No “dumping” zone

No dumping zone - abundance guy

I had a link on last weeks post to this blog back in 2017. I couldn’t figure out how to fix it, so I just thought I’d repost the blog:)

Do you feel people are often “dumping ” their problems on you?

Do you feel like you can’t say no or stop someone from talking about their problems? Does it leave you tired?

Do you feel obligated to hear someone’s problems? is it supportive for you?

It feels good to vent now and then and I enjoy supporting family and friends that are working through issues. However, to hear someone go on and on about their problems, especially when its filled with gossip or blaming others is usually draining. I certainly have noticed this for myself. Sometimes when I feel this obligation to listen, I notice a few things happen. First, I resent it and my energy gets drained. Also, I’m not as present as I’m usually wanting the conversation to end after a while………. Any of you, start checking emails or doing chores around the house when a conversation becomes one sided? How much value are we really adding in this “not so present” listening mode. If someone is really stuck in “drama” mode, getting stuck talking excessively about the problem, gossiping or blaming others for their situation, that is a lot of negativity to hear. I feel it eventually it starts to drain ones energy.

In the past I have gotten mad at myself for “listening” too long as now my energy has been affected, sometimes lasting for hours or more after I leave the conversation. No matter how much we love someone, does allowing our energy to be drained really serve either person? I feel keeping my energy high actually helps the other, even if they can’t see or feel it.

A few years back, I added a 5 minute “dumping” rule for myself. That is, I would allow 5 minutes of “dumping” to go on in a conversation and if it went beyond I then asked the person if we could schedule a time (if I wanted to) when I could better listen and be present for them. I would say something like, “this sounds like a really important issue for you and I want to hear you when I can be fully present” or being more direct, “it is sometimes draining for me to hear someone talk at length about their problems when my energy is not so strong”. If their was a lot of gossip and blame, I sometimes would offer, “I feel I might be more helpful to you to be a sounding board for SOLUTIONS to your problem” (rather than gossiping and blaming others). Of course, communicating this can be a delicate balance in relationships. I have noticed that it is best to bring up how you want to communicate in the future to those closer relationships, as in the heat of the moment can be a bit harder for the other person to handle. Practice those “I” messages when communicating, “I feel this way”…..”I notice this about myself when”, ect. We all are allowed to feel how we feel about something.

Know that this is a practice and you will likely mess it up, at least I do. I believe in taking small steps to improvement  and that often comes as two steps forward and one step back.

I have been practicing this 5 minute rule more these days. It takes some communication and patience and what I found was and is that when I did this with some people they would eventually dump somewhere else and in many circumstances our connection grew as we more frequently moved into real feelings and solutions when some of the drama was removed. Also, there is an definite energy shift when you change from talking about the problem to talking about the solution.

This is still a work in progress for me and I’m always on the look out for creative ways in dealing with “dumping”, so let me know if you have any ideas!

Energy Bus

I read a book called the energy bus a while back and really like the simple message the author had in an entertaining story format. The story in a nut shell is about a guy with nothing going right in life learns how to be responsible for his own energy. The story gets going as the guy hops on a bus, after his car breaks down, and gets on a bus with a “special” bus driver. The bus driver over the days he is taking the bus, teaches him some steps to improving his energy and thus his life. Though it is more focused on the guy’s business life, it has a lot of lessons that are great reminders for everyday life. 

The book has 12 “steps” to creating better “energy” for yourself and the one that I resonate now as I reflect back on the book it is “getting rid of energy vampires”. Basically, saying we do not have to keep relationships that are taking our energy away or draining us over and over. I would offer that can be very important in your overall daily attitude and health. It seems there are willing “energy vampires” that will dump their problems on you until your glossed over and drained. I think some of us do not realize how draining these conversations can be. I feel sometimes we can get caught up in others story and or feel obligated to listen. For those relationships that truly are draining the book says, get rid of them.

I agree for the most part, as it seems life’s too short to let yourself get “energetically sucked” all the time. So, saying no to being “dumped on” is important to me. I wrote an earlier blog about having a 5 minute dumping rule (click here) you might be interested in reading.  In that, I mention that it usually feels better to handle more difficult conversations on your terms, when your energy is higher and your better prepared. Also, guiding or requesting conversations to focus on solutions always feels better to me. With taking about solutions I feel I can keep my energy higher and of course, that conversion usually has more positive energy around it.

Clearly their are certain relationships that maybe more complex that you chose keep or maintain for various reasons and times when you just have to “be there” for someone in time of need. I’m just suggesting to take a look at the those consistent “energy vampires” in your life. Also, even though a person maybe be a co worker you must be around or maybe a family member, that still doesn’t let you off the hook for “managing” that particular relationship. Often, having the courage to tackle the tough relationships often leads to a better relationship and/or just more energy for you.

