Deciding to heal

 

 

By the time most people are adults they have likely encountered multiple physical, emotional, and mental struggles – a broken bone, a lost loved one, or stress over school. Most of what is experienced is temporary. Broken bones, for example, heal with time. Meanwhile, school assignments come and go, leaving a void to be filled. It is the emotional hurt that often presents the most challenges to healing.

 

Emotional trauma isn’t fleeting nor can one define how long an individual will require to heal from it. If a person doesn’t heal from grief, for example, they may suffer the rest of their lives over the loss of a parent, child, spouse, or sibling. The same is true of other types of emotional trauma, such as, a parent instilling guilt into their child in an effort to get the child to do what the parent desires.

 

Not only does emotional trauma not heal overnight, it can manifest as physical ailments. For example, some people suffer from stress headaches because they feel that they can never be good enough to meet other people’s expectations. Likewise, some people have pain in their neck and shoulders from figuratively carrying the weight of the world on their shoulder (i.e. feeling too much responsibility). Additionally, there have been some studies that correlate emotional trauma with the manifestation of illnesses, such as cancer, where the disease manifests a couple years after the person experiences trauma.

 

Making the Decision to Heal

 

There have been a number of cases where someone is diagnosed with a condition, sometimes life threatening, where the patient sets a strong intention to heal. These people may experience improvement in their health despite a dim prognosis and some may experience complete healing. Not everyone experiences miraculous healing; however, there are enough cases that show healing is possible if someone sets a true intent to heal.

 

Deciding to heal is more than a person making an implicit or explicit statement that they have decided to heal. There has to be true intent to heal that involves having the emotional desire and the belief that healing is possible coupled with taking physical actions to heal. This is true whether the condition is a physical, emotional, or mental ailment. Healing from emotional grief, for example, means that you physically return to doing some activity that you love.

 

Healing In Action

 

I personally know several people that have made an intention to heal, including myself. In my case, I had a stroke, but I simply believed I would heal. I didn’t consider any other options despite the opinions of the medical professionals. Someone else in my situation, might have just accepted the medical professionals’ opinions and given up or become depressed. However, I just ignored their prognosis and kept working to heal. Today, I am not 100% of what I was before the stroke, but I am doing far better than the doctors believed I would be.

 

In another case, an acquaintance was diagnosed with a tumor. After receiving her diagnosis, she decided to heal by using her gifts in energy healing. She was not able to completely remove the tumor. However, with her effort, the tumor shrank and moved away from critical organs, making it less risky to remove.

 

In another miraculous case, an acquaintance was nearly unable to leave her home because of multiple medical conditions. After she decided she couldn’t live that way, she started getting intuitive hints as to what to do to help her condition. She used nutrition and energy work to completely change her life. Her illness has been in remission for several years and her doctors are completely baffled.

 

Taking Shortcuts

 

In our desire to heal quickly, sometimes we attempt to take shortcuts. A person who experienced the loss of a loved one, for example, may continue their daily routines and deny the emotions they are feeling. On the surface, it may appear that the person moved quickly through the grieving process and has moved on with their life. On the inside, however, the person may be carrying around an emotional pressure cooker. A minor upset may trigger the person to explode with emotions that would seem excessive for the situation. In this case, the person did not truly heal, but simply ignored the healing process.

 

The same could be applied to physical rehab and mental health. I’m sure we all know someone who had a physical injury and returned to their activities too soon and ended up aggravating the injury. This is really what happened in the case of emotional trauma. The person returned to normal life too quickly and aggravated the trauma making it worse than it would have been had they worked through the grieving process.

 

Taking Action In Your Life

 

Survey yourself to see if there are any issues or past traumas – physical, emotional, or mental – that require healing. Recognizing there is an issue is the first step in beginning the process of true healing.

 

Now, imagine what your life would be like if you truly healed. Envision that issue completely gone from your life. If that is something that you would like to experience, you can set an intent to heal. Remember that you must have both the desire to heal and the belief that you can heal.

 

Once you are truly committed to healing, take actions for healing. Let your intuition and your heart guide you as you work toward a healthy you. With true intent and continual effort you will have the opportunity to experience a more fulfilling and joyful life.

