That Voice Within

I don’t remember the first time that I spoke to myself. I suspect it was a gradual transition. I mean I’ve seen children babbling to themselves seemingly incoherent, a bit like my writing I suppose. But now that I’m 50, that incessant inner-voice has set up house and made himself quite comfortable.

The thoughts in your head are quite often cynical. It’s a voice that forms an opinion before anything happens. And because of that, you listen to others with a preconceived notion of what they really mean.

Where does that inner voice come from?
Where does that inner voice come from?

In other words, you are constantly reading between the lines and adding meaning to what others say. And you do this by filtering what you want to hear so that it fits your beliefs.

That inner voice was probably developing before you could even speak your first word. It’s the means through which you interpret and understand your reality. It’s the mouth of a sub-conscious. It’s always acting as a secondary reflector of thoughts and feelings.

It gives reasons for what’s perceived as right and wrong. And in your mind, which is embraced as the center of all that you know – is the essence of your identity – the creator of your thoughts, the voice of reason, and the emboldened valor that gives you the rights that you believe are yours. And much to your chagrin, it spends all of its time and assets rationalizing and justifying the impulses of an animal body.

For most of your life you considered that inner voice to be you. Of course, you thought, ‘that’s me’. You never considered any other way of looking at it.

Well, I would like to ask you to consider who’s listening to that voice.

Is that not an interesting concept? What I’m asking of you is to separate yourself from childhood issues, because that’s where that voice comes from.

I myself made a life altering decision when an angry teacher yelled at me in kindergarten. Somewhere around the age of five, you did too. It was the first time you were truly aware of being threatened.

So, in order to further separate yourself from that five year old’s decision, put that emotion into the words of a five year old, ‘If I talk, they get mad’. Whenever I say that, I picture myself as a five years old pouting in shyness. Whatever your decision was, say it like a five year old would.

I’m asking you to look at what has become an automatic response mechanism, as something other than you – something other than your awareness.

At any given moment, you can choose to look at that fear as a decision made by a child. And as such, you can choose to overcome that habitual emotion. One could even argue that such childhood decisions have become a brainwashing of sorts – simply because of a lifetime of recurrence.

When someone gets upset with me, I can sense that empty pocket of fear that rises in my chest. But in spite of that, I can choose to look at that reflex as something separate. Even when it turns into anger and wants to strike back, I have a choice. I can be flirtatious, fun-loving, or whatever way of being actually thrills me. I don’t have to be an emotional reflex.

I’m not always successful of course, but I can replace that reflex emotion with excitement about who I get to be when I have that realization.

 

Categorization

 

Inside of your inner voice are categories. You categorize everything, even yourself. And this labeling of everything has a tremendous effect on your perception. Inadvertently you’ve lived and believed everything that you’ve labeled yourself. Like, “I’m not very witty”, or “I’m smarter than them”.

Yet, when you share that inner voice and check it against your friends and say, “I’m smarter than you.” They laugh hysterically and that sentiment is seen for the egotistical sham that it is. Most friends do a wonderful job of keeping you in check. Psychologically speaking, being fully self-expressed is a way of keeping the inner dialogue healthy and it’s a way of expanding your self-awareness.

 

Rules

 

I don’t get upset very easily, I eat too fast, and I don’t have the energy to make good friends. By living labels, they become rules that you obey. And if you repeat them long enough, the labels become facts as you brainwash yourself with them.

The reality of the situation is this; self-prescribed rules are merely declarations that you actually and unknowingly believe in. Some of these beliefs have become so deeply ingrained they’ve become automatic in your response system, and they influence your behavior in such a way that you think of yourself as being that label (that’s just who I am) and as such it becomes a reactive impulse.

Thru daily repetition and reinforcement they become more than just a label, I’m not very witty. They become rules to live by, People don’t want to hangout with me, because I’m not very witty. So why put any effort into making friends?

I don’t want to go out, because it’s too hard – trying to always say the right thing – so that I don’t upset anyone.

It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and upset someone. 

I’m a good listener. That’s how I learn. By being quiet I can learn without upsetting anyone.

Habitual dialogues are neurotic and potentially undermining because they have the power to set you up for a specific outcome. And if you’re truly honest with yourself, you’ll see that outcome is not what you want.

Over time, these thoughts become your program and you become their predictable machine. But after anxiously straining in them, being aware of these rules can free you of their commands. In that illuminated moment of awareness, collectively a thousand aging psycho-archives that otherwise, with an addict’s stamina, pass as ‘you’ –– all come to a moment’s end. And your awareness shows the real you, momentarily free of its programmable ego.

