Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 18

November 6, 2015

Interdependent

Interdependence

By Paula O’ Sullivan

Most of us interact in only two ways in our relationships, either through a state of dependence or independence. We have not learnt that everything we seek is inside of us already. We are not aware of our inner power. We seek happiness outside of ourselves, in relationships, or in the accumulation of material possessions etc. Dependence on others or things to completely satisfy our needs can leave us very vulnerable, as our expectations invariably won’t get met a lot of the time. Independence means we don’t really seek out the help of others, we become kind of disconnected from each other, as we strive to meet our own needs only. But there is another way of being, it’s called interdependence.

Let’s compare the three ways of being in relationships.

Interdependence is a way of being and acting that takes into account your needs and at the same time cares about others’ needs, instead of trying to just please or ignore others’ needs.

Dependence is being guided by what others think or what they ask you to do, it’s about trying to please others without regard for what you want. Sometimes it can also be about what you will get from an interaction, as opposed to what you can give. This can build up great walls of anger and resentment.

Independence is, in a way, ignoring others and our coexistence, it’s about wanting to deal with everything on your own, and in your own way and not acknowledge a need for support.

With Interdependence, we strive for balance in all our interactions. We aim for ‘win /win’, i.e. both parties have their say, both parties get their needs met without compromise, or it’s a ‘no deal’. If we make a sacrifice, then the other party will also make one to balance the arrangement. With dependence and independence, most of us don’t really listen, we base what we hear from others on our own autobiographical experiences. With interdependence we seek first to really understand the wants and needs of others, before we try to be understood ourselves. We begin the dance of creative cooperation between each other.  We begin to value our differences and respect each other’s uniqueness. We aim not to blame when things don’t work out, but seek instead to examine, the causes and effects of all behaviours involved, with each party accepting full responsibility for the part they have played.

Being interdependent with others becomes a balanced energy exchange, with neither party draining the other. Each stays true to their selves, and become involved without the demand that either should sacrifice their values or integrity. It paves the way for open communication and honesty. It creates a safe environment where both parties can become aware of their needs. We realize that we can’t change anyone, we can only change our behaviour, so we treat others as we’d like to be treated, and we won’t tolerate for long, not being treated with respect.  We begin to view ourselves as already whole, balanced and complete, there is nothing to gain from anyone. Our interactions become a mutual giving, to enhance, not to fill a void. We create and maintain healthy boundaries, knowing how to give help, but also knowing when to protect our own energy and health by saying no.

Part 19 – Addicted

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com

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Tips & Techniques for Quitting Smoking

October 19, 2015

By Paula O’Sullivan (RC Hyp, Dip Hyp)

quit smoking

So you’ve decided to quit smoking? Maybe this is your first real attempt to quit, or maybe you’ve tried everything you can think of and haven’t succeeded so far.

Well I’d like to share a few things that might help you to succeed once and for all. Remember we only fail when we stop trying. Although ‘Yoda’ from ‘Star Wars’ tells us, to ‘do or do not, there is no try’. In a way trying actually gives us an excuse to fail. ‘Look I’ve tried everything and it hasn’t worked, I’m never going to quit etc’… well it doesn’t have to be that way.

Begin with being very honest with yourself, yes yourself! Forget about what everyone else in your life wants or thinks about you smoking. Do YOU really want to quit, for your OWN personal reasons? On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being very committed, where are you? If you are under a 6, you just haven’t put enough focus on this issue, let’s see if I can help you change that. If you want to that is!

Get a sheet of paper, it’s time to make a plan.

First, in order to change anything in your life, you need to know what the habit of smoking actually gives you. Every behaviour has some form of payback, otherwise you wouldn’t do it. We are primarily motivated in two ways, by the promise of pleasure or the fear of pain. Your promise of pleasure mostly wins out, although the fear of the pain of something can also be a strong motivator which could stop you from even trying to quit.

Ok so you have a piece of paper? Draw a line dividing the page in half. On the left side, write the title: Reasons why I smoke. And on the right hand side of the page, write the title: Benefits from quitting. Now list all those things, reasons may be relaxation, dealing with stress, etc. Benefits may include better health, more money, etc

Be very honest with yourself. Money will not be a benefit, if you are already financially well off, unless you decide on something to spend that extra money on.

