Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘early conditioning’

Small Changes Can Create Greater Happiness!

Small changes can have a huge impact on our happiness level. Over my next few blogs I will discuss some of the ways we can achieve greater peace from the confusions and complexity in our lives.

To begin let’s look at the problems (or labeled opportunities if you are an optimist) that you encountered over the past week. Most people can list at least three things that just seemed to upset them in some way.

Think about how you reacted in certain ways then ask yourself why. As babies and small children we really were like sponges that absorbed our parents beliefs, opinions and assumptions about life. Since we looked up to them and relied on them literally for our existence it was natural to adopt their mindset or views of life.

When we reached adolescence or early adulthood our own experiences helped to expand our assumptions and opinions which at times may have conflicted with our parents’ perspectives. It’s a natural phenomena because we see the world through different lenses.

Part of our different view is due to the era in which we born. For our parents life was more predictable, patterns more sustainable and the pace was slower. As an example the generations from the sixties and seventies either used a simple typewriter or penned letters of communication. However, from the mid to late 80’s the dominant communication tool was the computer. A major improvement in speed, efficiency and connectivity ensued yet many of our parents remember a time with nostalgia when receiving a letter or card from someone had an entirely different feeling and connotation. Today ‘snail mail’ is looked upon as archaic.

The basic values of truth, fairness, care, loyalty, respect, equality and freedom continue to be important to us but over time and experiences our interpretations or definitions of them may change and expand. We are products not only of our biological make up and our own life experiences but also the generation or era in which we were born.

One of the hardest things for the older generation to deal with is change. Of course, the era in which they lived did change over time but at a much, much slower pace. The speed of change today seems impossible to comprehend and so for many raised in the early generations it just seems easier to ignore or refuse to engage in change as much as possible. Although they remember an easier, slower paced life they cannot recreate it and may become frustrated, angry and resistant to the world in which they are living.

The significance of the differences in perceptions between generations cannot be overstated. If we stubbornly hold on to the opinions and assumptions our parents had, given our changing world, we are in for a rough ride. Today more is demanded of us. More information, analysis and flexibility is required simply to exist. Life is no longer simple. Our challenge is to learn to become more comfortable and not remain stuck in the world of our parents which has ceased to exist.

There are small but important changes we can make to help us become more flexible and fluid in our thinking. Let’s call them survival skills for the world of 2014 and beyond. Over the next few weeks we will look at some ways that through small changes we can become much happier and content with ourselves and the world in which we live.

I leave you with one question to ponder over the next few days. Assuming our parents had the greatest influence on us, when we look back at them as individuals were they happy? Did we hear optimistic, encouraging views from them about our potential? Did they help us feel as if we could accomplish anything we set our minds to? Did they encourage us to stretch our wings and fly? If you answered yes to most of these statements – you are fortunate and able to take on the speed of change in our world today with confidence.

If you answered no to the questions above my question to you is rather simple but pointed. Why would you perpetuate the views, assumptions, beliefs even behavior that you learned from them if they were truly not happy, confident human beings? Why would you think their life views would enable you to grow into the happy and successful individual you can be? If there is a disconnect for you – stay tuned there will be much more on the topic!

Have a great few days!

Remember the Love?

Is it difficult for you to forgive someone for a major or even minor situation that caused you to feel upset? Have you learned to forgive yourself for things that, upon reflection, you wish you would have done differently in your life? Don Miguel Ruiz author of ‘The Circle of Fire’ says, ‘ Before you learned to speak you loved and with no effort you forgave…it was natural to love and forgive…but then you learned to ‘behave’ from other people.’

Could it be that when we are drawn to the absolute innocence of a child we see and feel the unconditional love and remember, even long for, that feeling once again to surface in our own lives? Each of us started out with a clean slate. We loved, trusted and expressed pure joy in merely existing and then life began to happen to us and we internalized the messages of ‘do this, don’t do that or you are too… or not enough … and we began to create a subconscious map of reality that limited or restricted us in some way. In fact, we often become so good at accepting these messages as truth that we begin to create events and messages for ourselves which reinforce those false beliefs. At the time we may not have been able to label it but now we realize that it is fear – fear of not being just so, of not being accepted …of not being loved. As we grow and experience the difficult events in our lives without realizing it those early tapes in our minds become a stronger and stronger control mechanism that can often take the joy out of living.

The challenge is to recognize that not all of those early tapes were accurate and that we must work to correct the misinformation that we have stored in our memories. When we get to a point that we choose to look at our lives and realize that we want more – more peace, happiness and contentment we will begin the process of self correcting those early tapes. The amazing thing about the search is that we discover that what we are searching for has always been there, buried deep in the recesses of our minds, because as infants we were happy, loved and able to forgive quickly and completely. We begin, once again, to experience the feeling, long ago, of pure joy.

The next time we see a young child maybe it can trigger us to realize that the elusive butterfly of happiness that we are seeking is within us just waiting to surface once again. We do know love and forgiveness on a subconscious level and those feelings are just waiting to surface once again, in our lives.

Have a great few days!