Subconscious Mind

Why you shouldn’t avoid your inner victim

Dr Friedemann inner victimNo one likes to be called a victim or seen this way, but let’s be honest, how many times during the course of a week do you feel like a victim?  As our lives are overtaken by busyness and obligations, and our to-do lists get longer and longer, a sense of uneasiness creeps in.

Regardless of how hard we try, the mountain of unfinished tasks seems to grow only larger, increasingly overshadowing our lives. At some point everything becomes too much and too difficult to handle, and we don’t know where to begin or what to do. From there, we’re just a hop, skip, and a jump away from feeling we’re a victim of circumstances. We interpret small mishaps and incidences—spilling a glass of milk, misplacing a bill, being cut off in traffic—as personal attacks by life or the universe that push us over the edge into the abyss of despair and powerlessness.

The inner victim, which is a part of our subconscious mind, gets triggered, when we feel powerless and unable to change the situation we’re in. We may feel victimized by our jobs, the economy, the government, the dog next door, our parents or our kids. Even our own emotions or our body, if they don’t comply and change, can become perpetrators, who assault and imprison us. It could be argued that there is a difference between imagined and real victimization. Every day countless people become the victims of child-abuse, domestic violence, bullying, harassment at work etc. The millions of refugees, who desperately search for a safe place to exist, are victims of brutal regimes that have no regard for human life.

Considering the suffering of others, it may be tempting to ignore and dismiss the victim aspect of our psyche as weak and pathetic. But assuming that our mind has evolved to serve us, the victim part must also have some purpose. The fact is, that no matter how easy or difficult, how safe or traumatic our lives have been, the intention of the inner victim is to protect us. It avoids danger by making us appear powerless and small, similar to a puppy that is rolling on its back to show its belly in the hope this gesture of submission will stop the aggressor from harming it. The victim can turn us into pleasers and martyrs, securing safety and acceptance through overdoing and over-giving to others. And it can protect us by quickly judging others as perpetrators that need to be pushed away through defensiveness, blame and accusations.

The problem with these protective patterns is that they can ultimately lead to self-victimization. We continuously give our power away to the past and those, who did us wrong. We become rigid and righteous in how we treat others and ourselves. We stay stuck in the notion that life isn’t fair and that we are bound to get hurt and betrayed again. Eventually, we may lose trust and hope for the future. Yet, the good news is, that if we identify and address its core-needs, we can to transform, empower and integrate the inner victim.

Listen to my Empowerment Radio Show and learn more about how you can heal this integral and yet often rejected part of your subconscious mind.  Call in at 888-418-6890 or use the chat box to ask any questions or share any insights you may have.

Monday, February 29th, 2016 Consciousness, Dr. Friedemann, Mind-Body-Spirit, Personal Breakthrough and Empowerment, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on Why you shouldn’t avoid your inner victim

Are there benefits to comparing yourself with others?

Do you have the ever alluring habit of comparing yourself with others?  Maybe you are envious of a colleague at work, who gets one promotion after another, while your efforts seem to be ignored. Or you wonder how your neighbor can afford that brand-new car, which makes your 5 year old sedan look like a beater. Or maybe you are stalking “the ex” on Facebook, only to find out that he or she has so much more fun since your relationship ended.  Isn’t it true that comparing ourselves with others is one of the surest ways to feel bad about ourselves and our lives? So why do we keep on doing it?

I don’t know about you, but when I grew up, my parents used to point out to me the kids that were better in school, played better piano, or were just nicer all around.  If they really wanted to get to me, they compared me to a boy from our little village, who was born in the same hospital just a few minutes after me.  They speculated, half-jokingly, there must have been a mix-up after delivery since this boy was so much politer, smarter and more diligent – you name it – than me. Thus early on I learned that in order to measure up and please those I cared about, I needed to keep an eye on the ”competition.”

I used to believe that comparing myself to those, who were doing better than me, would motivate me to work more and push harder.  Yet, since there was always someone who performed better than me, it was difficult to celebrate my own successes.  So not surprisingly, comparing myself with others, did more damage to my sense of self-worth and confidence than it helped building it.