Your list will look something like this:

Reasons why I smoke

 

  1. Relaxation
  2. Dealing with stress
  3. Clears my mind and helps me think clearly
  4. Social inclusion etc.

Benefits from quitting

 

  1. Better health, I will feel fitter
  2. More money
  3. Clothes smell cleaner
  4. Feel empowered and a sense of achievement
  5. Food tastes nicer
  6. More energy
  7. Better relationships etc.

Now you have an idea of what smoking is giving you, and what would be the benefits of quitting.

Let’s see if we can balance some of the reasons, with some techniques. Ok if you have reasons like, 1,2 & 3 above, think about this. What are you actually doing when you smoke?

You are breathing in very slowly and deeply, and you are breathing out very slowly and deeply.

When we are ‘stressed out’ or need to relax, it is because we have triggered the ‘Stress Response’ in our body. If you think of it like this: Your body and mind is like a very busy building site with lots of workers rushing around doing many jobs. When you are stressed, a signal travels up to the brain area and puts these workers on high alert.

Oxygen gets pumped immediately from your brain down into your heart and lungs, so that you can’t think clearly, it puts you into survival mode. Cortisol and adrenalin gets pumped in excess. This all allows you to have the strength to fight or flee from whatever is distressing you. Ha! But most of us can’t fight or run away. So we grab an oul smoke to help us, but what are we really doing? We are breathing! Why? Because the only way to reverse the stress response is to breathe deeply!

Now that you know that, here is a breathing technique, which, if you really want to quit, will give you everything that, reasons for smoking 1,2 & 3 gave you, except the chemicals !

Breathing Technique:

Find a quiet place initially, where you won’t be disturbed, lock yourself in the loo if you have too!

Close your eyes, uncross your arms and legs. Now breathe in very slowly and deeply. To help you with this, imagine that the breath is travelling up from your fingertips, all the way up your arms, to your head and chest on the in breath, and out and down through your body, down through your legs, feet and toes on the out breath. Do this slowly at least 5 times.

Now doing this sends the signal to all those hard workers in your body to go take a tea break! They can relax and do what they normally do!

You will now feel calmer and more relaxed and your mind will be clearer. But wait, we’re not done yet. We still have to deal with your thoughts. It is your thoughts and beliefs about things that are keeping you stuck in the habit of smoking. A belief is a thought you keep thinking over and over.

Every time you think a thought it strengthens a neural pathway in the brain, this becomes a belief, which then forms a habit, and will then affect how you behave. This will in time become your unquestioning automatic response to things in life.

How do we change this? Use the breathing technique on a regular daily basis, for example every morning and evening and during the day, when stuck in traffic, a queue, or when being challenged by life, then you’ll have enough oxygen to be able to reason this out more effectively.

Then remember this: There are TWO ways of thinking about things.

The Worst Way: Focuses on all that is going wrong or may go wrong, you play movies in your mind about not being able to cope with quitting, you feel all the dreadful feelings of failure etc. You can’t see yourself doing it. In the battle between imagination and reality, imagination will always win, so as long as your focus is on the pain or the fear, then that is all you will see and experience.

The Best Way: Focuses on all that could go right, you play movies in your mind about all the ways quitting smoking can benefit you. You see yourself using the breathing technique, you see yourself choosing a different way to think. You imagine how wonderful it is to be finally free of this habit. You see and feel the excitement, the empowerment of achieving something in your life. You use your imagination to focus on the pleasure of being free of smoking. In your mind you play out your daily routines and plan what will be different now that you are a non- smoker.

Now you have two things to try, a breathing technique and the choice of how to think about this, but there is one more thing that will help you. The mind movies that you play in your mind and the feelings they conjure up, will either keep you stuck or will help to liberate you.

Remember a RUT is only a Record of Unhelpful Thoughts. Stay out of a RUT, by choosing the best way of thinking. Talk back to any thoughts that tell you to give in.

Use a journey statement to help you, one like:

‘As I become and stay a non-smoker, my life improves in many ways,’ or write your own one that resonates with you.

As you change your thoughts, you will change how you feel. Don’t believe me? Close your eyes, think of something sad, go on bring it all up. Open your eyes, feel really good do you? No? Ok close your eyes again, think of something that made you happy, go on bring it all up, that lovely feeling in your chest, or tummy. Open your eyes, feel really good do you?

Now here’s a little visualization exercise for you. Find a quiet time when you won’t be disturbed. Close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly, so that you can think clearly.

Mind Movie

Use your imagination to imagine that you are walking into your own private movie theater.