Just say no

Okay, we may not be able to say “no” to everything in our lives that stresses out. We all have jobs, partners, family, ect. that can often feel like we are getting a lot of “no” slapped in our face. Sometimes, I have people dismiss this happiness quote below as impossible. I get the thinking and I’ll offer how about looking for just one YES you can say to yourself by saying “no” to some person or life situation that’s stressful when it presents itself to you. If you decide to do this, you will often be surprised by the opportunities that present themselves.

See how you feel when you say “no” to a person or situation. See how your energy changes. You can start small, maybe with a person you do not know at all or a situation you always say yes normally, especially if it has a bit of obligation to it. How about diving right in and telling that person that always calls you to complain or to dump their life on you, you do not have time to talk today?  Remember, your just practicing and you can say no today and choose differently tomorrow. Maybe you can work towards communicating to that person how the “dump” feels energetically to you. Maybe you just make the conversation 5 minutes shorter than normal. Again, your saying yes to yourself and keeping a bit more of your energy for you!

In my book, any step towards a YES for you and your improved happiness is a step in the right direction:

 

 

Thank You – do you take it in?

Receiving thank you is an abundant practice

The definition of thank you is “an acknowledgement of appreciation or expression of gratitude”.

It is important that we are open to hearing and feeling appreciation and gratitude coming to us.

When someone thanks you for something, how do you respond? Do you say “your welcome” or do you have a hard time hearing it? Maybe you deflect the “thank you” by saying something like, “oh, it was nothing” or “you would have done the same for me”, ect. In my abundance work, I often find many people are better at giving than they are at receiving. There are a number reasons for this, however, I believe for us to receive more abundance, in whatever area in life we want, we actually have to be open to and good at receiving! If we can’t receive a simple “thank you”, how are we to “receive” more of other things? Like stepping on a hose that limits the water flow.

So, a practice could be to FULLY take in a “thank you” before responding at all, maybe just for a second, and “feel” the “thank you” and then respond with “your welcome” or in some manner that you acknowledge the appreciation coming your way. I feel when you do this you are acknowledging your gift to that person and receiving their appreciation at the same time. This balance opens the door to more abundance.

True power is not about force or control…

Abundance guy - True power electricity hitting water

” Most rarely align with their true power, because it seems illogical to them that there is power in relaxation, in letting go, or in love or joy or bliss. Most people do not understand that their true power lies in releasing resistance—which is the only obstacle to their true power.

Most people do not expect their path to great abundance to be one of ease and of joy. They have been taught that struggle and hardship and sacrifice are requirements that must be met before the reward of great abundance can be realized. Most do not understand that the very struggle they deliberately involve themselves in, in their quest for success and advantage, actually works against them.

There are so many things that you have been taught to believe that are counter to the powerful Laws of the Universe that it is difficult for you to think your way out. And that is the reason that we present this path of much less resistance.

We want you to breathe rather than try, to relax rather than offer effort, to smile rather than struggle, to be rather than do. For your true power is experienced only from inside.” Jerry and Esther Hicks

I have experienced this first hand, when I push or force things to happen, I find it hard, difficult or a struggle as they stated in the quote above. The amazing thing was when I actually tried the other way by connecting deeper with myself and letting go of trying to control things or people around me to see it my way, I realized it was much easier and everything I needed was there…

For example, have you ever had the experience when you want something that when you let go of the outcome, you often get it? Think of a business situation or personal relationship where this has been true for you – remember that sale you really let go of and you got it or that relationship where you were true to yourself first and then it worked out for the best. This is the power of aligning with your inner understanding rather than being effected by the events or situation outside of you.

 

Don’t take anything personally


I love the book the 4 agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (its one of the books in my “inspiration” tab on my website). Really simple and yet very powerful. I haven’t read the book in a while, but I have a deck of his cards that have one of each of the agreements and a sentence or two about them. I like to now and then pick one and I usually always get something out of the review.

One of the cards “Don’t take things personally”, his second “agreement” caught my attention over the last few days. He defines the second agreement as…

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality…. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

I noticed and thought about how powerful this is. I have definitely gotten better at not taking things personally, but boy it is hard sometimes. I think the bottom line is that when one has a “need” to be accepted, this is when one can really be effected by the opinions of others.

I find that because I am confident and like who I am and am at peace with the way I am, then I do not really care if someone says “John, I don’t like your clothes, you’re too skinny, too fat, you should live this way or that, etc”. Everyone is really only expressing their own individual beliefs and opinions, based on their views and interpretations of their life experiences.

So, it does not make sense to take on an other’s criticism or opinions when it really has nothing to do with you?

