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The Evil Exit

20 Sep

One of your most difficult challenges on your path of personal growth will be dealing with the consequences of seeing your values shift away from the people who are already in your life, such as your family, friends, roommates, or even your spouse.

If you maintain a strong commitment to personal growth, such shifts are inevitable. As you gain more clarity about what’s most important to you in life, you’ll notice increasing contrast between your values and those of others. How you deal with such contrast can really put you to the test.

For instance, you may grow up within a certain religion or culture, but as you mature you may find that those beliefs no longer ring true for you, and you feel the need to shed them and move on.

Or you may grow up with certain eating habits and find yourself shifting away from your childhood diet as you learn and grow.

Or you may have been taught to adopt a certain lifestyle path by default, such as the expectation that you’ll go into the corporate world and get a job working for a large company, but later in life that option may not seem so intelligent to you.

Exploring the Contrast

When you notice this type of contrast beginning to surface, I encourage you to explore it consciously. It may seem a little scary at first — it was for me on many occasions — but I think you’ll find as I have that tremendous growth is to be found within that contrast.

When I was 17 years old and beginning to grasp that my Catholic upbringing was filling my mind with beliefs that didn’t satisfy my intellect, I felt that my only other valid option was to be an evil person. I was never exposed to other possibilities at that time. In my mind I was either Catholic (good) or non-Catholic (evil). So the only valid way I saw to grow beyond this point was to give myself permission to be evil, so I could explore other perspectives. This may seem like a silly choice to someone who’s never experienced that kind of conditioning, but it was very real to me at the time.

Giving myself permission to explore what I previously labeled as evil kicked off an incredible path of growth for me. I shed many false beliefs along the way, had my best year academically, and felt much freer and more alive. The best part was expanding my social circle to include non-Catholics and getting to know them. I dove into evil and found that it was nothing of the sort. It was simply freedom. I soon realized that I’d been brainwashed into thinking that an alternative path was evil by those who were invested in my lack of freedom and self-determination.

For me at the time, there was no other way out. I had to give myself permission to walk through the door labeled evil. That was the only exit I could see.

The Evil Exit

I later found that this is common in many belief systems. The interior of the belief system is frequently labeled good, while all of the exits are labeled evil (or variations thereof). So in order to escape, you have to do what you’ve been taught is evil. The more you accept these labels as real, the more trapped you become.

Which exits are labeled evil in your life right now? Which paths do people tell you are wrong, foolish, crazy, etc?

Is it possible that those paths aren’t actually evil? Is it possible that the so-called evil exit is actually the path to greater freedom? Is it possible that you’ve been conditioned to believe that such exits are evil by those who benefit from your lack of freedom? Who gains from your staying put?

Permission to Be Evil

Another situation where I had to choose the evil exit was leaving my marriage five years ago. Culturally speaking, ending a marriage, especially one with kids, is frowned upon, even though most married people eventually find themselves going that route.

That exit was covered with lots of evil-sounding labels. There’s a ton of social conditioning against leaving an unfulfilling marriage.

One thing that helped me, once again, was to give myself permission to be the bad guy. By this point I knew I wasn’t really doing something I felt was wrong, but allowing myself to be labeled as such anyway, and to accept and own that judgment both from myself and others, made it easier to move forward.

By giving myself permission to be evil instead of trying to resist or deny such a label, I was able to make what I felt was an intelligent choice, even if others might vehemently disagree. Sometimes I found it helpful to exaggerate the path in my own mind and to accept the exaggerated versions, which made it easier to accept the reality.

You’re so right — I’m a quitter!

Yup, I’m abandoning my kids. Total deadbeat!

Why yes… I’m doing this so I can sleep around. Such a slut!

Worst husband and father ever!

Yes indeedy… I’m evil! No good person would ever do this…

Being True to Your Own Values

Giving myself permission to choose the evil exit makes it easier to clarify and stay true to my own values, especially when my values diverge from socially conditioned values. I gain the freedom to choose the less popular path without drowning in struggle and resistance that would otherwise keep me stuck.

