Carl Jung said that pursuing happiness as a life goal creates "spiritual bypass".
Have you ever noticed that the experiences that make you the happiest are also the ones that make you most miserable? If a bad thing happens, it feels like the end of your world; but if something good happens, you're suddenly overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.
How often do you ask yourself, Is this making me satisfied? If you’re like most people, it’s rarely—if ever—because the natural tendency is to seek out things that will give us happiness, not satisfaction. It’s easy to fall into this trap, but pursuing happiness instead of satisfaction can actually lead to less actual happiness overall.
Happiness is a fleeting experience.
Happiness can be defined as a momentary state of mind where you experience pleasure or delight; satisfaction comes from being content or pleased with a situation or outcome that you've worked towards achieving (or at least contributing to). In other words, happiness is something that happens to us—it's an emotion that affects our mood for a short time before fading away again..
The problem with happiness is that it's fleeting. It's a positive emotion, but not all positive emotions are created equal. In order to become happy, you have to be lucky enough to satisfy each one of the three underlying needs that lead to happiness - physiological (the need for food, shelter and sleep), social (the need for love and companionship), and psychological (the need for a sense of accomplishment). But these needs are often not fulfilled because the world doesn't provide perfect conditions. When you don't feel satisfied by one or more needs, it creates an unhappiness gap.
What does it mean to be satisfied?
Satisfaction and happiness often go hand in hand, but there are notable differences. Satisfaction is durable; it lasts over time. Happiness, on the other hand, tends to come in waves with moments of joy that quickly fade. With happiness, it feels like once you experience the feeling, it's all downhill. But with satisfaction, achieving what you want doesn't make the feelings disappear.
Satisfaction is a stable state, not a fleeting one. It comes from meeting your personal standards. While it might be tempting to think that happiness would come from achieving some goal—whether it’s something like landing that dream job or scoring the winning touchdown—the reality is that satisfaction comes from experiencing fulfillment in the activities themselves. In other words: satisfaction is when you meet your own standards for what makes life worth living for you personally. To say it simply, satisfaction comes from how you live your life, whereas happiness is more about the “what” in your life.
Satisfaction is the better choice because it lasts longer and is generally more beneficial to your mental health in the long run. It’s also an experience that you can find your way back to again and again, like learning how to fish, rather than how to catch a specific fish. We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we live what happens to us. In this sense, learning how to achieve a place of satisfaction in life becomes an incredibly important tool for developing the kind of life you’ve always wanted.
The problem with chasing happiness
The quest for happiness actually distracts from what brings true joy. Happiness has its place, but not as an end goal. Happiness should be seen as an occasional experience that we should enjoy when it comes our way, rather than something we relentlessly pursue as if happiness were some kind of addiction.
The pursuit of happiness as a goal in life is a form of spiritual bypass. Happiness is a fleeting experience: one that can be enjoyed but not truly grasped. Happiness is like that first bite of a gourmet sandwich—it's so good you can't believe your taste buds. But after the initial explosion of flavor and delight, you're left with an empty feeling and hunger for more. You want to go back for another bite and experience those same sensations again...and again...and again...but eventually (probably sooner than later), it won't be enough anymore. In fact, by eating too much of anything delicious we often end up sick from excess or bored from routine. This pursuit of an unsustainable experience is the exact process that keeps you stuck, frustrated and unable to enjoy what is in front of you.
What can I do instead?
Instead of pursuing happiness and feeling depressed when you can't find it, maybe it's worth considering if happiness really is the right goal to be after in the first place. Deep down, most people want more out of their lives than just happiness. Research in the fields of positive psychology, leads to many studies on how different types of satisfaction are durable and sustainable—lasting much longer than happiness could ever hope to be.
This concept isn't just philosophy and self-help advice. It's backed up by scientific studies that show people who pursue happiness report lower levels of life satisfaction. One study published in Perspectives on Psychological Science found that when people try to actively pursue happiness, they experience more negative emotion, which lowers overall levels of life satisfaction. The takeaway here isn't that you should stop trying to be happy altogether; rather, it's important to make efforts to find contentment with the present moment and ultimately strive to reach a place of satisfaction as your life goal.
Happiness is the most elusive and fleeting emotion imaginable. It’s also one of the most desirable and sought-after states of being, but it’s not worth chasing after. Happiness is fleeting because it depends on external factors, like your relationships, career and social standing. These things can change in an instant– and they will. When they do, you’ll be left wondering why you ever bothered to chase something so transient in the first place.
