Every day, every moment of your life contains uncertainty. No one knows what the future holds, even the future just a short few seconds away. As I write, and you read this, neither of us knows what is just around the corner. Your corner. My corner: joy or sorrow, good or bad, life or death, ‘win’ or ‘lose’. No one knows. Life – each and every day – is an experiment, with billions of ‘unknowns’. Everything – everything! – we think about the future is speculation to one degree or another.
Yet we manage to navigate our way through these exploding billions of predictably unpredictable happenings, learning from them, adjusting to them, taking advantage of them, and even enjoying them. And as we grow up, we begin to recognise and react to these patterns, noticing how things happen, together and in order, and how we can profoundly rely on them to guide us through our never-twice-the-same inner and outer worlds. And how something we do seems to affect what happens around us. A baby’s physical hungry cry produces real actual milk spilling from its mother’s breast (how does that happen?) or perhaps a warmed version of nutritious something in a plastic bottle!
Reflecting on this recently (experimenting, not breast feeding!) I thought about how I can be more the Experimenter than the experiment. I’m not a fatalist. I don’t accept that we are all caught up in a hopeless universal inevitability, because I don’t believe it’s true. I believe that to some extent I – each of us – can significantly influence what happens around me, and what happens beyond that. There’s no such thing as a failed experiment, just an unexpected result. I also believe that I am first of all a spiritual being, in a different realm from that perceived fatalistic inevitability, and that the spiritual part of me has huge unknown power. It breathes with the creative freedom-giving breath of its Creator.
Once I understand that a butterfly in Brazil can cause a hurricane in another part of the world, then choosing to alter my habitual behaviour today, given time, will indeed make the world different from what it would have been. And I believe that everything is connected in some way. You, me, that butterfly, everyone else and the Creator. Flapping my wings differently (or choosing not to) will just as inevitably change things somewhere. We cannot NOT communicate.
So how is that going to affect what you think, say and do today as you leave this blog?
“What is success?” the man leading the seminar asked brightly, wanting some audience participation. I put up my hand, and along with several other participants, gave my answer. “The inevitable result of being human.” I knew it wouldn’t be regarded as a normal answer, but I want success now, a lot – and I want to use today’s successes as a springboard to more rewarding ones – and not just my own successes. My definition guarantees me success every day, and makes me aware of how natural success is for us all.
Success is inevitable.
You cannot help but achieve your deepest goals. Without knowing it, you succeed. Look close enough and you’ll find you’re a success. Every day. Pretty much all the time!
Here are some of my successes (though not in chronological order!) Waking up. Talking to my family. Cuddling my children and grandchildren. Breathing. Doing my emails. Writing this blog. Cooking breakfast. Laughing at a TV programme. Doing some reading. Having a bath. Walking. In fact I’ve succeeded so many times today it is so normal to succeed that I’m completely unaware of how much of a success I am.
However, your deepest goals may not be so obvious. You might be missing them. Even embarrassed by them.
Less obvious success…
Here are some successes that people have that they may not want to own up to:
Backing off. Being successful at making sure they don’t need courage.
Avoiding potential pain by staying within safe, risk-free limits.
Never experiencing rejection (by not putting themselves in a relationship where that could happen, or by making sure they themselves do the rejecting first.)
Staying an emotional child. (There are plenty of people out there looking to mother the emotionally needy.)
Perhaps you’ve successfully taken whatever decisions you need to make absolutely sure you never stand out in the crowd. Solution: keep your head down and your mouth shut.
It is easy to make sure you never fail an exam. Simply never take one. Success!
You need never fear mockery. Never ever come up with anything original.
You need never fear being made redundant or getting the sack. Simple: resign at the earliest opportunity, or don’t take the job in the first place!
But of course, such dubious success is linked to other dubious successes – successfully avoiding responsibility for your life and future for example. And that means other people will begin to take over what you could contribute, and you will become poorer, more isolated, more vulnerable and more depleted. Some successes can produce unwelcome results.
What do you WANT to want?
Time to dig deeper. (As you know, I don’t do shallow.)
Do you REALLY want what you’re getting out of life at the moment? What do you WANT to want? What WELCOME outcomes?
What are you prepared to go for, to sacrifice for (everything in life has a price), in order to get an outcome you’ll be PROUD OF?
What is the next step for you?