 

Your sense of self is constantly searching for something to attach an identity. (Even this writing, it’s mine!) When you describe yourself, you’ll find the descriptions are like protective boxes that you’ve placed yourself. Like a cat hiding in a discarded Christmas box, it keeps you small and safe. It becomes a cherished method of operation and you carry it everywhere.

The reasons, which you make about yourself, started in childhood. As you’ve aged, they’ve developed in a mature fashion, but always limit your potential. They limit your flexibility and they’re not who you are. There are so many rules that you unknowingly follow.

These ever developing rules are used to define and rationalize impulsive behavior. As the rules pile up and combine to form complexity in your persona, you’ll find that they can always be traced to a deeper underlying cause.

Flaming Black Birds

 

Who you’re being is a choice

Frosted Pastures
Frosted Pastures

Have you ever stopped at the edge of a meadow, gazed across at the line of trees on the other side, and felt that primal urge to walk freely into the wild and forget all the words you’ve ever learned, forget civilization, forget everything, and just let go?

Have you ever felt the beauty of the wild in such a way that you felt like melting into it as if to breathe for the first time, without hindrance, without worry, and without anything you know or think about – just let it all go and walk into the wild having no intention of ever returning?

What would it be like to roam the wild as if nothing mattered – as if you knew, with absolute certainty, that everything was meaningless and simply didn’t matter? Not like depressed or suicidal, but wild and free – taking what you can get and doing so without a care as to whether you actually get anything, and in that way being very powerful and completely free of upset.

Is it possible to do such a thing, to live completely free of stress, or worries no matter what you’re up to in life? Don’t you want to bring that serenity, peace of mind, and powerful simplicity into everything that you do?

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You didn’t have a choice to live. It wasn’t a choice that was given. You already know that. But have you really considered how you’re going to live the life that was given to you.

Even more so, have you considered who you’re going to be in that life? If you’re puzzled by that question, ‘who you’re going to be’, that’s fine, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Generally we don’t put a lot of thought into, ‘who I’m going to be today’.

Sure, you may know physically what you want to do today, tomorrow, or the next – or even what a five or ten-year goal is. You may even know, in great detail, how to fulfill your financial ambitions. But do you know what the purpose of your life is; much less who you get to be inside of that purpose, and what it’s like to bring that clarity of purpose into everything you do?

What do you want to accomplish with your life? And, how much excitement do you think you can have in discovering that purpose? What would it be like to know and then live that purpose with ease? Do you know how to bring that focus into everything that you do? Can you be unstoppable in the fulfilling of that purpose? Do you have a choice in who you get to be inside of everything that’s happening?

You may feel that an external reality dictates whom you get to be, or that social guidelines are needed to achieve your full potential. Anyway you look at it, at any given moment, your stories, or ideas from the past, dictate who you’re being.

Pointing out the source of these clinging stories is a powerful way of reinventing yourself in the present moment. In other words, identifying the areas in your life that you’ve been fooling yourself, gives you additional choices on how to proceed with a purpose driven life.

There are many books, life coaches, and seminars that will show you how to choose whether to go with the ideologies that you’ve inherited, or whether you choose to invent your own life.

Effectively creating a life that you love isn’t about what you do so much as who you get to be in life. Where you’re going, and where you’re at, doesn’t have to change. No matter what the circumstances – who you’re being, right now, isn’t set in stone.

Who you’re being is a choice. And you’re never too old, nor too young, to discover and start fulfilling the purpose of your awareness.

Custom Wrapped Canvas

Path of the Mind

The human mind is complex yet simple, durable yet fragile, deep yet shallow, also active and reactive. With that in mind, you may wonder how can something be both and different at the same time? Well it is my belief that the mind is present in multiple realities and dimensions, in thought and cognition, that are neither all tangible nor conscious. Furthermore, each of these realities, or dimensions, are different in capacity, durability, emotion, and cognition.

In the depths of each dimension of the mind, there are different needs and wants. The key to understanding what drives you as the person, the animal, or the conscious being, is what I think others consider to be enlightenment or self-actualization as if there is only a single plane of existence. However,  I believe otherwise. The facets of the brain are as complex as individuality.