If you’re looking for a more sustainable way to live your life, then try investing in satisfaction. It’s not a fleeting thing that can be lost in an instant, it comes from meeting your personal standards (which are built into you as part of your nature), and it doesn’t require any external validation or encouragement. In short: Satisfaction is a much better use of your time and leads to more stable and durable contentment for the long haul. Which means that if you want a permanent solution to life's problems, this might just be it.
You’re probably familiar with the hustle if you're a type-A overachiever. You’re always on the go, always trying to do more and be more. But what if I told you there’s a better way to get what you want? That you can actually achieve more by doing less?
It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true.
The hustle is a trap that keeps you in a cycle of stress and burnout. And it's not just affecting your mental health; it's also holding you back from achieving goals that bring you deep meaning and feed your soul. It’s time to break free and start saying no to the things that don't align with your highest goals, even if they're "good" opportunities.
Sometimes, the best way to get ahead is to do nothing. Think of this as “strategic inaction.”
There are many benefits to creating a work-life balance. In fact, for many, doing so is proving to be the number one way to reduce stress and actually get more done in the long run.
What is the hustle mentality?
Hustle mentality describes a commitment to doing whatever it takes to get ahead, no matter what, and never to give up, regardless of how insurmountable the challenges are. It usually accompanies an intense need to be seen as successful and accomplished, and many hustlers feel pressure to perform well in everything they do.
Hustle mentality can affect anyone, regardless of their background or aspirations. The symptoms are not always obvious, but they may include:
Hustle mentality springs from believing that you must work harder, faster, and longer to get ahead.
Heads up, all you overachievers: Hustle mentality is a myth.
You will burn out if you work harder than anyone else without any breaks or downtime. You'll be stressed out, exhausted, and unable to keep up with your workload–if not physically, then certainly mentally. You will be no good to anyone, least of all to yourself.
What you say no to matters just as much as what you say yes to.
One of the most important actions you can take to improve your life is to say no.
Saying no is not a bad thing. It allows you to say yes to more important things in your life, like working on those goals or spending time with friends and family.
Saying no indicates that you have boundaries and values that are important enough to stand up for. Without healthy, flexible boundaries, there is no way to have a sense of self and create a life that brings you deep meaning and satisfaction.
Many people caught up in the hustle mentality struggle with boundaries in their relationships and lives. Mastering the art of saying no is a requirement for hustling less so that you can get where you want to be in your life faster.
Learning how to say no allows you to work smarter rather than harder, saving your energy and resources to invest in those experiences that you find meaningful. Engaging in meaningful activities is one of the most powerful ways to bolster your mental and psychological health.
3 Steps to Quiet Quitting the Hustle Mentality
Most business owners and leaders wouldn’t be in the positions they’ve landed without a lot of hard work and the willingness to go above and beyond. The world strongly reinforces the hustle mentality as the key to success.
The inability to slow down serves a fundamental emotional purpose. It reflects a childhood adaptation to an environment that didn’t meet your emotional needs. But there is no value in engaging in behaviors that no longer enhance your life. It feels problematic now because you’ve outgrown this emotional coping technique and don’t have a more satisfying way to emotionally support yourself yet.
Getting help to address your underlying emotional issues is the key to a quiet quitting hustle mentality. Here are a few suggestions for how to make this happen:
Work on your boundaries.
You might be concerned about turning down an opportunity for advancement or disappointing someone else by turning down their request for help because it could hurt their feelings (and possibly even damage your career). Exploring how your boundaries were (or were not) supported in your childhood is the key to developing the kinds of healthy boundaries you will need in your adult life. This practice will give you more energy to show up to those people and places that bring you the most meaning.
Start your therapy journey.
Beginning the emotional healing work to address unresolved matters is the only way to shift your energy out of your defense system and back into your true self. Your defense system is the part of you that keeps you caught up in the hustle mentality because hustling is a form of unconscious emotional protection that keeps you from slowing down long enough to feel anything unpleasant. When you work on healing the deeper emotional wounds, you begin to hustle a lot less organically.
Embrace your feelings and allow them to teach you what you truly need.
Learning how to feel your feelings is very different from talking about feelings. Feelings are energetic messengers and emotional responses to the world around you, carrying all the information you need to stay centered, grounded, and moving towards what feeds you and away from what does not.
