Emotional Healing: Change Your Thinking Change Your Life – Ed Ferrigan

Emotional Healing: Change Your Thinking Change Your Life

Emotional Healing: Change Your Thinking Change Your Life

This article is for people who are feeling challenged in life and starting a healing journey. For those of you who have been on a healing journey for a while it is a healthy reminder.

Each of us has different needs and wants in intimate relationships. The way we get those needs and wants is to make a request to the other person.

This is especially important when you are first dating. Each person must feel safe to ask for what they want to build trust in the relationship. To have true intimacy you must trust the other person. No trust, no relationship.

When a relationship is first forming trust builds the foundation. If I trust the person I’m interested in then I will not be afraid to ask for what I want or am needing. This maintains the flow of information needed to build a strong relationship.

Let me give you an example so this concept is crystal clear.

Let’s say I’ve been dating someone for a couple weeks and I notice a pattern. I notice that when I share thoughts I’m heard but there is no dialogue back-and-forth. And what I am wanting is to share a more in depth discussion. It’s an important relationship value that I have.

In this situation, I could go to this potential partner and ask them to engage with me more.

They have a couple of choices in their response:

1. They can listen and decide if that is something they want to do

2. OR they could get defensive (misinterpret they are being “attacked or controlled”).

Their answer will begin to shape how safe I’m feeling with telling this person my truth.

It will also inform me if our values line up.

When you voice your truth early on in a relationship it reveals a lot about the other person.

Communicating in a safe environment allow each person to make better long-term decisions.

Even if the person is lacking communication skills, and they are willing learn, the relationship can still move forward.

How safe one feels making request is an essential marker in all relationships. Especially in the beginning.

Like I mentioned, if I don’t feel safe to make request then the relationship will lead to an eventual dead end. And most of the time there is a lot of pain getting there. I don’t recommend that approach.

It’s a good idea to learn the skill of making it safe for the other person to ask for whatever they want.

How Our Memory Acts As Either Friend Or Foe

Now let’s talk about our memory system.

Your memory system is at the backdrop of all your experiences. Like a sheep-dog nipping at the heels of the sheep, it’s constantly influencing you. It is at the heart of why a potential partner responds the way they do to my request.

Your memory system is the host of all your beliefs and values. Your memory is the host of all your strategies to deal with fear or love.

It is the house you will definitely want to have in order.

We have good memories that promote joy and positive feelings. We also have bad memories that can send us into a tailspin.

Neuroscientist estimate humans operate 85-95% of the time from memory.

These “bad” memories are bad because they create bad feelings in the body when you think about them. Or they could be so bad you actually get spacey or have a hard time remembering them.

Sometimes the brain will try to protect you from the pain you suffered. There is a whole spectrum of responses to bad memories.

Here is the problem with bad memories. They are influencing your decisions outside of your awareness. If someone tries to attack you your memory of martial arts is useful.

What happens though if I mis-interpret what a person means when they make a request? What happens if have requests but don’t communicate them?

Think about this.

What if every time I reached out for help when I was little I got ignored, shamed, ridiculed or told negative things about who I was?

That kind of memory is going to have a hard time trusting that later in life it’s ok to ask for what you want.

Childhood strategies you adopted are so engrained they are out of your awareness. It may not even occur to you your memories are a problem or that some belief needs to change. Like a fish is to water…

If it was not safe for you to ask for what you needed as a child it will affect you later in life.

Later in life when you have a need or a want with a partner that part of your memory system will activate.

Your old strategies kick in and send a very strange message to the potential partner. The potential mate chalks it up as a “problem.” Trust erodes. They may not even tell you why.

If I make a request and receive a hostile response chances are an old memory triggered in the other person.

That person does not realize they can say yes, no or change the request. It’s that simple. Anything else is a clue other forces are at play.

The sad part of the story is the person doesn’t even realize it. Unless, of course, they understand how our memory system works or someone tells them. They continue to flounder in each relationship. They have no idea they are on “autopilot”!

