Today I would like to write about a kind of attitude which can be perceived like negativity sometimes. There are people who thoroughly enjoy putting other people down. They are not actually negative – but they enjoy putting you into a negative space, a mood in which you don’t feel good anymore!
I am sure you have already met such people in your life as well! No matter what you tell them, they will criticize something about your story, how you acted or what your thoughts are to this topic. Intentionally, they will say something that provokes you or gives you the feeling of not being welcome in that conversation or being wrong.
I believe this is a psychological problem and has very much something to do with self-esteem. These people can be educated and even have lots of degrees but they don’t feel good about themselves. They are not secure in their self-confidence and want to satisfy their ego by showing that they are superior to others.
That’s how they have fun in putting others down. They believe the way they are doing things is the only and best way. Everybody who does anything different is practically stupid and thus inferior to them – so that they can feel good about themselves. For this, they don’t hesitate to hurt another person. Knowing that they are in fact terribly unhappy with themselves, with the world and life around them, is the base for dealing with such situations.
Set your boundaries and limits for such people as soon as you realize how they are acting. If you don’t want to be unhappy along with them and don’t want to be dragged into this miserable mood they want to create for you, you need to block their attempts. The best is to get rid of them as soon as possible. You have no chance of having a normal conversation. You cannot correct them because they are convinced that they know everything better anyway! They won’t stop until you are unhappy and feel bad.
So remember that they are actually the ones feeling insecure and having a problem with their self-esteem and their ego. Don’t let them reach until your feelings. Don’t take them serious in what they say and best of all, keep conversations short and light. In this way, you will avoid having your good mood and feelings ruined by someone who just wants to make others feel bad!
Today is my appointment at the hospital to get the stitches taken out of my knees. I am already feeling quite good but I am also happy I have another ten days to prepare myself for the flight to Germany. While being in the state that I am in right now, I had to think of the difference that your mind can make when you are injured or ill: you can either enjoy being ill and suffering in this illness or you can decide to just be as healthy as you can.
I have got to know many people in my career of counselling others who just enjoy being ill. They often started off with getting ill once. It was not too bad and when they talked about it to others, they got sympathy – which they liked. Slowly, maybe with their next illness or when their problem continued over a longer period of time, they realized that it was a very comfortable excuse for all kinds of things. Mostly a way to say no without being rude.
Instead of being self-confident and telling others that they didn’t want to do certain things, they told them they couldn’t, due to their illness. Even if that was not completely true, it was easy to say and others had to believe it. They didn’t have to gather the courage and strength to tell the truth, which was that they just didn’t want.
So they just continued being ill. Although they could be fully healthy and normal or maybe just live with a tiny problem, they insist that they are ill. Much more ill than is reality. They are not necessarily fully aware of what they are doing. The subconscious mind is quite powerful in covering up the truth in a way that you like it. You practically make yourself believe that you are ill. The consequence is that you also act accordingly.
Once someone is in that track, he just starts loving his illness so much that he won’t get out of it anymore. He won’t see that people see through his drama. They understand that he is playing a bit more than necessary and they may just play along. Maybe, some will also confront him sometime. That may hurt though and that is the point when people sometimes come for counselling to me.
I generally recommend them to see the joy in healthy living. I don’t say they are not ill at all – who am I to judge upon that in the short time I see them? No, but even if you are ill, just try to act as healthy as possible! Don’t act ill. Keep a regular lifestyle, work around the discomforts that your problem gives you and lead a normal life. Instead of hiding behind your illness and avoiding to stand up for yourself, practice saying ‘no’. Be yourself but enjoy your life!
In the past days I was not only lying around in bed: I was doing my physiotherapy exercises, played with Apra, talked on phone and worked on the computer. Practically, I had normal days just with limited mobility. I did what I normally would do – just while sitting in bed. I don’t like being ill or sitting around in bed and that’s how I simply don’t give importance to it. I do as much as I can – and I think it is helping me to get better more quickly.