 

Hierarchy of Needs

Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow, in his hierarchy of needs, depicts the aspects of the human in this drawing, but his belief is that they are all part of the same mind. Maslow draws no distinction between them, but if this were so, than an artist who is starving cannot think of art, which is untrue. It is often the passionate human in the person aspect, which doesn’t think of the base needs

 

ANIMAL

The reality of the animal aspect of the mind is that of instinct and self-preservation. It is the base of reaction and instinct. Without this aspect, we would be unable to cope and survive in the natural world. This is also the simplest, but most misunderstood dimension. Throughout history, man has shown the desire to cage or abandon this vital part of the human mind, but it is as much a part of the concept of you as your beliefs or your arm. Understanding this dimension will better your understanding of yourself as a human.

Capacity

The capacity of this dimension is very limited and serves to keep you alive with mechanisms; such as hunger, thirst, drive to mate, possessions, and territory.

Durability

Durability on the other hand is highly resilient in this dimension. It will take nearly any trauma or detriment, adapt, and persevere to keep itself alive.

Emotion

At this base dimension, the emotion is the most limited, often strong, and confused with emotions at higher dimensions due to its intensity. For example, there are many other emotions associated with different parts of the brain.

Cognition

Cognition, in this dimension, is basic trial and error. It behaves as a child with nothing to base events on, or objects from each other. The cognition here only serves to file patterns on how to survive and obtain a mate. Most choices and actions are made from this dimension. Often the action comes before cognition in this dimension.

PERSON

The dimension of person is the place of your needs for emotions to be returned such as love, romance, or acceptance. In addition, this is where your morals, view of society and belonging, and the influence of religion come from. This dimension of the mind is much more complex but easier to change as it is always adapting to the world around it, just as the world itself is.

Capacity

Ability to apply learned knowledge for communication such as instruction or text falls in the person dimension of the human mind. The capacity for knowledge and art are high at this level.

Durability

Here is where the mind is the weakest and can develop severe trauma and phobias. The ability to suppress a painful event or encounter can be limited.

Emotion

The emotions in this dimension stem from moral, religious, and social interactions and dictates. As a person’s identity forms in these respects, so do emotions and how they manifest in response to abstract ideals and tangible events

Cognition

Cognition in this dimension is roughly equal between the two different orders of reaction, action then cognition and cognition then action. Here the human has some level of control over their choices, but is often deadlocked or has conflicting feelings about what actions to take, or what emotion they actually feel. This is where the dreams and fantasy portion of the mind exist.

The Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path

Buddha’s eight fold path is an example of a plan to know the person aspect of the human mind.

 

BEING

This dimension is the mediator between you the animal and you the person. Its function is to attempt to make both happy. Being is usually the easiest to ignore during times of intense emotion or great stress. The ability to understand and utilize this aspect of the human mind, in my belief, is the key to understanding yourself, and how you interact with others.

Capacity

Different from the other dimensions, the being dimension is where everything is intangible and the capacity here is nearly unlimited. It draws upon experience, common sense, and instruction style learning. For example, being taught a formula to use in math by a textbook is a form of instruction style learning, to decide what is most apt to gain a desired result.

Durability

The constraints on detrimental trauma are non-existent in this dimension. It does not have nor need mechanisms to prevent damage. It accepts what one would view as good or bad to be the same, whether events are past, present, or future.

Emotion

At this dimension, emotion and passion only interact with fact or non-fact emotional responses. From a being level, this is unfeeling and black and white.

Cognition

Being cognition is a mediator between the animal and the person. In this way it is cognition then action, or cognition of others actions to determine why. Also, this is where a decision comes from. This dimension is very calculated and often knows what can happen several actions before the animal or person is even aware of an event.

 

Have you ever looked at your emotions and thought, ‘That’s not who I am’?

EGOEgo is more than just your pride. It can also be a part of self-pity.  Ego is identity
without awareness. And I say awareness, because once you become aware of it, it no longer has power over you. For example, once you become aware that a feeling was generated by the decision you made as a child, that distinction gives you a choice in who you’re being. Next time you get upset; take a moment to realize that you’ve been feeling those emotions almost daily since childhood. Those feelings are part of an ego defense/justification system. It’s a game the ego has become good at winning.

Most of your emotional reflexes are habitual and they occur without you even trying to have them. That’s why the ego doesn’t like changes in behavior. It wants to wallow in excuses that are made for old habits. And it will constantly seek justification for what feels normal.

“I’ve had such bad relationships that I don’t date. I would rather remain celibate, because I don’t need anyone for anything.” (That inner voice is the voice of ego) With that inner statement in the way, one can remain aloof and not take chances. If somebody doesn’t like them, then it doesn’t matter.