I heard a man from India once saying that one of the reasons why people in the western world are more miserable than his compatriots was that we have learned to compare ourselves with those, who are “above” us, while Indians tends to measure themselves with those that are less fortunate.  I’m not sure if this kind of comparison is preferable, unless it leads to a sense of gratitude and also compassion for those, who are struggling.

However, what about using comparison as a way to learn from the mastery of others? Neuro-linguistic programming calls this approach modeling. The keys to successful modeling are open-mindedness, curiosity about the success strategies others are employing and most importantly a non-judgmental attitude. So next time, when you are tempted to entertain your mind with a round of comparing yourself to others, rather than letting yourself feel less than or inadequate, ask yourself, if there is anything about this person, you can learn from and model. I believe that we are here on earth to learn and evolve – which is why we are ultimately all students and teachers for one another.

Join me for my next empowerment radio-show and more about how you can use self-comparison as leverage for growth and empowerment.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 Conscious Mind, Consciousness, Emotional Balance, Personal Breakthrough and Empowerment, Self-Healing, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on Are there benefits to comparing yourself with others?

Can your intuition save you?

Towards the lightWhether you call it a gut feeling, inner voice or intuition, we all have an undeniable guidance system within us, which operates outside logic and reasoning. Did you ever “just know” that you should check on someone, only to find out that they needed your help? Or have you ever had a strong sense on your way to work, that you should go back to your house, and then discovered that you had forgotten to turn off the iron?

It was the 26th of September, 1983. Business as usual for Stanislaw Petrow, a high ranking Russian officer, who was in charge of a military section, which analyzed satellite images to detect and then if necessary respond to potential missile attacks from other countries. Then the unimaginable happened; a Sputnik satellite showed clearly that several rockets had been launched from the East Coast of the US, heading straight towards Russia. This was the sort of crisis situation Petrow had been prepared for and he knew what was expected of him: to immediately push the infamous red button and launch a nuclear counter-attack.

But something inside of this highly trained officer told him that they were dealing with a false alarm. He realized, that if he was wrong millions of his fellow countrymen would die – but he also knew, that a counter-attack would cost the lives of millions of innocent Americans. Nevertheless, he chose to trust his gut—his intuition.  After 13 minutes of anxious waiting he finally received confirmation that no hostile rockets were visible in the Russian sky. It turned out that reflections of the sun on low hanging clouds had created the false alarm.

There are many stories of people who are convinced that their inner warning voice had saved them or others from disaster. The problem is, how do you know when to listen to your intuition and when to listen to your rational mind? And how do you distinguish between your gut feeling and the anxious voice, which has been crying wolf way too often?

Join me for my upcoming empowerment radio show and learn more on how you can strengthen and harness your intuitive sense to navigate through life with greater ease and confidence.

Monday, May 18th, 2015 conscious awareness, Conscious Mind, Consciousness, Mind-Body-Spirit, Personal Breakthrough and Empowerment, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on Can your intuition save you?

The Empowered Self: The Self-Commitment Issue

balance near waterWhen was the last time you played hooky, because you didn’t feel like going to work? And how often do you forget to pick up your kids at school or feed your beloved pets? I bet almost never. Yet, how is your follow-through when it comes to reaching your personal goals or just taking care of yourself? If you’ve ever tried to lose those extra pounds or get into better shape through exercise, you may have had this experience.

Once you’ve reached your goal, amnesia sets in. Somehow, all the knowledge and positive habits you’ve acquired through hard work are pushed aside, making room for a pint of ice cream in the shopping cart or excuses for why you can’t work out that day. Lo and behold, the pounds reappear, the muscle tone disappears, and you find yourself right back where you started. Or you work through an empowering self-improvement program. At first, you’re energized, motivated, and committed to diligently apply all the insights and tools you’ve learned. But a couple of weeks later, you have a bad day, your energy dips, and your thoughts become negative. Eventually you give up, because “obviously” the program doesn’t work for you.

Why do we stop using the tools and empowering strategies that can help us to reach our goals and make us feel better? And why is it easier to stay committed to supporting others than ourselves? The word commitment may give you night sweats or cold feet.

