Relationship with Yourself

"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with."
~ Wayne W. Dyer

Cultivating and creating extraordinary relationships starts with you: knowing how you are wired, what your hot buttons are, what you love, what makes you tick. It starts with your ability to take responsibility for your own joy, sanity and health before you can do it with another person.

It is knowing yourself in this way that allows you to fall deeply in love with you.

I know, you've probably heard that many nauseating times – love yourself first.

However, I created this section, Relationship with Yourself, to break down this lofty, untenable concept of loving yourself into some simple sections – each with practical information and real life techniques.

Try them out, give them a whirl:

  • How You Are Wired & What To Do About It
  • Taking Radical Personal Responsibility
  • Your Sweet Downward Spiral
  • A Strict Diet of Appreciation
  • Shifting Any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps
  • Joy & Celebration as Your Touchstone

This unshakable love affair that YOU cultivate with YOU is the foundation that allows you to have great relationships with others. You are the only one who can take responsibility for having a great relationship – with yourself first.

"Let us not look back in anger or forward in fear, but around in awareness."
~ James Thurber

How You Are Wired

As a developing young human, you had many specific experiences that shaped you and made you who you are.

And you, as all developing humans do, had specific reactions to these experiences, and your reactions were imprinted on your developing mind, kind of like deep pathways or grooves.

Your pathways or grooves become part of who you are, they become your patterns and habits. Some of these patterns and habits make you the brilliant superstar you are, and some are the kind that limit you, keep getting in your way, and you really want to shift.

Still with me, here? Good. Here's where it gets kind of hilarious.

Whenever one of your grooves or pathways are triggered, up comes your pattern. Even though it is something from your past that is being triggered, it feels and seems like it is happening presently.

Which is all fine and dandy until you realize you have been living out your whole life as patterns based on your reactions as a 3 or 4 or 5 year old.

See? Hilarious!

What To Do About It

Yes, really, there is good news. Up until reading this, you have been operating from a pretty limited level of self-awareness that I call "Hamster Wheel." You get triggered, up come your patterns, you react. Repeat sequence over and over again.

Kind of like a hamster running on its wheel, that doesn't even know it is running on its wheel.

But there is another level of awareness that I refer to as "Bird's Eye View." This means you are sort of looking down on yourself, noticing yourself get triggered, noticing yourself do your pattern, noticing yourself react, etc. You know you are doing it. You have the vantage point of a bird, looking down, seeing the larger picture.

So, rather than your patterns having you by the throat, and you not even knowing you are in their grips, with the Bird's Eye View level of awareness, you can begin to watch and notice your patterns and your reactions. This takes you out of a constant state of knee-jerk reactions, and, most importantly, offers you the power choice – to react differently than you usually do.

This is important:

The point, at first, is not to make your patterns go away. Remember, they are part of what make you extraordinary. The point is to cultivate this awareness, and then to begin to turn down the volume on the unhelpful patterns that are screaming incessantly in your ear, making you run like a hamster.

The aim is to recognize your patterns for what they are, as part of the way you are wired, and then to develop the power of choice around them.

To understand your wiring better, and to start experimenting with turning down the volume on your voices, I recommend you sign up for my free E-Course, and I walk you through just that in Week One.

I go over the next step in understanding what to do about your wiring in the next section, Taking Radical Personal Responsibility.

No worries: I go through the simple steps to shift any of your patterns in Shifting Any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps. If you want, you can skip ahead and go there now (rebel!), but it might all make more sense if you stay with me for right now.

Back to Relationship with Yourself
Back to How You Are Wired & What To Do About It

Go on to Taking Radical Personal Responsibility

Back to Your Sweet Downward Spiral
Back to A Strict Diet of Appreciation
Back to Shifting any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps
Back to Joy & Celebration As Your Touchstone

Taking Radical Personal Responsibility

"Everything that happens to you is self-created.
Whenever you're responding to any situation, whether it's a sip of coffee,
or a traffic jam, or a love note, or criticism from a boss, or rainy weather,
you're in fact responding to a signal that you generated within yourself."

~ Deepak Chopra

There are two ways to look at taking personal responsibility, one in the sense of acting dutifully, and another in a more radical – slightly peculiar, profound and unusual – sense. By this I mean taking initiative and acting from a place of empowerment and leadership.

The first sense is probably most familiar to you. I want to talk about both. Both are essential in having a stellar relationship with yourself and with others.

On a basic level, taking responsibility means being, well, responsible!

