self-esteem is not one of those things that come and go with an accomplishment, a win, or with passion. Self-esteem is more of a foundation upon which we build our self-image and our confidence.

We may have more confidence in one thing more than another; i.e., relationships vs. business transactions. When one gets a rush of confidence, it can be like a sugar rush. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. When we have a success, our confidence goes up, which may then increase our self-esteem, making the foundation stronger.

Self-esteem lasts all of the time, 24 hours a day. That would be my preferred definition, and it is not always easy to make the 24 hour self-esteem a reality. It takes work.

Let’s look at what self-esteem can be: (more…)

Happy Trails of Self-Esteem

Eleanor Roosevelt. What a gal! Not just the wife of Franklin D., but a great thinker and wise woman in her own right. What follows are a few of her gems.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.” 

Well, that pretty well sums it up. A healthy sense of self-respect or self-esteem will serve as a sounding board for others’  perceptions of you. If they’re treating you with respect, then you are in  agreement and can offer the same in return. If they are not, there are a  few options:

  • A) Say, “Thank you for your opinion,” and walk away.
  • B) Say “If I have said or done something that is causing you to “diss” me, I apologize. However I feel obligated to advise you that unless or until  you are able to alter either your perception or attitude, I feel any further discussion on the subject would be fruitless.”

I prefer A myself.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realize how seldom they do” 

In other words, “Don’t worry, be happy.” A wonderful song by  Bobby McFerrin. I like to listen to it once in a while just to remind myself that in this swirling miasma of daily life, when someone perceives you in a less than positive light due to circumstances or the context in which you both find yourselves, it works to “consider the source.” They could be having a bad day or life and are using you as a shipping post for their personal frustrations. Then consider  whether  there might be some truth in their perspective, which offers ‘grist for the mill” of personal growth should you choose to use it. First empathy, then introspection. (more…)

Self-Esteem In Your Relationships

Self-Esteem In Your Relationships

The health and vitality and the level of emotional reward felt from our relationships a lot of times can be based upon the level of esteem or respect a person has for themselves. A person’s self-esteem can affect not only the harmony or health of a relationship but also the types of people a person would choose to relate to.

Trusting your Instincts

The dynamic of person-to-person relationships often times is a result of instinctual reactions a person may have about someone, the level of trust in that instinctual reaction and the behavior that results from that reaction.

The factor of poor or low self-esteem can cause a person who has an instinct to stay away from certain types of people because of a felt sense of a potential imbalance in a relationship or not being able to meet the expectations of the other person to undercut their natural instincts and engage in a relationship that is based on catering to another person’s needs or desires in order to maintain a false sense of peace. (more…)

What Does Self-Esteem Look Like?

I Heart Myself

Healthy self-esteem or healthy self-regard is a very sought-after quality. On some level we are aware of our innate and unique gifts in varying fields or relationships and wish we could better realize our potential or improve the level of happiness felt in our relationships. At times, our efforts to have productive careers or have affirming relationships are compromised by the attitudes about ourselves or life in general that we carry with us throughout the experiences of our day. Often, these self-sabotaging attitudes are the total of the emotional effects of pivotal events that have taken place previously in our lives. Some of these events left profound imprints on our personalities and behaviors, others had more slight impacts on us, but the sum of all of those events, both affirmations and slights, form a very firm sense of us, our limitations, but also our potential in some ways.

Hopefully, this entry will illustrate some not-so-common beliefs about the notion of healthy self-esteem and the deep-seated positive effects it can have both for your self as an individual and the person you are in your relationships and the affirming qualities they can have. (more…)

Learning to Feel Good

Feeling good isn’t quite what it seems.

Hello. My name is Chris Jamison. I may be familiar to those of you who have called into the Human Potential Center offices, more than likely to share something with Bob, but got a different voice on the phone than Bob’s pleasant and outgoing tone.

You would have heard me answer the phone because I am helping out with the center on a nearly-daily basis, mostly with office and Human Potential Center related tasks. So far my volunteering has been a relaxing, yet involved due to the ever-shifting demands of helping Bob with the non-profit. I seem to always go into the office, expecting to do one set of tasks, but am needed to abandon them and go in another direction just because the responsibilities of the day require that. If ‘variety is the spice of life’ as a wise person once said, my life is very well seasoned indeed.

While I am new to the Center, I have been dealing with issues relating to emotional therapy and growth since experiencing the death of my mother nearly 14 years ago.

At that time I was in college and trying to be an average, impulsive, carefree, fun-seeking twenty-one year old, but I would tend to sabotage my wishes for happiness by having friendships which weren’t mutually satisfying, being dependent on manipulating my circumstances to avoid painful reactions or over-reactions to people I felt threatened by, and the general insecurity that comes from being an adolescent and not knowing exactly how to accept myself and my flaws and dignity and ensure that I am respected and affirmed by those close to me without appearing rigid or clingy.

When my mother died, I had no idea how to process or describe what I was feeling. (more…)

On Gratitude

Thank you.

