8 Resolutions to Better Yourself

by Jordyn Cormier –

While your belly may still be happy and rotund from the seasonal merriment, the new year is fast approaching. Inevitably, it’s resolution time.

This year, instead of assigning yourself numerous resolutions that you will surely ditch by January 31st, why not take this chance to better yourself on a more permanent, less physical level? 

Embrace and ditch these particular habits and you’ll succeed in making the new year version of yourself the best it can possibly be.
  • Stop feeling guilty. 

We spend a considerable amount of thought-energy on guilt — and where does it get us? It doesn’t solve problems; it ironically worsens them by building up stress which takes an incredible toll on your body and mind. Instead, take a proactive approach to life and improve the situation. Don’t just sit around feeling sorry for yourself. No matter how bad you feel today, tomorrow is always a new day, and a new chance to live better.

  • Accept yourself as you are. 

You are imperfect. Deal with it. Everyone is flawed in myriad ways. Thinking that you’re somehow any worse than anyone else is incorrect. Everyone makes mistakes. But, by practicing confidence and self-acceptance, you will exude the illusion of ‘togetherness’ that everyone is striving to achieve. Heck, you may even start to fool yourself!

  • Exercise, meditate and eat natural foods. 

No one’s telling your to try and win the next Ironman competition, but these 3 pillars are pivotal to a healthy, happy lifestyle. Think about it as a trifecta: Some gentle, fun exercise every day keeps you young; 5 or 10 minutes of meditation will nix your chronic stress; wholesome, natural foods will help your body function the way it was meant to. Start incorporating these into your life, bit by bit, week by week, and notice how much better you feel. Your body will love you for it.

  • Embrace your dreams. 

Everyone has dreams. But, for most, that’s where they stay. Make your dreams reality this year; they’re not impossible. Make a realistic, step-by-step timetable to help you achieve your wildest, most desired dreams. It may take an entire year — it may take 10 — but you’ll be pursuing your dreams and enjoying the experience instead of just letting them flit about and wither within your mind.

  • Stop fearing the unknown. 

Take chances this year. Fear of the unknown is what squashes most dreams. Comfort is overrated; try something you’ve never done before. Get out there. You may just discover a whole new dimension to yourself! What’s the worst that can happen?

  • Stop stressing about money. 

Again, stressing only worsens the situation. Instead, do something about it. Be proactive. Financial stress can make you miserable. Figure out a way to deal with it and trust that, with effort, it will all work out in the end. You’ll feel the load on your shoulders lighten considerably.

  • Do things that make you feel strong and independent. 

This is especially true if you are in a long-term relationship with loved ones and friends. We can get so comfortable and dependent on our partners and comrades that we lose a bit of ourselves — that beautiful, spunky spark. 

This year, take chances and rediscover yourself out on your own. Take a solo trip, delve into a new class by yourself, talk to interesting new people. It will bring further dimension and excitement into your life — and your relationships.

  • Let go of negativity. 

The counterclockwise whirlpool of your mind can suck even your most intrinsic happiness and positivity out of you if you allow it. The beautiful thing is: you’re in control. You can cut the branches of negative thought off at the source.  

Most of what we experience in life is heavily influenced by the mind, meaning you have the power to alter and improve your experiences through positive thinking. Kick out negativity and negative words like ‘can’t’, ‘no’, ‘won’t’, ‘too hard’, and all the rest. Negativity is simply a waste of precious, beautiful time.

This is the year to make yourself into what you want to be. Carve your own path and thrive in the positivity and confidence these habits will offer your life. 

So, go ahead and do it — there’s no better time. It’s all within you.
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Awareness Essentials for Inner Growth

by Don Turner –

When you have a negative experience remember that this does not reflect the nature of your real self or the nature of the universe/reality. Rather it reflects your choice — at probably an unconscious level — to believe in and become attached to something negative.

Since you have the capacity to change this choice, you have nothing to fear or to loose from looking at the painful experience, finding what belief or identification is causing it and deciding to change your mind. 

You can release the false image. 

(And all negative images we hold will create pain because they are negations or denials of the positive essence of one’s self and thereby restrict one’s self-expression.) Therefore, every negative experience can be looked on in a positive way as an opportunity to gain awareness of one’s deep-seated negative assumptions and false identifications. This needs to happen before they can be released and replaced by the positive truth implicit within one’s inner self or soul.

If this awareness can be gained, it creates a great sense of peace, relaxation, freedom and expansion.