You see… from the perspective of someone with certain values that are in opposition to mine, I am in fact evil. Relatively speaking, the judgment is accurate. If I seem to be in denial about my obvious evilness, such people will often feel a strong need to criticize, condemn, or convert me. But if I simply agree with them — if I can “yes-and” their point of view — it saves us both a lot of time.

You cannot invalidate a perspective since a perspective is simply a lens through which reality can be viewed. In order to attempt falsification, you have to use a different lens than the original one. No lens can falsify another lens except an outside-in manner, meaning that falsification is lens-specific and certainly not universal. In fact the very notion of falsifiability only arises within certain lenses; without other lenses the notion of falsifiability is meaningless.

It is an artifact of many lenses, particularly persistent belief systems, to define the interior perspective as good, right, and correct and the exterior as bad, wrong, and evil. Subscribers are right. Non-subscribers are wrong.

To many people with certain religious beliefs, I’m evil because I don’t believe what they believe. I’m an outsider, a non-believer. I’m not saved. I’m going to hell. From within their belief system, these are reasonably accurate statements.

Isn’t it simplest to agree with them?

Yes, I’m evil.

When I die, I’ll be going to hell.

I’m here doing the Devil’s work. Muahahaha!

From my perspective as a long-term vegan, it would be simplest if the flesh-loving people in my life would simply admit that they’re evil. After all, from an ethical vegan’s perspective, it’s completely ludicrous that they should pretend to care about animals, the environment, etc. It would be more sensible for them to say, “Yeah, I totally don’t care about animals at all. Fuck animals! I’m evil and love seeing them tortured and killed for my pleasure.” That would be honest.

Your Relationship With Evil

In the absence of such pre-translated language, you can also do your own translation from another person’s preferred lenses into your own.

Go tell a devout Catholic that you’re an atheist, and don’t be so surprised when your statement gets internally translated as, “I’m a sinner.”

Or tell an ethical vegan about how you like having your favorite animal flesh prepared, and the internal translation of your statement may be, “I’m cruel and unkind.”

From an outsider’s perspective, you may be inclined to label these as unfair judgments. But from an insider’s perspective, they’re reasonably accurate observations.

For whichever doors in your life you may be labeling as evil or wrong, there are countless people who’ve already walked through similar doors and explored beyond them. The first question is: Will you walk through that door too? The second question is: Whether or not you walk through that door yourself, how will you relate to those who already have?

Exploring your own answers to these questions is a significant part of your life’s journey.

Exploring Alternatives

On your path of growth, you’re likely to find many doors labeled evil. It’s a label that one human lens often projects upon another. I think you’ll find as I have that many of these paths which are so labeled don’t actually conflict with your values when you explore them. It can take a lot of reflection to clarify whether or not a potential path conflicts with your values or not. Sometimes the easiest way to find out is to walk through the door and explore what’s on the other side. Then you’ll know.

Giving yourself permission to be evil means giving yourself permission to risk violating your own values. It means giving yourself the opportunity to test alternatives and to make mistakes.

Occasionally you may walk through a door labeled evil, explore the other side, and realize that it’s not for you. While there can be notable consequences to doing this in some cases, much of the time the potential negative consequences are overblown, and the exploration is well worth the learning and growth you’ll gain. Different lenses can distort the way consequences appear.

For instance, if you’re considering a divorce, the interior lens will tend to overplay the potential negative impact on your family. It may encourage you to believe that you’ll be the worst person on earth for causing terrible damage and destruction to a handful of people. This kind of belief can really keep you stuck.

The exterior perspective looks very different, however. By staying trapped in an unhappy situation, such a person is surely spreading stress and unhappiness to many more people and crushing their potential for decades of future contribution. Even if taking the exit door would indeed have a largely negative impact on their family, that consequence must be balanced against the many positive ripples that would be created by seeking a path of greater fulfillment… and inspiring others to do the same.

Take the Evil Door Sooner

On my own path of growth, I’ve learned that in those situations where I suspected that the grass might be greener on the other side, I was usually right. My intuition was accurate. The other side was indeed greener, happier, and more fulfilling. My biggest regrets are of the form: I wish I’d walked through the evil door sooner.

