Not Feeling Heard

Not Feeling You Are Heard

Sometimes we feel we are not being heard. Sometimes that feeling is from an accurate assessment of other people’s behavior and sometimes it is just us. It may be because of a previous emotional experience and we carry that emotion forward. We might not feel heard because in our previous experience we created the belief that we are not heard and still live within that belief paradigm.  The belief paradigm creates the same experience and emotion as not being heard even though people are really listening to us.

Then there is the possibility that people are just not hearing or understanding what we say. When people don’t pay attention we can sense a lack of connection.  In this third scenario there may or not be things we can do about it.  Sometimes the thinking in a listener’s head is so busy and loud that you are interrupted.  Or a listener’s thoughts are so strong that they can’t hear you over their own thinking.  In this situation it is certainly not about you and so there is no need to take this personally. You just realize that the voices in their head drown out everyone they are attempting to listen to. The solution to this issue might be that you gently ask the person if they understood what you said. If they say they did, you might then ask them to explain it back so you can confirm their understanding and you are on the same page. Gently getting their attention can help. Criticizing them won’t.

When it isn’t the listener that is the issue there are steps you can take to help yourself be heard. Often times there are compensating strategies you have developed that are interfering with people hearing you. The very methods we have employed to make people hear us actually cause them to tune us out.  These approaches we begin to develop as a child might have worked when we were younger but as adults they have the opposite effect.  Yet, as adults we continue to unconsciously use them, or even over use them to our own detriment.

Ways we overcompensate in our communication to try and be heard: 

  1. We talk fast because we are afraid that we will be interrupted. We rush to get our words out before someone cuts us off. This adds tension to our voice.
  1. We speak loudly to command attention. We amplify our voice in an effort to dominate the conversation and keep others from saying anything that would take attention away from us. We are more likely to notice this in others and not in our self.
  1. We don’t speak at all. We decide that we won’t be heard so we resign ourselves to not bothering to say anything at all.  This way we avoid the experience of rejection we feel when our expressions are not acknowledged. The unconscious mind is likely running a kind of rejection movie and produces the same rejection experience and emotions anyways.
  1. We repeat our selves. Because we live in a bubble world of not being heard, even after saying something, we feel that our words were not heard and so we say it again, and maybe even a third or fourth time.
  1. We intentionally talk softly so others have to pay extra close attention in order to hear us. Any effort to get others to pay attention we act different which include whispering or mumbling. The result is that we feel we are getting close attention from people so deem that this approach is working. People might even ask us to repeat what we said and that attention helps compensate for the feeling of not being heard. However, other people will find it peculiar and their attention on your behavior may distract them from your point.

What is the effect of repeating ourselves, talking loudly, and or quickly?  To the listener it is an unpleasant experience.  Our words come across rushed, loud, and repetitive and the emotional tone of our speech is one of tension, perhaps, desperation, fear, anxiety, or resentment. This emotional tone, for example resentment, is from the reaction to the assumption that we are not being heard, even as we control the verbal space. We may not be consciously saying these things, but the unconscious tone and emotion of our beliefs will be felt at some level.  The listener feels these emotions of tension in our words and will want to withdraw from our unpleasant emotions.

The result of all of these compensating strategies is that people tune us out. Ironically, these artificial efforts we make to be listened to cause people to not want to listen to us. This reinforces the feeling and belief we started with. The closed loop of this dynamic causes us to try harder at the compensating strategies that are not working and people tune us out more strongly.

Are we likely to notice if we employ these compensating strategies in our speaking?  Not likely.  Putting our attention on our own words, cadence, volume, and repetition is not something we commonly do with our attention. We are more likely to notice how others speak.  So becoming aware of our own speech patterns may be an important step to improving our conversation connection.

Deeper Layers of Beliefs

Let’s say we get rid of these compensating strategies that are ineffective efforts to make ourselves heard. And we get rid of the “taking it personally” reaction when someone doesn’t have the capability to focus their attention on what we are saying. What we might be left with at that point is still a feeling of not being heard, except now there doesn’t seem to be a reason for it.

The solution path is that we have to look deeper into our thoughts, belief systems, and emotions. We begin at the very basics to inventory the whole situation and see what we find. We begin with the thoughts we have about what is happening and scrutinize everything.

“I don’t feel that I am being heard.”

For starters, this isn’t very clear. “Being heard,” is a description of another person’s behavior.  “Not being heard” is far removed from describing our own feelings and emotions. These are two different things and the clear articulation of this will help. It might seem to us, or we might perceive they are not listening which is an observation or assumption of the other person’s behavior. Our feelings would be described by words like, unworthy, hurt, frustrated. A more accurate statement might be, “You seem to me to be paying attention to something else and I am having some emotional reactions to what I am perceiving.”

