Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom helps people realize their unique importance. Using my knowledge of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, my experience with therapy, coaching, somatic healing, and personal growth I create products to help you discover, develop, and express the elements of your identity critical to your health and your contribution to our world. My goal is to research, develop, and disseminate these materials so that every individual can reconnect with their uniqueness, realize their passion and purpose, and live the life they were born to live.
In this Episode I talked about how important it is for humans to feel safe. We need to feel safe in the same way that we need food, water, and shelter. Feeling unsafe is exhausting and will do whatever it takes to feel safe. Truly, we spend all of our energy trying to escape a feeling of vulnerability. If we cannot reach a state of feeling safe, we will continue to waste our precious energy trying. As a result, many of us go through life exhausted.
In fact, this can be a huge issue if we don’t define safety accurately – or more precisely, if we are too severe in our expectations of safety. We can’t guarantee anything in life, and acquiring 100% safety is impossible. If we are unable to compromise, or to find safety from multiple sources, we are doomed to fail and to be anxious, depressed, and frightened.
This topic of episode plays into Episodes 54 and 55 about the Bully and your DNA, where the ‘Should’ voices in our heads are making it more and more difficult for us to achieve a feeling of safety, or that we are good enough. I hope you enjoy revisiting this Episode, or listing or watching for the first time. And please check out the Are vs Should series beginning with Episode 50.
Last week I introduced a few examples of the Are vs. Should problem. One of the most obvious examples comes up when we think about our careers. When we’re young people ask us what we want to be when we grow up. As adults, many of us wonder what became of those childhood dreams when we find ourselves doing jobs we don’t like. And I’ll argue it’s because we listen more to our Shoulds than to our Ares.
And this isn’t to say that Shoulds are all bad, because I think their intent is honorable. Our shoulds are single-minded in trying to keep us safe. As with our choice of career, the Should wants us to make enough money to take care of ourselves and to ‘be happy’. Unfortunately, the Should is a mosaic of all of the ‘responsible’ voices in our lives telling us what to do, how to think. and how to act in life in an effort to ‘be happy’.
The problem is, the Should isn’t YOU, and it doesn’t really understand what YOU want. The Should wants what ‘the world’ wants. What your teachers, parents, family, friends, and other close relationships want. The Should is modified by the tv we watch and the articles we read on the internet. The Should is deigned to keep the Are at bay, and to push this common agenda at all costs. I’ll talk more about the Are in Part 2 of this miniseries, but for now let’s just say your Are represents the ‘real you’ or your ‘true self’. Or something like that – whereas the Should is partly you, but is comprised of all the voices you hear everyday.
Historically, I think humans connected more with the ‘real you’, or ‘true self’. In other words, we used to listen to the Are more. The emerging problem is, we see a lot of Should in the world today. I’d say more and more people are spending more and more time in their Should than in years past, and humans are losing their Ares in the process.
I think a result of this increasing Should phenomenon is that the Should has become a bully. Rather than being just one of your many parts, the Bully has become the loudest, most feared, and threatening ally in our head. Due to the peaceful nature of our Are, the Should now represents the antithesis to the ‘real you’. The Should berates us, exaggerates reality, and will do anything to keep you from listening to your other parts. But it’s not only that the Should’s voice is becoming louder, it is becoming more and more stifling and homogenous.
The onset of social media, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), and the idea that everyone else is more perfect than you further strengthens our Shoulds. Now our Should aims even higher. To perfection, even, making it impossible to get even close to achieving what the Should would tell us to achieve. To the point where many therapists and counselors suggest we don’t use Should statements at all because this line of thinking sets us up for failure, depression, anxiety, and frustration.
So somehow this Should part of our ‘self’ has gotten way out of hand. The should is taking over who we imagine ourselves to be and creating anxiety, depression, and frustration. It is time to regain control of the voices in our heads by realizing there is a dictator in charge that needs to be checked. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to reconnect with, and listen to, your Are.
Next week I’ll talk about the Are and why it is critical to rediscover yours.
To hear more about the Should side of your self, listen or watch the full Episodes below.
Beliefs are things we see as truisms in our lives and regulate the decisions we make. In Episode 9 I talked about Old Beliefs. These are beliefs we learned as kids that protected us in some way, but no longer serve their purpose in our adult lives. The problem is, the old beliefs have been habituated and we continue to implement them.
Many of us become aware of our old or limiting beliefs in adulthood. Things like anxiety, imposter syndrome, feeling not good enough, addictions, relationships – all these things are, at least in part, learned when we were kids.
But I’ve talked at length about beliefs and how they hold us back. This episode is about how we change those old beliefs.
Changing beliefs has been very difficult for me. But that makes sense if you think about it. Limiting beliefs are usually old (hence the terminology), which means they’ve been with us for awhile. And during that time, these beliefs have been reinforced any time a situation comes up requiring you to make a decision. We refer back to a similar situation, remember whatever belief worked then, and simply apply it again. And again. And again. Pretty soon this process is automatic and habituated (See Episode 26: Habits). So these beliefs were acquired over time with much repetition.
So, of course changing them is hard. It’s logical to think that whatever time and energy went into building the belief would be required to change it. And as frustrating as that is, it may be accurate.
I tried to change my old beliefs for a decade, but I didn’t get satisfactory results. I learned about beliefs. I learned what my limiting beliefs are. I even learned where some of them came from. But I thought that the awareness of the beliefs would somehow be enough to change them. But it’s not.