Many people who have a hard time doing less also have difficulty feeling their feelings and learning from them. Working on your relationship with your feelings is pivotal for letting go of the need to hustle at all times.
By nature, the hustle mentality creates an exhausting pace that is impossible to sustain without some major breakdown in physical or emotional well-being.
Life moves fast, and getting caught up in some type of hustle can be easy. Sometimes you’ll find yourself saying yes to things that don't add value to your life or saying no to the things that do. The key is learning how to say yes to the right things so that the only time you ever have to hustle is when you are moving towards something truly meaningful in your life.
You'll sleep better, be happier, and ultimately get more out of life if the work you choose to engage in is fulfilling, as opposed to how much work you're doing. If you want success in both your professional and personal endeavors, and to create a life worth living, then get rid of the hustle.
To watch more of this video, visit me over on YouTube, by clicking www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ETxlPgsbKg.
The number one hack for balancing your life (Demanding Career, Loving Home & Family, Friends, Travel, Etc.) & Having It All
Hey everybody, I’m here with you today to share a little bit about finding the balance in life between having it all (you know, a demanding and rewarding career, loving home life and family, friends, travel, all the things…) and keeping your sanity.
There’s a very delicate balance between “having it all” and keeping your sanity in this super busy and highly frenetic world that we live in, and I’m here today to help you put it all together so that you can begin to learn about what it takes to manifest a life of deep satisfaction.
This is more important now than ever, as our world is starting to “open back up” a bit after two years of pandemic related social distancing, closures, and quarantine. As people are beginning to get back out into the world, the pace is beginning to pick back up.
Whether you are a business owner or not, a parent with children, or have a demanding career and work life, finding your sweet spot between keeping busy with meaningful activities and maintaining your sanity in this fast-paced world is one of the hardest things to achieve and maintain.
What is true is that having 24/7 access to technology and social media makes certain things much easier to get done, sometimes this constant access can lead to an overload of information and options. Which can bring feelings of overwhelm and pressure to keep all the plates balancing at the same time.
Especially for high functioning, Type A, overachievers who have a hard time downshifting anyway on a good day.
If you’re one of those people who feels like they must be productive, otherwise you feel like you have nothing to show for your time, you might even feel worthless if you haven’t accomplished something or checked one more item off your list, then I’m talking about you.
There was a science experiment conducted by a Dutch scientist in 1665 who first noticed a phenomenon in pendulum clocks that when put next to each other for a designated period of time, would synchronize no matter how out of sync they were when they started. This experiment was conducted again with a room full of pendulum clocks, and again, the same result was found. What was determined to be the cause for this odd synchronicity was that there was a subtle energy exchange between the clocks. So basically, these scientists found that energy affects energy at whatever surrounding momentum exists.
Translated to human beings, what this illustrates is that the energy you surround yourself with will impact your speed and pace of life. If you surround yourself with fast paced, always “on”, intense expectations that you must operate at a high level at all times, then you will stay at that speed.
Choosing excellence in everything that you do is an outstanding trait to have as a human being. It’s amazing that you want to go the extra mile, however, when you start going the extra mile every single time...you begin to set that extra mile as your normal routine, which means you are pressured to always achieve more and more.
I always like to remind folks that whenever anything no longer feels like a choice in your life, there’s a decent chance that it’s become more about emotional self-preservation than actual motivation to keep the high level of functioning up.
This is an incredibly hard concept to grasp for high achievers who often receive many accolades and lots of support from the world for your ability to “have it all” and function at a high level. You know, “keep it all together”. With a smile on your face.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone reflect back to me (and this is especially true of Enneagram Type 3’s) “how could this be a problem- to want to have it all and function at a high level”?
For some people, their “busyness” and perfectionistic qualities actually serve as energetic distractions from what you might have to feel if you were to downshift and do less.
I’m talking about what you might have to feel if you gave up trying to keep all the plates spinning at a high level, all the time, or give yourself a break, or accept results that were “less than perfect”.
When I ask someone who comes to me for personality typing or therapeutic coaching “how would it be if you went home and did nothing this weekend” and they look at me like a deer in headlights, that’s how I know I’m on to something.
Sometimes, high levels of achievement and “nothing but the best” attitudes are actually clues that a person is managing some intense emotional feelings deep inside, that without the busyness, might catch up with them.
So they keep running. Doing. Accomplishing. Pushing. Having. Achieving. It never stops.