Ruiz says in the book when you take these things on as true, your accepting poison from another. I like to think of “poison” as the emotional garbage someone else is throwing out. I certainly like the practice not being the trash can for anyone!

Just ask

Asking for what I want is one of my favorite things in conversations I have learned to do more of. Wasn’t really easy at first, for a somewhat shy Midwestern boy, but I practiced and now I’m occasionally asking for some pretty big things. Things I would have never asked in the past. I still feel uncomfortable in certain situations, however, it just feels so much better to be honest with my feelings, intentions and desires. It’s so easy to fall in the trap of hoping the person your wanting something from is going to read your mind. Gosh, if you have been in a relationship long enough, you are supposed to be able to do that, right? Likely, that thinking will lead to disappointment and frustration as I haven’t met many mind readers that get it 100% right out there.

Of course, this doesn’t let us off the hook for being aware of the feelings the people in our relationships are giving off and “helping” them out now and then by checking in with their needs. But, be careful there, if you do this too much, then your trying to read the person so much it circles back to trying to figure out what they want. Though most of us likely don’t do this consciously, we often use some kind of manipulation to TRY to get want you want. If I do this, then can you do this or that for me? Or we go through some elaborate strategy or emotional drama to “guilt” someone into doing what we want. Hey, we have all done it. My view is let’s just clean it up with some honesty and trust that WE will be okay no matter what the outcome of our “asking” is.

Also, this doesn’t mean we always get a yes when we ask for what we want. We can still have some disappointment or frustration to work through, however, with your clear communication, it often leads to greater opportunities to talk about those things that are important to you or maybe work out a “yes” sometime in the future.

 

Relationships

I subscribe to Ross Bishop’s blog, which lately has been experts from his latest book. I find most of his work pretty heavy, though accurate. Kinda coming down to psychology and the wounded child in all of us driving a lot of our lives. I get it, but I just don’t want to hear about it every week which is why I don’t read his blogs all the time. Then a few months pass and I read one and it reminds me a bit to be aware of those beliefs patterns little Johnny might be running as big John and feels like a worthy exercise of awareness.

This one is more specific about relationships and has some interesting thoughts.

 

RELATIONSHIPS
by Ross Bishop

We think we know what love is, but honestly, not many people do, because we have never experienced it. We didn’t get unconditional love from our parents and we weren’t encouraged to find our hearts as we grew up. And we certainly haven’t been encouraged to do that by society! Our various relationship breakups and perhaps a divorce have also made us gun-shy.

Many people operate under the fantasy that having a partner will make them feel good enough about themselves so that they can continue to ignore their inner feelings of inadequacy. After all, a new relationship feels pretty wonderful! Usually things go fine at first, but after the excitement wears off, friction sets in and then things go south.

 

Tom Robbins said: When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on-series polygamy-until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.

Dating for most people is a negotiation where the couple agrees to limit the openness and commitment they expect from one another. It is never openly discussed, but it becomes the dominant defining quality of the relationship. And so they circle, neither being willing to fully step in and each feeling somewhat cheated. In some relationships one partner capitulates their needs to those of the other in order to try and make the relationship work and also to fulfill her own needs.

The need to be loved can become an addiction and the threat of its withdrawal can cause us to sacrifice everything – losing our integrity, honesty, self-respect and dignity in the process. And that is the ego doing its job, getting us through difficult situations while limiting the exposure of our shortcomings. Looking back, we can see the foolish things we did, trying to prop up a relationship that would have failed on its own without artificial life support.

The unfortunate consequence is of all this that you become reluctant to enter in and be as vulnerable as a real relationship requires, because it will expose your “inadequacies.” A real relationship would ask you to take emotional risks that you aren’t prepared for. So instead, you choose from the “less heathy” group of candidates. You will seek out someone who feels damaged themselves because they are safer. It is the inadequacy wound that drives almost all of our codependent behavior, by the way.

Sarah Dunn wrote: “Why does anyone stay in an unhappy relationship? Because people do. They do it all the time. And the truth is, when you’re in it, when you’re up to your neck in the everyday part of life with another human being, sometimes you don’t exactly notice how bad things really are. It’s not always as apparent as it would seem. Unhappiness, when it involves another person, can be like that line from The Sun Also Rises about going bankrupt, how it happens two ways: gradually, and then suddenly.”

Why don’t we see the future more clearly? Has your partner really changed that much or have things that were latent before just come to the surface? Songwriters say that “Love is blind,” but that isn’t true. Love can see just fine. Codependency however, is blind as a bat, and that points us to the biggest reason people mess up relationships.

If you open your heart to another and he or she turns away, you will feel badly, perhaps very badly. Your sense of self-worth can take a painful hit if you are dependent upon another person for acceptance. And when your partner doesn’t make your feelings of inadequacy go away and the relationship turns sour, then you feel betrayed. Thus, you must create walls.

