Thursday, August 30, 2012

Breakout from Media Induced Anger and Fear

Can you find the lie in this headline?
Apple verdict irks South Koreans.

When a San Francisco judge ruled that Samsung had infringed on Apple patents and that headline hit the wires. It ran in newspapers from Australia's Sydney Morning Herald to the Chicago Tribune. Spot the lie? Do you believe a verdict can irk everyone who hears it?

You probably hear some version of that lie every day:
  • You make me angry
  • You drive me crazy
  • It makes me sad
  • He makes me feel guilty
  • It makes me nervous
  • He scares me
 No wonder so many of us believe our emotional well-being is at the mercy of people and events. That myth is built into our thoughts, language, and newspaper headlines. Therapists are trained (and train us) to ask "How does that make you feel?"

I have explored the "it makes me feel" myth with countless people over several decades and it has not proven true one time. Each time we looked deeply into the cause of an unwelcome feeling, we found that the pain was in the meaning. It could be anger, fear, guilt or any feeling that comes too often and stays too long.  

The usual approach to feeling bad is to change something, or a lot of things. But have you ever noticed that people who get angry a lot do that no matter how many things they change?

The same dynamic traps people who suffer from chronic fear so they never feel safe no matter how cautious they become.

That is because they are working on a false solution they find on a search in the wrong place. The easiest, often the only way, to feel happier is to find and discard the beliefs that cause the "irk" in the first place.

A reader who wrote about my recovery book "Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past" explains it really well. He said:

Your one chapter is called: “The pain is in the meaning.” I had to read it a few times, because almost like some form of dyslexia, it kept turning around for me to: “The meaning is in the pain.” And I suddenly realized how much I’ve held on to pain because for some bizarre reason I’ve believed that I need the pain to produce my best work.

I’ve found a new meaning. It’s in inspiring others to live lives that have impact on the world and the people around them. Now, the meaning is no longer in the pain, it is in the impact.
Imagine spending years actually holding on to pain because you thought your creativity required it. Then bamm! The belief is gone and your new goal is to have an impact. Wow!
Hunting the meanings and beliefs that block happiness or success is a lot like searching for Easter eggs. Only instead of tucking them in your basket you can discard them. And be happy and irk-free no matter what the judge says about Apple and Samsung. It's a much more effective place to start if you want to still want to change things too!

To Your Irk-Free Happiness and Success!
Recommended resources:
Travelling Free: How to Recover from the Past by Changing Your Beliefs