For now there is nothing to defend against, no need to condemn oneself, or for massive efforts to achieve an imagined agenda for safety and success. The universe is realized to be safe and supportive. The solution to life is not to be found in achieving ego ideas separate from our experience of life itself. By opening to and trusting in the wisdom within, experience becomes fulfilling.

CLARIFYING ONE’S ISSUES

With regard to a particular problem area one may be experiencing in life, resolving it is dependent on clarifying the particular negative image(s) we hold that has created our difficulty. It is not sufficient to know that the problem is related to various issues, although this may be a first step.

We need to gain a clear awareness of the specific core image(s), with its implicit assumptions, values and beliefs about who we are and what is real and significant, that underlies our experience.

Then we must understand the causal relationship between our beliefs and our experience and understand how we may unconsciously create those things that rationally we don’t want.

We also have to believe in our capacity to change our minds once we examine what’s there. 

Then we need to be able to be open and listen within to clarify what is the truth for us.

Repeated negative experiences of a similar nature point to the existence of negative images and assumptions within one’s mind. The mind, as the creative organ, externalizes it’s structure of attachments about reality in the particular forms of our experience.

Thus we may come to know when we are out of alignment with our inner self — through negative and painful experience.

Our core beliefs and the basic structures of our mind can seem to have a self-justifying nature if, as we so often do, we confuse cause and effect and do not clearly see how we are responsible for co-creating our particular experiences. 

This is especially true when we experience things that we don’t rationally want. We therefore think the experience must justify the belief that we think is the valid conclusion from the experience. When we do not question the arbitrary nature of many of our firmly held beliefs and cultural assumptions we must, invariably, live circumscribed lives restricted by the limits imposed by these beliefs.

To realize our potential for happiness and fulfillment, we must become aware of those assumptions we hold that are false and negative and that thereby restrict the full and free expression of our being. 

We have to gain detachment and understanding about those core images we hold about what is real and important. These are not only reflected in our thoughts and values but in what we identify with, what we live and experience.

We have to be able to separate false internalized attitudes and ideas from those that are reflections of our inner self and that allow that inner self to manifest itself.

This understanding posits that as human beings we embody: 

1. An eternal spirit or essence that is an expression of the One Life encompassing everything.  

2. An inner immortal self consciousness that has certain inherent qualities.  

3. An outer personality whose ultimate purpose is to align with, embody and express the inner soul and spirit that inhabit him and that he is, in essence. 

When an individual has identified with false (not reflecting his true essence and nature), negative and separate patterns of thinking and feeling, these result ultimately in pain and suffering of some sort and thus help the individual to shift in a direction that will be more authentic and fulfilling (as realizing one’s inner self and spirit is).

Related ‘Working on Self’ Articles from Soul Life Center
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Total Absolute Level of Fearlessness and Integrity


Self-Realization:

by Rashmi Khilnani – 

Question for Babaji: Babaji, I find the world over that even people on a spiritual path of one kind or another, still try and please others in the name of so-called unconditional love. I observe that many continue to be afraid of offending their friends and families, even when this servility on their part leads to a total compromising of their deepest truth, love, and integrity.
Sometimes, a spiritual aspirant walks their talk in one area of their life, while they continue to sacrifice their integrity in the name of keeping the peace, which shows a total lack of courage.
I find that few people will speak their truth in a crowd, particularly if their expression of integrity is in conflict with the views of the mob. Yes people are waking up and great miracles of conscious connection are occurring but this lack of courage that I am pointing out, here now, continues to be chronic and widespread. How can we shift out of this fear of being and embracing who we are or of loving others through having to say no to them or even at times oppose the views or behavior of the people we love?
Babaji speaks: In esoteric wisdom you are often taught about the path of the peaceful warrior, the spiritual warrior. It is imperative for human beings now to take responsibility for their lives, their words, their deeds and their co-creations. The ability to respond from conscious-centered awareness comes from keeping a part of your attentive consciousness in the center of your being which is empty, silent and in the unmanifest realm.
Once you have accessed this state and become firmly anchored in it, you no longer have to worry about when to speak and when to be quiet, when to fight the good fight and when to harmonize with others through gentle silence or peaceful discussion.
In each moment of now, you just calmly or forcefully, as the case may be, follow your inner guidance and wisdom and you will not be afraid of the opinion of others or offending others or trying to please or manipulate them into your way of being or thinking.
Clinging to the Past: Fear, Stress, Worry
Question: I feel that so many of us, even the so-called spiritually enlightened, are clinging to the past, to the sorrow and sadness of the past.
Babaji: I observe that most of humanity is feeling a vast amount of fear, stress, and worry in this ending of the Kali Yuga, which involves tremendous change. I encapsulate the energy that triggers deep courage in your hearts and minds, here now, in these words as I speak them to you. You cannot cross the bridge of fire and water and endure the storms of accelerated transformation without inculcating deep fearlessness in your mind, body, and soul.
Your Atma (soul) is essentially fearless.
Move forward as a spiritual warrior with peace and love and find the energy to speak your truth with courage and to be silent when necessary, with an equal amount of bravery and single-pointedness.
There will be no self-realization and moving into Satya Yuga without a total and absolute level of integrity, where your thoughts match your words, which then match your deeds.
Moving Forward in Trust and Awareness
Question: Babaji, thank you for amplifying the energy of bravery and love in our hearts through this dialogue, in this now time, when we are all being intensely challenged to let go of lifetimes of memories, attachments, desires, people, and places. Could you share with us any information about how to reduce our fear and come into our knowingness, with the serenity of moving forward in trust and moment-to-moment awareness?
Babaji: My children of the light, you know very well that the darkness, the fear, and the ignorance are illusionary. However, you continue to be completely mesmerized and caught up in the drama of Maya: of polarity and the demons of fear-based living and being. Repeat the Maha Mantra, Om Namah Shivaya It is there to purify your mind and bring it to stillness — a centeredness that exists at all times, even as you interact with the world.
It is useless to talk about practicing universal dharma while not having the courage to stop clinging to those things, ideas, and people that your inner knowingness is asking you to release from your reality.
Transcending and Transmuting Fear
Question: Thank you, Babaji. I suppose what we have to remember is that we eat every day for the whole of our lives and so why should we forget to chant every day, to show praise and gratitude every day to the sacred elements: earth, water, fire, air, and ether, and to achieve unity consciousness from an ocean of devotion through repeating the Maha Mantra, “Om Namah Shivaya,” or for that matter any mantra that resonates with our hearts.
Babaji: If you want to transcend deep fear, then be with the fear, accept it, release denial and look at it in the face.
Keep meditating on the cause of the terror or anxiety, or keep looking at it and you will find that, if you breathe into the experience and allow it, you will transcend this angst and come to a place, on the other side of the fear tunnel, of great peace and in some cases, bliss.
The only way to overcome the fear of the unknown is to face the unknown, step into it and have a thorough experience of it. For of course when one experiences the unknown, it transforms and becomes the known. I, Babaji, find this extremely funny, don’t you? One observes that many of you, like my dear Rashmi, are at times captivated with making themselves totally frightened through their supremely vivid imagination as a form of excitement and entertainment.
P.S. So with fear remember to accept it, embrace it and let it become one with the light which you are within and thereby transmute it.

©2014 by Rashmi Khilnani. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission. Publisher: Rainbow Ridge Books.
Subtitles by InnerSelf.com




Excerpt from: Shiva Speaks: Conversations with Maha Avatar Babaji
by Rashmi Khilnani
Shiva Speaks: Conversations with Maha Avatar Babaji by Rashmi Khilnani.
Simple and powerful teachings that revolve around the energy of truth, love, and simplicity. They help us bridge the seeming diversity of the world to reside in the unity consciousness at its core, from which we can resolve many of today’s pressing problems. Babaji encourages us to embrace our own truth and be courageous in its defense, to become spiritual warriors and take up the sword of light to cut through our own darkness . . . to be ordinary in our extraordinariness and extraordinary within the simple ordinariness of our being.


Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Rashmi Khilnani., author of: Shiva Speaks--Conversations with Maha Avatar Babaji
Rashmi Khilnani was born in Chandigarh, India and spent the first six years of her life in Cairo, Egypt. She went on to study and teach with world-renowned avatars, gurus and teachers and became a specialist in energy medicine. She is on the forefront in bringing the ancient Mystery School teachings of Egypt, India, Tibet and China, as well as the teachings of the Essenes, into current time and making these wisdoms simple and accessible to people at all levels of soul journeying. Rashmi is the host of 2013 and Beyond with Jeremy McDonald heard monthly on Blogtalkradio.com. She is the author of The Divine Mother Speaks, and Buddha Speaks. You can visit her website at rashmikhilnani.com

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12 Promises You Should Make to Yourself and Keep Forever

by Marc and Angel Chernoff –
When you become your own best friend, life is easier.