I’m glad I’ve taken risks to explore and clarify my values. Even when I’ve made mistakes, it’s hard to regret them in hindsight because I still learned a lot from my worst choices; they still helped to clarify my core values over time.

When you allow yourself to be evil, you gain the ability to float more freely between different lenses. Doors that are labeled evil exit transform into doors that are merely labeled exit. You’re pre-approved to walk through them without having to worry about judgment or resistance. This gives you the freedom to make more open-minded and conscious choices about which alternative paths to explore.

If you’re feeling stuck, trapped, or stagnant in your current situation, but all the exit doors from that place are labeled evil, then give yourself permission to be evil, and take one of those exits. Become the sinner… the quitter… the betrayer… the abandoner… the loser… the deadbeat… the failure. Wear those labels proudly. They’re all synonyms for explorer.

Steve Pavlina



10 Tips For Raising Your Child In A Spiritual Way

14 Sep

In my book Don’t Die With Your Music Still in You, which I wrote with my father Wayne Dyer, we share our insights on family life with a spiritual bent. Using my father’s book 10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace as a template, we describe the ways a spiritual focus can help children grow up feeling blessed and empowered:

1. Don’t Die with Your Music Still in You
Serena: There’s something I have heard my father say too many times to count: “You will never regret what you do in life; you will only regret what you don’t do.” Everything I have ever done has taught me something, whether it worked out or not. Sometimes the takeaway is simply knowing what I don’t want. Notice whether you are moving toward or away from what excites you. If you pay attention and let yourself be guided by your intuition, you won’t have to worry about dying with your music inside of you.

2. Have a Mind That Is Open to Everything and Attached to Nothing
Wayne: We become what we think about all day long—this is one of the greatest secrets that so many people are unaware of as they live out their life’s mission. What we think about is the business of our minds. If that inner invisibleness called our mind is closed to new ideas and infinite possibilities, it is equivalent to killing off the most important aspect of our very humanity. A mind that is open and unattached to any one particular way of being or living is like having an empty container that can allow new and endless possibilities to enter and be explored.
3. You Can’t Give Away What You Don’t Have
Serena: It may seem impossible now, but one day, we’ll all look back at the storms we have weathered and give a silent thank you. For many of us, it is the storms of our lives that have given us compassion, kindness, and gentleness that we otherwise may not have known—and that we can now give away to others, because they are inside of us.
4. Embrace Silence
Wayne: I have long known the wisdom inherent in the ancient aphorism, “It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music.” This is a truth that both my wife Marcelene and I attempted to convey to all of our children as we sought to make our home a temple of serenity and peace, amidst all of the activity of a large family. Everything emerges out of the silence.
5. Give Up Your Personal History
Serena: Our personal history is all the things in our background that keep us the same. If more of the same is not what we want, we have to let go of our history. When we do, we let go of all the beliefs we’ve had about ourselves—beliefs which may not even be true. In letting go of the past, you may find that you’re able to be more alive in the present. If you don’t like where you are in life, then you must change your way of thinking.
6. You Can’t Solve a Problem with the Same Mind That Created It
Wayne: I would regularly remind the children that their concept of themselves is nothing more than all of the things that they believe to be true. And if what they believe to be true is helping them to create situations in which they are unhappy or even unhealthy, they are then challenged to change what they have unwaveringly held on to as an absolute truth. This is very difficult for most people to do, and this is why so many stay stuck, because they would rather be right than happy.
7. There Are No Justified Resentments