Although you understand you need to commit to your health and happiness, you have a hard time subscribing to a specific routine. Life is too busy and your plate is already too full, and you can’t imagine adding one more chore to the have-to-do list.

On a deeper level, your subconscious mind may apply self-sabotaging patterns to prevent you from changing, since change and its unknowns can be scary. Or your subconscious blocks your efforts to protect you from possible failure, true to the motto: “you can’t fail if you don’t try.” All very understandable; however, there is a reason why self-commitment is the key to a growth and success.

Let’s say you work with a contractor, who assures you that the costs will definitely not exceed X amount of dollars, and he’ll easily complete the job in X amount of time. But along the way, your contractor tells you, that due to somehow unforeseeable complications the job will cost more and take longer than estimated. And then maybe one day the workers don’t show up, and the contractor doesn’t return your inquiring phone calls. How quickly would you lose trust and confidence in the person you’ve hired? When you decide to improve yourself, whether it is by going to the gym three times per week or starting to meditate for ten minutes before you go to bed, but then quickly discard your plans and abandon your good intentions, you are creating the same level of disappointment and distrust – just with yourself.

Don’t feel too bad, because most of us have been guilty of letting ourselves down. But we need to realize the damage we cause ourselves by doing so. Every time we go back on our word and break our self-commitment, we lose confidence and faith in ourselves―consciously and subconsciously. Our word holds no power. Since we don’t appear reliable and trustworthy to our subconscious mind, it may reactivate old, self-sabotaging patterns, which consequently make us feel even more stuck and insecure. Now the good news is that the opposite is also true. Consistency and commitment are some of the most potent forces for healing and growth. They signal to your subconscious mind, that you take control of your life and that you are serious about your goals. As your subconscious mind gains trust in your conscious decisions, it gradually shifts from its protection mode, into the wanting-to-please-you mode. In other words, it will provide you with its full support to reach your goals.

Commitment is the bridge to confidence. After all, confidence comes from the Latin word confidere, which means “to trust and have faith in.” And who better to trust and have faith in than ourselves? However, it’s difficult to commit to yourself if you consider it a chore or a sign that there is something wrong with you. However, if you approach your growth, self-improvement and well-being from a place of love and appreciation, you’ll open your heart to yourself more and more and, thus, make commitment the most precious gift you can give to yourself.

Sunday, April 12th, 2015 conscious awareness, Conscious Mind, Consciousness, Mind, Personal Breakthrough and Empowerment, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on The Empowered Self: The Self-Commitment Issue

How Do You Know You Have an Anxiety Problem?

10982316_sWhen was the last time that fear and anxiety made you feel vulnerable, unsafe and out of control? Being anxious can feel so intense and overwhelming, that all you want is to suppress or get rid of it. But how do you that? Chances are that neither your parents nor your teachers in school showed you how to deal with anxiety. And like most of us, you had to figure out on your own, how to respond to being anxious or insecure. The problem is that you may have become so good in managing your anxiety, that you don’t even realize that you’re just surviving every day, rather than finding joy and purpose in your life.
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There are 4 major survival patterns, through which most people try to consciously and subconsciously control their fears and anxieties. If you are finding yourself using one or several of these survival patterns on a daily basis, you know you have an anxiety problem.

The Avoider

If you are an avoider, you are probably very sensitive to criticism, rejection and failure. You try to escape potential hurt through making yourself smaller or even invisible. You hide in a small and controllable comfort zone and preemptively loath and criticize yourself, before anyone else can do this to you. Outside of your refuge, you vigilantly scan your surroundings for any signs of judgment or danger. As an avoider you deny yourself any sense of empowerment, because in your mind feeling confident and positive only increases the risk of getting hurt.

The Pleaser

As a pleaser you believe that your best chances to avoid painful rejection or abandonment, is to make sure that everyone is “ok” with you. You may be the care-taker, who feels overly responsible for others; the chameleon, who is able to fit in everywhere; or the jokester, who tries to win people over through being the life of the party. In pleasing mode you try to manage your anxiety by not being alone, which is why your sense of safety and worthiness depends on the approval of others.