From the day I stepped out from behind my mummy’s skirts to do something on my own, fear and courage have fought for supremacy. As I stepped out, eventually courage won.
My job is to make sure all these years later that courage continues to win, not just for me, but for you too.
Jenny (not her real name) came out of her second session recently describing what she felt like as she came out of her first. “It was as if the whole world was brighter. The colours were brighter, the greens greener, the sky bluer.” That’s a key motivator in my coaching. I can turn the light on for my clients – and giving others a brighter future is a JOY.
This week I’ve had several life-brightening comments like that – two from people who I coached over fifteen years ago. Fifteen years! And they BOTH called this week, with real, deep, kind, oh-so-rewarding things to say. Completely out of the blue.
I stopped to think of how much they would have missed if they had not connected up. They both have children in their teens and twenties now, whose lives also are brighter (greener, bluer?) because these two men – their dads – chose to take action on the tough challenges they were facing.
Although it is impossible to guarantee results from coaching (no coach can do that) the long-term effect can be massive. The whole world can come alive in a way you have not noticed before. It is like hitting the Enhance button on your photo app, only to realise what you now see is how life actually is, the real deal, not an ‘enhanced’ version at all. It is just that yesterday was duller, a faded (tarnished, darker) version of how life is, and you hadn’t noticed.
Or perhaps you have. You’ve known a time when you were happier than you are now. You suspect there are dark shadows in your life that you want to get rid of.
And if I’ve coached you in the past, and you’ve not been in touch for a while, I’d love to know what happened and what you’re doing now. Sharing your joys with others multiplies them.
Either way, call me on my mobile 07771631945 (or email me a few lines at firstname.lastname@example.org) and multiply the benefit for both our lives. I’m itching to hear what happened to you.
I wasn’t quite sure how to take it then, nor when it has happened since. Was it an accusation, a mere description, or something else. The person had asked what did, and I described my coaching and how effective it was in the lives of my clients.
First my honest description, then came the exclamation, “You are supremely confident!” I simply said yes. With a little more analysis, I suspect the word ‘supremely’ is a bit over the top, but I am confident in what I can do, yes. I was glad when the person accepted it as an honest response – which it was. (*see Postscript below)
What are you really good at?
This blog isn’t primarily about me. Its about you. The truth is, like me you’re really good at 100s of things. Reading this. Speaking English. Telling a story. Getting dressed. Eating lunch. Saying kind things to complete strangers (maybe you haven’t found out just HOW good you are at that one yet!) I’m good at Therapeutic Coaching. Very good in fact. To deny it for the sake of some inconsistent false modesty serves no one in the end.
Some people are really good at doing things that harm them. Putting themselves down. Self deception (that’s telling themselves things that aren’t true). Jumping to negative conclusions. Describing themselves as being low in confidence, or hopeless, or a failure. With such thoughts and words they literally form their physical brains, and the thoughts become self-fulfilling.
Those of us who have left what Robert Kiyosaki calls the ‘Rat Race’ of employment to start their own businesses or become self-employed know that unless we are confident in what we can do (and it goes without saying, can match the words with reality) potential clients are very unlikely to be confident in what we can do for them, with disastrous results for both the client and the business.
I have had the privilege of changing the lives of uncountable thousands of people’s lives across the world through those I have coached and trained through Powerchange. I suspect only a tiny percentage of those people would be different (freer, happier, more fulfilled and content, more motivated, stronger,richer, more inspired, off their psychotherapeutic medication) if my response to that statement had been a mumbling self-effacing, pseudo-humble denial. What might happen when you speak honestly about what you’ve done. Besides which, would you go to an eye surgeon who was stumbling and unsure of himself? I wouldn’t.
Know what you are good at.
Accept that you are good at it.
Be Better at it tomorrow than you are today.
Don’t be afraid to say so.
If this blog has highlighted something important for you, take a moment to email me about it, email@example.com. You might need a bit of therapeutic coaching – or maybe find out you really don’t!
*PS: I had explained how people change when I work with them, often radically and permanently, often to the surprise and delight of their GP, and occasionally in the face of disbelief from their psychiatrist. Sadly, the unenlightened view of many so-called ‘psychological disorders’ still is that they are incurable, so “We’ll put you on these tablets for life”, as one person quoted their GP, becomes the norm. My client didn’t take the tablets at all, so wasn’t on them for even a day, and has never needed them.