 

Invest In Yourself

 

 Investing In Others

 

People often put others head of themselves. They see friends, family and strangers struggling financially, emotionally or in some other manner. When this comes to a person’s attention, they often jump right in to help even if it comes at a great personal cost. For instance, a family member may help a cousin that is going through surgery or illness. This is fine, if the person has the time and energy to invest. However, if they are not overly well, this additional burden may take a toll on their health.

 

Other times people observe or believe they observe something in others where they believe the other person needs to address some type of personal issue. For example, we have had numerous people that attended a class and remarked how someone they knew needed that class or an upcoming class. They proceed to attempt to get that person to attend future events. Often the person is not ready or simply not interested in making a change and the person fails to get them to attend. The person who tries to encourage them may become emotionally drained in their effort.

 

Other times, people feel driven to help people on the other side of the globe. They often donate time and money to these causes without knowing if the money and supplies will actually reach the people in need. The only way to know for sure is to participate in the delivery of services and goods, which can be quite time consuming, potentially risky, and at times expensive.

 

Knowing Your Limits

 

Helping others is a wonderful thing to do. It is important, however, for people to know their limits. Whenever possible people should match their skills, time availability, and financial situation to how they help people. For instance, I help people who are adopted find their birth families. This is something that brings them joy and for which I have skills. I would be far less efficient and far more stressed trying to build wells or homes in a third world country. Meanwhile, a carpenter might have no idea how to find a birth family. By choosing to help within one’s skills and limits, the person is helping others while also taking care of him or her self.

 

Still, there are times when a person has to simply take time for him or her self and not help others – even their friends or family. For people that say, “I can’t do that,” I remind them of the airline safety instructions. They tell you that if the oxygen masks are deployed you should secure your mask before placing a mask on someone that might need assistance. The reason, of course, is that if you can’t breathe, you can’t assist someone else.

 

The same is true in life, if a person runs out of steam and become wore down, ill, financially ruined, etc., they can’t help others. However, if they take time to invest in themselves, they have a higher chance of being healthy and vibrant. Thus, they will be in a much better position to help others.

 

Invest In You

 

Investing in oneself doesn’t require a lot of time or money. However, it should occur regularly. It can be as simple as meditating for 10 minutes per day, taking a bath and shutting out the entire world, listening to music that you really love, or reading for pleasure. If the calendar and bank account allows, it is desirable to include occasional bigger investments, such as, long hikes, energy work, classes, or retreats.

 

For people that have a difficult time investing in themselves, they need to realize that all people need some self-care. They may not feel they need it. Perhaps, they feel they don’t deserve it. Maybe they feel there are others that need it more. No matter the argument, they need to go back to the basic concept, put your oxygen mask on before assisting someone else. That tells them everything they need to know. Care of self must come first before one can care for others.

 

Do You Invest In You?

 

So, the question is “How often do you invest in yourself?” If you don’t invest in yourself regularly, consider adding some self-care to your calendar. Remember, it doesn’t have to require a lot of time or money. You do, however, need to make an effort. No one else can do it for you.

 

who is judging whom

 

In our previous article “Behind the Façade,” we discussed how people often hide their authentic self. This article will further investigate those who changed their façade based on their judgment of other people’s judgment of themselves.

 

When people become focused on how they believe others are judging them, they give away their personal power. Often the other person doesn’t even know that they have been given this power because they aren’t actually judging the person and may not have even noticed them.

 

Questions

 

When someone tells me that someone else is judging them, I typically ask a few questions. My first response generally is, “Why do you care?” In some cases, the answer to this question is obvious. However, in the case of a stranger or acquaintance who is not closely connected to the person, the answer is less clear.

 

Another question I ask is, “What made you jump to the conclusion that they are judging you?” The answer to this question is rarely satisfactory to me. It is something they perceive, but is often not tangible.

 

Who Is Doing The Judging?

 

In reality, if the other person has not directly stated a judgment, these people are judging the other person. However, I don’t believe most are aware of their own judgment.   It is in some ways a self-judgment and in other ways a judgment of the other person. It is possible that they believe they should look or act a certain way, but instead of owning it, they project it onto someone else. Alternately, they are judging the other person as someone who believes others should look and act a certain way.