The Controller

If you have the constant need to control every aspect of your life, you may not realize that all you are doing is to manage your fear of being powerlessness. You may even take on the role of being the authority and strictly enforce your ideas and rules through anger, threats and punishment, just to avoid feeling exposed and unsafe. By controlling others through instilling a sense of insecurity and powerlessness, you feel more empowered and secure. However, underneath this dominating behavior often reside profound feelings of inferiority, vulnerability and pain, which stem from traumas and confusion from your childhood.

The Achiever

Are you known as a go-getter, who always exceeds everyone’s expectations? Do you continue to strive for the next achievement, never taking the time to enjoy the one you just reached? Or maybe you call yourself a perfectionist, who can’t accept mediocrity. As an (“over-“) achiever, failure and second-place aren’t an option, because your identity and worthiness are defined by your successes. However, although this form of drive and competitiveness may have got you far, deep inside it is still the deep-seated fear of not being good enough, which keeps you running and striving. All of these survival patterns have one thing in common: they don’t lead to a true sense of inner peace and happiness. As you become more and more dependent on these strategies to cope with your anxiety and insecurity, you drain your energy and power, which only increases the likelihood of feeling stressed and anxious. Because no matter how many people you have avoided or kept successfully at arm’s length; and no matter how many you have “wowed,” made happy or controlled – in the end you may still end up feeling powerless, because you have been defining yourself through circumstances and people around you, and thus making them more important than yourself. The good news is, that you can overcome these fear and anxiety patterns faster than you may expect, by discovering and addressing their subconscious root causes. If you are ready to stop fear and anxiety from running your life and tap into your true potential, join me for my upcoming

Breakthrough & Empowerment Life-Video Webinar

What’s included in this 3-month program?

  • Two monthly 90-minute live interactive video breakthrough sessions
  • Preparation & integration exercises and self-empowerment tools
  • Monthly 30-minute Q & A sessions
  • Recordings of all sessions, so no worries if you can’t make it to the live calls
  • E-mail support in between sessions
  • 40 day customtailored empowerment program to solidify the breakthrough results

Bonus: Be Free: Release Stress and Anxiety MP3 Price: $595 If registered before March 15th only $495

If you are ready to start your breakthrough CLICK HERE I am looking forward to helping you transform your life.

Monday, March 9th, 2015 conscious awareness, Emotional Balance, Self-Healing, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on How Do You Know You Have an Anxiety Problem?

The Empowered Self Series: Part 5 Owning the Past – How to Outgrow Your Emotional Baggage

5024174_sYou’re probably familiar with the encouraging saying “my past does not determine my future.” However, like for many people you may have also found that the opposite appears to be true. Traumatic events, disappointments, betrayals or embarrassments, no matter how long ago they occurred, can stick like superglue to your mind and keep you trapped in the past.

Wouldn’t you agree that most of your current anxieties and insecurities are rooted in experiences of your early years? You still feel small and nervous, when you talk to an authority figure. You don’t like to open your heart again, because you have been rejected too many times. Or you don’t fully commit to pursuing your goals, because your prior “failures” still haunt you. Emotional baggage can be one of the greatest obstacles and power-drains in our daily lives.

So why do we hold on to the past in the first place and why is it so difficult to let go and move on? Rationally, it would make more sense to be able to just focus on the present and if necessary plan for the future. However, it isn’t our rational, conscious mind, but our subconscious mind, which is in charge of filing away and storing all of our memories. And this deeper part of our mind firmly holds on to the past for three reasons:

1) To protect and to please:

The memory storage capacity of the subconscious mind is sheer unlimited. Countless moments during the course of our lives are registered, recorded and sorted away. Yet, obviously, not all of our experiences are “memorable,” otherwise the accumulation of data on the past would eventually overwhelm us. What makes the difference are the emotions that are attached to the memories. Negative emotions, such as anger, sadness, anxiety or shame indicate to the subconscious mind, that similar situations needs to be avoided in the future. If you have been bitten by a dog as child or got made fun of during a presentation in grammar school, chances are that petting “Fido” or giving a talk in front of your peers still cause you heart-racing and sweaty hands.