“Ok, so tell me the truth.” “I only wish I knew the truth.” “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth …”
So what is it about truth that is so important to us? What does knowing the truth provide for us? And do we really want to know the truth? About ourselves? About the ‘real’ uncomfortable world we live in? Truth is an interesting commodity. It is not the same as ‘facts.’ Without our concern to know it, or at least promote it, the world would grind to a halt.
Maybe we are like Colonel Jessep (played by Jack Nicholson opposite Tom Cruise) in the film “A Few Good Men” who shouts out in the courtroom, “You don’t want the truth. You can’t handle the truth!” The question is: Can I, and can my client?
An appreciation of Truth is an essential ingredient in every aspect of human life. It is the basis for all trusting and at the core of human interaction. Without it we live in a fantasy world, a world of distortion, a world where we are vulnerable to being deceived and taken advantage of.
In emotional health terms, truth plays another very important part. It helps us grow up. Small children know nothing of the big world in which they live. A baby is ignorant of everything beyond its simple familial relationships. As it grows up it learns about the world, letting go of some of its initial impressions and facing some of the harder truths about life. Wise parents will do their best to pace the speed at which truth arrives in the lap of their kids. Too much too soon creates trauma, and doesn’t allow time for the young person to adjust their life to fit. Too little hampers the process of maturity.
People also face situations where they decide “Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know”, or “Too much information!” (See ‘Sufficient Truth’ below.)
Corrective Truth Technique is used by our coaches to increase self-confidence, boost emotional strength, and establish an immovable foundation for future development of the client’s life. It is easy to assume that all unknown truth is unpalatable, will hurt us. But not so. Truth can be astoundingly liberating and wonderfully beneficial. It can feel like winning the lottery (Though I’ve never bought a ticket let alone won anything!)
Applied Corrective Truth via Powerchange’s Corrective Truth Technique can be used to undermine the subjective inhibiting beliefs the client has constructed from their experience of the world. “The thing is, I’m rubbish.” “I’m hopeless at most things.” “You can’t trust anybody these days.” All not true of course. Corrective Truth professionally applied to the depths of a person can (…will, does…) transform a client’s thinking and renew their zest for living tomorrow.
No one in their right mind wants to know – or can know, or can tell – “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” The well known legal phrase makes a mockery of the UK legal system, not least because the person who makes that commitment is deceiving themselves and the court already. Each of us is selective about the truth, even those who want to ‘tell the truth’ cannot do so. The ‘Whole Truth’ isn’t available for them to tell.
I’ve found that a commitment to seek out and personally tell ‘sufficient truth’ is often a good guide, and better still, for me to set out to be trustworthy. I like to live by a Personal Mission statement I put together to guide my life in 2002. Part of that Mission is “To seek truth, and keep eternity in view.” The truth is, I don’t always tell the truth, but I’m committed to seeking it and knowing it, and living in it as a long term goal. Yes, sometimes I withhold it. I ask, “How much of the truth is going to be helpful for this person to know?” “How detailed does this need to be for them to understand it and accept it?” “Do I have their best interests at heart as well as my own when I tell them the truth?”
Powerchange coaches use Corrective Truth Technique to establish a reliable foundation in our clients’ lives that is ‘truth’-based and is in turn able to support more Truth. We allow it time to ‘set’, to harden like concrete, and on that sound base the client can build his or her new life, one that won’t crack when the storms come.
However uncomfortable to discover, the Truth can provide a new and more reliable personal foundation when apparently ’good’ things that we have for decades consistently believed to be true are revealed to be deception.“I always thought you were my sister. I can’t believe you didn’t tell me all these years you are actually my Mum.” Yet when I ask the client “Aren’t you glad that at least now you know the truth?” Almost without exception the person will say yes. The truth is very attractive.
However liberating or unpalatable Truth may be – and it is often both in some measure – there’s one thing that will always make our Corrective Truth Technique very attractive …
A few months ago I was asked to coach a youngish woman who lived in a long, gently curving corridor. She was perfectly normal it seemed to me when I spoke to her, but her whole life was ‘corridor’ based. She had lived in the corridor all her life. She was born there, by all accounts. Her parents had no recollection of living anywhere else and her brothers and sisters had been born in the corridor and lived there too.
To start with she didn’t realise it was so narrow, bearing in mind she was only little. But as she grew up she sort of got used to it, comparing it to the clothes she grew out of all too regularly – a little bit constricting, limiting, and getting more so – though at the time she didn’t realise how.