Do you have the courage to identify yourself as something separate from your ego? Can you say, “I’ve been a jerk, or a liar”? Your ego doesn’t like it, and it may not be the truth, but do it anyway. The first step to overcoming an addiction is to admit that you’re addicted. And we are all addicted to our egos. Maybe it’s time to outgrow the ego. Maybe it’s time to realize that the future is going to need something more than ego in order for success to occur.

When you relinquish justifying your ego, you’ll find that it clears a way for making things happen (like dating again). Admitting that you’ve been a jerk is humbling, and it’s a way of striking back at the ego. When it hurts, that’s when you know that you’ve become attached to your ego. And it’s in those moments, when you’re fighting that inner beast, that you’ll want to bring reinforcements through sharing. Admit the dishonesties that you’ve had with yourself and ask others to join you in acknowledging them. Sharing your dishonesties and making renewed commitments is a great way to add allies to the battle.

Once you realize that who you want to be is who you really are, you’ll see how rationalizations are like thieves, stealing your potential. And there is no greater dishonesty than when you lie to yourself.

So how do you know when you’re fooling yourself? The answer is: when you lose focus on what you want.

What do you want? To be the most that you can be—and yes, out in the world are a great many possible things, but right here, right now, what kind of person do you want to be? Get The Kindle Reading App

KNOWING VS LEARNING

You don’t know anything. The ego uses knowing as a way of being right and as a way of making others wrong.


Making others wrong is an invitation to upset. In fact, a culture that focuses on ‘knowing’ operates on the assumption that others don’t know something.

However, revolutionizing one’s awareness is more than just knowing that enlightenment comes from separating the ego from awareness. Practicing that separation involves an ongoing training.

The parts of the brain that are used are the parts that grow. The more you practice distinguishing the ego, the more you rewire your brain toward the habit of choice.
However, you can’t fix the ego. And you don’t want to. It’s what gives you a personality. But the quicker you see the impulses of your ego, the quicker your awareness gets to have a say in who you’re being.

There’s a tale of a Buddhist monk who, after ten years of training, graduated as a master of something—I’m guessing it was Enlightenment. He thought that he was ready to teach Buddhism, until the day that he greeted a high-ranking government official and found that he was nervous and that his palms were sweating. After that experience, he chose to go back and study until he had mastered his enlightenment.
He studied for seven more years until he could greet the most powerful person with the same physiological response that he had when greeting a beggar on the street. He studied Buddhism until he could truly greet everyone the same (without sweaty palms).

There is a difference between knowing that the ego is separate from awareness, and practicing actually seeing it—especially as the ego shows itself daily. Look beyond the never-ending excuses. This is a way of being effective by focusing on what awareness wants (not just impulses).

Letting go of the ego is a pathway for doing what is really wanted. Standing around taking notes is not.

Quiet the inner voice and ask, “What would God have me do?” or if you’re an atheist, “What would a God have me do?” If you listen to the emptiness, imagine yourself being completely objective, and letting go of all emotion, you can see an inner wisdom without having to rely on a computer or the Internet for advice.

In language is where you’ll find the basis for revolutionizing awareness (what you declare thru words). Therefore, focus on your chosen purpose until it becomes a habit. Practice reinventing your inspiration until you are what you say you are.

What is your deepest, most stress-free level of existence? What is the source of your consciousness?

Who you are is the immeasurable silence behind the noise of life. You are what feelings happen to.

You can draw upon a pure source of awareness to accomplish anything. And it’s in the silent moments of experiencing nothingness that you can tap into an awareness of who you really are—not just this animal and what it’s reacting to, but pure unadulterated awareness. And it’s there that you can hear the timeless wisdom of God.

Who you are being is the very thing that’s responsible for what you bring into your life.

How you claim any given situation is to be honest with who you are being. To be honest is to relinquish all the excuses and just let yourself be.

In other words, to be responsible is to give up blaming others thru a made up of sense of knowing right and wrong. This may seem a chore, but when you get it and then practice it long enough, you’ll find yourself at ease with being who you really want to be. You’ll find yourself at ease taking a stand for what you want.

No longer identifying yourself with things or thoughts is to revolutionize awareness. To revolutionize awareness is to identify with just plain awareness, stripped of all the ego’s reasons.

Such a revolution is spiritual without being religious—or rebellious. To realize that the voice in your head is not who you are, is freedom. If that’s not you, then who are you? You are the awareness that occurs before thoughts and feelings.