On the other hand, memories, which made us feel happy, excited or loved, are used as reference points to find and create more similar positive experiences.

In other words, the subconscious uses emotionally charged memories as filters to sift through the massive amount of data, that surrounds us at all times, to either keep us safe or bring more happiness in our lives.

2) To obey our instructions:

We all are provided with an innate ability to free ourselves immediately from “negative” feelings. As infants and toddlers, we don’t hesitate to strain our little vocal cords and vehemently express our discontent. As we grow up and learn that we’re more accepted when we control, suppress, or at least hide our feelings, we gradually “unlearn” the natural instinct to release emotional pressure. By the time we enter adulthood, most of us have lost sight of how to handle these feelings, other than shoving unpleasant emotions under the subconscious rug. Because our subconscious supports us like a faithful servant, it patiently continues to execute our conscious decision to shove our emotions underneath the proverbial rug, until we instruct it differently―or until we have stuffed it to capacity, and it forces us to address those emotions.

3) To make us learn and grow:

It’s a basic evolutionary principle: only when we continue to learn and grow can we survive and thrive. Since there isn’t yet much to grasp from the future and learning on the fly while dealing with the present may be too much to ask from most of us, our subconscious considers the past as the vast library of life. An interesting phenomenon we’ve all observed is that the lessons we learn from a negative event can be more profound than those learned from a pleasant or neutral encounter. From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense. When it comes to sheer survival, experiences that cause us to feel anxious, hurt or ashamed are simply more important for our subconscious to store, process, and learn from.

However, while the protective aspect of our subconscious mind wants us to simply avoid similar negative experiences, another part continuously nudges us forward to grow and evolve – which is, for example, why we eventually succeeded in learning how to walk and talk, despite all the frustrations and pains we had to go through to get there. Many of the emotional charged events of the past, contain a deep-seated confusion about whether we are powerless or powerful, whether we need to just avoid certain circumstances or are able to grow beyond them.

So what has felt like emotional baggage from the past has actually a much more important purpose than to just haunt us and weigh us down. Unresolved anger, sadness or anxiety serve as signals, red flags marking the memories that still require our attention. Our subconscious mind holds onto these emotions until it’s safe and we are ready to address and resolve these events. Then we can understand the lessons and claim the growth potential that has been enclosed within these memories. Taking this notion further, you’ll come to a very empowering conclusion: the more unresolved emotional baggage you’ve stored in your subconscious, the more untapped potential awaits you.

When we understand how and why the subconscious mind keeps track and holds on to our memories, it becomes obvious, that we can’t just ignore our past, because it does determine our future. However, whether we repeat the patterns of the past or grow from them, is up to us.  Listen to my upcoming radio show and learn more about how you can use the power of your subconscious mind to heal and resolve the emotional baggage of the past. Listen to my upcoming radio show and learn more about how you can heal and resolve the emotional baggage of the past by growing from and beyond it.

Sunday, May 11th, 2014 Conscious Mind, Consciousness, Mind, Mind-Body-Spirit, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on The Empowered Self Series: Part 5 Owning the Past – How to Outgrow Your Emotional Baggage

The Empowered Self Series: Part 3 “Dynamic Awareness – How to shift from autopilot”

5826069_sOur reality is largely determined by our awareness.  Let’s say you wake up in a good mood, the sun is shining and spring feels right around the corner.  You enjoy the smell of freshly brewed coffee and warm toast; the radio station seems to play only your favorite songs and on your way to work all lights are on green.  You feel in the zone and are confident that your boss will be excited about the new ideas you are scheduled to present to him today.

But at work, as you prepare yourself for a meeting with your boss, you notice a coffee stain on your shirt.  Your confidence starts to waver a bit.  You wonder if your boss will think less of you when he notices the stain.  After the meeting you could be content, because you were able to eloquently deliver your proposal. However, your mind is occupied by one nagging question: Why did your boss yawn twice during your presentation? You doubt yourself again and wonder, when you will be laid off. On top of it, your colleagues went to lunch without you and your spouse forgot to buy your favorite cereal. How come, that a day that started out so well could turn into such a “disaster?”