Mum and dad had been corridor dwellers all their lives – and her teachers too. The family had never lived otherwise. From time to time friends moved out. One or two people came back from somewhere else but no one really believed them when they said it was so much more of a richer and better life. Most avoided confrontation by changing the subject.
Then one day as she was getting on with her normal mediocre life she met a man who changed it all for her. His name was Mr Bitt – he explained that he was called that because he helped people who had ‘missed a bit’ – and he was a Powerchange Coach, (You may have met him coaching Rosie on YouTube.) He was a bit off-the-wall too, but had a knowing warm sparkle in his eye and she felt he understood her. He talked of a world beyond the corridor, a world without walls, without limits, a world with an ‘outside’ where the sun shines, and it rains, and where there are powerful emotions.
Mr Bitt explained that the corridor seemed real but those who stayed within its secure panelled walls were living in a cramped fantasy. With guidance and courage we could exit the corridor and live in the real world beyond the confinement of the corridor walls. He talked of a new sense of freedom, new responsibilities, new outlooks and the opportunity to live a better life. He explained that people who left corridor life found the new world scary to start with. They felt insecure, overwhelmed by the expanses of space, opportunities and choice. He said he would show her the way out if she wanted him to but she couldn’t live in two places at once. Living there meant not living here. Visiting was an option, but once the world beyond this corridor had been visited for the first time, a permanent return and reintegration would be very very difficult if not impossible.
Most of her friends thought he was kidding, but for her, as she lay in bed mulling over his story, she became disturbingly dissatisfied with where she was.
The corridor had no horizons to aim for, nothing ambitious. School in the corridor meant sitting down and doing what you were told. College was much the same, except that you were ‘told’ more subtly. Satisfactory results depended on a disguised need to conform. Work in the corridor had that ‘there and back’ quality to it. It seemed safe, but everyone knew where the ultimate control lay.
It was only a few weeks before she crossed her internal Rubicon and became a believer. She approached Mr Bitt the Coach next time he visited, and explained her new position. He smiled – with joy or amusement she couldn’t be sure.
“When are you planning on leaving?” He asked.
“Anytime.” She replied. “I’m ready.”
“Now?” He enquired firmly.
Without hesitation she agreed. Yes. Now.
“You know you will never be content here ever again once you’ve been there?”
“That’s fine.” She said, unable to conceal the nervousness she felt.
He looked at her for a moment, checking the strength of her intent. “Come with me, this way, now.”
She never did find out what he did to make it happen, but a moment later a panel in the corridor moved and revealed a concealed door in the wall. “Ready?” He asked. “There is no going back from here. Once you’ve been through this door and seen the other side you will never be able to say you haven’t.”
“Ready.” She gritted her teeth.
She was completely unprepared for the shock. The door opened, and it was as if a bolt of electricity hit her body. She was, for a few seconds, completely unable to breathe. Overwhelmed. Before her lay the most elaborately decorated, the most stunningly beautiful room she had ever conceived in her mind.
It was palatial in every meaning of that word. Huge lit gold and crystal chandeliers hung from the domed ceiling. Five casement windows, dressed in the finest silk curtains opened out onto a magnificent park, stretching toward the snow capped mountains on the horizon, with the sea just visible beyond. Rich tapestries and artworks (the very sort she would have chosen for herself only more so) graced the walls and at the far end of this heart-stopping sight were five steps covered in gorgeous deep-pile scarlet carpet, and set up high, alone, at the top of the steps, a gilded throne.
This was not a ballroom as she first thought, but a throne room, silent, beautiful, and empty, awaiting the sovereign. Compared to the corridor – and just a wall away, she thought grimly – this was heaven compared to hell. In at least one sense of the word.
“It’s yours,” he whispered to her, a knowing smile playing across his face. “Go sit on your throne.”
This indeed was a trauma of the nicest kind. She felt a strange new emotion begin to well up from the deepest caverns of her soul. An overwhelming sense of joy mixed with incomprehension, awe and unbelief took hold of her and she fell to her knees and burst into an unstoppable flood of tears. How could this be true? And yet here she was staring at it. Was this really hers?
“Well, are you going to climb the steps?” Mr Bitt asked, as practical as ever, a smile playing gently over his face. “It’s yours. Your throne, your life, your kingdom. And it has been here all this time!”
