‘Mental Freedom™’ part two

By KIM OLVER
Posted 9/2/20

If you are coming late to the party, or want a refresher on last month’s introduction to the process I call Mental Freedom, you can find it here. There, I introduced the first three …

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‘Mental Freedom™’ part two

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If you are coming late to the party, or want a refresher on last month’s introduction to the process I call Mental Freedom, you can find it here. There, I introduced the first three constructs:

  • Distinguishing responsibility from response-ability.
  • Trusting everyone to do just one thing: the best they know to do in any situation to get what they want in that moment.
  • Recognizing that you never have to do anything; every single thing you do, you do because you want to. You just have to get in touch with your reason.

Now, let’s move on to the next three constructs.

Emotions are both signals and weapons

People can get really hung up on emotions. In actuality, they serve two clear purposes, and you can use them as tools to help you rather than allowing them to work against you. Which purpose they serve depends on how long they last.

Humans are quite adept at conducting a utopia in their heads about how life, and everything in it, is supposed to be. In this make-believe place, everyone is responding the way you believe is correct. It’s too bad this place will never be reality; there are just way too many variables that we have no control over such as other people, random events and time marching on.

When we encounter something that doesn’t match the way we think it should be, we have a brief, involuntary emotion. You can’t control whether you become sad, angry, disgusted or worried when things don’t match the way you want them to be. It’s going to happen and is totally normal; you can’t help it, stop it or slow it down. It is what it is.

However, when you don’t recognize that brief emotion as what it is—a signal that things aren’t how you want them—and you allow it to persist, then it becomes something more than a signal. You are no longer just recognizing life isn’t how you want it, now you are harnessing that emotion in an attempt to change life into what you want it to be. You don’t know that’s what you’re doing. In fact, it feels like you’ve been hijacked and are a victim of these painful emotions that take up residence in your heart. You point your fingers at whatever is wrong in your life and assign blame for why you’re feeling the way you are.

This is, of course, a lie you are telling yourself. Your emotions are simply energy. They can’t make you do anything or say anything. After the original signal, you choose your emotions as your best attempt to get what you want in that moment.

I know this is a lot to wrap your mind around and it likely goes against everything you’ve been taught and believe, but I have many examples of this concept helping people. Once you see this truth, you can’t unsee it. Think about the last time you were sad or angry about something. Ask yourself what you wanted that you were trying to get with your anger. It was probably some version of the following:

  • Retention of something you lost. It’s a way to keep the lost thing alive in your mind.
  • Attention or assistance.
  • Control over someone else through intimidation or guilt.
  • Showing others with your sadness just how much you loved someone.
  • Freedom from responsibility, the space you need, connection with other people miserable about the same thing.
  • Safety with depression to stop you from suiciding or killing someone else.
  • A habit that may no longer serve you but you don’t know what else to do.

The emotions are painful, yes, but at least they provide something you want.

Rather than despair in your imaginary ‘worst-case scenario,’ make up a helpful story

Another skill on the path to Mental Freedom is the recognition of the control you give the stories you make up in your head. Humans have a need for closure—a gestalt, if you will. Life doesn’t always provide that, so we make it up in our heads. That isn’t so bad, unless the stories you construct are hurtful to you, and they often are. The antidote to this is to question the stories and perceptions you have in your head. I propose that since you are making up the story, why not make up a story that helps you feel better instead of worse? You’re making it up, anyway! You don’t know the truth; you’re only imagining what might be happening. Why tell yourself stories that don’t serve you? Start making up stories that help put your mind at ease. For example, instead of telling yourself your partner just ended your relationship because you aren’t good enough for them, tell yourself the relationship ended because your partner felt inadequate walking next to you through life. You are never going to know the real reason. Why not tell yourself something that feels good instead of awful?

Appreciating the GLOW

Think of the worst thing that ever happened to you. Maybe you lost a loved one. Perhaps you are battling a serious illness. Maybe you are a survivor of sexual abuse. In this human experience, there are many versions of pain. Take the worst emotional pain you’ve ever experienced and give it a number from one to 100. Whatever number you assign, understand that there is at least that same amount of positivity in that very event. If you experienced a 65 in pain, there is a corresponding 65 in GLOW. Many people are never exposed to this concept, so they never find their GLOW. Some don’t even know it’s there, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

When most people are experiencing pain, they believe they are at pain’s mercy. This is only true if you give your pain that power. When I work with people, I ask if they are ready to feel better. If they are, we proceed. If they aren’t, then I can’t help them. If you are in a painful situation and you truly want to feel better, your first step is to realize there is GLOW in your situation. GLOW stands for gifts, lessons, opportunities and wisdom. Once you accept that’s true, then you can go on a journey of collecting, recognizing and finding gratitude in those things.

I’m not saying your pain isn’t real or that it will magically go away. However, when you can collect an equivalent amount of GLOW to your pain, then you will no longer be held hostage by it. You will be able to say thank you to the cause of the pain, realizing it brought along equal value in gifts, lessons, opportunities and wisdom.

I know this is true because I’ve been using this concept in my own life and the lives of my clients and have yet to find an exception, and also because it’s a law of the universe. Every naturally occurring element in our world has an equal number of protons and electrons—the same positive and negative charge, if you remember your periodic table of elements. The same is true for our life events. You just have to look harder for the GLOW because our human brains are hardwired to notice the negative over the positive.

If you are ready to begin your own path to Mental Freedom, you can register for the next Mental Freedom Group Coaching experience at www.bit.ly/MFCoaching.

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