Serena: Growing up, there was a five letter word beginning with a “b” that we were not allowed to say or use. No, I’m not talking about bitch; the real bad word in our household was blame. Dad has a zero-tolerance policy for resentment. He simply wouldn’t allow any of us to place blame on anyone or anything other than ourselves. Freedom comes in forgiveness and letting go. When you free yourself of your past resentments, you release yourself of the worry of the future.
8. Treat Yourself as If You Already Are What You’d Like to Be
Wayne: The greatest gift that any of us are granted is the gift of our imagination. Every single thing that now exists was once imagined, and the corollary of this assertion is that everything that is ever going to exist in the future must first be imagined. In my role as a father and a teacher I felt it was incumbent upon me to help my children understand and apply the phenomenal implications of this basic notion. “If you want to accomplish anything, you must first be able to expect it of yourself.”
9. Treasure Your Divinity
Serena: When we were little, my brothers and sisters and I were taught by our parents that God resided within each of us; that our divinity was not something we needed to go out and look for. Instead, we would find it when we looked within.
10. Wisdom Is Avoiding All Thoughts That Weaken You
Wayne: All I wanted for my sons and daughters, and all of those who read my books and attended my lectures, was to realize that they could always choose a thought that would empower them, as opposed to ones that make them fragile and weak. This is one of the greatest lessons we can all use each and every day of our lives: wisdom is avoiding all thoughts which weaken you. Or as the children heard me say so many times, “Your life is a product of all of the choices that you have made, so choose well.”

For some other lessons I learned from my father, read our book, Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You and watch this video of him reading a letter that I wrote:

A Daughter’s Message to Her Dad: Happy Father’s Day- Serena and Wayne Dyer


Serena J. Dyer is the sixth of Wayne and Marcelene Dyer’s eight children. Serena attended the University of Miami, where she received bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and now lives in South Florida with her fiancé. She spends her time traveling, reading, blogging, cooking, and working to combat child trafficking through several local organizations.



«Evita los juicios y las etiquetas»

11 Sep

¿Recuerdas cuando eras niño y te reprendían diciéndote que lo que estabas haciendo estaba mal? ¿Y las alabanzas que tanto buscabas y disfrutabas? ¿Te quedarías con las alabanzas?  Ahí es justo donde se sitúan las bases en las que se construye el modelo de la sociedad en la que vivimos. Siempre intentamos inclinar la balanza hacia las situaciones o personas que juzgamos como buenas o positivas. Y la vida es un todo inseparable.

Nos movemos en una realidad que está plagada de dualidad. Todo es bueno o malo. Me gusta o no me gusta. Hemos perdido la capacidad de vivir las cosas por el placer de vivirlas.

Nos proporciona cierta sensación de seguridad el poner etiquetar a todo y a tod@s. Cuando catalogamos las cosas de ‘buenas’ o ‘malas’ sentimos que le damos sentido a nuestra realidad y que estamos respetando nuestro “sentido de la ética o de la moralidad”

Al mismo tiempo, solo con reflexionar un poco, nos podemos dar cuenta de que una misma situación o hecho es juzgado de forma totalmente diferente dependiendo de quién lo observe, y de cuál sea su origen cultural. Por ejemplo, un buen eructo es una muestra de cortesía en Arabia o en China, pero si lo hiciéramos en cualquier mesa europea sería toda una descortesía.

Al final, nuestros juicios siempre van a estar teñidos de un montón de creencias que nos alejan de la verdadera realidad, del hecho enjuiciado o de la persona que a la que señalamos con el dedo.

Te preguntarás entonces, ¿de qué sirven los juicios? ¡Absolutamente de nada!

Enjuiciar cualquier cosa o persona es un hábito adquirido, que muchas veces hacemos de forma inconsciente y que nos dificulta enormemente la vida. Y como todo hábito ha de ser observado, reconocido y, si nos merece la pena, abandonado o sustituido por otro más saludable.

Todo juicio acerca de una situación y, sobre todo, de una persona, nos hace focalizar la atención en una sola parte de esa situación o persona, y pasamos por alto la totalidad que representan. Perdiendo, por supuesto, la posibilidad de un entendimiento cordial y agradable.

Si profundizamos un poco más en lo que son los juicios, por mucho que te sorprendas, nos encontraremos con partes nuestras que no queremos mirar. ¿No te lo crees?

¡Te lo voy a explicar!

Existe un término en psicología denominado proyección que nos explica cómo las personas atribuimos a otros sentimientos, pulsiones o reacciones propias .La proyección nos explica como, al considerar todas estas cosas inaceptables para nuestra autoimagen normalmente, engalanada de perfección, preferimos otorgárselas a los demás. Entonces, desde la postura del censurador nos sentimos cargados de razón y también de inconsciencia, claro está.