He took her arm and helped her to her feet. “No one else has or can sit on that throne you know. It is yours and yours alone.” He paused, chuckled, and said, “Of course you could go back to the corridor if you like, but you will never be able to say you haven’t seen the throne, will you!”
She dried her tears. “Please take my hand.” She asked, but he refused. “No, I can’t do that. You must climb each of the steps by yourself, turn round and face the world, your kingdom, and sit down firmly on the throne. It’s yours, all yours, you know. I’ll be here though, to help you – particularly in these early days. By the way, there is a crown there too, just to the side. Wear it!”
It was just five steps away. It wasn’t possible to ascend to the throne without taking them one at a time, each loaded with meaning. Many years later as she thought back to that day, she remembered them. Most of all she remembered the decision to climb the first step. To sit on the throne of her life required that she accept these words, discretely woven into the carpet of each step. She viewed each sentence courageously – and noted each quietly and determinedly as she walked forward. First, step one…
“It is mine.” It was momentous. Like a mini explosion. Something leapt within her. Looking back she felt it was the moment she became fully a woman, leaving behind the child she had been. “Mine,” she repeated, trying to grasp the deep meaning. It is mine.
Then the second step. These words too were a revelation as she spoke them…
“I have been given it.” This throne, this realm, this sovereignty – this life – was hers by right as a human being. A gift. This realisation took her into a subtly new dimension. A gift! Who from? For what purpose? Me? She felt tears sting her cheeks again. She paused for a few minutes, yet Step Three was waiting to take her (literally) to a new level:
“I was born for this throne.” Yes, her kingdom had been there all along, run by others, waiting until the time when she was willing to take charge. The impact of this undeniable truth filtered into her thinking and made its home deep within. “Yes,” she said, “I really was born for this throne.”
The fourth step was now available – and seemed equally traumatic. This one challenged the thoughts she had had since she was little, yet it too was required. Without it she would never be able to sit comfortably on her throne and reign with confidence. She listened as Mr Bitt intoned the words for her to repeat for herself:
“It is possible for me.” She felt a smile creep across her face as she listen to him, then spoke the words out for herself, then a second and third time. Then again, more boldly. She made the sentence her own by changing it. Turning for a moment to look at Mr Bitt, she confirmed, “I can do this.” “Yes, you can,” he agreed.
Now the fifth and final step to the throne was available. Just one last step stood between her and the throne of her life and kingdom. It was simple now, and she realised how there was a natural progression up the steps to the throne. This last one was simple – yet so essential to her future reign.
“I accept it.” She said confidently, put the crown on her head and without more ado, turned and sat down on the throne of her life, her kingdom, her future.
Done. She stopped for a moment and considered the past. She was leaving behind so many things that had made her feel safe, and as she sat thinking she realised that she still had them, but they no longer had power. She no longer needed their security. They were the past, and this throne and this throne-room – and all that out there – was the future. She was finally sitting on the throne, looking out onto her new world.
“Now what do I do?” She thought to herself.
“What do you want to do?” Mr Bitt replied, knowing her thoughts. “The choice is yours. You can return to the corridor if you like, and return there at any time, but you will never be fully fulfilled and happy there again. You’ve been here, you have accepted responsibility for your life. Welcome. This room is for the woman who is prepared to explore a different future.”
(To speak to Mr Bitt personally on Skype, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You never know what may happen. By the way, he doesn’t wear glasses any more.)
Yesterday I was in Brighton. It is a fantastic city, with just everything in it. Including Hove. And on the green down by the sea, close to Meeting Place Cafe, I stood entranced by six quiet gymnasts from Brighton Acro Yoga. (Yes, I know.)
I was fascinated as I watched them playing and practicing, happy for anyone who cared to stop and stare. I took a video and a pic or two, whilst allowing the sheer beauty of the moment to infiltrate my thoughts.
I loved the trust, the gentle collaboration, the humility of these kind people – so evident in what they were doing. The flow of movement, the occasional shakiness of the less experienced members as they held position and allowed their muscles (and trust) to develop and strengthen, the discrete coaching from the more experienced members and …
Isn’t being trustworthy and trusting just so important? It’s true these ultra-flexible fit women had little distance to fall (and I did notice one of them accidentally stood on someone’s face!) but they trusted their teachers as they guided them sensitively, asking for help and support as they needed it – and that trust resulted in a delicious flow from one well-stretched position to another with grace, skill and lots of self-control.