Short for “I’m grateful that you ________, and I want you to know it makes me feel good.”

It comes in many forms: a smile, a nod, a tip of the hat, and in most, if not all, languages.
I use it in a truly heartfelt way when tech support has walked me through a particularly enigmatic problem with my computer. Occasionally, words cannot express adequately what I’m feeling at those moments, and I begin to sputter half sentences in my search for exactly the right phrase and end up just saying “Thank you,” several times.

Gratitude.

Once in a while something goes unexpectedly right in my efforts to get through the day and I take a moment to look up and say “Thanks” to the powers that be. Recently I’ve quit watching the news and reading the paper. I finally learned that media industry complex is dedicated to creating controversy, to keep us all stressed enough to buy something that will help us feel better. No thanks. (more…)

The Aikido of Emotion

The Energy of EMOTIONS, A Guide to Self- Knowledge

I find in my counseling practice that most people don’t want to experience pain, whether it is physical or emotional pain. So we tend to run from our painful emotions, and only want to experience happy and joyous ones. Therein lies the resistance to the experience of our emotions. But, by avoiding our emotional pain, bigger problems get created because the emotional energy has to go somewhere. Either it gets acted out in more serious ways, or we suppress it, and experience physical problems and/or addictions of various kinds. We also miss out on knowing ourselves at deeper levels of awareness because we are unaware that our emotions are the signals or signposts that point to the depths of who we are. Instead of respecting our emotions, we have been taught that emotions are irrational, frivolous, petty and meaningless. So you ask, what can we do?

I like to use a technique I call The Aikido of Emotion. The premise of the martial art form of Aikido is to practice yielding to the opponent instead of using your force against him/her. It is the practice of non-resistance. If we apply this philosophy to our emotions, which at times we might think of as our opponent, then what we want to practice is the art of non-resistance regarding our emotions.

So you ask, how does The Aikido of Emotion work? Imagine you are a vessel or container, and inside of you, you contain thoughts, feelings, and perceptions about your life situation or the events and experiences of your life. If who you are is the container of your thoughts and feelings, then you are not the thoughts and feelings that run through you, you just contain them. The thoughts, feelings, and sensations, are energies running through the vessel or container that you are.
I liken emotions to the weather. The sky is always present, like we are as the vessel. The sky is space that contains the sun, moon, planets, stars, etc. The weather comes in and goes out, changes and fluctuates all the time, and the sky contains the weather which is the content. Notice how thoughts, feelings and sensations come and go all the time. They are not steady or constant. So when we resist these energies that are trying to move through us, like the weather, the effect is that they get stuck. They cannot move through. Have you ever heard the saying, what you resist persists?

Here is an exercise for you. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Now breathe and let yourself notice your hands. Feel your hands with all your attention. What do you notice? I’ll bet you notice some feelings or sensations in your hands that you would not have been aware of had you not focused your attention there.

Now practice being the vessel or container. Sit again with your eyes closed and feel yourself as the container (empty space or a hollow tube). Now as the container, notice what is present in your experience. Notice the thoughts that are rising and falling in the mind. What do you notice in the body? What sensations or feelings are present? Focus your awareness and attention on a physical sensation or feeling in the body. Notice how it feels. Allow yourself to feel it completely, and give it permission to be there without any resistance or judgment. Allow yourself as the container to expand to include whatever the experience is in your awareness, and allow it to be there. What is happening in your experience?

Most people notice some kind of a shift in the intensity or quality of the content, or what is being contained. With practice, it will get easier and easier to contain more intense content such as anger or rage. My clients are always surprised to find that even an emotion as intense as rage can be contained and not acted on. So another way to say it is, who you are is the context (the sky) and the thoughts, feelings and sensations are the content (the weather).

We have been culturally biased against our emotions for thousands of years. Emotions tend to be defined as ‘feminine’ which is not true since both males and females have feelings and emotions. Emotional content cannot be controlled as the weather cannot be controlled. So in order to be in harmony with our true Selves, we need to learn to work with our emotions, so we can deepen our awareness and experience of who we truly are. Some say emotions are the doorway to the soul, which I have found to be a true statement.
Emotions themselves are not the truth. Emotions are a response to the deeper truths within us. They show us things that are hidden, or under the surface as in the sub-conscious. They point to our unattended needs, wounds, thwarted desires and passions that are yearning and sometimes screaming to be seen and quenched. Emotions reflect our soul’s issues in our heart of hearts. If we listen and follow the reflection to the source, we can learn who we are.

I see the practice of The Aikido of Emotion as a spiritual practice that deepens our awareness of inner truth. Jesus, and many saints and sages over time have professed, “Know thy self.” Have fun getting to know your true Self. I wish for you the best that life has to offer!

If you’d like to experience The Aikido of Emotion first-hand, I’ll be presenting it at The Human Potential Center this coming Wednesday evening. Here’s the link. Hope you can attend!

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