Life is not all rainbows and butterflies.  It can be tough sometimes.  And you’ve paid a heavy price to get this far, so the best option is to really make it count by moving forward from where you are.

Free yourself from the world’s negativity – from the sources of ignorance telling you what you can and cannot do – by promising to look ahead, to live ahead and to get ahead.  In other words, start making positive promises to yourself!

Promise to fight back, to fight harder, to laugh louder and longer and slap adversity back into its seat whenever it dares to stand against you.  Promise to be a force to be reckoned with – because you are a force to be reckoned with.

Make these promises to yourself and keep them forever.
Repeat after me: “I promise…”
  1. “I will not hold the past against myself.” Your problems, your weaknesses, setbacks, regrets and mistakes teach you if you’re willing to learn, or they will punish you if you’re not.   So let them teach you, every day.  Take everything as a lesson learned.  If you regret some of the decisions you have made in the past, stop being so hard on yourself.  At that time, you did your best with the knowledge you had.  At that time, you did your best with the experience you had.  Your decisions were made with a younger mind.  If you were to make these decisions with the wisdom you have today, you would choose differently.  So give yourself a break.  Time and experience has a wonderful way of helping us grow and learn to make better choices today, for ourselves and those we care for.
  2. “I will own my life and never deny responsibility for it.” – Through the grapevine, you may have learned that you should blame your parents, your teachers, your mentors, the education system, the government, etc., but never to blame yourself.  Right?  It’s never, ever your fault… WRONG!  It’s always your fault, because if you want to change, if you want to let go and move on with your life, you’re the only person who can make it happen.  It’s YOUR move to make.  It’s YOUR responsibility.  Own it!
  3. “I will speak kindly and consciously to myself.” – Wait, what did you just say to yourself?  Were they the inspiring, encouraging words you would speak to a friend?  Or were they the belittling remarks you might shout to an enemy if you had no heart.  Or the negative assessments about life you would utter if you had no faith?  All day long we speak silently to ourselves, and a part of us believes every word.  So stay mindful, and ask yourself, “If I had a friend who always spoke to me in the same way that I am speaking to myself right now, how long would I allow that person to be my friend?”  (Read Loving What Is.)
  4. “I will listen to what my heart and soul is telling me.” – When something feels right, that means it is right for you (at least it is worth looking into).  And if you genuinely feel deep down that something is wrong, it probably is.  Pay attention to your authentic feelings, and follow where they lead.  When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.
  5. “I will live a life that feels right to me, not one that looks right to others.” – Give yourself permission to follow the path that makes YOU happy.  And realize that some people in your life will refuse to walk beside you as you embark on this journey; they simply won’t approve no matter what you say, and that’s OK.  Sometimes when you commit yourself to creating your own happiness, it clashes with the perceptions of others.  Sometimes when you gain something great, you have to let go of something else.  And sometimes this ‘something else’ is a relationship that only wants you to do what they want you to do.
  6. “I will let go of relationships that are obviously not meant to be.” – Most people come into your life temporarily simply to teach you something.  They come and they go and they make a difference.  And it’s OK that they’re not in your life anymore.  Not all relationships last, but the lessons these relationships bring to you do.  If you learn to open your heart and mind, anyone, including the folks who eventually drive you mad, can teach you something worthwhile.  Sometimes it will feel weird when you realize you spent so much time with someone you are no longer connected to, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.  You are exactly where you’re supposed to be.  We all are.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  7. “I will not let any situation permanently steal my smile.” – Even when times are tough, take a moment to pause and remember who YOU are.  Take a moment to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life.  And then smile about how far you’ve come.  Honestly, nothing in this world is more beautiful and powerful than a smile that has struggled through the tears.  Any fool can be happy when times are easy.  It takes a strong soul with real heart to develop smiles out of situations that make us weep.  No matter how long it takes, it will get better.  Keep going.  Tough situations build strong people in the end.
  8. “I will celebrate and appreciate the life I have.” – Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.  Don’t be one of them.  Take a breath of fresh air.  The past is behind you.  Focus on what you can do today, not on what you could’ve or should’ve done yesterday.  Remember, for everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else.  Appreciate what you have and who you are today.  Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.  Count your blessings, not your troubles.  It costs nothing to be positive, and it changes things for the better.  Your thoughts are yours to control, so make good use of them to give your actions and your life a powerful advantage.
  9. “I will realize and use my power to make a difference.” – The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.  Don’t do this.  The world needs you.  In a world filled with doubt, you must dare to dream.  In a world filled with anger, you must dare to forgive.  In a world filled with hate, you must dare to love.  In a world filled with distrust, you must dare to believe.  And once you do, I promise, you will find that power you once thought you lacked.
  10. “I will dedicate myself to personal excellence.” – Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.  And excellence is never an accident.  It’s the result of high intention, focused effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.  It’s also important to note that excellence cannot be judged by looking at where you are at any given point in time, but by measuring the distance you have traveled from the point where you started.  It’s about being diligent and making progress – either a step forward or a lesson learned – day in and day out.  (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)
  11. “I will keep stretching myself beyond my previous level of comfort.” – Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there.  Know this!  When you’re struggling, that’s when you’re growing stronger and smarter.  The more time you spend there, the faster you learn.  It’s better to spend an extremely high quality ten minutes growing, than it is to spend a mediocre hour running in place.  Every day, you want to practice at the point where you are on the edge of your ability, stretching yourself over and over again, making mistakes, stumbling, learning from those mistakes and stretching yourself even farther.
  12. “I will embrace the changes I know I need to make.” – Life is a balancing act of holding on and letting go – of staying put and moving on.  We strive to make the right choices, but how do we know when it is truly time to move forward with our lives?  The signs aren’t always easy to accept, but they are there and you know it.  Relationships, jobs, and even the cities we live in have expiration dates.  Sometimes we hold on to what’s not working out of fear that we won’t be able to adapt to necessary changes.  And thus, the outcome is always the same: more pain, immense frustration, and lasting regret.  Be smarter than that.  Embrace the changes you know you need to make.