It means you choose to make your life, and those you interact with, clear, clean and in integrity.
It means being an adult: Mean what you say and say what you mean; Do what you say you are going to do, when you said you are going to do it – and when you don't, clean up your messes. Admit when you are wrong and when you screwed up, cop to your part in a snarl; Learn from it, do it differently next time.

And granted, none of that is easy. Most of the time it means admitting you are wrong when you are wrong, and you (like all of us) would prefer to be right, to look good, to save face, even if that is a sham.

However, to put it succinctly, you can be right, or you can be happy. Your choice.

On another level, the "radical" level, taking personal responsibility means deciding to be the sanest person in the room at all times.

It means that you realize that you create your own reality, that you accept that you are the cause of everything that happens in your world, so you are therefore the best and only qualified person to do anything about it.

A little shaky on the "I create my own reality" concept? It means that you are clear that there is no one version of reality. There is yours. You create your version of reality based on your particular personal patterns, interpretations and reactions. It also means you recognize there is a distinction between a thing occurring in your reality, and what you decide that occurrence means or what to do about it.

Once you've come that far, it means that you realize that you are the most fit person to steer any situation, conversation or relationship you find yourself struggling in toward joy, clarity, and health. It means, you first! It means not waiting for anyone else to do it, even when – especially when – you think the other person is responsible!

Since you create your version of reality, you are the best and only person to shift it.

Taking radical personal responsibility on this level means that you decide your overall objective is to have healthy and extraordinary interactions and relationships with the other people in your life, including YOU, that it is you who acts first to make this happen, and that that is more important than you being RIGHT.

Again, you can be right, or you can be happy: your choice. Or should I say, your duty, your initiative, your responsibility.

And here's the kicker: taking radical personal responsibility means that you also take responsibility for your own happiness and joy. How does that one work exactly? And how exactly is that good news? I'll work it out for you in a few following sections, starting with Your Sweet Downward Spiral. Join me and I will hold forth.

Back to Relationship with Yourself
Back to How You Are Wired & What To Do About It
Back to Taking Radical Personal Responsibility

Go on to Your Sweet Downward Spiral

Back to A Strict Diet of Appreciation
Back to Shifting any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps
Back to Joy & Celebration As Your Touchstone

Your Sweet Downward Spiral

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

~ Anais Nin

When I was a professional dancer, I noticed that I would often find myself at the bottom of a familiar hole, kept company by voices that sang to the tune of, "you're not good enough, you're too fat, you're not good enough, you don't deserve it, you don't try hard enough, you're not good enough, you're not good enough."

It should come as no surprise that I found it very hard to resist these voices. And once I started listening to them, they lead me down and down to a dark place of despair.

After several trillion times of finding myself at the bottom of that hole, I started to wonder why I kept letting myself get dragged down that ever persistent downward spiral.

But more importantly. I also started to notice that I actually wanted to go down there, that like to admit it or not, there was something familiar, safe, and sure about giving in to the downward spiral. It was darkly seductive and strangely gratifying, albeit in a completely unproductive and unhealthy way.


A client of mine recently told me about a recurring fantasy she has about a movie star in which he reveals himself to be all the things she has always wanted in a partner, and never gotten. Her fantasies are elaborate, intricate, lengthy, and darkly addictive. Whenever something triggers her to feel badly about herself, she seeks refuge in her fantasy. Even though it is ultimately isolating, unproductive and unhealthy, in the downward spiral of her fantasy, she has a place she can go that is safe and familiar.

This is how it is with these things I call downward spirals – familiar patterns of negative self-talk or a particular fantasy you replay over and over in which you get saved, get respect, get happiness, get even, get safe. The pattern of self-talk or fantasy comes to feel like reality because of how many times you go down there. It is real because you make it real.

You've repeated the downward spiral so many times, it becomes like a familiar, worn sweater, comfy and known territory. Above all, the mind likes known territory and is frightened by new, unknown territory. So frightened by the unknown it would rather go down a downward spiral than try something new.

Good to know.

There is an opportunity here.

The universe has so much to offer you, but you block it by indulging constantly in your downward spiral. If you indulge in the self-talk, there is little room for your brilliance to have air, light and food to blossom. If you indulge in the fantasy, there is little room for anything in real life to every measure up and be truly fulfilling.

The opportunity here is to see a downward spiral for what it is, not a trusted, familiar friend, but just a familiar trip down the toilet.

The opportunity is to head it off at the pass. The next time you notice the trigger, the thing that starts you down the spiral, say, "Thanks for sharing, but not now."

Stop. Don't indulge. Take a breath. Move on.