Me? I engaged appreciatively with the process, spellbound from afar – a few short metres anyway – and allowed these artists to show me just what they can do. Then I decided to tell you about them. (Sadly these two iPhone pictures don’t do them justice, but I expect you’ll get the idea.)
Then I thanked God with a full heart that they can do it, even though I can’t.
Flexibility. Beauty. Trust. Humility. Flow.
I rode my Burgman 400 home asking myself…
“Who do I need to support so they can fly?”
I’ll support you if I can and you’d like me to – within the bounds of time and energy,, that is, and NOT with my feet!
The only reason, it seems to me, that we tame an animal is for our benefit. To have it work for us, feed us, entertain us, rescue us, protect us, guide us – or for use as a pet, a cuddly toy, or a plaything, or to bet on its performance. Of course we look after it and care for it, but it has no real choice.
‘Tamed’ is for animals …
… NOT people. How many men and women do you know who have been tamed – by their wife, partner, husband, children, parents, boss, school, college, or professional body?
Tamed: Brought into line. Forced to comply. Bullied into submission. “So break their spirit. Trick them into being controlled. Without them realising until it is too late.”
And there is always a plausible excuse: Order. Safety. Control. The Money. “It’s for the best.”
How have you been tamed? Emasculated. Enslaved. Indentured. Dehumanised. Handcuffed to a job, a way of life, a habit, a culture, a partner, a pay cheque, a trauma, a professional body, a thought pattern. Brought under control. Subject to the will, whim or pleasure of another. Tamed by greater power, physical violence, pain, fear, psychotherapeutic drugs, a court, money. Think about it.
In people, tame is not good.You were designed to be free, able to choose at least something of your destiny, without others interfering, limiting, cracking the whip, or writing an unnecessary prescription. Designed to be free, not impoverished or imprisoned, or chemically coshed.
Weakness tames us, whether caused by any of the above, or by poverty, ignorance, violence, shame, or injustice.
Powerchange, on the other hand does the opposite. The Powerchange team is here to strengthen, liberate, and educate you. To free you. Our therapeutic coaching moves people out of the grip of shame, injustice and life-taming drugs (however well-intentioned the prescription) and, yes, clients ARE shocked when they realise how straightforward it was to ‘come free’, and how staying free is not a burden.
If this blog echoes with you, if you have found yourself on a lead, living a tamed life, surrendered, snared or struggling to resist (or snarling behind the bars) then please call me. Call me on my Direct Access number: 07771631945, or email email@example.com. Let me help you find your hidden power.
And if you are free but have a friend or colleague who you suspect is being or has been tamed, whisper the word ‘Powerchange’ into their ear. Whisper it slowly “P-o-w-e-r-ch-a-n-g-e”and link us up – you’ll know how best to do that.
I’ve sometimes been asked how it is I am able to ‘get inside’ a client’s life and thinking so quickly. How is it I seem to know where to go in the coaching conversation? How is it they are so honest so quickly, often in a way they have never been with (literally) anyone else? What is the secret?
Take a few minutes off right now and read through this – to the end. It will definitely be worth it!
The secret isn’t particularly a secret, but in this day and age talking about a subject like this is emotive. People get sensitive about it, not least because it can be so misunderstood. Today I’m going to risk that misunderstanding, pluck up the courage to ‘come out’ and tell you.
Ready? Here it is: I choose to love my clients.
Simple, isn’t it? Whilst I am working with them, and actually from then on to one extent or another, I love them. Good old-fashioned human love. The love of one good person towards another. The stuff that makes the world work so much better.
Wholesome, honest, kind, honouring, ‘agape’ love. Love that is trustworthy. Love that is strong and challenging. Love that protects the wellbeing, respect and physical and emotional boundaries of another human being. Love that doesn’t exploit or abuse. Love that tells the truth, but not more than they can bear. Love that focuses on giving, not taking (‘Love’ that depletes the recipient is not love at all). Love that makes the giver vulnerable (as writing about it publicly like this does). Love that keeps the receiver safe.
Love that protects without being protective. Love that is direct without being directive. Love that sacrifices without being sacrificial. Love that is kind and shares.
Love that smiles, hugs and embraces – and buys the coffee. Love that is comfortably warm and has nothing to do with current concepts of ‘hot’. Love that goes the extra mile – and goes one more after that. And the kind of love that knows when to speak and when to listen. And love that willingly expresses its natural affection in a way that is healthy and welcome.