Identifying with a form of thought, or thing, is the ego beast pretending to know something. It is the ego rationalizing itself. In other words, it’s an ego trip and it occurs moment to moment.

What Can We Know?: An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

When I was in my twenties, I looked back at my childhood and realized how grownup I had become. When I was in my thirties, I looked back at my twenties and realized that I had been so like a child, and I decided that now I was truly grown. But when I was in my forties, I looked back at how childlike I had been in my thirties and realized that this was a never ending process.

6th Grade
6th Grade

If we want to grow as individuals, then mastering the game of life is an important goal—especially in learning how to focus on a worthy purpose. I believe that one of the most important things about starting personal growth is personal candor: how honest can you be with yourself?

Being honest with yourself, honest enough to admit what you want, is at the heart of choosing a good life. Not that you’re always going to be successful, but I suspect that it’s impossible to have a life that you love if you don’t even know what that is.

What’s at the heart of what you want to understand?

Personally, I want to understand reflexive responses—why we behave the way that we do.

The power or liberation that I seek the most is to understand how the universe works and our potential role in it, and how to preserve the spirit and dignity of future generations.

The thoughts that excite and inspire me the most are the realizations expressed in my book “In Search of an Army”.

These thoughts are the conversations that I want to have most of all. But do I feel so at ease that there’s nothing about me seeking something else, or do I often feel a need to be right, safe, or cooperative? So far I seem to fluctuate between the two. As a result, I am not always living from within my deepest sense of power, and I am not giving all the energy that I have to give.

It is so easy to blame myself for not giving all that I have to give. So far, I have not lived each moment with a heightened sense of existence, completely committed to amplifying freedom. When dealing with other people I generally just go along to get along. My compassion often consists of establishing a common ground with those around me and nothing more. And I do that in such a way that my input is not empowering to others.

It is so easy to get caught up in the gossip that drags us down. And the lackadaisicalness of just fitting in leaves me empty and wanting more.

How functional one’s life is however, depends on setting goals. When I talk about the goals that I’ve set for myself, I’m inviting others to hold me to them. As a result, I’m giving others a chance to inspire me instead of always trying to figure out how to inspire them. If I’m going to push myself, then I’m going to want to optimize every opportunity to grow. That would be hard to do without asking others to help in some way; therefore, achieving the most is going to require talking about it.

I haven’t mastered an enlightened mindset. I don’t always feel comfortable with the words coming out of my mouth, but I want to challenge myself to grow my awareness, understanding, and ability to relate.

The concepts in personal growth that are discussed in my book are tools for self-control. Much of my book is about what I’ve found empowering about my choice in who I’m being. Also, it’s about what I’ve realized through the faith that inspires me to find and carry out a purpose. Sometimes these concepts fit and sometimes they don’t. I want to keep an open mind. “In Search of an Army,” is not about feeling good, or placating the ego—although I’m sure that’s going to happen, no matter what anybody writes.

However, I am grateful for my freedom. The thing that I consider a problem is the lack of meaningful conversation that a less than fully self-expressed life brings. And I often wonder if my writing is the best way to communicate what I have to say.

If I continue with business as usual, then there is one thing that is predictable: I will continue being less than fully self-expressed. But I want to be someone who is fun-loving and surrounded by good friends.

What if who I want to be is who I really am? Then I will be fun to be around.
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BELIEFS

You don’t have to look too far to see that you hold thoughts about yourself, others, and life’s circumstances that you’ve repeated for so long that they’ve become difficult to recognize. And it’s hard to change what you don’t want to admit.Clouds

There are times when these beliefs limit what you’re doing, or at the very least limit your desire to reach out and achieve—especially if there’s anything that will make you look bad.

Beliefs can then block any positive efforts, while confirming your self-defeating thoughts. For example, you sabotage your job performance, thus creating anxiety. You allow yourself to be lethargic at work, because you feel like you’re capable of so much more. You become anxious about what you can see in the future, yet at meetings, you don’t speak up because you don’t want to say something stupid or draw attention. You don’t want to look bad—and so you remain unfulfilled in your job.

The ego wants approval. However, worrying about what others think of you does not inspire. It holds you back.

Assessment is a form of judging, and it’s based on cultural ideas of what you should look like and how you should act. Judging can also dull one’s inspiration, because it’s a way of looking for what’s wrong.