Let’s see what the doctor will say today – but I think I will be fit for our flight to Germany in ten days!
Last week I told you about an Irish lady whom I met in 2005. She was very insecure and had been on a spiritual search, trying different masters to find the right one for herself. I started noticing after a few meetings that this was what she was looking for: a guru, someone to carry her responsibility for her.
She had really very little confidence in herself. It is not very unusual to meet people like this, especially in the west where people have generally difficulties in feeling what they really want. This is why they cannot decide and have to ask others what will be good. This woman, too, had no clear idea of what she wanted and no self-confidence.
What she did have, which is also common to people who are insecure about themselves, was the trust in others. When she had found a person whom she wanted to follow, she trusted him or her without further questions. She trusted me, too, and she had a belief that I could somehow magically give her a hint for her future or bless her so that she could do the right thing. I would call that superstition now and in that time I just recognized that she was looking for the guru in me – whom I had left behind after my time in the cave.
I thus took the next chance that I got and told her very clearly that I was absolutely not a guru and that I had no intention of making her a follower. I very seriously talked about this with her, making her aware of her own responsibilities. I told her that I would always be there for her if she needed my opinion as a person, if she wanted me just to listen to what she felt and if I could maybe help her think in another direction. I would not however tell her what she should do. She would need to think on her own and, most importantly, feel on her own!
We had some serious and very honest talk with each other. After this, I believe she contacted me a bit less frequently. She was in touch, though, and she told me when she had finally, after years, found a man whom she loved, with whom she wanted to get old.
She came to meet me in Germany together with him. They were in a cute way alike and everybody who met them agreed that with their jolly nature they just fit very well to each other. They joined a meditation and we all knew that they were meant for each other when they both fell asleep while I was still speaking and snored on the couch in the back of the room for the rest of the meditation. It was a cute picture to see them next to each other. In the end, both of them came to me, hugged me and said ‘That was a wonderful meditation!’
One of the people whom I met on the big program in Dublin in 2005 was a woman from the area. We met there, she liked the program and came for individual sessions, too. In the following years I would be a help for her many times and mostly in one way: listening to what she wanted to say.
Let me describe you this lady a little bit. She was in her thirties and single. She had a real estate business and the first thing that I can remember I got to know about her was that she was afraid she could lose money. In later talks I got the impression that her focus was often going towards the financial aspect of the things we talked about and it paired itself often with the fear of losing money, of complete ruin or the general feeling of not having enough money. Obviously her fears for the real estate prices were not baseless – which showed itself years later, when the market crashed in the Irish economy crisis – but the root of this fear was not the consequence of logical reasoning in her mind, it came from her feelings, without any further cause. I often felt that she was deeply insecure.
This insecurity did not only reflect when it came to money. It was pretty much all over her life. She was searching for a partner, as every normal single man or woman does, and as she was a jolly and open woman, I witnessed over the years several attempts with different men in different countries. I believe that it was her insecurity in the majority of these cases that made the relation end before it could even really begin. She simply had difficulties taking decisions.
Her insecurity was the reason why she had until then been running from one guru to the other, trying to find a spiritual master to whom she could devote herself. Someone who would tell her what to do, so that she could trust that she was doing the right thing. She had spent longer periods of her life with different spiritual leaders and in the search for one she had probably also come to my program.
All I did was to listen to her problems. She mostly had the solution ready already, too. She was clever enough and not wrong with her ideas, so she mostly already knew what I would probably say and I thus only had to say ‘yes’ and listen. This was what usually gave her enough confirmation to actually go through with something. She needed that, someone to listen and tell her ‘Yes, that is right, you are doing fine!’
There were a few times when I had to tell her the opposite of what she was thinking, though. I told her honestly and outspoken as I am that I thought what she had just told me was utter and complete nonsense and that I would never in my life even think of such a thing. I was very clear – and she needed exactly that. She accepted my opinion also if it was completely different of hers. She immediately turned to my opinion and said ‘Oh yes, you are right.’