Afterthoughts

In a world where vows are often left unfulfilled – where making a pledge means less than it used to – where promises seem like they’re made to be broken – it would be nice to see words come back into power, wouldn’t it?

Words can be twisted into any shape, so you must be careful not to be careless.  Remember this when you make promises to yourself.  Your promises must be backed by devoted action.

The image you have of yourself in the future depends on the actions you watch yourself take today. Promise yourself and then prove it!

The floor is yours…

Which of the points above resonate with you the most?  What promises do you want (or need) to make to yourself?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.

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Freeing Ourselves From Emotional Manipulation

by Paul Lenda –
Given the reality that we as human beings have a very strong self-centered aspect (even if it may not be truly ‘real’) of our beings called the ego, many problems arise when this aspect of the human experience goes uncontrolled. Manipulation has always been a favored tool of the ego in order to get what it wants.
This manipulation can come in either a physical form or it can be seen to work on the emotional level in order to break the psyche into meeting the manipulator’s desires. Properly identifying the ways in which people emotionally manipulate others can save us much suffering in the future when identified early enough.
By protecting ourselves from being manipulated on the emotional level, we are able to free ourselves once and for all from the violation of our universal right of free will. 

Just as we can shift our consciousness from the state of fear which is often imposed on us by emotional manipulators, we can shift away from any debilitating mind state.  

The following will be a detailed list of signs to look for in people that are trying to emotionally manipulate others and how to defend against these sinister tactics. Many thanks to Fiona McCall who wrote Eight Ways to Spot Emotional Manipulation that is the inspiration for this article.



Identifying Emotional Manipulation

  • You make a statement that is turned around to be used against you in a negative way.
The person will speak with an air of honesty that is in fact a cover for their true intentions. An example would be that  you would tell this person something like,  “I am really angry that you forgot my birthday.” Their response would be that  “it makes me feel sad that you would think I would forget your birthday, I should have told you of the great personal stress I am facing at the moment, but you see I didn’t want to trouble you. You are right I should have put all this pain (by this point, persuasive tears may begin to appear in order to give more credence to this manipulation tactic being used) aside and focused on your birthday. Sorry.”
Your intuition may sense that this elaborate apology is not genuine. However, since they said the magic words,  you are essentially left with nothing more to say or you will find yourself trying to control their fake anger. When this scenario plays out, do not accept an apology that is as real as their true intentions. If you do accept the apology, you have just been emotionally manipulated!

If it does not feel genuine,  it probably is not. Do not allow yourself to me emotionally blackmailed because if you do that one time, the emotional manipulator will see that it can be used as a successful method of getting what he or she desires.

