A genuine sense of security
One reason we are so focused on wealth acquisition is the need to feel secure. We believe that if we have a large amount of money in the bank, we will be protected from lack, pain, difficulty and struggle. In a limited sense this is true. However, security is simply a state of mind.
But Will Edwards believes that it is not the money itself that makes us feel secure; it is our belief that adequate financial reserves protect us from bad experiences.
If we look logically at this concept, we realise that having a lot of money really cannot protect us from anything, except perhaps surprise expenses. Still, a fat bank account does not guarantee we will never experience anything negative. There will always be car accidents, terror attacks, illness, job loss, troublesome relationships, and more. Having a lot of money will not matter when we find ourselves in those situations, because they are completely out of our control.
The only true security we have is what we can create in our own minds. There is true security in believing in ourselves, in having confidence to overcome challenges, in our spiritual beliefs, and in doing our small part to make this world a better place.
Imagine living your life with the unshakable belief that you have what it takes to succeed, no matter what else is happening around you? Imagine never feeling frightened by outside influences again. Imagine knowing that even if the worst case scenario were to happen, you could easily and quickly pull yourself up by the bootstraps and do what needed to be done to get back on track. That is true security!
Believing in our ability to handle whatever comes our way is much more effective than trying to guard against potential negative experiences. That is the best kind of security, because it empowers us to feel in control of our lives – if not every situation, at least the outcome of the bigger picture.
THE QUEST FOR
Another way we try to create a sense of security in our lives is by seeking power. We believe that if we obtain a position of power, happiness and success will automatically follow.
Power, just like security, is an illusion. It cannot prevent us from experiencing anything negative. It cannot erase our deep-seated feelings of inadequacy or insecurity. It cannot make us successful.
In fact, power over others often becomes a burden all on its own. Along with the ability to control people and situations come the responsibilities and obligations that flank a position of power. Rather than feeling in control, we feel more out of control than ever.
As much as we might like to, we cannot control certain events in our lives, and we cannot control others. We can control only our own thoughts and actions.
What most of us are really seeking is a sense of EMPOWERMENT. Not control over others, not control over outside circumstances, but control over our own thoughts, emotions, and actions.
As frightening as it may seem to release the illusion of power, it is also very freeing in a way. Once we “get it” that we do not HAVE to be in control of anything except ourselves, we learn to relax and let go of what we have no control of. We learn to go with the flow and do our best without trying to meet some vague, impossible standards we set for ourselves in an effort to feel in control.
Even if all outer aspects of our lives seem wonderful, our emotions can still cause us to feel unhappy. Traumatic memories can stifle our development. Negative thought habits can fill us with feelings of frustration and powerlessness. Negative self-talk can cause us to sabotage any goals we set.
Emotions can be a tricky thing to understand, but it becomes easier when we consider that our emotions are fueled by our thoughts.
If we THINK negatively about ourselves, we will FEEL badly about ourselves. If we focus on the negative in our lives, our lives will seem to have a negative theme. It is all about what we focus on the most that determines how we feel.
Think about the last time your day took a sudden dive because of something simple.
Let us say you were driving to work, singing along with a song on the radio, and some adolescent cut you off in traffic. Your first thought might be, “What a guy.” Your next thought might be, “People are so rude these days, and I seem to encounter the rudest of them all. What did I ever do to deserve this?”
From there your mood can continue to spiral down as you ponder your bad luck in having to deal with inconsiderate people. Do you see what happens in situations like these? You have a negative experience, and then you internalize it. Not just for the moment either, but for the rest of your day. Even worse, because your attitude tends to attract most of your experiences, feeling negative will continue to attract more rude and inconsiderate people into your day.
Though it seems impossible, we can control our emotions. We can CHOOSE our emotions, moment to moment. And we begin by choosing our thoughts. Using the example from above, what would be a more empowering response? You could simply say, “That was not very nice,” and then turn your attention back to the song you were singing.
That may seem like a difficult thing to do when your anger is ignited, but with practice it gets easier. Rather than internalising the things that happen to you (especially things you cannot control), simply let go of them and keep your emotional balance. If you pay attention to how you feel throughout the course of your day, you will become aware of whether your thoughts are negative or positive. Then you can simply choose to release your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts – which will make you feel better.
RELEASING THE PAST TO MAKE ROOM FOR SOMETHING BETTER
Letting go of past traumas is a little more challenging because they are often buried deeply in our subconscious minds. But buried or not, they can still wreak havoc on our level of happiness.
One of the most powerful techniques Will Edwards has learned for releasing old baggage is to relive the painful experiences. It does not sound like much fun (and in fact it is not) but it is definitely freeing. If you stop to think about it, much of our emotional baggage is “buried” simply because we did not allow ourselves to work through it the first time around. We suppressed down the feelings and tried to ignore them, and there they still lie, festering. If we unearth the painful memories and work through them like we could have done when they originally happened, we are able to release them and achieve closure.
Thomas Buckner opines thus: “To bring one’s self to a frame of mind and to the proper energy to accomplish things that require plain hard work continuously is the one big battle that everyone has. When this battle is won for all time, then everything is easy.”
Once you have worked through your emotional blockages, you may also want to examine the underlying beliefs that formed because of them. For example, an abusive childhood might result in a deep-seated belief that you are not worthy of being loved. Working through painful memories can be freeing, but it will not automatically change your underlying beliefs about your worthiness as a human being. You could still find yourself avoiding intimacy and sabotaging your efforts to create a fulfilling life.
The good news is that once you identify your limiting beliefs, you can begin changing them with a little conscious focus. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Rather than being a victim of your own thoughts, you can take control of them and choose them moment-to-moment. As you become aware of negative thoughts throughout the day, consciously replace them with equally positive (and usually opposite) thoughts. Visualise yourself with the determination, courage, and optimism you will need to succeed.
Believing in our ability to handle whatever comes our way is much more effective
BY CAPT SAM ADDAIH (RTD)