¿No puedes soportar algún rasgo en la personalidad de alguna persona?

En este caso, te puedo asegurar que ese rasgo que tanto detestas es tuyo también. Puede que no sea en la misma faceta de la vida, podría ser en otro contexto, pero con toda seguridad está también en ti.

Se suele producir una especie de caricaturización del rasgo detestado para que, de esa forma, sea mucho más fácil de ver. Por ejemplo, aquel mentiroso compulsivo al que tú juzgas duramente, podría estar mostrándote una parte de ti que evita decir la verdad en muchas ocasiones. Lo tuyo es, quizá, más pequeño y se desarrolla en un ámbito diferente al de la otra persona, pero, al fin y al cabo, es una característica de ambos y tú necesitas verla en el otro para después observarla en ti.

¿No hay excepciones?

Imagino que te estarás preguntando si la mala uva de tu suegra o de tu cuñado es tuya también. Pues siento decirte que ¡SÍ! , sobre todo si te molesta mucho y si la criticas a menudo.

Quizá tu respuesta sea que tú nunca has levantado la voz, que eres una persona tranquila por naturaleza y que no soportas los gritos y el mal humor. Pues también ahí puede existir una parte de ti que, en muchas ocasiones, debido a una rígida educación, ha sido sofocada quedando reprimida. Es decir, que no has llegado a ser así por desarrollo propio sino por imposición. Y ahí está tu suegra haciendo su papel de espejo…

¿Tampoco hay juicio para los que me tratan con desconsideración?

Es muy común que cuando una persona te trata como tú crees que no mereces, sea un claro reflejo del modo en que tú te tratas a ti mismo. En muchos casos carecemos de una verdadera relación de amor propio y todo el enfado que sentimos por el ‘maltratador’ oculta, en gran medida, el malestar que nos produce la carencia de ese amor por nosotros mismos. 

¿Y para el resto de las situaciones que presenta la vida?

Cualquier situación que nos presenta la vida no se presenta para ser enjuiciada. Nadie dijo que fuera así. Es solo una costumbre adquirida.

De hecho, cualquier encuentro con otra persona conlleva un juicio, en ocasiones, tan absurdo como al tiempo. Si te encuentras con tu vecino y con el saludo incluyes unas cuantas quejas acerca del frío, del calor o de la lluvia, serás mucho más normal a sus ojos que si le explicas, de entrada, lo mucho que estás disfrutando de lo que esté sucediendo, sea lo que sea.

En definitiva, por mucho que lo creamos, no somos máquinas de enjuiciar.  Vivimos tan acostumbrados a hacerlo que  en muchas ocasiones ni siquiera somos conscientes de que lo estamos haciendo.

Tampoco somos perfectos, sino maravillosamente imperfectos y variados, afortunadamente.  Y cualquier persona, haga lo que haga, ahora o en un tiempo pasado, siempre lo hizo lo mejor que pudo, en base a como ella veía la vida en ese momento. Entonces, ¿por qué no intentar por un momento caminar en sus zapatos y comprender su situación?

Una vez más, necesitamos reducir la velocidad a la que vivimos y disponer de pequeños espacios de silencio o meditación, en los que podamos tomar distancia y observar cómo reaccionamos, cómo vivimos, cÓmo enjuiciamos. Y de esa forma, quizá llegar a entender que de la misma manera que nosotros necesitamos ser comprendidos y amados, tenemos la obligación de otorgar esa misma comprensión a los demás, alejando la censura de nuestra relación con ellos.

Cualquier situación o persona, puede convertirse en una gran oportunidad, en ocasiones para vernos a nosotros mismos o quizá para comprender algo que antes no fue comprendido.

¡Abracemos cualquier experiencia, cualquier persona y liberémonos el juicio que no sirve para nada!

Las etiquetas a otros ¿ayudan? – Marca Personal – Renata Roa

Compilación realizada por Lorena Lacaille.