  • The person presents his or herself as a willing helper.
A person that acts as an emotional manipulator plays the part of someone who is willing to help out with any given task. If you ask for their help with something, he or she will be more than willing to agree. If you did not ask for their help, he or she will volunteer to help with any given task.

Seeing an offer for help looks like a wonderful thing but in the mind of an emotional manipulator, this is merely a tactical move in order to fulfill a selfish desire he or she has. If you accept their offer to help,  he or she will express their unwillingness to help by letting out several sighs that are loud enough for you to notice or some other non-verbal signs that let you know they actually do not want to help you with whatever it was they offered to help with.

You will notice this and tell them that it does not seem as if they actually want to help, and this is when he or she begin their main manipulation efforts. He or she will show their great will to help you and that you are being unreasonable. In order to bypass this manipulation, ignore the fake sighs and subtle cues that he or she is unwilling to help. You can also confront the individual directly and deliver an ultimatum (albeit in a civil manner).
  • They say something but later assure you that they did not say it at all.
This is one tactic that you can see being used in many aspects of society, perhaps the political sphere being the greatest user of this. If you constantly feel like there may be something wrong with your memory recall because you remember one thing and the emotional manipulator “remembers” another, then be cautious. Those who have mastered the “art” of emotional manipulation are experts in justifying their actions, turning things around against you, and rationalizing situations.
It is as if they have graduated The University of Lying and are incredibly skilled in passing off even the most ridiculous lie without giving any hints that he or she is being deceitful. They can be expert persuaders to the point that you begin to question your own memories and sanity. To combat this technique by the emotional manipulator, keeping a log of what he or she says is a good start to having definitive proof that he or she is lying right in your face. It does not matter how you go about doing this. It can be in the form of having another person with you when the manipulator is saying whatever it is they are saying, writing it down, recording it, etc.
  • They put you in a guilt trip.
Emotional manipulators are experts in the craft of guilt-tripping. They have the ability to make you feel guilty either for not speaking up, for speaking up, for not showing enough emotion, for showing too much emotion, for not giving and/or caring enough, and for giving and/or caring too much. There are no lines that the emotional manipulator will not cross in order to put you in a guilt trip. This person will very rarely exhibit any real needs or desires he or she has. Instead, emotional manipulation is the game they play in order to get these needs and desires satisfied. Combined with guilt, sympathy is a very powerful tool to manipulate your emotions.
The emotional manipulator is excellent at playing the victim. They stir up your will to support, care, and nurture them. These individuals very rarely do their own dirty work, so to speak. They are able to make you do it for them and when you do (through indirect means) they will say that they never expected or wanted you to do anything at all. Do not worry, you are not losing your sanity! Make it abundantly clear to them that you are not going to do their dirty work, which can be said by saying  “I am fully confident in your ability to work this out on your own.”
  • They are indirect.
By taking the passive-aggressive route, emotional manipulators are able to deal with things indirectly. Actions in this category include talking behind your back, getting others to say to you what they would not say themselves, and finding subtle ways of letting you know they are unhappy. They will tell you things that you want to hear, but then do something to undermine that. An example of this would be if the manipulator says that  “of course I want you to go back to school baby and you know I will always support you.” 

Fast forward to a night where you are either studying for an exam or perhaps finishing a project for work and your children (if you have some, that is) are throwing temper tantrums, the television’s volume is set really high, and your pets need taking care of  – all the while “honey” is sitting on the couch looking at you blankly.

If you were to call them out on this, they will likely say something like “well you can’t expect life to just stop because you have an exam or have to finish a project for work can you dear?” This is a difficult one to deal with and if an emotional manipulator pulls this one, the choices for response are very limited…even as much that I do not have an adequate method to combat this besides getting this person out of your life.
  • They always seem to have it worse than you.
This tactic is pretty straight-forward. No matter what problems you may have in your life, the emotional manipulator always has problems worse than you. They shift focus from your problems to their supposed problems (which almost never exist in the way they claim they do).
If you sense that they are not being genuine and are just trying to shift the focus of the conversation on themselves in order to satisfy an egoistic desire, they will display feelings of being deeply hurt and will call you selfish. Yes, they will call you selfish, when in reality it is they who are selfish. Every day is Opposite Day for this emotional manipulator.

It is difficult to combat this because it is difficult to prove that you are not trying to be in the spotlight, so to speak. However, a clear and effective solution is to simply trust your intuition on their genuineness and walk away.