 

For these people that see themselves through the eyes of others, I have to wonder how their life would change if they stopped projecting their judgment onto others.  It would clearly change. We must stay somewhat within cultural norms. Yet, at some point we need to be our true selves and not define our value on how we believe others perceive us.

 

So, when you start to believe that others are judging you then question yourself, “Are they really judging me, or am I judging them?”

 

behind the facade

 

 

As a child, my mother insisted that we keep the drapes closed at all times. I assume she was worried about protecting the family since she was a single working mother. My dad had died just after my sixth birthday. Therefore, I don’t really remember if she had a similar concern when he was alive.

 

All I know is that she never wanted anyone to see into the house. This became readily apparent one beautiful day when I dared to open the living room drapes. I was severely reprimanded as soon as my mom arrived home.

 

Of course, she also never wanted to be seen by anyone when she wasn’t looking her best. I assumed it was partially because she wanted to be attractive to men. Thus, she was always looking her best when she went anywhere.

 

Others Are Judging

 

Later, I realized that these behaviors were tied, in part, to her belief that she knew how others were judging her. Thus, she felt compelled to show people what she thought they wanted to see so that they would think highly of her. She was concerned with what others thought of her and made sure to show them what she believed they wanted to see. When she wasn’t prepared to show that image, she wanted to remain hidden.

 

I believe everyone does this to some extent.  Most of us put on our best business look for job interviews, are just a bit sweeter than normal when talking to a new love interest, and act a bit different at church than at home. However, there are those that rarely show their authentic self. Instead, they hide behind a façade of what they think people want to see. Those are the ones that are perpetually disconnected.

 

Some of those people end up feeling as if they have lost their identity. They may go through life without ever acknowledging their own value. These types of people constantly put others first and are often everyone’s go to person when they need something. Yet, these people often do not feel valued.

 

Hiding The True Self

 

Other people hide behind the façade as an escape from reality. For instance, a woman may not feel beautiful, thus, she will over-beautify herself. Similarly, a man may feel that he isn’t as good a provider as he believes he should be. In that situation, he may exaggerate his job responsibilities and income.

 

Others have, for one reason or another, come to believe that others’ views of them is critically important to their success and worth to society. These people often create judgments of themselves and attribute them to others. If they actually bothered to have a conversation and learn about other people’s perspectives, they might learn that the people that they are trying so hard to impress, don’t actually have the judgments that they believe they do.

 

Being Authentic

 

A person needs to show their authentic self in order to connect. Hiding behind facades prevents true connections.

 

In our next article “To Judge and Be Judged,” we will discuss the phenomena of people that judge they are being judged.

 

the search

 

 

In the previous article “Family Connections,” I discussed some of the reactions when people learn that one or both of the parents that raised them are not their biological parent. In this article, I explore the connections and feelings that often arise during the search for a person’s birth parents.

 

Now, rare cases exist where the person takes a DNA test and immediately finds their birth family, everyone loves each other, and they live happily ever after. However, that isn’t the norm.

 

Expectations

 

A person shouldn’t expect anything other than a rollercoaster ride when looking for a birth parent.  Emotions will go high when the person sees a DNA match. Then, they will fall through the floor when the match does not respond to messages or hides all their information. This process may repeat several times.

 

Likewise, the person searching may contact a DNA match, who puts them in contact with other family members. Just when they start building a strong connection, someone else does a DNA test and it blows a hole in the theory of who the birth parent is. Now, they are left dangling.   They feel connected, but they aren’t connected the way that they think they are. In some cases, they may not be connected at all.

 

News of a mis-connection can be almost as emotional as learning that one or both of your parents are not your biological parents. This is especially true in cases where the new connections were supportive and welcoming, while the parents that raised the person are deceased or the relationship with them is strained.

 

The Process

 

The process can be lengthy and the result is not guaranteed.   It is very easy for people to become too excited, which often scares off DNA matches. It is equally as easy for people to become frustrated, lose interest, and just give up.

 

The best possible approach is a slow, steady approach where the person makes lots of connections. This allows emotions to be more even while allowing the person to build relationships with people that are related, if only distantly. Building connections with these people helps the person learn information that is useful in solving their parentage puzzle. Possibly, more importantly, these connections help the person to feel connected to family.