Sadly, what often happens too, is that this pressure often gets transferred onto their families, children, friends, employees, co-workers, pets and becomes almost impossible to shut off.
To do this all the time is just not sustainable long-term not to mention that it takes a tremendous toll on your physical and emotional health and well-being.
So, I’m going to share with you a tried and true “hack” for learning how to balance your life AND have it all.
Are you ready for it?
Give it up. Stop trying to have it all.
Walk away from this frenetic, fast paced, must-have-it-all-together approach to life, your career, your family, your children.
This is far easier said than done. Believe me, I understand.
I, too, am one of these “high achievers, who likes to keep up a frenetic pace when I’m not able to be with intense feelings yet opening up in my growth process and life.
That’s usually my clue that it’s time to double-down on therapy sessions because I need help understanding what’s really going on in a place that is #deeperthanwords or cognition.
For you to deepen your understanding of yourself and transform your life in a powerful way, you’re going to have to figure out what your high level of momentum is keeping you from having to feel, and then learn how to be with those uncomfortable feelings.
All feelings are important and necessary as they are the energetic messengers about what you “truly” need in your life to be satisfied and at peace, based upon your unique and particular MBTI & Enneagram personality type configuration.
All feelings. The good ones, the bad ones, the ugly feelings and everything in between.
And what each of us needs to be satisfied and peaceful often differs based upon who you truly are, not the version of yourself the world has taught you to be.
And when I say “figure out” what your tendency to live from a place of pressure is protecting you from having to feel, I don’t mean listen to a podcast or read a book or try to figure it out with your brain or talk it over with a friend.
Feelings are energy, they are not cognitive thoughts.
That’s why talk therapy can only get you so far into deeply transforming your life and finding a level of balance that feeds you. Feelings exist in a place that is #deeperthanwords and is nonlinear.
To get to the heart of the matter about what pressure is really keeping you from feeling, the place where it’s hard to downshift, you’re going to need help getting to the depths of your feelings inside so that you can untangle this knot once and for all.
Not in your brain, rather in your body.
Linear thinking and cognitive processes help solve problems. Nonlinear healing transforms lives.
You might find that after learning how to be with and learn from all your feelings, including the “unpleasant” ones, you might still choose to keep up with life at a high pace.
Fine. The deciding factor in this case is that you’re choosing this, instead of doing so from a place of pressure.
Unless you’re in a true life or death kind of situation, pressure is ALWAYS a clue that you’re living from an emotionally protective and defensive position in what you’re doing.
And this is always going to keep you running around at a frenetic pace, multitasking everything (including your relationships) while being truly present for nothing.
It’s easy to get caught up in this idea that you have to work at 200%, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in everything that you do, and then, when you are successful, or the chores are done, the house is clean, or the kids grow up and move out, or you reach a certain amount of money in the bank, you can take it down a notch.
There is always more to be done.
This is the very illusion that keeps you imbalanced and trying to have it all in such a way that you enjoy nothing.
Because I’m such a quote gal, I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes of all times from St. Augustine who speaks to this idea of downshifting in life:
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
Don’t let your life speed by without exploring and discovering who you really were meant to be in this lifetime.
That’s what it’s all about. Finding yourself so you can have it all.
I wish that for you, your family, your career, your children and everyone and everything whose life you touch with yours.
There’s peace to be found if you’re willing to take an emotional risk and begin to feel what you’ve spent your busy and highly productive life out running.
This starts by downshifting with support.
I got you!
For more information about my work and how I can help you deeply transform your life and relationships, visit my website at www.kateschroederlpc.com and be sure to join my email list in order to get the latest updates about my services, programs, classes, and workshops.
Bye for now.
The other day it dawned on me that one of the things that happens as Fall begins is that our daylight becomes shorter and the darkness becomes longer. And for many people, this is the beginning of a difficult time.
Add to this, the fact that we all are beginning a second fall season, against the backdrop of a pandemic, and it’s pretty clear that people continue to need connection now more than ever.
Connection is a very important piece of support you can bring into your life when you are struggling or having a difficult time in your life. So, I decided to write about connection in the hopes that this might offer a piece of helpful information about why some of you might struggle to feel satisfied with the kinds of connections that you have in your life.
One of the beliefs about connection is that closeness is enough.
For some people it is.