  • They are able to lower the positive energy of others around them.
Given the interconnected nature of human consciousness, everyone affects everyone else. This reality is able to both benefit and hurt us. If an emotional manipulator is in a room with others who are feeling fairly content and positive, the manipulators’ low level of consciousness will negatively impact all the others around his or herself. If they are angry or sad, others will begin to feel these emotions creep up into their consciousness and bring them down.
The instinctual result of this is that others will try to bring the energy level back up by trying to make the emotional manipulator feel better. By staying around such a person for a long period of time, you will find yourself exhausted with always trying to bring them back up to the positive end of the emotional spectrum and become burnt out.
  • They have no sense of accountability.
Emotional manipulators do not take responsibility for their own actions. They always turn around a situation to see what others have done to them. An easy way to identify an emotional manipulator using this tactic is to see if he or she attempts to establish intimacy via the early sharing of what is considered very personal information that is the kind that makes you feel sorry for them.
You may at first feel that this individual is very sensitive, emotionally open, and perhaps even a little vulnerable. This is precisely how they want you to perceive their actions. Emotional manipulators have emboldened their ego to such great heights that they practically never feel vulnerable. The best way to combat this tactic is to identify it early on and cease giving these individuals an audience.
Free Yourself
Every one of us is bound to come across an emotional manipulator sooner or later. By understanding how they operate and what tactics they use on others, we can be well prepared for their attempts at using us for their own egoistic desires and can prevent much pain, sometimes even a lifetime’s worth. Spread awareness to others by educating them on emotional manipulation and with our collective efforts, we will no longer fall for their tricks.

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How Resentments Hinder Us from Letting Love In


by Jane Straus –

We hold onto resentments in an attempt to protect ourselves from future hurt; however these resentments impact our ability to let love in now. We tend to try to make up for our past “mistakes” by avoiding people who look or sound similar to our exes. Instead of opening up, we work hard at weeding out. 

For example, if you were hurt in a relationship with someone who was controlling in nature, you may think that the solution is to find a new person who is passive. If someone was a “taker,” you may try to home in on “givers.”

Discernment, learning from experience and having criteria are certainly part of the cure but if we don’t address our past resentment and the underlying fear, we will find ourselves in Groundhog Day.*

Why? 

Because our spirits will not let us avoid whatever our lessons are. 

Have you ever said, “I thought s/he was so different from my ex, but s/he turned out to be just the same.” Of course! Our spirits wouldn’t have it any other way even if our minds would. We will attract the same issue in different disguises to give our spirits another opportunity to heal.

Therefore instead of thinking of dating or love as a game of “dodge ball,” we can examine what our part was in the past that made us unhappy and resentful. Did you mute yourself instead of speaking up? Did you allow someone to undermine your confidence? Did you let yourself be manipulated?

Give yourself compassion and forgive yourself for anything you did that was damaging to your spirit. You now have the power to choose not only the type of person you wish to be with but also the type of person you wish to become.

*Reference is to the film ‘GroundHog Day’ with Bill Murray. In my book, Enough Is Enough!, I talk about the movie or what I call “enlightenment wrapped in the guise of a comedy.”
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5 Questions to Help You Know Yourself Better

by Lissa Rankin –

When Gretchen Rubin, author of ‘The Happiness Project’ spoke at World Domination Summit this past summer, she said that the key to happiness is to be more of who we are. In order to know who we are, she suggests that we ask ourselves a few key questions. Try writing down your answers to the following questions.

1. Who do you envy and why? 

Gretchen says that when someone has something you want, that’s very useful information about who you want to be. Rather than focusing on the negative aspect of envy or the judgment you might put on yourself for feeling that way, focus on being grateful for this additional information about what you value and care about.

2. What do you lie about? 

Anything we try to hide is a big red flag. The lie is a disconnect between your behavior and your values.

3. What would you do for fun? 

It is a sad fact about happiness that when you say to adults, “What would you do for fun?” many adults are truly mystified. HINT: If you don’t know the answer, answer this- What did you do for fun when you were 10 years old?

4. Are you an abstainer or a moderator? 

Think of something you find very tempting- chocolate, cigarettes, sex, alcohol, Cheetos, shopping- whatever.

Gretchen says there are two types of people- abstainers and moderators. To avoid temptation, abstainers have to go cold turkey. They can’t even get started with a bag of potato chips or they’ll eat the whole bag. Moderators, on the other hand, can eat just one square of dark chocolate and be happy, and if they abstain completely, they get totally cranky. Moderators feel rebellious if they’re not allowed to have just a little bit.