 

The final article in this series “Found, Now What?” will discuss the ability to connect with birth families and the associated emotions.

 

 

After the recent flooding in the Midwest, I had to scoff at a politician who claimed that there were towns totally destroyed that would never exist again. Although this is possible, this politician clearly does not understand the mindset and determination of Americans.

 

Examples From History

 

If we look back in time, Chicago rebuilt after a major fire destroyed over 17,000 buildings in the 1870s and San Francisco came back stronger than ever after a 7.9 earthquake hit in 1906. More recently New Orleans is rebounding from Hurricane Katrina. Likewise, Joplin, Missouri is on the mend after a devastating F5 tornado destroyed a nearly mile-wide swath when it plowed through the southern part of the city eight years ago.

 

In all these cases, people died and property was destroyed, but the community survived. The same can be said of countless communities across the country. The key to their recovery is the people. People coming together to help one another is a way of life for many Americans. They fight for their communities even if politicians don’t realize it. Human resiliency should never be underestimated.

 

I can tell you that my father and father-in-law are prime examples of people who would be there any time for anyone. And, there are countless others like them. During the recent Nebraska flooding, for example, a farmer lost his life when he was taking his tractor out to help someone in need.

 

A Little Help

 

People overcome tragedy on a regular basis. Some get more attention through the media than others, but that does not diminish the effort. There are millions of situations where people help each other every day. It can be as simple as the neighbor who clears another neighbor’s sidewalk and drive after a snowstorm. We’ve had neighbors do this for us and vice versa. The neighbor of my father-in-law offered a portable heater upon learning that he needed something to heat his back porch to keep stuff from freezing.

 

A Lot of Help

 

Sometimes the help is more substantial. For example, in his earlier years, my father-in-law raced to the scene of a fire to save a family’s home, took a tractor through two-feet of snow to get mail for the entire neighborhood, and did mechanic work on a semi on Christmas Eve so that the driver could get home to be with his family for Christmas.

 

Other times people risk and sometimes lose their life to save a friend, a neighbor, or even a stranger. People do this for each other. It is human nature to help those around you who are in need.

 

If we stop for a moment, each of us can recall with examples of how someone has helped our families or us. Likewise, we can remember ways we have helped others.

 

Gratitude

 

Even though there are times it is challenging to express gratitude, especially when the gift is anonymous, I believe most of us are grateful for those that help. Most of us have seen heart-warming videos of someone graciously giving their time and effort to help others in need. Those videos are very touching to us as a third-party. The person who was the recipient of the help, is likely extremely touched and grateful.

 

I for one am very grateful for human resiliency. I am proud to be a part of a community and a country where people help others in times of need. The world could be an even better place if we focused more on the wonderful gift of human resiliency.

 

 

 

There is a local restaurant where my wife and I occasionally dine. A nice feature of this restaurant is that they allow you to create custom salads and entrees from a list of ingredients. We often create salads, choosing the greens, toppings, and dressing.

 

Creating custom salads and entrees is a bit more challenging for kitchen staff because they don’t know what is right because they have made it a thousand times. Instead, each time is unique. This requires having a process to ensure that the food items are created per their customers’ requests.

 

Some of their locations seem to do this well. Unfortunately, at the location closest to our home, they seem to have a difficult time making my salad according to my specifications. And, if mine is correct, it seems someone else’s meal has an error.

 

Expectations

 

I have come to expect that they will make mistakes when making my salad. Even when it appears that they’ve made it correctly, I usually spend the entire time looking for the mistake. If there isn’t one, I will still find a flaw. I might say something like, “Well, it has all the right ingredients but they put too much salad dressing on the salad.” I try to mold reality into meeting my expectations..

 

The restaurant is usually good about fixing the mistakes. However, the errors are annoying because the rhythm of the dining experience is thrown off. My entrée sometimes ends up arriving before I get the correct salad. Other times, one person is eating while the other is waiting.

 

Connecting

 

After this happened several times, I wondered if there was a connection between my expectations and the errors occurring in the kitchen. As such, I tried setting expectations beforehand that the kitchen staff would correctly make my salad. This seemed to help improve, but not completely eliminate, the issues with my meal.

