January 4 - "Not, Not"...Who's There?

 Yesterday we talked about journaling and how it releases a lot of the emotions that we have either repressed or anesthetized over the duration of our lives. Along with all of the emotional and physical health benefits, journaling also can enhance our lives in other very valuable ways. It can help us finally to know who we are, where we want to go, and what we actually want out of life!

When I first start working with clients, I typically ask them what they want to achieve during their coaching sessions. Very often I will hear them reply, “ I do not want to feel so sad anymore,” or “I do not want to be so insecure,” or “I don’t want to be by myself,” or “I don’t want to drink anymore,” or “I do not want to fight with my mother,” or “I do not want to be in this job anymore,” or “I do not want to weigh this much.” They usually can’t understand why they have been unsuccessful in their attempts to “not” do these things and are hoping that I will be able to help them.

Unfortunately, if this (what they do not want) is all the information they are able to give to me I cannot give them the help they desire right away. We first have to find out what they do want before we can plan for it or eventually recognize that we have obtained it. For example, we wouldn’t think of typing in our computer’s search engine “notAmazon. com” if we wanted to get to eClubSoda.com! Nor would we go into a store and ask for a “not” red sweater and be content with whatever might be placed in our hands!

We’ll never get anywhere but where we don’t want to be without a clear and definite destination in mind. The explanation for this is simple...if we are focused on a “not,” we have to keep looking at where we don’t want to go to make certain we are not going there, so we always end up with that in our minds. What is in our minds determines most of what we see. If I am always thinking about “not” smoking, for example, my mind just registers “smoking” so it probably won’t be long before I am inhaling one in spite of my good intentions.

When I ask my clients what they do want, there is usually a long silence before they often say sadly, “I really don’t know.” And I am rarely surprised. How often were we asked as children what we truly wanted to do? Weren’t we instead generally told what we were not supposed to do?

In fact, most of the triggers we write about from our childhood when we journal are those where we were told we couldn’t have what we wanted… or we shouldn’t want it anyway…or we were selfish to want it at all. We begin to tuck away the tendency to do what we loved or what made us feel good…in hopes that we will be accepted or escape punishment… and before long we just forget entirely about many of the things that had made us smile effortlessly in the past.

As an example, I used to love to play outdoors and create exciting adventures… until my mother taught me that I lived in a dangerous world. Soon I began to stay indoors, and my world became very small. I was trying “not” to be in fearful situations, but in reality, I had trapped myself in the fear and kept myself from what I loved. Had I sought the answer to “How can I be outdoors and stay safe?” I would have had a better chance of feeling satisfied and knowing what I wanted.

By journaling what our feelings were at the time, by remembering what we would have liked to have said, and imagining what we would have liked to have heard in response, we can soon be well on our way to discovering more about ourselves and what we truly want to do in and with our lives. Instead of trying to “not” go somewhere and ending up there far too often, we can head straight for our hearts’ desires and eventually find just that… each and every time!

What can you discover about yourself in the journaling process? What did you want to do that you were not allowed to do as a child? What did you think was a lot of fun before someone taught you that it was bad to do it? What is it that you used to do that seemed to make time evaporate? Will you start keeping a list of those things that you love to do? Are you willing to leave the “nots” behind as you travel towards your heart’s desire?

 

 

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