I'm not going to lie to you: making mistakes still freaks me out. There's something about getting things wrong that causes me to break out into a cold sweat. Even if I'm at home playing music by myself, just the thought "What if I get it wrong?" induces enough panic to throw my concentration out, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It's easy enough to see where this paranoia comes from. I grew up with a mother who criticised my father for almost everything that he said and did, and this led to arguments that I found very frightening. Most of those arguments were about who was right and who was wrong in the previous argument, so I learned from a very young age that it was extremely important to be right all the time if you wanted to avoid degrading humiliation and … Continue reading…
I was at a rebirthing/breathwork workshop on the weekend, and we did an exercise called Primal Law. Our Primal Law is our most negative belief about ourself. I started out with the usual list of negative thoughts about myself that I've come up with in workshops a million times before:
- I'm not good enough
- I'm bad
- I'm wrong
- I have nothing to offer
- I will fail
But the one that really resonated with me was something somebody else came up with:
- I'm not safe
Well, no wonder I feel so anxious with a Primal Law like that. The next step was to convert the Primal Law into an Eternal Law that represents the truth of our existence; even though it seems like a lie at first, given what we've been telling ourselves for so long.… Continue reading…
I grew up in an environment where everybody kept their feelings to themselves. I was a sensitive kid with very strong emotions that I didn't know how to express constructively. The people around me didn't seem to have emotions, because they never talked about them. Over time I developed a deep sense of shame about my feelings, and learned to suppress, suppress, suppress.
At the same time, strong feelings of emotional abandonment as a child led me to become terrified of rejection. I didn't know at the time that feelings are what build empathy and connection between people, and that the emotion-less communication strategies I had learned from the adult role models around me made the very thing I was most afraid of, rejection, more likely to happen to me.
As a young adult, I had panic attacks when strangers … Continue reading…
Spiritual Perfectionism: The tendency of some spiritual teachers, gurus, mentors and/or their followers to pretend that enlightened beings and/or those on the path to enlightenment, do not or should not ever experience unpleasant emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, guilt and shame.… Continue reading…
I woke up in a bad mood this morning, and headed down to the beach to do some Qi Gong so that I could calm the fuck down. I decided to video it, to help you calm the fuck down too:
So you're sitting in a room by yourself at your computer/phone, searching the Internet for the umpteenth time to try and work out what the hell is wrong with you.
You have abandonment issues, obviously!
Here are thirteen other clues:
- You feel a deep inner sadness when the cute girl/guy sitting next to you on the bus gets off.
- You break out in a cold sweat at the mere thought of rejection.
- Your heart aches when nobody retweets your last hilarious tweet.
- You ended all your past relationships, but somehow it still feels like they left you.
- You've had years of therapy, but you're still angry with your mother.
- You begin all your sentences with the word “you”, even though you really mean “I”.
- You meditate/pray with your eyes open, to make sure the other people are still
I used to get tremendously anxious about what other people thought of me. Hang on a second; used to? Who am I kidding? I'm still as neurotic as the next person. But I have been making some inroads into this particular phobia lately.
It helps is knowing where it comes from, and it's partly an evolutionary thing: we evolved in tribes where individuals specialised in what they were good at, because that gave the tribe an evolutionary advantage over individuals living every-Neanderthal-for-themselves. Our ancestors were interdependent, and that meant they needed to get along with each other. Since the cook couldn't hunt and the hunter couldn't cook, rejection by the tribe meant certain death; so we learned to worry about what other people think of us.
Or I could just blame my mother. She used to say… Continue reading…
All right. Listen up, people, because this is important. Now, you may have heard of the recent demise of a certain man named Rosenberg. No, not Heisenberg - Rosenberg.
Marshall Rosenberg was a psychologist who became increasingly disillusioned with a modern mental health care system with its ever-increasing emphasis on diagnostic categories and labels for mental disorders which he found actually got in the way of him identifying with his clients' humanity and giving them the empathy that they needed to actually heal their underlying emotional trauma.
My previous work as a Confidence Coach helping men to relate better to women required me to keep my fingers abreast of the ever-changing world of the modern female psyche. With this in mind, I recently read the phenomenally successful Fifty Shades Of Grey.
Literary critics have been quite scathing about the quality of the writing in the book, but to me that's a bit like criticising the cinematography in Debbie Does Dallas.
While the depiction of the female anti-hero in the book may not represent or be typical of many modern women, it has clearly struck a nerve of some kind given it's legendary best-seller status amongst its mostly-female readership.
However, it is a bit of a tedious read if you happen to be a man. So, to save my fellow men from having to thumb their way through 514 pages of mommy … Continue reading…