I know this because I was one of these people 23 years ago.

The rule of thumb is this:

Chances are good you’re triggered if you are feeling an emotional reaction. Your next job is to question the meaning you have on the current experience.

Your beliefs come from your memory. Most beliefs from childhood are lacking information.

The reason is when we are younger we are not as capable of sorting out difficult emotional dilemmas.

Why This is Such a Big Deal

For a moment, let’s revisit our example of making a request.

The type of memory that host your belief systems is implicit memory. It does not have a date code or time stamp on the information that surfaces. When your partner or potential partner makes a request, it’s going to ping off any related memory.

…and your brain in that moment is not telling you it’s remembering events from 30 years ago!

If the memory assumes danger you’ll instantly use a protective strategy. In essence your system has been hijacked unless you recognize this.

When I was little, if someone made a request it would mean a potential life or death situation in my mind. My well-being was on the line.

I had to learn later in life that making request could be safe.

I can now hear a request as something the person is needing or wanting. I can also hear a negative response as not my issue. I don’t take it personally. I source my own safety.

This is one of hundreds of reasons to look at our past and clean it up. If we have unintegrated memories we will pay a heavy price.

Lost love is the biggest tragedy…

Look at the outcome you are getting. If it’s negative, then ask yourself, “hmm, what did I do that may have contributed to that kind of a response?”

If you practice this enough, you will begin to shine a light on the memories that have been working against you.

Intimate relationships by there very nature are going to stir up old memories.

Accept that first. If you don’t accept it you will continue, relationship after relationship, to get poor results.

Another great tip…

Our brains are finely tuned honing devices.

I often hear people complain that they always seem to attract a certain kind of person that is wrong for them.

What they don’t realize is they are actually creating the experience for themselves. It’s out of their awareness. It’s not obvious unless you know how to see it.

We are wired to seek out experiences to get another chance to repair them. To get new results, we have to recognize when that is happening and take positive action.

The solution is to question the meaning we put on everything that upsets us.

Each moment in life offers us the opportunity to clear up any past “incompletion.” You actually don’t even need therapy if you have a process to self correct. (And therapy or coaching does speed up healing)

When you clear up these past patterns you will no longer need to attract a person to “re-teach” you the lesson.

There are other side benefits as well.

When you re-integrate difficult memories you have more awareness.

It is easier to see how the past either enhances or diminishes the present.

You can take in more love.

You feel more available to take part in life.

Now I’m going to show you the fastest way I know of healing this.

Healing Old Memories That Kill Any Chance Of Relationship Success

First, you must realize you are not your beliefs or memories.

We don’t realize we are not all our experiences.

Unfortunately we identify with our past as that is who we are.

It’s a lie…

But you’ll need to practice some of the things I’m about to share to believe it.

For a moment, let’s talk about how do we become aware of our patterns without activating so much fear. Fear has a way of causing us to be defensive so if we can lower our fear response we will reach our outcome faster.

First off, realize that the brain loves patterns and habits. Even bad ones. Yes, it’s true. Even bad ones. Why? Because they are familiar and predictable.

Even when the outcome is bad the brain will continue down the familiar path. It likes knowing what to do even if its a bad outcome.

This is a really big deal.

The accumulation of bad habits doesn’t have to define who you are…

I can remember most of my life thinking I was a victim even though I didn’t use that language.

It showed up in my body as depression, loneliness, shame, blame, complaining about others or how my life was miserable in some way.

As a result of this kind of thinking I felt stuck. My relationships didn’t last long. I was painful to be around.

It was not until I hit a “tipping point” of pain that I finally decided to change. I eventually had to admit I was lost, not sure who I was, or if there was anything I could do about it.

It seems humans have a very high tolerance for pain and suffering.

Most people have to hit rock-bottom before they finally get a clue.

I don’t recommend this path. There is a much easier way.

At the same time it’s tricky…

If someone would have told me about my memory system and taking responsibility back in those days I would have rolled my eyes.