Sharing a lot of time and space with another person, regardless of how deep the connection goes, is enough for you. You feel filled up by closeness to another person and don’t need depth in order to feel satisfied.
For many others of you though, closeness is not enough.
You might have many close friends and acquaintances that you connect with quite a bit, yet often feel dissatisfied or like something is lacking in those relationships. You might even struggle to understand why you could have so many close connections and still feel so unhappy or dissatisfied.
I want to let you know that there’s a very important reason why you might be feeling this way. You’re not crazy or defective or ungrateful.
The truth is that closeness is not enough connection for you.
You also need depth and meaning as well in your close connections, in order to feel full and satisfied in your relationships. There are different kinds of connections.
Connections can be close. Connections can have depth.
You can have closeness without depth. You cannot have depth without closeness.
Many people confuse closeness with depth while in fact, these are two very separate and distinct experiences.
If you’re someone who wants closeness and not depth, then I’ll bet once the conversation takes a turn into a real, authentic and vulnerable conversation, you get uneasy.
And if you’re someone who needs depth and meaning in your life, then I’ll bet that just being close to someone, although a nice way to spend time, often leaves you feeling like something is missing.
You're not alone.
I, too, need depth and closeness in my connections. If I don’t have a particular amount of deep and meaningful connection in my life, then I become imbalanced, unhappy and dissatisfied.
Once I understood that closeness does not equate depth, this helped me to not only understand myself more deeply, it also gave me the ability to understand why I was often unhappy around certain kinds of connections in my life.
They just weren’t enough of the kind of connection that I needed.
Truth is, I appreciate connection in all its forms. As a social species, we would not survive without some form of connection in our life.
The fact is, though, that for me, I cannot feel alive without connection that is deep and meaningful.
I’m glad that I understand that now and that I’ve learned how to seek out the kinds of connections that bring depth and meaning to my life. Because there’s a distinct difference between closeness and depth.
Regardless of how you live your connections to others, my wish for you is that you find more of whatever kind of connection you need in order to feel supported and satisfied this Fall season.
“We have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.”
These powerful and wise words came from 24-year-old, Olympic champion, Simone Biles after announcing she was withdrawing from several Olympic events in Tokyo.
Granted, this was a 24-year-old who was intimate with the experience of performing on a world stage. But still… 24 YEARS OLD!!!!!! Heck, at that age, one’s soft spot in their cranium hasn’t even closed yet.
How courageous she was to make this decision on the world stage like this!
Mixed sentiments from across the world came in – some relegating her as a quitter, or national embarrassment. Others praised her bravery, acknowledging the strength and courage it takes for a star at her level to understand her limits and set boundaries.
What was interesting to me as I observed everyone’s reactions was the range of emotions people were expressing in response to Simone’s decision to pull back instead of push through.
Some people were super supportive and recognized the power and courage it took to pull back instead of push through, others were offended that someone with this privilege as an elite athlete, wouldn’t push through in order to perform for others.
It was all really so interesting, and reflective of what parts of mainstream society still believes when it comes to self-care: pushing through is ideal, no pain no gain.
In the few weeks following Simone’s decision to prioritize her emotional and mental health over accomplishing a goal, I found myself using her as a role model in my own life.
In one instance in particular, after remembering what she did, I gave myself permission to have a “rest day” as opposed to pushing myself to go to the gym and work out, which ended up in an injury the last time I pushed through.
Thanks for modeling this again for us Simone!!! And in such a big way.
What if we could all recognize those limits, and learn to balance our own growth, against the pressure of others (and sometimes, even more difficult, ourselves)?
As humans with ever flowing emotions, and multifaceted relationships, it is natural to want to push yourself to make others proud and come off as the hero. Heck for some, this was the only way they ever got (still get) attention and connection from others. Attachment is not an option, so we’ll do whatever it takes to get connection.
I want to share something with you though: pushing yourself to insanity, to panic, into depression and anxiety is not heroic.
Recognizing your growth zone and how you pit it against your pressure zone is brave. It shows an internal strength that is bigger than all the outside pressures that we face, whether we are students, stay at home moms, CEOs, sports super stars, or car mechanics.
Sitting back and realizing, “I need a break”, is something you can and should be able to do without fear. Perhaps one of the most courageous aspects of Biles’s actions is her ability to say, “I need a break. I need to protect my mind to protect my body to protect my mind.”