Every second of our life, we’re surrounded by an incomprehensible amount of information. To make sense of the world and not become completely overwhelmed, we need to filter out a large portion.  However, it would be impossible to consciously distinguish between the small fraction of information that is at any given time relevant to us and the remaining input that needs to be ignored.  Therefore, our subconscious mind employs specific filters to make us aware of the details this deeper part of our mind considers as the most important for us right now. In other words, our view on reality is basically just “made up.”

The problem is that our subconscious mind decides what is critical for us and what can be ignored on the bases of programmings, which usually stem from our childhood.  Let’s say early on in your life you were dealing with judgmental parents or scolding teachers, which left you feeling anxious and insecure.  These imprints created a certain fear of authority figures, which makes you either avoid them or please them.  This explains why in the example above, the stain on your shirt and its potential repercussions with your boss become more relevant to your subconscious mind than all the positive and uplifting input you have enjoyed as the day started. These drastic changes of awareness can happen so quickly that we feel like the victims of our circumstances, although it was a part of a remind that distorted our perception and reality.

Letting our subconscious determine how we perceive our reality is like moving through life on autopilot. But are we the victims of our subconscious programming or is it possible for us to consciously switch these awareness filters?

Listen to Dr. Schaub’s Empowerment Radio and discover how through the power of dynamic awareness you can choose your reality.

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 conscious awareness, Conscious Mind, Mind, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on The Empowered Self Series: Part 3 “Dynamic Awareness – How to shift from autopilot”

3 Most Common Ways We Give Our Power Away

ID-100210227How often have you felt powerless in your life – victimized by people or circumstances, drained by obligations and expectations, stuck in situations that felt out of your control to change? Feeling powerless can happen to all of us and it is one of the most common causes for anxiety and depression. 
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But although we feel as if someone or something outside of us has taken our power and is in control of us, in reality we are usually giving our power away, often without noticing that we do. Early on in our lives, when we completely depend on the adults around us, our subconscious mind develops three distinct survival patterns; to avoid, to please and to control. These deeply engrained patterns are the major reasons, even as adults, we still lose our power.  
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Avoiders are very sensitive to criticism, rejection and failure. They try to escape potential hurt through making themselves smaller or even invisible. They hide in a small and controllable comfort zone and preemptively loath and bash themselves, before anyone else can do this to them. Outside of their refuge, avoiders vigilantly scan their surroundings for any signs of judgment or danger. Being keenly aware of their surroundings, they often absorb other people’s energies and emotions, which makes them feel easily overwhelmed and even less safe.  Avoiders don’t only give their powers to the assumed threats from the outside, they also deny themselves any sense of empowerment, because in their mind feeling confident and positive only increase the risk of getting hurt.  
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Pleasers discover that their best bet to escape painful rejection or abandonment is to make sure that everyone is “ok” with them. Their pleasing behavior can range from being the chameleon, who is able to fit in everywhere; the care-taker, who feels overly responsible for others, to the perfectionist or overachiever, who needs other people’s approval and adoration to feel safe and secure. Pleasers give their power away by making their sense of safety and worthiness dependent on the approval of others. In contrast to avoiders, pleasers seek connection and are afraid of being alone, because on a subconscious level, they have no solid relationship with themselves, and therefore believe that they can’t make it on their own.
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Controllers want to establish a sense of safety, and strive to micromanage all aspects of their lives. In the extreme they can take on the role of being the authority and strictly enforce their ideas and rules through anger, threats and punishment. By controlling others through instilling a sense of insecurity and powerlessness, they feel more empowered and secure. However, underneath this dominating behavior often reside profound feelings of inferiority, vulnerability and pain, which stem from traumas and confusion from their childhood. Like avoiders and pleasers, controllers ultimately drain their power trying to manage their deep-seated anxieties and lack of self-worth through focusing on the world outside of them.
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Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong per se with any of these patterns. In fact, most of us utilize them in various aspects of our lives. We may please our boss at work to increase our chances for a promotion; we may avoid the complaining neighbor next door; and we may feel the need to control our kids or the new puppy, when they don’t behave the way we want them to.
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The problem arises, when we are unconsciously relying on these strategies to cope with our own anxieties and insecurities. Because no matter how many people we have avoided or kept successfully at arm’s length; and no matter how many we have “wowed,” made happy or controlled – in the end we may still end up feeling powerless.  We have been defining ourselves through circumstances and people around us, and thus making them more important than ourselves.
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Listen to my upcoming interview on February 19 and discover how and why you give you still give power away – and what you can do to stop these patterns.