What is the antidote to a downward spiral? It is A Strict Diet of Appreciation.

Back to Relationship with Yourself
Back to How You Are Wired & What To Do About It
Back to Taking Radical Personal Responsibility
Back to Your Sweet Downward Spiral

Go on to A Strict Diet of Appreciation

Back to Shifting any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps
Back to Joy & Celebration As Your Touchstone

A Strict Diet of Appreciation

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometimes
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don't paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I'm telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

~ Kaylin Haught

I'd like to put you on a strict diet. Of appreciation, that is.

Saying NO

Most of the time, the voices in our heads are extraordinarily harsh and critical. You know the ones I am talking about, right? If you spoke to a friend the way you spoke to your self, you wouldn't have any more friends.

As you give sway to these voices in your head, you are indulging in a sort of IV drip of constant self-disapproval. Disapproval is a big, fat NO, and it brings you down, down, and further down. And you disapprove a great deal more of the time than you approve or appreciate, am I correct?

For this rampant affliction, I like to recommend a strict diet of self-approval and appreciation. Begin to buck the trend in your mind, and begin to appreciate.

Think back to a time when you were falling in love with someone. It is almost like you were wearing tinted glasses that cast a rosy hue on this person, in which everything they did was charming, even things you would ordinarily consider annoying or disgusting. But you were in love with them, and their habits became transmogrified to be endearing.

It is this I am suggesting you cultivate with yourself. Yes, I am serious. As a daily regimen, begin to smother yourself with appreciation. Self-adoration, even. Fall in love. Begin to find charming and endearing even the things you would ordinarily consider annoying or disgusting. Especially these things. Cultivate an unshakable partnership – with yourself first.

You might start to whine and tell me there is nothing gorgeous, charming, brilliant or delicious about you. But that is just because you have spent the last 20, 30, 40, whatever, years disapproving, so that is what feels real.

This is different than positive thinking. Honestly, I hate positive thinking.

I am not suggesting you lie to yourself or blow smoke up your own hoo-ha.

This is shifting your attention from disapproving of yourself to appreciating.

It's simple, but it's harder than you think.

You can start slow. This is a strange, new concept perhaps, but somewhere you know I am right. So start.

Saying YES

You may have to start small in order to locate your long atrophied muscles of approval. You've spent your lifetime building a strong case for your disapproval, and have spent years collecting evidence to back it up. Time to start gathering new evidence. Time to start building the muscles of approval.

Sometimes you've just got to say enough already, and just do it. Begin to approve of yourself as a rule. Add more YES into your life. Admire the way you handled a situation, that you spoke up, that you picked your nose and no one noticed, the fact that you bought yourself dinner, the light on your hair, the arc of your beautiful neck, a new muscle, whatever.

Slather yourself with compliments even when you don't feel like it. Especially when you don't feel like it.

I will let you in on one of the great universal secret truths: whatever you put your attention on, grows. Put your attention on how much you suck, and you suck. Put your intention on noticing your talent, your gorgeousness, your sweetness, and you are talented, gorgeous, sweet.

When you begin to say YES to yourself with your approval, you begin to go up, and to light up. You begin to be the radiant, lit-up creature that is your birthright. Simple, but not necessarily easy. But so worth it.

Zen masters often refer to the mind as a drunk monkey tied to a tree. We've all got a personal drunk monkey. My strong recommendation is to put the crazy simian chorus to good use. Come back from the dark side, and use the voices for good, not evil; for health, radiance, and joy rather than self-deprecation and self-loathing.

Again, the point is not to eradicate all un-healthy voices from your head, but to gently start shifting your refrain from one of self-hatred to one of true self-appreciation. Harness your voices, and use them for your own good, and thus for the good of others.

You might be thinking, I can't say good things about myself, that's bragging, that's boasting and that's bad. The conventional view of saying anything nice about yourself is that it unfairly elevates you and hence puts others down.

Upon a closer look I say there is a big difference between things said or thought with the intention to put someone down, and things said or thought with the intention to celebrate, to praise, to make the whole room light up.

I will go so far as to say that one of the most generous things you can do is enjoy and celebrate yourself with yourself, and in the presence of others.

It can take time to turn the boat around, and it may feel like work, and most of the time you really won't feel like it. But eventually, it will be second nature, and you will be causing an epidemic of self-enjoyment, and will find yourself at the epicenter of the party of your life.