Looking for what’s wrong is a distraction from getting things done, or even from taking responsibility for who you’re being. Every situation has the potential to be a threat to how you look. Moreover, if you’re worried about how you look, then you’re not paying attention to who you’re being. And if you’re not paying attention to who you’re being, then you’re less likely to overcome your impulses.

Now that’s not an absolute truth, but if you’re not overcoming your impulses, then you’re certainly not focused on what you want, much less the empathy required to relate to whomever you’re addressing.

Often you check your look in the mirror, not just to see if you look OK, but also to reassure yourself that you still look good. You like the way you look. That should be enough, but you find yourself constantly looking for reassurance. And you know that that vain concern keeps you small and inhibited. You rationalize it by telling yourself that “it takes me a while to warm up to people,” but deep down you know that’s not true. It takes you a while to focus on relating to others long enough to forget your own insecurities.

There’s nothing empowering in worrying about what others may think. If everyone were just a brain in a vat, would you still worry about whether your vat looked good? If someone doesn’t like your vat, does it really matter?

Complacency is being satisfied with oneself. I wonder if being satisfied is a weakness. It’s not a weakness if you’re still running the race, but if you stop and become satisfied with standing still, then yes, that’s a weakness. So letting go is not strength. It’s not wrong; it’s just a desire to remain unnoticed and drift further away from having the good life. Therefore, to be complacent is to lose focus on what you want.

Looking good is related to complacency. If everything looks good, then you’re tempted to give up trying any further.

So, complacency is also about being satisfied with current circumstances. It’s when you stop trying to accomplish anything. It’s not only a lack of awareness, but it’s also a way of losing that edge that keeps you focused. Therefor my use of the word complacency is not about being happy. Rather, it’s about no longer having the desire to push oneself.

Dating Games – Anger Management

 

Anger management is a serious subject. The games we play, while trying to side step a partners issues, may be a less than powerful way of maintaining a relationship. In the paragraph below, a young woman wants to fix her relationship.

“My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost a year and we have been arguing a lot … When he is calm, he is the sweetest person ever. We have plenty of great times together. But … He flips out to everyone around him. No food in the house? Picks up the phone to cuss his mom out. Somebody cuts him off? Gets furious … I ask him to stop, and ask him if it was worth it … Then he calms down. … what I want to see is him not get so furious all the time. I stopped smoking because he hated it, but he clearly knows I have an occasional cigarette … but when he sees me place a pack in my bag, he threatens to break them. … I was working out at the gym at school, running a treadmill … Out of nowhere he pulls me to get off … I had no idea he was even there. He is making a huge scene in the gym, and I could not calm him down. He was furious because he had to practice for a presentation, and he needed to get something out of the car to which I had the keys … It’s not my fault [he] knew I had [his] keys and [he] knew I was going to the gym. He could have [gone] with me to the car earlier. He takes out his anger on me for his own actions. He makes fits often when it comes to drinking and partying. He gets upset when I have multiple tabs up [and] my computer is running slow [or] he doesn’t get what he wants … I’m so sick of this. When I explain to him that he has to change, he understands and even cries because he doesn’t want to lose me. Then it happens again the next day and I see no change. He blames his actions on his “anxiety” which is just an excuse to be pissed. I love him, and I want to try my best to help him control his anger in situations where it is sudden, and public. Even when we are alone. How can I do this? …thinking about leaving him, because he is very lost as a person … He’s been going to school for 5 years now, and he still needs one more year to earn a degree.”

My response to her: Oftentimes we don’t act happy in a situation because we don’t like the situation – not realizing that that bad behavior isn’t going to change the situation. After 5 years of school, I’m sure he’s not happy with his lack of accomplishment, but it’s the situation he’s mad at and not you personally.

Imagine being so strong that you could smile and love him unconditionally inspite of whatever upset he’s having. At first he would wonder why you are smiling, “this isn’t funny,” he would say. But over time, his behavior would probably change as he witnessed (thru you) what it looks like when someone takes responsibility for his or her own happiness.

You see, you’re not responsible for him. You’re not responsible for his happiness. The only thing you’re responsible for is your own happiness. Your happiness is a choice. Make the choice and it’s yours. It has nothing to do with him. Choose it powerfully enough and it will make a difference with him because eventually he will see what it looks like and follow your lead.

My fiancée used to have severe bouts of depression, but I didn’t follow her lead. I continued with my own happiness determined to have a wonderful life – whether she did or not. At times, I left her behind. I didn’t let it drag me down, because I didn’t take it personally – it wasn’t about me.