Friday, February 14th, 2014 conscious awareness, Conscious Mind, Consciousness, Positive Thinking, self-esteem, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on 3 Most Common Ways We Give Our Power Away

The Empowered Self

We are born with sheer unlimited potential to grow, adapt and succeed. Just the fact that we learned how to crawl and then to walk, that we figured out how to use our mouths and vocal cords to form words others can understand, and that we developed skills to relate to the world around us proves that we are innately powerful. However, considering that more and more people are struggling with anxiety, insecurity and depression, it appears that at some point we are forgetting or losing touch with our personal power.

Let’s face it – how often do you feel powerless in the course of just one day? You are stuck in traffic and worry that you will end up late for work. Your boss pushes an unreasonable deadline on you, which means less time with your loved ones during the week-end. And at home your kids once again refuse to go to bed when they are asked to. The more life appears out of our control, the more powerless we feel.  Yet, is personal power defined by how much we can control other people or the circumstances we are in?

Some people describe personal power as the ability to change the direction of our lives. Others believe that this power allows us to influence and direct those around us. From my perspective living in a self-empowered way goes far beyond forcing our will on our reality. I consider personal power as an energy, which is based on the harmonious alignment of mind, body and spirit and leads to a sound mixture of confidence, competence and compassion for others and oneself.

Although, you can’t measure your level of empowerment, you know that you have developed and are in touch with your personal power when you:

  • Feel safe and secure within yourself
  • Accept stewardship over your mind, body and spirit
  • Take responsibility for your life
  • Trust that you have the wisdom, knowledge and capabilities to deal with anything life brings you
  • Are confident that you can change, create and attract what your heart desires
  • Commit to continuously grow, learn and evolve
  • Allow yourself to discover and express your true, authentic self
  • Consider yourself as an integral part of the web of life
  • Are open to explore your spirituality
  • Have confidence that your mission and your purpose will continue to evolve and reveal itself
  • Practice appreciation, patience and compassion for the beings around you – and for yourself
  • Treat yourself how you want to be treated by others
  • Embrace the present moment with all its gifts and possibilities
  • Develop an open, flexible mind, which allows you to learn and let go of the past and recognize the growth opportunities from any obstacle you are facing

Of course, this list has plenty of room to grow and for you to add to it. I can imagine that you’re already thinking of aspects you associate with your personal power. Accepting your personal power and approaching life with a sense of responsibility, self-reliance and a deep desire to grow and evolve into your true, authentic selves is an ongoing process. It takes certain skills, time and commitment to harness your power; but once you do, you will experience greater peace, harmony and fulfillment in all areas of your life.

How can I stop my hyperactive and worrying mind?

We can literally talk ourselves into a state of stress and anxiety. In fact, when we pay close attention, we notice that most of the times we simply freak ourselves out. As Mark Twain once said, “I had a lot of tragedies in my life—most of them never happened.”

We’re not often consciously aware of the sequence of negative thoughts that lead to anxiety. The resulting feeling itself is what makes us pay attention. But how did we get there? The exercise below is a very powerful way of paying attention to the thoughts that often lead to a downward spiral into the dark pit of fear and anxiety. The descent can start with a “what if”, or an “I should have”, both mere assumptions, either about something that has not yet happened or something that we can’t change because it has already happened. Yet this does not stop us from entertaining these thoughts. These thoughts are often judgmental or critical in nature. We doubt ourselves and wonder what other people may think about us. And very quickly, thoughts pop up that seems to confirm the previous ones, which confirms or exacerbates the first one, adding to the raising feeling of gloom and uncertainty. The problem is that these thoughts seem to only partially enter our conscious awareness. They can be so quick and fleeting that we don’t really “catch” them. The initial idea is often immediately trailed by another thought, which confirms or exacerbates the first one – and so on.