When I realized that, I thought that this was getting too close to my old role as a guru – I didn’t want to be that anymore for anybody, be that an Indian or an Irish follower. What could I do about it?
When Ramona and I were talking a bit about money last week, I realized once more in what a nice situation we are here in our family and how unnecessarily some people get stressed about money. Let me explain you this a little bit in detail.
We live together in a family and believe that you should share with each other. This does not only mean that we share the space that we are living in with each other. It is also not only our feelings that we share with each other. We also share money.
This does not mean that we don’t have separate bank accounts – we do, but we don’t stick to the idea that the money on one person’s bank account is only his. If we need to buy something and money is needed, it does not matter for us which bank account we are taking it out from. None of us will get angry if ‘his’ money is being used. Of course we sometimes make jokes about this but in the end we all know that we have so much more simply because we don’t think of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’.
Only with this attitude I feel we can live together in peace with each other. I have seen, heard and experienced how many families had big trouble just because of money. Inheritance is one problem factor and then of course there is always the question how much one earns and the other one spends.
When I hear, especially in the west, that even married couples have separate bank accounts and find this very important, I often wonder how they manage. If I then hear that they have fights over money, I can understand that they actually don’t manage well. Who pays the rent for the house you are living in together? For the food you all eat? For the car that maybe one of you uses more than the other? The electricity, gas, oil, etc? There are so many factors where you have to exactly calculate whose money goes where.
I am so glad that we don’t have to make this calculation in our family. It makes so many things so much easier. One feels also much richer! Just think: you see the whole amount of wealth that your family has and it makes you feel good. If that amount was divided by eight or more people, you would not feel as rich. So why don’t you see it as a whole and be happy?
I know many people who think they cannot live like this because they need the security of ‘their’ money. Don’t cling to ‘your’ money because of insecurity. If you share with others, it will not make you insecure! No, it will give you security because there will always be someone on whom you can rely and who will buy the bread if you don’t have the money for it at the moment. The personal earnings of your family, everything that comes in goes into one pot and everything that goes out, goes out from that pot.
If you have fights with your family because of money, I want to suggest you to get a big more relaxed about it. Don’t have the ego of having ‘yours’ and let go of your fear.
That is the real meaning of family, of love, of sharing. It includes money and it makes you free.
Yesterday I said that we need to give our children discipline in their eating habits. It is not only the eating habits, there are several areas in which you have to give them a clear guideline while you need to give them freedom and their own responsibility in other areas. Especially in their teenage, during puberty, our children are in a difficult process in between parental restriction of childhood and the freedom of adult life.
During their puberty, our children have to test how much freedom you give them and how much you still control them. They are in the transition from being a child to becoming adult. Boys grow to men and girls grow to women. They start taking their own responsibility for many parts of their life. It slowly becomes more and more and they need some freedom in order to develop these responsibilities. They will ask for more freedom and when they notice that they get it, they test exactly how much freedom you give them. At the same time however they have to get used to this freedom themselves and they have to learn how it is to take their own responsibility.
They start taking their own decisions but sometimes they are not sure about their decisions yet and seek your advice. This can look like this:
Daughter: ‘Which shirt should I wear tonight, the red one or the black one?’
Mother: ‘Whatever you like better! Both look nice on you.’
Daughter: ‘I cannot decide, what do you like better?’
Mother: ‘Maybe you take the red one.’
Daughter (doubtful): ‘Oh, don’t you think the black looks better on me?’
Mother (confused): ‘Then take the black one.’
Daughter (annoyed and exasperated): ‘But you like the red one better! Great, thank you, now I have no idea what I will wear tonight!’
And she storms off to call her friends for advice.
In such examples you can clearly see the inner fight that the girl is fighting with the young woman inside. On one hand the girl thinks she is already adult enough to make her decisions. It is not only clothes, but also activities in free time, school, what to do when and with whom. She wants to decide for herself. On the other hand however she wants to keep the security of the parental advice. Until now there was someone who told her what to do. She had no responsibility to decide or to bear the consequences.