Since part of what makes people unhappy is trying to resist temptation, it helps to know whether you’re an abstainer or a moderator. If you know yourself and your own nature- and you OWN it- you’re much better prepared to handle temptation. In other words, just accept your own nature and act accordingly.

5. What’s the nature of your relationship to the expectations of yourself and others? 

When you are trying to change a habit, you’re trying to impose an expectation upon yourself. But there are two kinds of expectations- outer expectations (work deadlines, a request from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (what you desire for yourself.)

Gretchen explains that there are 4 categories of expectations:

• Upholders 

These people respond well to both outer and inner expectations without much fuss. They just do as they’re told, whether their motivations come from internal or external expectations. These are your classic “goody two shoes,” who follow rules pretty blindly. If a sign is posted, they will obey it. If they set a New Year’s Resolution, they’ll just do it.

Upholders are motivated by fulfillment. They feel good when they meet expectations. They hate to be blamed or let people down. They want to know the rules, and they’re great rule followers, but they’re unhappy if they don’t know what is expected of them. They’re good self-starters. 

If they make up their minds to do something, they do it. But the dark side is that if upholders don’t know what’s expected of them- if things are ambiguous, they feel paralyzed. There’s a grinding quality, a relentlessness, to upholders. They need to stay within their comfort zones to feel happy, and that includes knowing what is expected of them.

• Questioners 

These people question all expectations, whether internal or external. In order to change a behavior, they must be persuaded. If their questions are answered to their own satisfaction, they can be persuaded to meet an expectation. If the motivations for change don’t make sense to them, forget it!

Questioners can have either upholder tendencies or rebel tendencies, but most lean one way or another.

Questioners wake up in the morning and think “What needs to get done today?” They want to know why they should do something. The questioner is saying, “Why are we doing this at all?” They love information and research. If they accept an expectation, they’re good at fulfilling it. 

They endorse everything internally if they sign on. But their upside is also their downside. If you don’t get a questioner on board, they’re not going to meet expectations. It’s hard for them to act if they feel they don’t have enough information. This can make them seem totally arbitrary.

• Rebels 

These people resist all expectations, inner or outer. A rebel wants to do what a rebel wants to do. If you set an expectation for a rebel and tell them to do something, they’ll actually go out of their way to disobey you and fail to meet the expectation, just to prove a point. 

The upside of the rebels is that they’re willing to think and behave outside the box. They can be creative nonconformists who push the envelope. But they can be incredibly frustrating! Gretchen says rebels can be manipulated by challenging them and suggesting that they CAN’T do something. Tell a rebel she can’t do something and she’ll be all, “Well, I’ll show you. Ha!”

Tell a rebel, “I don’t think your team can get that done by Friday!” Then watch them be ready by Wednesday.

Although rebels are not motivated by following the rules, rebels may occasionally (and shockingly) choose to do something purely out of love for you- not because you asked them to do it but because they love you. But not always. So don’t get your hopes up.

• Obligers 

These people readily meet outer expectations but have a hard time meeting inner expectations. So they’ll go out of their way to please others, but they do at the expense of what is in their own best interests. These are the typical “people pleasers” who sell themselves out for the approval of others.

Obligers wake up and think “What do I HAVE to do today?” They are motivated by external accountability. They’re great to have around- great team members, great friends, great family. They hate to make mistakes. They bear the brunt of it on themselves. They hate being people pleasers but they can’t stand to let someone down. 

An obliger needs to build in external accountability for inner expectations. So if they’ve made a New Years Resolution, they need to tell everyone by blogging about their intentions, for example. Then they’re motivated to please those they’ve promised, even though they’re really serving themselves. 

Obligers are not good self-starters. They need deadlines, coaches, late fees, check ins. They’re also very susceptible to burn out. Everyone else takes advantage of the obligers. So if you’re in a relationship with an obliger, be mindful of that.

Certain combinations of people and jobs work better together. Rebels are almost always married to obligers. Upholders must be in relationship with upholders or questioners with upholder tendencies. Otherwise, it’s a disaster in the making!
In the end, we can only build a happy life on the foundation of our own true nature. To learn to understand yourself is the adventure of a life- to love ourselves, to accept ourselves and to live in accordance with your true nature.
WHO ARE YOU?
I’m definitely a questioner with upholder tendencies. What about you? Did you learn anything from answering these questions? Tell us who you are in the comments!

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