Just let me put on record that this is a million miles from the pseudo-love that is coercive, focused on sex, pitying, or even ‘charitable’ in the victorian sense of the word – or the sort of ‘love’ that creates an impression of kindness but is actually motivated by something more sinister, more one-sided. That kind of so-called ‘love’ is horrible, and such a distortion of the real thing. It is the greatest sadness to me that for many millions of people – maybe for one or two who will read this blog – it is the only understanding of the word ‘love’ they know.
Maybe that’s one particular reason I so enjoy Therapeutic Coaching. Apart from all the other good and liberating things it does, it empowers people to love.
I learnt primarily about love from my mother, but also from my mentor, Campbell McAlpine, both of whom demonstrated selfless acceptance of a young Andrew Sercombe, and provided me with the experiences of love I needed in order to love others – however inadequately I manage that, because as those close to me know, I’m not always loving. Sometimes I’m just plain selfish.
There are three things that we are told will endure for ever: faith, hope, and love. Without love there can be little trust, the trust which enables faith in others, and there is certainly no hope for our world in the future if love is missing. Who would look forward to a world like that? So the greatest of these three has to be…
PS: If you’ve got a problem with love – giving it, receiving it, or because someone has abused the concept – get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.powerchange.com. I or one of our coaching team may be able to help.
You know how it happens. Someone does something that hurts you and sometimes really badly – whether accidentally or deliberately doesn’t really matter – and you ‘victim’. I mean ‘victim’ as a verb not a noun and it means to play the victim role to ‘do’ victiming. Here are some clear signs that you (or someone you know) is ‘victiming’ …
Refusal to accept any responsibility for the accident (though it is rarely just one person’s fault)
Practicing all your blame skills, hunting high and low for evidence that this was negligence on someone else’s part
Self pity – feeling sorry for yourself and isolating yourself if possible
Phoning a personal injury claims line or trying to get some other sort of compensation
Taking unnecessary time off work on medical grounds
Going to the doctor for stress medication
Focusing your thoughts on the evident rewards of ‘being a victim’
Of course I’m not excusing bad behaviour towards others, but I AM suggesting that victiming is VERY bad for your health. Here are some reasons and an example.
1. It keeps you psychologically weak. To stay a ‘victim’ you must constantly remember that you could and can do nothing about it. Don’t whatever you do, accept the faintest possibility that you’ll be fine.
2. It closes down the potential new information a challenging or painful experience offers. The vast majority of traumatic and challenging experiences can be turned into highly useful education opportunities. The person who has taken the good learning from a ‘bad’ experience will often tell you that they are truly glad it happened to them. GLAD! They wouldn’t want to NOT have had that bad experience. They will offer all sorts of good things – it helped them mature, they learnt about themselves, they discovered strength and courage, they learnt about others, they became more aware of the world …. loads.
3. Other people treat you with compassion and pity. You are showing them how – by treating yourself like it. And pity, particularly self-pity, is the last thing you need. It is subtly demeaning just when you need the very opposite.
Here is an example. In my role as a Powerchange coach, I once saw a woman on the TV who had had her face badly burnt – I believe it was from acid. Her face was healing and she had it protected by a piece of transparent plastic. She was clearly going through emotional hell – and had every reason to feel terrible. Eventually I got through to her personally and explained that I could reduce the emotional traumatic effect of the injury so that she would not be in such emotional pain and would be able to live a much more normal and healthy life. She thought about this and a few days later got back to me: She had talked to her counsellor and her lawyers, both of whom had said that her payout would be much less if she appeared in Court feeling better and less traumatised. (Both her lawyers and counsellors of course had a vested financial interest in her staying as a victim.) The money said she must stay emotionally in pain at all costs. At least until after the claim was finalised. Hopefully she has gone on to live a fulfilling and happy life. At the time I spoke to her she was ‘victiming’.
Last month someone else decided to wait for coaching for a similar reason.
Pain, both physical and emotional, is an important part of maturing as a person. The evidence is clear – those who renounce any ‘victiming’ behaviour and accept their circumstances as an initially unwelcome but powerful platform from which they can launch their new and different future do remarkably well, living emotionally strong, successful and satisfying lives.
Good on them. If you’re victiming about something and want out, call me.