If mother or father makes a decision in this situation, be it about the shirt or about any other thing, the first reaction is rebellion. The youngster – boy or girl – feels that another person wants to take control. ‘I am old enough to decide on my own!’ is the thought and ‘I will not do what they say!’ is the consequence.
If this feeling of rebellion is strong enough, he or she will do the opposite of what the parents told to do. At some point there can be some doubt though: ‘They were always right in my childhood… can it be that they are right now, too?’
This is the inner conflict of the child and once you recognize this conflict, it gets much easier for you as a parent to deal with it. Let your sons and daughters take their own decisions and carry the consequences. Don’t control every little detail but let them get the taste of being adult. If they want to go to school without jacket, although they may probably feel a bit cold, let them have this experience – of course not when it is snowing outside, but as long as it doesn’t harm their health, let them go. You can give a suggestion, it might be good to take a sweater or jacket, but don’t force them. They have to learn taking decisions anyway, otherwise they will always be insecure.
There are however topics with which you have to be strict and in which there is no question whose decision will be followed. Whenever such a decision stands, you have to make it clear that this is not a matter of discussion for your child. If you gave freedom in other decisions, your child will more easily accept such fixed rules and decisions.
Someone wrote to me in reaction to a diary entry of last week and told me that his insecurity did not develop inside himself but was instilled in him by his parents. His mother had always been very careful, always around him and always afraid that he might do something dangerous. He was thus always sheltered, nearly overprotected in his childhood. Now, as an adult, he feels insecure with everything that is around him. He asked me what he should do.
I decided to give him an answer in today’s diary entry because I know several other people who have the same issue, more or less severely. In some cases this kind of imprint from your childhood is visible and noticeable your whole life long and in many different areas of your life.
I have even seen people with this kind of insecurity in relationships where they actually only searched for someone who can take care of them and protect them. They search for another mother or father. If a man finds a wife in this way, they may face some problems in their relationship where the wife is tired of playing the role of the mother even to her husband or the husband at some point tired of eternally being in the role of the child. If a woman finds a man in this way, she, too, may someday have the feeling that she never really grew up and the man can also have the feeling that he actually would like to have a stronger partner at his side.
The point is that if you have realized this insecurity, you can change it! It is up to you! It doesn’t matter today anymore that your parents have been overprotective ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Now you are an adult and you can take your own responsibility in your hands. There is no need to seek for someone to take care of you. You can do it. This world is not evil and not that dangerous at all. It is there to enjoy.
Are you not tired of always depending on others to give you a feeling of security? It is a beautiful feeling to feel safe on your own. Experience it by realizing that nothing happens to you when you spend a day without protection of others. Be free. In a relationship this means that everybody takes their own responsibilities for their actions and not one partner all responsibility. This can get too heavy and difficult. Strengthen yourself from inside. You may not have learned that in your childhood but it is not too late for learning it now. Grow up, see that the world is beautiful. Live and enjoy life.
In one diary entry of last week I pointed out to lovely people who have difficulties accepting and loving themselves that they need more self-confidence in order to shake off insecurity with others. Some people have experienced so much insecurity and for such a long time that they have developed fear. They are afraid of so many things that could happen that their whole life seems to exist of fear only.
Of course there are people with whom this fear is so extreme that they need professional help of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Many people however can still live their lives and they seem fine when you pass them on the street or speak a few words with them but inside there is a deep hole of fear.
This can happen when people have experienced something horrible, an accident, a crime or something that has shocked them so much that they are afraid of the world. In this case, too, I would recommend professional support. A psychologist specialized on such traumas can help you to leave the memories behind so that they don’t affect you anymore in the present.
If that is not the case however, this kind of fear often develops gradually in the course of years. It starts with a small worry. Is that what I am doing right? It grows to the insecurity that I described yesterday when you are unsure about everything and everybody around you. And then it climaxes in irrational fear.