Andrew Boyd wrote: We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems-the ones that make you truly who you are-that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person-someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

A reminder to listen, really listen, to others

Something I read today got me thinking today about how we really do not listen to others very often. We often are so anxious to push our experiences, feelings and opinions on others we miss what others experiences, feelings and opinions actually are. Actually, at one level we maybe just trying to connect by saying , “oh yeah, I went to that restaurant, city, country or whatever as well”. That “sameness” can feel comforting at times, however, sometimes when someone has “done” that to me, I do not really feel listened to and in some cases if they did the thing I did, but in a bigger way, I can feel a bit “smaller” sometimes. Certainly conversations can be unconscious ego competitions as well. For me sometimes, I’ll stop the depth of my conversation saying to myself, well if they are not going to listen, I’ll move on. The energy of the conversation has shifted for me. So much for the sameness!

I’m playing with my listening practice, by really listening and asking open ended questions about others experience, How did it feel? What did it look like?, smell like? What did it mean to you? Do you want to do that again and why? Expanding my understanding of how important this experience was to this person as I can and maybe even try this persons shoes on for a second or how life looks through their eyes. While doing so, keeping my experiences to myself, unless asked. This is hard to do sometimes! But, do I really need to tell someone I have mountain biked that trail a hundred times while their in the middle of explaining their excitement for riding it for the first time?

I feel we can miss an opportunity to connect at a deeper level, understand a friend better, or even hear the other side of an argument that you totally disagree with: well at least the first two!

 

 

 

Feel better by shifting your focus from problems to solutions

Focus on solutions instead of problems - Abundance Guy

“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them.”

 

Read this quote somewhere and reminded me that when we are in our problems we are often focused so much on them, that our thinking becomes self fulfilling……Focus on problem, the problem remains, gets bigger or more problems surface…..When we are stuck in/on the “problem”, we are in the “energy” or thinking of that problem. We think over and over about the problem.  Play it over in our mind, again and again, I believe staying in the “problem energy”.

Let’s say we have a problem with a person that “created” a problem for you. What someone said or did. Staying in what was said or done, will not change anything of course. What was said or done is over and in the past. Talking consistently about it will only keep you in the situation of the past. That situation has an energy to it, like a vibration, and I believe affects not only your thinking, but your body and its health and vitality. Think of the difference you feel and your energy you have when you have a pleasant conversation versus an argument. One you feel fresh and light and the other drained, sometimes physically AND emotionally.

I Kinda like to think that each old thought of this “problem” as you are bring it (the thought of the problem) into the present like an anchor. Having to bring the thoughts (the anchor) of the past forward into the present. If we had no judgement on the issue, we would just move on, right? But, sometimes we instead carry the burdens of the past forward or we choose to be right versus happy and free. We love to blame things on others, it’s easy, their not there to speak the other side, so we talk about how THEY have affected our lives. It’s their fault. Of course, this gives our power away as now the problem can only get fixed if someones else does something. Good Luck on finding long term happiness when others actions determine your happiness!  I get caught up on that one personally sometimes. Also, we can be often be just unconsciously stuck in negatively. I occasionally see people that seem to like stress and negativity over peacefulness, almost like an addiction, without being aware of it.

In situations like I’m describing are conscious, we know where the “problem” came from, however, there are also unconscious thoughts and beliefs that we have built up over the years that we are repeating. It’s like we are in a circle or whirlpool that can be difficult to get out of without a new way of looking or thinking about the problem. Sometimes these “circles” can last for a long time, a lifetime, dragging the negative energy of the past into your present moment. In my breath work, I see this all the time. Energy that is stuck from old issues, literally stored in the body, even though the “mind” thought it has cleared the problem. The breath is just one tool that can help move this.

Another simple one, is to focus on solutions. Forget the past (easier said than done with our egos), and just focus on what you need to do NOW………..I am not saying to suppress or not feel emotions. Expressing emotions are healthy, getting stuck in those, in my opinion, is not. My view is, let your emotions move and complete and move on. I believe that can start by just the focusing and thinking about the solution over and over. Solution, solution, solution……Just that shift in awareness alone is so powerful. Maybe it will take some small steps to get started towards an eventual solution. I believe ANY small step can get progress flowing in the right direction.

I have a friend that had some health issues in the past and I always admired how she refused to see herself as “sick”. She focused on the solutions to her “issues” even when it was and sometimes is challenging for her when solutions were foggy. Among other things, she is just repeating to herself, “I am healthy”, over and over, again and again. She continues to improve to this day even though doctors do not really know what’s “wrong” with her. Our thoughts and actions are so powerful!

Like anything else its a practice and my clients and myself find we just feel better when we focus on the solution.