Revealing The Secrets Of Your Shadow Self

2 Sep

Most of us set out on the path to personal growth because at some point the burden of our pain becomes too much to bear. The Dark Side of the Light Chasers is about unmasking that aspect of ourselves which destroys our relationships, kills our spirit, and keeps us from fulfilling our dreams.

It is what Carl Jung called the shadow. It contains all the parts of ourselves that we have tried to hide or deny. It contains those dark aspects that we believe are not acceptable to our family, friends, and most important, ourselves. The dark side is stuffed deeply within our consciousness, hidden from ourselves and others. The message we get from this hidden place is simple: there is something wrong with me. I’m not okay. I’m not lovable. I’m not deserving. I’m not worthy.

Many of us believe these messages. We believe that if we look closely enough at what lies deep within us, we will find something horrible. We resist looking long and hard for fear of discovering someone we can’t live with. We fear ourselves. We fear every thought and feeling we have ever repressed. Many of us are so disconnected from this fear we can only see it by reflection. We project it onto the world, onto our families and friends, and onto strangers. Our fear is so deep that the only way we can deal with it is either to hide or deny it. We become so good at this we actually forget that we are wearing masks to hide our authentic selves. We believe we are the persons we see in the mirror. We believe we are our bodies and our minds. Even after years of failed relationships, careers, diets and dreams, we continue to suppress these disturbing internal messages. We tell ourselves we’re okay and that things will get better. We put blinders over our eyes and plugs in our ears to keep the internal stories we create alive. I’m not okay. I’m not lovable. I’m not deserving. I’m not worthy.

Instead of trying to suppress our shadows, we need to unconceal, own and embrace the very things we are most afraid of facing. By “own,” I mean acknowledge that a quality belongs to you. “It is the shadow that holds the clues,” says the spiritual teacher and author Lazaris. “The shadow also holds the secret of change, change that can affect you on a cellular level, change that can affect your very DNA.” Our shadows hold the essence of who we are. They hold our most treasured gifts. By facing these aspects of ourselves, we become free to experience our glorious totality: the good and the bad, the dark and the light. It is by embracing all of who we are that we earn the freedom to choose what we do in this world. As long as we keep hiding, masquerading, and projecting what is inside us, we have no freedom to be and no freedom to choose. However it is only when we discover that  by embracing our worst fears, we can step into our greatest self. Watch this preview of my movie, The Shadow Effect to see what I mean:

Our shadows exist to teach us, guide us and give us the blessing of our entire selves. They are resources for us to expose and explore. The feelings that we have suppressed are desperate to be integrated into ourselves. They are only harmful when they are repressed: then they can pop up at the least opportune times. Their sneak attacks will handicap you in the areas of your life that mean the most.

Your life will be transformed when you make peace with your shadow. The caterpillar will become a breathtakingly beautiful butterfly. You will no longer have to pretend to be someone you’re not. You will no longer have to prove you’re good enough. When you embrace your shadow you will no longer have to live in fear. Find the gifts of your shadow and you will finally revel in all the glory of your true self. Then you will have the freedom to create the life you have always desired.

Debbie Ford was an internationally recognized expert in the field of personal transformation. She was the best-selling author of eight books: The Dark Side of the Light Chasers, The Secret of the Shadow, Spiritual Divorce, The Right Questions, The Best Year of Your Life, Why Good People Do Bad Things, The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse, and The Shadow Effect.


¿Por qué soy un controlador y como puedo superarlo?

30 Ago

¿Por qué soy tan controlador? ¿Qué significa esto en mi vida? ¿Cómo puedo dejar de controlar y así dejarlo ir? Aunque no lo creas, el control está muy asociado a una emoción que sí nos ayuda a sobrevivir, pero también nos puede limitar por toda la cantidad de sustancias que segregamos al vivirlo en exceso. Confía y vive los procesos de una manera más relajados.