I understood beliefs INTELLECTUALLY, but I wasn’t DOING anything about them. I needed to ACT. And those actions are multifaceted.
My research, therapy, coaching, and learning has led me to a list of actions that anyone can implement to change their thinking. The list is going to look very familiar and maybe even make you roll your eyes. It turns out the changing beliefs is really simple – it just isn’t easy.
Behaviors that can help you change beliefs:
Speaking daily affirmations
You can even add sleeping and eating well to this list, but those aren’t habits or actions I personally struggle with.
The point is, I have finally starting to believe (haha) that the above list, frequently touted by self-help and personal growth folks from all schools of thought, might actually produce the results I am looking for. So I’m on a mission to add them to my life slowly but deliberately and see if it works.
I go in to more detail about how and why in this Episode.
In this Episode I tried to capture the feeling we all have sometimes that we don’t belong. Some of us feel this way most all the time, others just every once in awhile. You may have experienced it as ‘Imposter Syndrome’, when you get a new job or join a team and feel like everyone else is better than you. You may just feel misunderstood, or that the people around you just don’t ‘get you’.
Regardless, this is a terrible feeling and one we can question, or push back on, because if we all feel this way, then aren’t we similar?
It’s true. If we’re all different then we’re all the same because we have that ‘feeling different’ feeling in common! Can’t we somehow come together through this?
The problem is, no one wants to talk about it. Admitting you feel bad, in any way, is hard and not high on the ‘socially acceptable’ list. Unless you are fortunate enough to have a group of friends and coworkers who are elevated enough to realize this. But few of us are.
I think the least we can do is to realize most people feel this way. The next step we can take is to be aware of when someone else might be feeling this way, and to connect with them somehow. Maybe you have a friend who is going through something. This is an opportunity to explore how they feel by listening. Maybe they’ll give you an opportunity to say, ‘you feel isolated and alone, I get that because I often do, too’. Or something. I don’t have all the secrets, I just want to live a better life.
I hope you get something out of this episode, even if it’s just feeling a little less isolated.
Fear can be crippling, but it can also be helpful. Fear certainly got us through some tough evolutionary times. “no, don’t pet the big kitty, be afraid of it eating you.” Or something like that.
Nowadays though, we’re afraid of everything. Failure. Looking bad. Getting made fun of. Making mistakes. Pretty sure our ancestors didn’t intend for us to live in a fearful state of what people might think about us. I don’t think natural selection was ‘choosing’ a fearful state to be status quo for future homo sapiens.
In this flashback I talk about good and bad fears, and what we can and can’t do about them. Be friends with our allies, but get rid of the monkeys on our backs.
The need to make the ‘correct’ decision in any situation can literally paralyze us into not making any decision at all. It could be ‘needing a minute’ at the restaurant because you can’t decide what to eat, or whether you should quit your job to pursue an acting career. Both decisions are driven by so much pressure, stress, and societal input that it’s hard to find ourselves.
So we analyze. Instead of committing to something we ‘think about it’ too much. Sometimes we even forget what decision we were trying to make in the first place.
Here I share what I’ve learned from my personal suffering. I’m no guru, and don’t profess to have ‘figured it out’, but people smarter than me have shared their knowledge and I’m just passing it on. Add that to my personal experiences and maybe there’s a chunk of wisdom in here:)
Good time to revisit this Episode. For me, anyway because I’m constantly stalking old beliefs to try and change them. Old Beliefs are what you think is you. They’re the program running in the background of you ‘mind’. They’re the Matrix. But I’m here to tell you that the Old Beliefs are NOT YOU.
I think true mastery of the human condition involves rewriting your Old Beliefs so you can live New ones. But first, we have to figure out what they hell is going on. Because most of this operating system was installed when we weren’t paying attention.
When asked how much is enough, John D. Rockefeller famously replied, “Just a little more”. We’ve all thought this about some things. Whether it’s losing ‘enough’ weight, making ‘enough’ money, being loved ‘enough’ we all (mistakenly) believe that if we get ‘enough’ of ‘whatever’, we’ll be ‘happy’. And since a lot of us either want many things, or aren’t sure which things we want the most, we tend to maximize ‘enough toward everything’. So we end up chasing many ‘enoughs’ and, even if we get them, we (amazingly) aren’t happy.
Here I discuss the Law of Diminishing Returns (or Cost/Benefit Analysis) as a metric to learn that ‘enough’ is less than we think. And I use this ‘rule’ to help prioritize my life and focus on what things I need to maximize, and how to be efficient about it so I have enough energy left over for all the other stuff.
We all have fears about a lot of different things. Some are benign and don’t really affect our daily lives. Like a fear of spiders. Yeah, we freak out when we see one but most people don’t worry every time they put their shoes on that a black widow will bite them. Other fears can be absolutely crippling, like the fear of public places rendering some folks to never leave their houses.
Fear is also the root of anxiety and depression; anxiety is the fear of the future and depression is a fear of the past. These two cripple all of us to varying degrees and make it difficult for us to grow. Fear can make it extremely difficult for us to change our lives in positive ways.
Fear is also stigmatized, especially for men, because it is often viewed as being weak. My purpose this week is to reduce the stigma of fear, provide evidence that we all suffer from fear to varying degrees, and illustrate multiple lines of evidence about what we can (and can’t) do about it. As usual, I request a discourse that includes your comments and feedback about how we process fear in our lives.