People suffer very much in such conditions. They lead their lives like everybody else but they are worried about everything they do whether it is right or can have bad consequences for themselves or others. When they walk in the street, they are always afraid someone may steal their purse. When they are in company, they are afraid that someone thinks ill of them. When they say something, they wonder an hour after it whether this sentence may have caused someone to be angry or upset. When they enter a car, they prepare themselves before that they might have an accident in it and die. When they lock the door of their apartment in the evening, they double-check three times that it is locked and all shutters are closed so that nobody can come in. If they have the courage to travel, they are afraid that the plane might crash, that they get lost in the jungle, that they drown in the ocean or become victim of some kind of crime.
The strange thing is that these people still do all of those things. They just do them with their worries and fear. If you are in this situation that I have just described, I would like to ask you something: How many times have you had this fear and nearly panic in the last week? How often in the last month, the last year? Hundreds or thousands of times, right? But still you are here, safe and sound. You are alive. You are healthy, your body is fully fine. It is only your mind that tricks you into the illusion of fear. You have been afraid thousands of times but whenever a situation comes in which there is some difficulty, you managed it. You were worried, thinking how you will survive and how you will keep on living. You have survived and you will again, in every of those situations.
Fear is an illusion and it spoils your life. If you are afraid, you cannot enjoy. Whenever there is a challenge, you are afraid of it before, during and after it. There is no moment in which you can simply enjoy. You are fine and you are able to cope with the situations that life brings you. Have trust in whatever is out there in this universe. The whole world is there for you, not against you. Let your fear go. Live.
We had a great day today, enjoying the beautiful weather in the North of Germany. Jens, Regina, Celina, Ramona, Yashendu and I went to meet Andrea and Michael at the beach of the Baltic Sea. The water was very cold but nevertheless some of us went to dip into the sea. It was a beautiful holiday.
I once had a healing session with a woman who had a very common and at the same time very old problem. She said that she has had this problem her whole life long: she is afraid of not being loved and not being accepted.
I say that this is a very common problem because I meet really a lot of people who have this problem. It is also a problem which affects all areas of your life.
In your family you may have always felt that your siblings get more love than you do and still today, when you are with your parents, you feel like you have to fight for their affection and appreciation. You work harder to make them proud of your independence and you help them and are there but always feel that you may not be enough to be loved just as you are.
At your workplace, while working in a team you think that everybody else just fits so nicely together while you are not a complete part of the team. You are all the time worried, self-conscious about what you say because it might be wrong or not valuable to the common project. You hesitate to speak openly about more private things, too, because your colleagues may think your hobbies are strange. You join office parties and celebrations although you don’t really like them, just to be a part of it.
Among your friends you think everything is perfect. When you are together, you joke around, talk and everything seems just fine. But when they leave, you feel exhausted, sit down on your couch and think that you need some time alone now, to be just with yourself and to be yourself. Doesn’t that mean that you played a role all the time? Maybe to make your friends like you and love you more? To be lovely and loveable?
Even in your relationship and with your partner, the person by whom you should feel most loved and accepted, you sometimes have doubts. There is not any reason for it, he hugs you, loves you and treats you just as always but still you sometimes are afraid, he might just one day be gone.
I have met many people who have this problem, maybe not always in all parts of their life but often in several. Whenever they interact with others and even if they are alone, they think about whether they are fine as they are.
Let me assure you: you are loveable, lovely and loving. You don’t need to do any change to yourself to please another person. You don’t need to play a role or wear a mask. This world is so big and there are so many different people in this world that it is normal if a few don’t agree with you or don’t like you. It will happen to everybody. But in the same way there will be people who love you. Don’t go into your inferiority complex, stop comparing and just be yourself.
It takes some self-confidence to get out of the habits of comparing and pretending to be someone else but if you don’t get this self-confidence, you will spend your whole life in doubt, worrying whether others like you or not. Love yourself, as you are. Accept whoever you are, respect your feelings of what you want to do and what you don’t want to do and love! Then your mind will be free from the worry and you will realize that others do love you as you are.