If you can take away anything, Biles’s choice to sit out rather than risk injuring herself, but then come back when she felt she could compete safely, is a beautiful metaphor for daily life. The goal ought to be to aim to achieve a safe balance that allows yourself to respond to pressure in a therapeutic and mindful way, rather than a way that will send you spiraling.
Imagine a world in which humans feel confident and safe enough to take that break.
When you take good care of yourself, you can better care for others. An essential part of your humanity is compassion to others, and yourself. It is not what you do, what medals you win, how much money you make, or how big your house is. It’s much bigger than that.
I encourage you to reach out and invest time in yourself to learn these skills, and more. In case you’re looking, I offer guidance through individual therapy, as well as group work for people needing more connection and support. Learn more or sign up at https://bit.ly/3c9mhY6 .
Listen folks, it’s time to grow.
How easy it is to make something different from you, bad or wrong. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about all the ways that “different” is just that: different.
Sadly, much of our world immediately categorizes anything unusual or “out of the ordinary” as something to be avoided, something to question, and most of all, not something to accept right away.
I get it. As a species, you’re biologically programmed to question what is not familiar to you. That is, in fact, the way that your cave dwelling ancestors survived long enough to keep evolution going.
Problem is, fast forward to today, and many people still react in a similar manner to anything that is “not like us”.
Whether it’s how someone looks, how they talk, what they choose, what their issues are, what they’re good at or struggle with… doesn’t matter. Most people struggle to accept others’ differences as anything other than a defect or flaw.
Accepting differences as not bad or wrong, does not imply that you don’t get to have your own feelings and preferences about something. On the contrary.
Acceptance can ONLY happen after you’ve had a chance to make your way through all of your own feelings and experiences, so that you can make room for others’ experiences too.
That’s the only way.
Developmental theory says that all you can do is support where you are and this will automatically lead to the next step.
So, for many of you, this first step might look like beginning to recognize that you have judgment towards anything that is different than you. This can be hard to see sometimes, especially if you grew up in a family or environment in which everyone was expected to be the “same” or pretty darn close to that.
It’s only by accepting where we are and what is real, can we even begin to move forward
in our life.
For this experiment, here are the steps:
The other day I was reflecting on something that had happened that rubbed me the wrong way. As I played it out again in my mind, I noticed how little time it took before I went down the “I can’t believe how wrong this is” rabbit hole.
And I mean it.
I was hell bent on coming up with 100,000 ways that this thing that had happened
TO ME was just plain WRONG. Awful, in fact.
Which of course (from this perspective), meant that the person involved in this interaction with me was also VERY WRONG. Not just wrong though.
Undeniably, insanely wrong. Defective, flawed, a hopeless case.
So wrong in fact, I could feel with 100% absolute certainty in my body, that this person was not fit for society.
Talk about a raw nerve being touched.
Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long down this rabbit hole to recognize that I had emotionally slipped back into my childhood. I quickly realized that the intensity and irrationality of my reaction was more about some historical experience than what was happening in the here and now.
I mean, I did not like what had happened to me, but that didn’t automatically qualify this person as bad or wrong.
Something was obviously amiss for me and the last thing that I needed was to be harsh or judgmental towards myself for something this unconscious getting touched inside of me.
So, I took a deep breath and stayed gentle with myself as I breathed into my discomfort.
Later, as I reflected on this experience, I began to consider how many people make things that they don’t like, things that are different or even dissatisfying to them, bad or wrong.
I imagine that the number of people who do this is probably astronomical.
It’s a simplified way to try to make some sense of feelings happening in the here and now that feel intense or maybe even a wee bit irrational.
And it happens so fast, far below your radar of consciousness.
The confusing part is that although these feelings have been triggered in the here and now, your irrational reaction to what is happening, really isn’t about now.
This kind of reaction towards someone or something else is always a clue that you’ve emotionally reverted back to your childhood.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.
Nowhere in all of nature and mankind does right/wrong exist, other than in math. Nowhere.
For sure, there are things that happen that you like a whole lot more than other things that happen that you find offensive or don’t like.
That’s what personal preferences are all about.
Each of us are wired differently, need different things or approach the world differently based upon our unique characteristics, our life stories. And yes, people very often have different preferences than you.
That doesn’t mean those things (or people) are bad / wrong.
It simply means that they’re different from you and want something other than what you need to be satisfied with life.
It means that you have a preference for some other choice or type of behavior than what is happening.
It means that you prefer to be treated differently than what they are capable of doing.