I routinely ask my clients to watch their negative self-talk and actually write this talk down. Most of them are completely surprised when they find out how often negative thoughts float through their minds. But they are even more shocked by what they say to and about themselves. “How can I be so mean to myself?” is a very common reaction. Let’s face it, how often do we tell ourselves “I am stupid, fat, ugly, a loser,” etc., things that we would never tell anybody else directly to their face.

So why do we treat other people with more respect and consideration than we treat ourselves? Does it make sense that we don’t want to hurt others’ feelings and at the same time are our own worst critic? One of the most important components to breaking through fear and anxiety is to learn how to trust—especially to trust ourselves. Would you trust somebody who calls you “a loser” or tells you that “you don’t have what it takes?”

The following exercise is one of the most effective ways of handle negative, self-defeating mind-racing. However, there are a few considerations that are important to understand to use this tool most effectively.

One of the reasons this exercise works is because it interrupts the spiral of negative thinking before it gets us into the negative emotion. It is training our mind to not automatically follow this self-defeating train of thoughts, but to search for new options and ways to view the given situation. By considering the more positive angles, we are also planting seeds in our mind, which support the growth of greater confidence and self-esteem.

Another major factor is that we are learning to directly address the deeper source of the negative self-talk. Negative self-talk is not a conscious, intellectual choice. It stems from the subconscious mind. Imagine that a part of your subconscious mind is merely repeating old “tapes” of negative messages you heard many years ago. Maybe when you were a child, being worried and hyper-vigilant may have served you by helping you to feel more safe. Maybe you had to make sure that you were not getting in trouble with your parents or it felt much safer for you to be invisible. The reason why a “younger” part of your mind is continuously playing these old themes and holding on to these patterns is because that part has never been properly encouraged and reassured. By either ignoring these now rather non-supportive messages or buying into them through anxiety and worry, this subconscious part will just continue what it has been doing for a long time. So how would you respond if a little child would tell you that he or she feels bad and frightened? Would you ignore her or tell him,“yes, you a’re right, you suck, and the world is an unfriendly and dangerous place?” Of course not, because not only would you frighten the child more, but also what will happen is that this child will start screaming louder and louder. What you would do is to comfort and reassure this child, not merely with intellectual reasoning, but with gentle kindness from your heart. And as a result, the child would most likely feel safe and at peace again. This is the context in which you need to place the following negative-positive / self-talk exercise.

 To get specific:

Get a little notebook that you will carry with you at all times. In this book, you will write down all negative self-talk immediately when it comes up. Then ask yourself: “Is this true?” “Does believing this serve me or anybody else?” “Does believing this help me in reaching my goals?” These questions help you to interrupt the negative thought spiral.

Then promptly, next to the negative thought, write at least three positive ones, which are counter-balancing the negative thoughts. As you write down the words, make sure that you are fully aware of the positive qualities. Feel good about what you are writing. In the past, you may have tried to change negative thinking through positive counter-balancing. The reason why most people who unsuccessfully tried to counter-balance negative-self talk failed is that they did not add positive emotions to the positive statements. The subconscious mind does not care so much about words; It cares much more about feelings. So rather than using this exercise as mental gymnastics, make sure that you can feel and stand behind the positive statements you make. This is why the image of talking to a younger, subconscious self is so helpful, since it is easier to talk kindly and comforting to a child than to an adult self. Be very diligent and committed to this exercise, and don’t let one negative thought slip by without counter-balancing it. By using this method, most people are able to reduce negative self-talk by more than 80 percent in just a couple of weeks.

 

Monday, August 6th, 2012 Conscious Mind, Emotional Balance, Mind, Stress, Subconscious Mind Comments Off on How can I stop my hyperactive and worrying mind?
Friedemann Schaub, M.D. Ph.D. e: [email protected] p: 1.866.903.MIND or 206.323.2762
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