As you begin to approve of yourself more and more, you are moving toward YES, you are taking new actions, which begins to re-wire your mind. I go more in depth into this concept of "re-wiring" in Shifting Any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps. This diet of approval is far from frivolous – it is a set of vital new action on your part. New actions and thoughts are a vital part of shifting any pattern.

Back to Relationship with Yourself
Back to How You Are Wired & What To Do About It
Back to Taking Radical Personal Responsibility
Back to Your Sweet Downward Spiral
Back to A Strict Diet of Appreciation

Go on to Shifting any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps

Back to Joy & Celebration As Your Touchstone

Shifing Any Pattern: The Three Essential Steps

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
~ Albert Einstein

Like all of us, you have ways you want to be better, healthier, happier. You have habits or patterns you would like to cease, or things you wish were different about yourself.

But where we all go astray is thinking that we need to fix or change something.

The thing is, there is no end to fixing or changing; it is not a real, sustainable solution. When you think you've gone and changed, finally fixed yourself, there you are again, back to square one.

Fixing and changing imply that you are broken or in need of an overhaul, and I say you are not. So, the point is not to try to fix or change your self, but to shift unhealthy or undesirable patterns to more healthy ones.

Up until now, your mind has been wired to repeat the unhealthy patterns, but you can re-wire it for ones that are better, happier, healthier.

Are you familiar with what a "paradigm" is? It is basically a particular perspective, worldview, or way of seeing things. If you really want to be able to be different, to shift a habit or pattern, what is called for is a paradigm shift. Shifting the paradigm you are using gives you the ability to see things differently. Which gives you the power to ACT differently and to DO things differently, and hence to get a different result

I break the process of shifting any pattern into 3 essential steps:

* Noticing and Identifying The Pattern
* Getting Fully Fed Up
* The Doing of New Actions

Noticing and Identifying The Pattern

Noticing that you actually have this particular pattern or habit is fantastic. I think of any pattern or habit as a belief that is looking to get shook loose. The only way the belief knows to get your attention is to keep showing up. And it will keep trying to get your attention until it actually does. Yes, your pattern will keep showing up, over and over and over again. It is a pattern after all!

The good news is that you also keep getting the opportunity to shift that particular pattern – and to recognize the belief that is looking to be let go – over and over and over again.

The process of noticing helps you get to know your pattern so that it can tell you what it needs to tell you, and so that it can let you go.

When do you do the pattern? When does the pattern get triggered? By what kinds of interactions, by whom, how often? What happened just before you noticed your pattern kick in? What is the earliest time in your life you noticed this pattern? You are often on autopilot around a habit, so this might be hard at first, but the awareness, the noticing will begin to happen .

Getting Fully Fed Up

Until you are thoroughly fed up and sick to death with your pattern, you will not be sufficiently moved to shift it. What I mean is a thorough and complete understanding of what this pattern is "costing" you – the multitude of ways it causes you to suffer and be less than you can be.

You have to fully grasp the ways in which this pattern is making you – and others – miserable, and also to understand that it will continue to make you that particular brand of miserable for as long as you have this pattern.

If you are not really, truly fed up, it means you are still "getting" something out of the pattern, and what you are getting out of the pattern is still greater than your suffering.

Try asking, what in that pattern might be trying to get your attention? And also try asking, Is this suffering worth it?

If you weren't suffering in this way, what would be possible?

Once you are fully fed up, anything seems better than what you've got now. Shift to something else? No problem!

Ingrained beliefs are only true because you've spent a lifetime assuming they are true and building a case to affirm they are true. They are as true as you believe them to be. If they are limiting you and what you want in your life and relationship, deconstructing them is tantamount to success, freedom, and change.

The Doing of New Actions

Sometimes out of these first two steps you get a new perspective and you can therefore do new actions. Because you have a new paradigm, you can act differently.

But sometimes you just have to start straight away with doing new actions, and the new perspectives follow. This last step is the doing of these new actions, regardless of whether your paradigm has shifted yet. New actions shift your old patterns and "re-wire," your mind, if you will.

One type of new action is to actively "work on" your pattern.

If your health is suffering, but you are not that self-motivated, a new action could be to work with an ass-kicking personal trainer. You could read a book on your pattern, talk about it, do therapy, take a walk, contemplate it, journal about it. All these are active actions that have you moving in a new direction.

The other kind of new action is actually not actively DOING anything, but leaving space around it, the quietness of just being with your pattern or belief.

This one is tricky. It is not inaction. It is, in essence, holding space for wisdom to come; for your current paradigm to shift. Often we just want to tackle an issue, make a concerted effort, work on it and get it over with. But the doing, as well as the not doing, are both important to shifting a pattern.