 

Positive Expectations

 

It does make me question, however, how much my expectations result in self-fulfilling prophecies. Thus, I started working on setting positive expectations to see if I could observe results from my expectations. Recently, I have focused on positive expectations regarding close parking spaces and avoiding traffic congestion. So far, having these positive expectations seem to help me be successful in achieving my intent.

 

It doesn’t really matter if I am actually experiencing these positive results or it’s just my perception. By connecting these positive expectations with my results, I am creating a healthy self-fulfilling prophecy. As I expand these positive expectations to the rest of my life, I can experience a major life shift.

 

 

 

 

When people think about teams, they typically think about sports teams. However, many businesses also use the concept of teams to focus individual workers on common goals. Teams, however, go far beyond athletics and our work lives. They don’t even have to be officially designated as a “team.” A team can be any group of people acting together with a common purpose.

 

Team Formation

 

Some teams, such as a college basketball team, have an official charter.  Meanwhile, other teams don’t have a formal designation. In the latter case, people may work together for some common cause or purpose without officially forming into a team.  For example,  people often work together to free someone trapped in a car after there is an accident. In this case, there is a common purpose of saving someone’s life even though no one stopped to declare the rescuers a team.

 

When people come together with a shared purpose, clear agenda, and strong leadership they can plan and coordinate in a manner that creates amazing results. If we look at Apple, for example, Steve Job’s leadership and his development teams changed how most of us live our daily lives.  This is true even for people that use competing products.

 

The Common Enemy

 

Sometimes leaders struggle to get the results they desire from their teams. To focus the team on a goal, the team leadership may identify an “enemy.” In the basketball example, a coach may target another team as an enemy.  Often, the coach is trying to create or leverage a rivalry. However, they may have other motivation for selecting a specific team to target.

 

The focus on one enemy can have amazing results. During World War II,  the Allies joined forces to stop the Axis Powers. People came from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, races, and genders for a common goal of defeating Hitler. Everyone was a part of the team.  Some worked in factories, some fought, and everyone sacrificed.  The patriotism and teamwork during WW II is unrivaled to anything experienced today.

 

However, having a common enemy also has the potential to have negative outcomes. In basketball, the team can become so focused on one team that they lose sight of the bigger picture.  They put so much effort into beating one team that they lose games with other teams that they should easily win.

 

By becoming obsessed with beating an enemy, the team’s identity becomes based on the enemy. The team does not have its own identity because all decisions and actions are based on what is perceived to be needed to beat the enemy. They may be working to beat the competition, but if they win or the “enemy” goes away they are suddenly thrown into a new place with no identity.

 

Behavior

 

Another risk associated with defining an enemy is that the enemy becomes the “bad one” and the team becomes the “good one.” By defining one as good and one as bad, the “good” team begins to believe that it deserves to win at all costs. The team may even see themselves as righteous and above others. This can lead to inappropriate, unethical, and potentially illegal behaviors.

 

Using the basketball example, there are certain teams that display less than appropriate sportsmanship. Sometimes these behaviors can even do physical harm to other players.  Yet, they seem justified to the player and sometimes to the coaching staff, too.

 

Often not all players feel the same way.  If they disapprove, other team members have to make a choice.  They can stay with the team and overlook these behaviors even though they do not approve.  Alternately, they can speak up knowing that there may be repercussions.  If they disapprove strongly, they might even excuse themselves from the team.

 

In many situations, team members are pressured into remaining silent.  To make matters worse,  frequently people stand up for the inappropriate behaviors. This often takes the form of excuses and finger pointing in an effort to distract people from the inappropriate behavior.

 

The Value of Teams

 

A team is much more powerful if it has its own identity.  That way the team can stand on their own.  Their competition is less relevant.  They can withstand changes that happen around them and are not reliant on their perception of the competition.  The team is less likely to be overconfident or lose sight of the overall goals.

 

The world needs teams because people who are working together can accomplish amazing things.  If leaders could engage large groups of people in a common purpose, with clear intent, and a coordinated effort, things we never imagined would become possible.  Diversity of thought, discussion, and compromise, would unleash creativity like never seen before.