¿Quién sufre de personalidad controladora?
Decimos que una persona sufre de personalidad controladora cuando dicta a las personas de su entorno el comportamiento que deben adoptar. Quiere controlar todas las situaciones en las que se encuentra. Todo está planificado, calculado y organizado según lo que ella ha decidido con un extremado rigor. Este tipo de personas suelen pensar que su intervención es necesaria y esconden un sentimiento de superioridad, de ahí la necesidad de tenerlo todo controlado. Según ellas, deben tomar el mando de una situación porque los demás no saben gestionar correctamente los imprevistos. El mínimo cambio les afecta por eso nada dejan al azar, piensan en todos los detalles y se adelantan a todos los imprevistos que puedan acontecer.

¿De dónde nace este carácter obsesivo por tenerlo todo controlado?
Muy sencillo: del miedo al fracaso. Este temor es lo que motiva la sed de poder y control absoluto. El miedo y el sentimiento de inseguridad son los grandes enemigos que convierten a este tipo de personas en eternas insatisfechas. Suelen ser infelices y se obligan a aspirar a la perfección, lo que les resulta realmente imposible de conseguir teniendo en cuenta el grado de exigencia que se imponen. Este miedo es el que les dirige una vida estrictamente organizada. Son personas violentas que complican la existencia de todos los que están a su alrededor.

¡A relajarse!
Quienes sufren este trastorno deben aprender a soltar lastre y dejar que las cosas ocurran, enfrentarse a sus rigurosos principios. Deben abandonar sus constantes mecanismos de defensa y abrirse a los demás, confiar en ellos y comportarse con más soltura y espontaneidad. Este aprendizaje pasa por la recuperación de la confianza en ellos mismos y por la lucha contra ese excesivo temor que los consume y controla. Hay que saber tomar distancia y relajarse de vez en cuando. ¡Es vital! Si ese carácter controlador se convierte en un obstáculo a la hora de buscar la plenitud personal, el afectado podría plantearse seguir un tratamiento del tipo terapia cognitiva ycomportamental centrado en ese rasgo de su carácter para empezar a disfrutar de la vida al máximo. En cuanto den este paso, empezarán a relativizar las cosas.


Compilación realizada por Lorena Lacaille.


The Secret to Interpersonal Happiness

16 Ago

As much as we desire being connected to others — good friendships, a wonderful romantic relationship, close family members — this connection always comes at a cost.

We get frustrated by other people.

You know it’s true. You might be really good friends with someone, but then they get angry at you for some reason, or they behave without consideration, and all of a sudden, your mood is much darker. You’re not happy with them, maybe they’re not happy with you. Things can go sour very quickly.

This is such a difficult problem that you could devote entire books to ways of working out these kinds of conflicts and frustrations. But I have one technique that, if applied consistently, will lead to a lot more happiness.

The secret: always take the good-hearted view of other people.

That takes some explaining, so let’s take a look at two ways of looking at other people:

  1. The ill-intentioned view. When someone does something rude, you think, “Why do they have to be so inconsiderate?” or “Who does that?” Basically, you see their actions in the worst possible light, without putting yourself in their shoes. Most of us do this regularly without realizing it. Anytime you’re mad or frustrated with someone, this is what you’re doing.
  2. The good-hearted view. When someone does something inconsiderate — and I’m not saying their actions are justified — you can try to think of those actions in a good-hearted way. For example, maybe they’re having a bad day and are grump — that doesn’t excuse their actions, but you can understand the feeling of being grumpy. Or maybe they were hurt by something you did (which you might not realize) and they are lashing out because of that hurt. That’s not a nice way to react, of course, but we can all relate to feeling hurt and lashing out. So the good-hearted view is that this is someone you care about who is hurting. Forget the personal offense, think about their pain, and be compassionate towards that pain.

Let’s take a brief look at the ill-intentioned way of seeing things, then go into what I believe will transform most people’s interpersonal happiness — the good-hearted view.

Why the Ill-Intentioned View is a Problem

It’s easy to see the rudeness, inconsideration and plain wrongness of other people. That’s because we’re looking at it from our own point of view, and thinking they should see things the same way as you do.

For example:

  • They left dirty dishes or a big mess in the kitchen. Why didn’t they just clean up instead of being inconsiderate? You feel they’re not acting as they should.
  • They said something kind of mean to you. You have no idea why they would be mean, you’re a good person who doesn’t deserve that.
  • They are mad at you for some reason. You don’t deserve that! What’s their problem?