It took time for me to come full circle.

I was so insecure at that time I would regularly shoot the messenger.

I’d dismiss people that tried to tell me I had to change my way of thinking. “That it was my responsibility to change not the other person.”

I was in denial and had a lot of resistance to their insightful words.

Today, I have a new perspective. If I’m defensive it’s a clue they are showing me something important.

The thought of changing my way of thinking terrified me. I was already insecure and felt I was always hanging on by a thread in life.

The thought of me letting go of that thread felt like life or death.

And I had lots of proof my way was not working. I had many jobs that didn’t work out. Countless relationships that didn’t work out. I walked around unhappy.

My upbringing was such that it was not safe to reach out to others for help or things would be worse. I was also trained that reaching for love was dangerous. It was a catch 22.

I could not win with either choice. So i learned to stuff things down. I got tuff. And I paid an enormous price for this strategy later in life.

Want to know another interesting part of this?

I was great at disguising my insecurity.

You would have never known from my exterior, this insecurity was motivating everything I had done.

  • I had financial success…
  • I kept myself groomed and wore attractive clothes…
  • I became an excellent athlete…
  • Honed my body as a body builder…
  • I became an expert at many things to appear intelligent.
  • And I had the “perfect” story why each job or each relationship didn’t work out.
  • I was a master at justification and quite frankly, at bullshitting myself.
  • I was a master of EXCUSES.

I had built a perfect house of cards!

Here is what I want you to know and never forget.

At any given moment in time you can change ANY belief or behavior you want.

God has already given you full permission to design yourself the way you want. You have free will.

You don’t need permission from anyone to be whoever you want.

It’s already been granted by the supreme power. But YOU have to own it and take action to get it.

If you are ignorant God will grant that

If you are angry God will grant that

If you blame others God will grant that

If you are a victim God will continue to grant that

If you are clear about the outcome you want and work hard at getting it….God will grant that!

God doens’t care that your unconscious mind is directing your decisions.

It’s your job to repair the unconscious and get it lined up with the conscious mind.

Here is one mistake I see people make…

They think praying or thinking something mystical will solve the problem.

Doesn’t work that way…

You have to actually take part in the world and practice. Real-world feedback is your real teacher.

Intimate relationships are your real teacher…

If you want to be a good communicator you can learn that. If you want to be a good cook you can learn that. If you want to be a nice person to talk to – you can learn that.

To shift from the paradigm of insecurity to empowerment you must make an internal shift.

You must claim what you are currently doing that is and is not working.

If you stay in denial you’ll continue to get the same results you’ve been getting. And one day you’ll regret you didn’t do it sooner.

If you are up for that task then let me show you some first steps…

First, you must develop curiosity in yourself.

You already know when your memory kicks in it’s fast and like trying to stop a freight train.

It happens so fast the emotions connected to it are already in motion.

You cannot control those emotions but you can control what you do with them once you notice it’s happening.

Your goal is to change the unconscious MEANING you have on whatever is getting triggered.

Let’s assume that you want to communicate better.

Sooner or later you’ll realize if you react you will put the other person on defense.

When you add in curiosity and reflection to the conversation it creates safety. The other person will listen better. You get a better result.

And it get’s better…

As you become more curious you can secretly begin to see how your memory is constantly influencing you. Once you 100% agree this is true you are back in control.

My highest recommendation is to take the time to write down any pattern you see in your life. Here’s a list of ones I had at one time…

  • Relationships are short lived
  • Im unhappy
  • Physical pain in my neck and back
  • Shut down when conflict shows up in a relationship… then later explode
  • Get defensive when someone points out I’ve done something “wrong”
  • Go into shame when someone ask me to change something about myself
  • When someone shares a story I compare it to my own past, take over the conversation, and make it about me
  • Critical of others when something didn’t go my way
  • Not reflect back to someone the essence of their message
  • Not share my truth if I’m upset without being angry to get my point across

You get the point.