Up until now, mostly we use our limiting beliefs about life and ourselves as a space to create from. But what if you used the fertile ground of your juiciness, your joy? More on that in Joy and Celebration As Your Touchstone.

Back to Relationship with Yourself
Back to How You Are Wired & What To Do About It
Back to Taking Radical Personal Responsibility
Back to Your Sweet Downward Spiral
Back to A Strict Diet of Appreciation
Back to Shifting any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps

Go on to Joy & Celebration As Your Touchstone

Joy & Celebration As Your Touchstone

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
~ Albert Camus

This section is about what it takes to be happy, to have a fulfilling and joyful life.

This section is about using Joy and Celebration as your touchstone.

So, I will lay another universal secret truth on you:

You are, at this very moment, at whatever point you think you are in your "spiritual evolution," in full control of your happiness.

Admit it. You think if you are good enough, or work hard enough, try hard enough, or get lucky enough, happiness and satisfaction will descend upon you from the sky in the form of something like a great partner, a fantastic job, a sexy body, lots of money, respect, etc.

Those things are cool, and fun to have. Have them, enjoy them, no reason not to.

But here's the rub: To the undiscerning eye, it looks like the external circumstances bring the joy. But it is the other way around. It is your happiness, your living in shameless celebration of your joy that brings those things to you.

And other cool things like being radiantly attractive, charismatic, on purpose in your life, fulfilled – also all come from you living your particular brand of joy.

I don't mean that your joy and celebration has to look like a full-tilt party with fireworks all the time. What I mean by fun, joy or celebration is ANYTHING in which you are lit-up and enjoying yourself. It is anything that is the opposite of down, depressed, confused, angry, despondent, or indifferent.

Now, you might not know the first thing about what makes you happy, or joyful, or what is fun for you, but that's OK. Most people don't.

The place to start is getting in intimate contact with your joy and cultivating whatever are your fun things. What is most celebratory for you, most sweet, sacred, peaceful, delicious, what makes you tick? It might be lofty, like Mother Teresa's joy in working with the poor and sick, but it might be small and simple, too. Only you know.

And if you don't know now, it is simply because you never looked or asked in the best way. I'll be so optimistic to say that all humans have a joy engine in them. The secret to happiness is to hook your cart up to your joy engine.

Simple, but not necessarily easy. If you want some extra support, I'll take you through an exercise to get you connected to your joy in week 8 of my free E-Course.

"It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis."
~ Margaret Bonnano

To be truly happy, you must take initiative, each day, to make a case for fun, for celebration.

The moment where you catch yourself not having fun, being whatever brand of miserable you are really good at, at the bottom of your particular downward spiral, that is the moment you recover your sanity and the key is to make a case for fun and celebration.

You probably won't feel like it. It is much easier to get your needs met through "negative" circumstances. Constant celebration of who you are and what you love takes fortitude, vigilance and muscle.

And here's where it gets even more interesting. You are not only in charge of your own happiness and joy, but you can do it for everyone around you as well.

I like to keep dropping great universal secrets, and here is another:

Charisma and self-confidence are simply a person approving of and enjoying themselves in the presence of another. Acting out what is most fun for you not only underscores your uniquely delicious attributes, but also simultaneously gives others permission to get on board your joyride.

I will go so far as to say that one of the most generous things you can do is enjoy and celebrate yourself in the presence of others.

Try it. Enjoy yourself in the presence of another, and suddenly everyone will be enjoying themselves. Your joy is contagious. You possess this Force within you. You can think of me as Yoda from Star Wars if it helps you. Whatever. Harness the Force already.

"Self-trust is the first secret of success."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can trust your joy.

You HAVE to trust your joy. Having an extraordinary relationship with yourself IS trusting yourself.

What you love will lead you brilliantly through your life, learning what you need to learn. It will offer you amazing experiences, showing you what your particular brand of happiness and success looks like.

To dig deeper into all of this, I invite you to dig into one of the live or self-study courses I offer in Working Together. Each, with a different focus and different medium, walks you through all of these topics, and more. The practical exercises in it are designed to give you immediate shifts that you can use in your day-to-day life.

Go on to Working Together

Back to Relationship With Yourself
Back to How You Are Wired and What To Do About It
Back to Taking Radical Personal Responsibility
Back to Your Sweet Downward Spiral
Back to A Strict Diet of Appreciation
Back to Shifting any Pattern: The 3 Essential Steps
Back to Joy and Celebration As Your Touchstone

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