You are perfectly safe in here and you choose a seat. You look up at the screen and see a scene from your life on pause. Think about how you DO want to be in this scene. Not how you ‘don’t want to be’ (that’s the worst way of thinking!) Now think about how you want to be as a non-smoker. What will you be wearing, what will you look like, what will you feel like? See, hear, feel, and imagine your life as a non-smoker. How wonderful does it feel to have achieved this? Imagine yourself doing all you can to make sure that you remain a non-smoker. What kind of things are you telling yourself? What kind of scenes are you imagining for yourself?

Press play and let the movie unfold as you would want it to be, take your time with this. Now press pause, re think what you could improve on, then rewind it back very fast and press play, imagining any changes you want to make, take your time. Press pause, review if there is anything you can improve on, then play again and so on, do this at least three times or more, regularly. It is no different to what we already do, except that we usually play disaster movies instead.

If you can see yourself doing it, then you are already halfway there. The next thing you do when you have a clear idea of what you want your experience to be like, is to put into action all the techniques that feel right for you.

Now finally plan out your first week as a non-smoker. Get rid of the spare cigarettes, roll ups, cigars etc. Yes even the little glass box on the wall, with the break in case of emergency! If you decide to do this right there won’t be a need for it!

Break the habit easily by slightly changing your routine. If you have a smoke with a cuppa in a certain cup every morning, change the cup for the first week, so that you break the habit association with the thing you smoke. Ever hear a song, or smell a scent that brings back a memory? Well it might be the same with letting go of smoking. Be prepared. If you smoke before you shower, change the routine and shower first, then do something else where the smoke would be, read, or go for a walk, or use the breathing techniques etc. Plan out your day and be prepared.

  1. Use your breathing technique.
  2. Challenge your thoughts and change your focus to what you Do want.
  3. Play your Mind Movie in your imagination.

If you want it badly enough, you’ll make it happen, if not, you’ll just make an excuse. The choice is yours!

Paula O’ Sullivan is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Artist & Photographer, based in Blessington, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Her website is http://www.i-want-a-better-life.ie


Can ‘Love’ be a Verb?

February 10, 2015

Love is a verb

Most of us have been conditioned into believing that ‘Love’ is something external. It just happens to us, we fall in love or someone falls in love with us. We don’t share any sense of responsibility regarding love. It’s a feeling that just takes us over and can leave us just as quickly.

I saw a post on facebook recently that stated, ‘don’t expect people to love you, sure they don’t even love themselves’. Is this true? I suspect in the majority of cases it is.

For me anyway it was kinda like that. My mum told me frequently in the early years how much of a surprise I was to her, she hadn’t been expecting to have any more children, she meant no harm in saying it, but I grew up not feeling wanted, not loved and somewhat abandoned emotionally. My parents didn’t find it easy to express love, they seemed kind of detached. It is said that we will seek what we’ve never had, so I sought love, I sought support, and I sought people who would prove to me that I was wanted. I played the same scenes over and over throughout my life, different faces, but the same disheartening results.

I would arrive at every new relationship armed with wants and needs, a giant gaping void inside my heart looking to be filled, looking to be made complete, looking for someone to give me what I didn’t have myself, but there was always something missing, and I didn’t know what that was.

It wasn’t until my marital relationship of 17 years broke up, that I began to question my beliefs about love.

I realized that I hadn’t viewed ‘Love’ as a verb, an ‘action’ word. I had seen it as something you got from others. Had I been seeking to ‘get’ not ‘give’, all my life? ‘Perhaps if I had brought what I could give, in more abundance, than my expectations of what I could get, would this have changed some of my experiences?’ I asked myself. But I also became aware that in my desperate need for love and acceptance, I had put everyone else’s needs first as I didn’t feel worthy enough to ask for what I wanted.  I still couldn’t be sure, there was still that emptiness, the something missing inside me. Most of us just want to love and be loved in return, we want people to be nice to us, to respect us, to understand us, to support us when we need support. We want to feel wanted, not abandoned in our times of need.

But what if we are not loving ourselves first? What if we don’t support, respect or we abandon ourselves on a regular basis? What if we can’t even keep the promises we make to ourselves, let alone the ones we make to others? Can we really expect others to give us what we don’t already give to ourselves? Are we all just mirroring those unhealed parts of ourselves back and forth with others? And what if we only feel loved if others tell us we are? Is our worth tied up in that ?Then we’re in real trouble I think, you only have to look at the Jesus story to see that, one week people will be celebrating us, the next they’ll be wishing us a speedy demise ! How can any of us really be there for anyone else, if we’re not there for ourselves first?