Over time, she began to follow my lead. Now when she’s upset about something she yells at me and I yell back and often we both end up laughing – having fun with making fun of each other. We’re going on our sixth year. And now, whenever she does get depressed, it’s only for a few hours and not three straight days like it was in the beginning.

Be strong and confident in your own happiness and chances are it will disarm him. But when you become unhappy with him – it only empowers his ego and justifies the discomfort he is finding in his life’s situation.

 

Finding Your “Niche”

The US Bureau of Labor claims that people spend 8.8 hours per workday at work or doing work related activity. Nothing wrong with that, but if you don’t enjoy those 8.8 hours than it’s to be a long day indeed.

If you don’t look forward to going to work each day because you haven’t found your niche, well, you’re not alone. For me, it was a journey of understanding and acknowledging my traits, finding the environment I enjoy, and then taking charge!

First things first, get to know yourself. Assuming that you can afford $150, take the MBTI online to find your personality type. Trust me; anything that adds to your self-knowledge is a plus. This will give you a more objective look into what kind of environment allows you to thrive. And that’s important, because it’s not just what type of work, or how much it pays. What matters is, what environment do you thrive in? (Competitive or Collaborative, Inclusive or Secluded?)

You see, it doesn’t matter if you really like making jellybeans, because if the jellybean factory is a hostile environment – then you’re not going to like it! Instead, ask yourself what values are important. Then compare your personal values to the company you want to work for. Moreover, give up forcing yourself to stay in a self-depleting environment just because making jellybeans is what you’ve always dreamed of doing.

Next, evaluate your strengths. This is important, because if you’re using your strengths rather than weaknesses, obviously you’re going to be more confident and successful. Ok, what are your strengths? Some people’s talents and passions are obvious, for others like me it’s a journey of trials. Are you great at leading people, organizing, learning, advising, managing programs, managing people, speaking, or teaching?

A great tool that helped shorten my journey was a book by Tom Rath called “Strengths Finder”, which helped me identify my top strengths and even more than that, it provided tools that allowed me to take action – A great read – Highly recommended.

Using your strengths to achieve success equals more money, but money doesn’t solve everything. Initially, success measured in financial compensation may be the best motivator, but it’s not sustainable. So what is sustainable motivation?

Those familiar with ‘Maslow’s hierarchy of needs’ know that underneath it all are: 1. physical needs, 2. security, 3. admiration of loved ones, then 4. admiration of peers, and at the top of Maslow’s pyramid is something called self-actualization. A term that Kurt Goldstein originally used to describe the motive behind realizing one’s full potential.

We are always striving to satisfy a need. Naturally, you’re going to want to identify your needs. So ask yourself – are you looking for results, recognition, or inclusion? Luckily, to find what drives you there are plenty of resources at your fingertips.

1. Firo-B or Element-B, otherwise known as interpersonal relations orientation behavior, tests how much interaction you want from others.

2. Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) is widely used for views of self, the world, and interpersonal relationships.

3. Finally, the Motivating Potential Score (MPS) is a formula for how likely a particular job impacts satisfaction.

 

After using these tools and getting a clear understanding of your work psyche and identifying underlying motivators, the next step is to communicate these in your job environment. Telling your bosses and even co-workers what motivates you can have a tremendous effect on shaping your work environment.

Beyond that, imagine going one step further by showing management what your test results were. From there you can judge how they react as an indicator for whether it’s an empowering work environment. In addition to asking others to accommodate your favored motivation techniques, take a look at self-motivation techniques. Share these techniques also so that your co-workers can hold you accountable to the goals you set.

Part of your goals are going to be more than just job related however. Your self-actualization can be a part of it. Now how do you do that?

1. By including what drives you,

2. Choosing a purpose that is worthy of your time,

3. And keeping your focus on what matters.

At some point having an empowered life entails asking the fundamental question of… What are my intentions? And believe it or not, that takes courage.

Looking through the ego’s deception and finally admitting what you really want is a tremendous accomplishment on the road to finding your niche. Once this is accomplished, then take the strengths you’ve discovered and explore ways to use them to empower the purpose you’ve chosen.

Here are a couple of suggestions to support your vision. Create a vision board and draw up a statement of intent.

In the meantime check your attitude and ask yourself if you’re thinking positively. Are you bringing a positive energy to the workplace? If there is such a thing as a universal human condition than cynicism is probably it. Without checking negative thoughts they can become an obsession. Instead think of how you impact others and redirect to positive and productive thoughts by writing a gratitude list. Writing such a list will become much easier once you move into your niche.