Of course, there are much worse things, but these are some typical interpersonal problems, and common reactions.

These are natural reactions, but looking at things this way causes you to feel bad about the other person. You are frustrated, angry, offended or hurt. You build up resentment.

You might also react badly to the other person — say something hurtful or angry, lash out, ignore them, whatever your habitual way of responding to these things might be. This obviously will make them react badly to you, and now your relationship is hurt. You’re not happy, and neither are they. This isn’t a good situation.

The problem with the ill-intentioned view is that it doesn’t help anybody, and hurt the relationship. Worse yet, it’s self-centered (you’re seeing things from your own point of view) rather than thinking about the other person (whom you care about), both of you, or your relationship together.

The Solution: The Good-Hearted View

OK, so the self-centered view of seeing the ill-intentions of the other person isn’t ideal (not that any of us are ideal!). So what about the good-hearted view?

Well, this approach tries to use empathy, to see the good heart of the other person, to assume that they are good people with decent intentions who make mistakes and are having trouble of some kind.

For example, some reasons someone might act badly:

  • They genuinely didn’t realize how you would take their actions — from their perspective, there was nothing wrong with what they did. Your interpretation might be that they are wrong, but that’s only one way of seeing it.
  • They were caught up in their world, and weren’t thinking of how their words or actions might affect other people. This, of course, is self-centered, but we all do this, probably every day.
  • They are having a bad day, are in a bad mood, or are in the middle of a tough problem in their life. This causes them to react badly to you. This is not an excuse for bad behavior, but you can understand this, as we all go through it.
  • They have a bad habit of reacting to people in certain harmful ways. This doesn’t mean they have a bad heart, but instead, they developed bad patterns when they were young. At one point, these patterns were meant to protect them from harm, but now they just harm others.
  • They were abused by someone, or hurt in the past, and now they are worried that you are going to harm them. So they protect themselves. Not an excuse, but more of a way to understand people’s behavior.
  • You did something that they took offense to, and so they’re reacting badly to something you did. Maybe you didn’t realize you did this, but that’s the world they’re in.
  • They genuinely were trying to do something to help you, but you took it the wrong way.

None of the above excuses bad behavior. It’s wrong to be rude, to yell, to be violent. But to act badly is human, and to judge everyone for their bad behavior means we won’t be friends with anyone. Ourselves included, because if we’re honest, we have to admit that we act badly sometimes too.

We’re not looking for excuses, but instead to see the good heart in the other person. Yes, they acted badly, but it’s with a good heart. If we can see this, perhaps we can see the other person in a more kind light, and react to them in a more helpful way.

Some ways we can react, now that we see them in a good-hearted light:

  1. We can try to understand them, maybe even talk to them about what’s going on. People often like to be heard and understood. Make them feel like what they’re doing is understandable.
  2. From this place, we might also share how their actions affected us, without blaming, accusing or guilt-tripping. Instead, it’s from a place of wanting to resolve the conflict.
  3. We might give them compassion for the difficulty they’re going through. Maybe a hug, or the appropriate equivalent — just a “hug attitude,” where we’re trying to commiserate with them and make them feel better somehow.
  4. Or we might just feel the compassion inside, and not let ourselves get caught up in resentful or frustrated emotions, and instead, just leave the other person alone until they feel better, if that’s more appropriate.
  5. If the other person is genuinely harmful, you might need to get away from them (for your own protection), but with compassion you might not be so angry at them.

These are just a few options, but you can see that these actions are much more helpful for the relationship, for the other person, and for our own happiness.

You might say, “Well, isn’t this just rewarding or excusing their bad behavior?” That’s one way to see it, but I believe it’s more about not getting caught up in our own self-centered view, and not engaging in unhelpful and harmful patterns of thought. With the good-hearted view, we are more understanding, more compassionate, more likely to be happy and have good relationships.

The next time you feel difficulty with someone, try the good-hearted view. You just might find some happiness in a difficult situation.