It was with trying to find answers to these questions that I began to change my views about ‘Love’.

If I wanted to feel loved, I would have to learn how to love myself first. I needed to develop a strong central core of love inside of me, one that didn’t crumble at each rejection. That meant learning to like and accept who I was at that time. It was a difficult process. I had spent 44 years telling myself things like, I was ugly, not worthy of love, and that I was stupid etc. etc. There was nothing I liked about myself. Reading Louise Hay’s book, ‘You can heal your life’ really helped me at that time. She encouraged people to look in a mirror and actually like what they saw, among other deep work. It took me a long time to like and accept who I was. This work is emotionally painful but well worth it. I gradually accepted who I was and had been. I also became aware of aspects of my personality that weren’t serving me or anyone else for the better.

Learning to love yourself is a very transformative process. As you begin to love yourself, you stop and reconsider those things that might harm yourself, or others. You begin to observe your thoughts, your behaviours and your words. I took a personal oath to ‘Do no harm’. I began to see the sacredness of all life, mine and others, human, animal and environmental too. I began to see the effect that I was having on myself and others and I began to live, to think, to speak and to behave more consciously. I found what nourishes the soul.

And no, people didn’t suddenly come rushing into my life to support, love, respect and be there for me, some did, some didn’t, but it didn’t matter anymore, because I was there for myself, I respectfully stopped caring about peoples’ opinions of me, and while I recognised that emotional independence was better that emotional dependence, I still also knew that the best to aim for was emotional interdependence, which is when people are there for each other and themselves at the same time, both giving and receiving freely without conditions or expectations. Both wanting the very best for all concerned, celebrating life, not destroying it. From then on I chose to spend time with people who were living consciously more often than those who weren’t.

So to make Love a verb, I decided to just love. I began to practice listening better (stay with me, I’m a work in progress) I began to try to understand others before I expected to be understood. I sought to see what I could give in every situation rather than what I could get. Instead of looking at how useful people could be to me, I began to see how useful I could be to them instead, in every interaction. In the hope that I could leave others happier and better off than when I found them. A kind word of encouragement, a friendly smile, a genuine compliment. No, not to get anything, not to gain ground or friendship, not to get people to like me, or to be persuasive or manipulative,  and not in a premeditative way, only ever spontaneously, just so that I could practice being loving to all, yes even those who were not nice.

We are all working within the realms and limitations of our current awareness. We are all doing the best we can with what we know, when we know better, we do better. Knowing this, helped me to forgive my parents. They did not know how to love themselves, so they found it difficult to show their love, and they didn’t know how I allowed that to affect me. This also allowed me to practice forgiveness in general and to cut people a bit of slack, are any of us ever fully aware of how we affect others? Those who are in deep emotional pain, who don’t love themselves, are the ones who cause the most distress for others with their words and actions.

When we practice loving, we are there for ourselves first, but not in a selfish way, we consider others, but we nourish ourselves from the well first, before we have enough nourishment in us, to give to others. We don’t feel we’re losing anything in being nice, and  we can be more there for them, with much less resentment. When we love ourselves we can learn discernment, we can set up a healthy emotional bank account that has more deposits than withdrawals, for healthy balanced relationships, as regular attempts are made to meet everyone’s needs. And we can set healthy boundaries and not allow ourselves to be treated in ways that destroy our spirit.

So how can we begin? We must first make some space to get to know ourselves, to be able to watch and observe our thoughts, our actions and to notice the affects they have on ourselves and others. Create a sacred space or sacred time that’s just yours. Go out into nature, go into a room by yourself, or go to bed earlier or later than others to find that quiet time. Place your hands over your heart centre, the centre of your chest, close your eyes and breathe in and out slowly and deeply for a while, until you feel a measure of peace, and ask yourself, ‘How can I love myself and others more?’

I also found this very powerful visualization to help you put things into perspective. Close your eyes, breathe deeply a few times. Now imagine you are at the end of your life, you have one hour left to contemplate all that has brought you to this point. If you had the time over again, what would you do differently? How would you have treated the ones you loved? What would have said, that you didn’t say? What would you have liked to do in your life that you didn’t do? What regrets do you have?

Now open your eyes, you’re still here, you’re still alive, that last hour may be nearer than you think. You now have a chance to change what you will be thinking about at the end of your life, when it does come. What will you do differently from now on?

The answers may surprise you!


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