Write them down, then write a couple of paragraphs for each one that declares how you’d rather have it in the future.

When you do this something magical happens.

Something internally shifts in you…

You are putting your ego and early beliefs on notice…

You’re no longer settling for “Mr. or Ms. Default”.

You’re declaring that what you want is a conscious response to life – not an “autopilot” response to life.

I’ll warn you upfront, this is a process.

It takes time to decide what success looks like, especially if you’ve never had it. And you have to be willing to look at the feedback you get in life to make adjustments to your vision statement.

If you “shoot the messenger” you lose the opportunity to learn.

That’s why I love vision statements. They help me to self reflect on what is going on so I can see the subtle details that are derailing me.

Over time you become a master of change. This is very empowering.

Let me give you an example of one of my vision statements having to do with differentiation. (Differentiation is when I allow others to be who they are without getting triggered into some dysfunctional response)

“When I listen to people I notice when I have resistance. I easily relax my reaction and remain curious what the other person means. I ask questions to investigate my assumptions. If I have negative self talk I notice it and change it immediately. I stop any judgment or criticism and seek to understand why the other person thinks the way they do. I’m nice about it. I know I don’t even have to agree with them. I listen well and know that what they are requesting or sharing are their thoughts and beliefs. I can decide at any time if I want to change my thinking about it or not.”

Can you see how this acts like a declaration? It gives me a touchstone to change my old habits.

It reminds me of my commitment.

If I don’t have a commitment that is bigger than my old patterns then I will continue to operate unconsciously…

Here’s another BIG tip…

If you want to update your memory system faster…

Recognize that YOU and YOU alone are responsible for your happiness.

Many people define responsibility as burden.

That’s a mistake…

In fact the opposite is actually true.

When I am 100% responsible for my perceptions, thoughts, actions and knee jerk responses to life it actually leads me to liberation faster.

I have over 27 vision statements…

Each time I reflect and refine my vision I’m changing my beliefs and memory system.

I take full responsibility for my interpretations in life…

Moment-by-moment I methodically repair any memory or belief holding me back…

What a powerful place to be in life.

Take the Risk

Choosing a path of consciousness is not easy.

Once you get a taste of it, there is a pretty good chance you’ll never return to your old ways.

Being conscious is not always easy but the payoff is enormous.

Looking back at my own life, I think being conscious is what our true life purpose is. We are here to learn to be conscious.

What I’m offering you here in this article is to consider taking the risk. It may seem very disorienting at first if you are new at it. Give yourself a lot of extra love as you practice.

Find a partner who can give you a lot of grace…

It is not easy. I trained with a Tibetan monk for a few years in the 90’s. I once said to him “I feel like I’m going to die,” and he said – “then die.”

What he was telling me to do was surrender to my fear and to let go and trust that all will be ok. It was so hard for me but I did it. And even today I have moments when I need to “die” it’s much easier.

The first book I ever read on “waking up” was by the late Dr. Scott Peck called “The Road Less Traveled”. It changed my life. Maybe it will be helpful to you as well.

Please feel free to comment or ask your questions below. Thank you for your time.

 


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EdFerrigan

Relationship expert, Ed Ferrigan, M.A., CPCC, has been helping singles, couples, managers, and teams break through limiting beliefs and communicate more effectively for over 23 years. Ed is author of the book 100+ Ways To Get Back On The Horse, facilitates workshops on communication skills and provides relationship coaching all over the world using web technology. Ed is a local resident of Salt Lake City, UT is an avid dancer, and enjoys fly-fishing.

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Jackie Smith - October 11, 2018

Thanks for these articles Ed! They are long (:-) ) , but I’m taking the time to really read them and I find myself relating to them a lot + seeing what I need to be doing . Just saying Thanks
Jackie

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    EdFerrigan - October 12, 2018

    Hey Jackie, Thanks for posting. I will continue to find a balance between what Google likes and what users like! LOL they like long a lot of users don’t always have the time. Thanks again for commenting.

    Reply
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