It means that you have a different approach to life, loving, or managing your affairs than them.
It means that you would choose a different way to communicate or talk to someone.
But all these differences do not mean bad or wrong for the “other” and good and right for you..
It just means something different.
Sadly, our world does not do a fantastic job of supporting individuality and uniqueness. Here in the United States of America, our country prides itself on rugged individualism and “going for what you want”.
Yet, the minute someone deviates from the “norm”, they are vilified and made “extreme” or radical.
How sad and confusing then, for those brave people courageous enough to “go for their lives” especially if doing so looks different than the rest of the crowd.
I mean face it, who’s going to stay connected to their own “true north” if that means ostracization from society and those they love and depend upon for support and survival?
What I have come to learn in my work as a therapist is that in many cases, “different” touches fear inside of people.
People are afraid of what they don’t understand. Whether that happens inside or outside of them.
It’s a survival approach to life, an old vestige from our early ancestors who had many more threats to their literal existence and often only could survive if they made quick conclusions about their primitive encounters.
It was very effective then, but today leaves little room for connection and understanding.
It’s hard to move towards something that you’re afraid of, even if it’s not a scary thing. No wonder so many people feel disconnected from each other.
I realize how counterintuitive it is to consider that your way of operating and understanding the world might not be as evolved as you’ve been led to believe.
It is difficult to consider this. Especially when someone or something so different than you is standing right in front of you.
You might ask yourself though, the next time this happens, is this person or experience really bad or wrong or am I afraid of what it is about them that I don’t understand?
It’s worth a shot.
Making room for “other” does not mean that you have to change or give up who you are.
It simply means moving over so that the other person can have a seat too.
I often like to say that all growth has a gas pedal AND a brake pedal.
What I mean when I say this is that most emotional growth is not a linear, straight line. Nor does it follow standard rules of time.
Emotional growth is a non-linear process that has starts and stops, side turns, detours and even sometimes can just seem to stall.
Yet everything that happens along the way is crucial and has to happen exactly the way that it happens, in order for you to find your way back to your spirit, you know, the “who” you were supposed to be when you were born.
Way back before the world got ahold of you and said “do this, do that, don’t go there, why would you want that, feel this way, don’t feel this way and so on”.
To be sure, some of these messages are helpful along the way, for a functioning society, however, many of them end up having a gigantic effect on our ability to stay connected to our heart, and to our vulnerability. Most of all, though, to our needs and feelings.
And this is usually the point at which people find their way to my work, asking me to help guide them back to their aliveness, back to their heart.
One of the concepts that I believe is so difficult for people to grasp, along this journey, is that most everything happens for an important reason, whether we are aware of that reason or not.
I do not believe in coincidences. I gave those up a very long time ago.
That said, it can be difficult at times, to ascribe to the idea that every experience that happens in your process, is essential and brought to you, as another opportunity to find your way back home to yourself.
Especially if you’ve lost connection with emotional support inside.
This can be really, really hard to believe, in the midst of difficulty and conflict, discouragement, disappointment and the sense that you are stuck in an endless loop of despair. This is usually a sign that you’re in a place of impasse.
I believe that the place of impasse is a very important and essential part of your growth process. It is the in between place where you cannot go back to the old ways, yet the only ways you have at your disposal to cope emotionally with what is going on either are not working as well or are not at your disposal. Nor do you have enough supports yet to have a different response.
Impasse is like a mountain climbing base camp for your soul; its the place where your emotional molecules are adjusting to the depth and intensity of the emotional experiences around you.
Without going through impasse, you would plunge into emotional experiences that would overwhelm you and be destructive for your growth. You’d fall into the death zone without a tether to keep you alive.
Impasse allows you the time and opportunity to grow more emotional supports for taking the next step into your emotional experiences.
Impasse is a very sacred experience of “no”.
When you can learn how to support your “no” for taking another step towards growth, this process creates the support inside to allow the next step to organically happen whenever it is in your highest good to move.
We cannot get there, if we cannot be here.
And what is beautiful about this process is that moving forward towards something because it is organically time and we are deeply drawn to it, is a very different and energizing experience than moving forward towards something in order to get away from something else.
So, that’s what today’s experiment is about: learning how to bring support to the places in your life where you might feel stuck or idling in neutral. This place of impasse is how your own beautiful spirit is protecting you from moving forward before it’s time.
For this experiment, here are the steps:
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.