Making a niche ‘your niche’ is going to require follow up in order to keep it from sliding back into business as usual. What I mean by follow up is keeping personal records of effectiveness, productivity, health, and happiness. Review your performance over time and see if you’re being true to yourself, how you feel when you think about your job, and does this match an environment that you thrive in.

Document the results, celebrate wins, and allow yourself to start fresh if you aren’t meeting your goals. And please let us know of your successes and failures in the comment section below.


The Best Psychology Degree Online – An Honest Review

Online psychology degrees are the most popular social science degrees. There are 13 main branches of psychology to consider.


 

  1. Abnormal psychology – is essentially the study of what is normal and abnormal, but it also entails a search for psychological or biological causes. (Is it your upbringing, or your genes?)
  2. Behavioral psychology – or behaviorism, is more akin to a philosophy degree. Behaviorists tend to be writers who publish their experiments from an almost philosophical standpoint.
  3. Biopsychology – otherwise known as behavioral neuroscience, this is a research profession, which entails dissecting animal brains and viewing under a microscope the effects of experimentation. There is a lot of grant money available for this field of work.
  4. Cognitive psychology – the study of consciousness, some consider this a hard degree, because of the additional studying involved. However, finding a working model of consciousness that is widely accepted by psychologists would be a great historical achievement.
  5. Comparative psychology – is the study of how animals compare to humans, or other species.
  6. Cross-cultural psychology – is the study of how cultures compare in terms of common behaviors.
  7. Developmental Psychology – or child psychology, is the study of how childhood decisions affect adult behavior.
  8. Educational Psychology – the psychology of teaching, entails finding the most effective teaching methods.
  9. Experimental Psychology – is where you use humans as guinea pigs to see what makes them tick.
  10. Forensic Psychology – involves spending the majority of time exploring the minds of criminals and testifying in court as an expert witness.
  11. Health Psychology – is the study of how an unhealthy body can affect an otherwise healthy mind.
  12. Personality Psychology – a broad list of theories, this is the study of what makes people different as well as alike.
  13. Social Psychology – when people are present you act differently, this is the study of why you act differently. (Not to be confused with sociology)

Without a doubt, the above summaries are gross generalizations. I recommend picking two or more of these main branches and then follow the Wikipedia links to find out more. After researching the topics most interesting, try picturing yourself doing the work involved.Where Your Degree Can Take You

When choosing a degree, there are three main bases to consider; 1) searching for truth, 2) creating a product, or 3) providing a community service. Throughout our lives, we spend time thinking about all three of these. The trick is to find which one suits you the most.

The studies involved in (1) “search for the truth,” may be more philosophical or scientific, and involve more writing and publishing. This pursuit may be more academic and teaching related, rather than corporate job related.

If you are more of a truth seeker who is interested in psychology, then you may want to consider something a bit more broadly like – Sociology – the pursuit of understanding social processes.

(2) “Creating a product,” or manufacturing, in the field of psychology may involve a secondary degree, for example: creating electronic equipment for biofeedback therapy, or writing a program for step-by-step addiction recovery software. Even getting a business degree with a psychology degree can be valuable to a corporate human resources department.

The third basis however, (3) “providing a community service,” is where the field of psychology is wide open. Counseling services of all kinds provide valuable services to the community.

Being a licensed therapist however, may require a graduate degree. Many states require at least a master’s degree to become a licensed counselor. I suggest doing any graduate work at a campus-based university simply for the lab and fieldwork required.

Contact the Psych department at whichever university you want to study at and ask them if they accept online degrees as a prerequisite for their graduate program. In other words, the best online psychology degree will be the one your graduate school recommends.

Most Psychologists have a PhD. or a Psy.D. In addition, to a two-year internship/residency, so think about the possible ten-year commitment that it takes when pursuing the route of a therapist.

It is best to be prepared for these following requirements.

Aside from the GRE or the GRE Psychology Subject Test, some universities will require you to take a number of classes and/or have a certain GPA from such classes before admittance to their graduate program.

Beyond having good grades and test scores, you may be required to submit three letters of recommendation as well as a resume of your psychology related work. Be prepared for that as well.

Another thing to consider is the potential income. If you are looking for wealth, then attending medical school and becoming an MD psychiatrist may be a better option. For more information, I suggest researching the Bureau of Labor Statistics when considering online psychology degrees.