To really understand the issue we need to describe a feeling, or emotion we are having as separate from their behavior. Unworthiness or worthlessness is more accurate as it describes what we might be feeling.  Unimportant might be close, but it is still related to someone else’s opinion of us. The important step is to clarify the separation between their behavior and our emotion.  Too often we merge the two in language and create misunderstanding.

Understanding Emotional Responses

Let’s say that an admirer brings a woman, Mary, flowers. If Mary likes the admirer she is going to have wonderful feelings about this.  However, if Mary doesn’t like the admirer, she is going to have a completely different reaction.  She doesn’t want flowers from a guy she doesn’t like.  Mary is likely to go into anxiety as to how to get rid of him in a way that doesn’t hurt his feelings and so Mary doesn’t look mean or unkind.  It’s an uncomfortable situation for Mary to get flowers from someone she doesn’t like. I use this example to show how getting flowers produces two different emotional reactions depending on which beliefs become active. Getting flowers doesn’t directly produce emotions.  The emotions are different in the two scenarios because Mary’s beliefs interpret the scenarios differently, and responds with emotions corresponding to each interpretation.

I’ve come to find that if someone is not listening to me that I relax. I realize they are not digesting what I am saying and so I let them do all the talking and chill out. What does your mind interpret when it seems others aren’t listening to you? What reactionary emotions are created and what are the beliefs that correspond to these emotions?

Do we believe that we are stupid, worthless, unimportant or rejected somehow?  Are we offended and hurt? These emotions are produced when our belief system is triggered. The point here is that we feel the emotions we feel not because someone didn’t do something. We feel these emotions because our belief system was activated to make these interpretations and produced emotions congruent with these beliefs. In cases like these, unpleasant emotions will correspond to negative or painful beliefs about ourself. The exploration of these triggered responses is best explored by writing them out and seeing what shows up on the page.

When we don’t feel heard there may be multiple layers contributing to this feeling.  It may be that others are busy in their mind that they are unable to listen and connect with us. Not feeling heard might in part be due to our extra efforts at compensating strategies which alienate people and tempt them to tune us out. They sense our tension, and don’t feel a desire to connect to an expression that lacks authenticity. And, maybe we are carrying beliefs of our past into a conversation and projecting emotions or historical interpretations into the present moment.  These projected beliefs can create the experience of not feeling heard, even when people are really listening.

To really find out which of these factors or others are contributing to the experience of not connecting with others requires some exploration. Simply pointing the finger at someone else for their lack of listening is not enough.  What is needed is to take some responsibility and get curious.  Taking responsibility means that we will consider that we are playing a part in our communication dance with others.  The curious part is for exploring the layers of our emotions, communication style, and beliefs that are contributing to our own experience.  In that self reflection process we become more aware of what was previously unconscious to us and make changes at a depth that will make a difference.

The practical approach that I suggest for this curious approach of exploring beliefs, emotions, and making changes is to sign up and do the free sessions of the Self Mastery course.  If you find they are helpful you can continue with the rest of the course or find another approach that accomplishes the same thing.

 

How To Create Wealth

How Do You Create Wealth

first take time to notice the abundance in your life.

How much is your eyesight worth?
How much is your hearing worth?
How much is the ability to breath and walk worth?
How much are friends and family that support you worth to you?

then you will have gratitude.
At this point, you might realize that you have all the wealth you need, and more.
With gratitude it will be easier to see what is possible.
      With Gratitude you can marvel with wonder at what is possible.
With these eyes of wonder you will be able to see and dream new possibilities.
With a sense of possibility you will have excitement and inspiration.
If you don’t feel these things, then perhaps fear is in the way of gratitude and possibility.
Then you must identify fear and change the false beliefs they arise from.
When we feel fear, or have limiting beliefs of fear, these emotions and beliefs determine what we see.
With fear we see a world with scarcity, competition, and adversaries.
With gratitude we see the people that will support our dreams and efforts.
When you feel gratitude you will see the world differently and will have faith in a greater possibility.
With Faith in what is possible you will be inclined to take action.
When you take a new action, you will get a new result.
Then you measure the result and adjust your next action for a better result.
Then you get better and better at getting results.
And then, many times in this process, ask your self if you will trade what you are doing, and what you are gaining for your happiness?   Many people often go after wealth and success without asking this question, and decades later regret the happiness the sacrificed.  It takes them many years to realize that their emotional state of happiness was devalued, when in fact it was worth more all along. It is the person that is happy that often has a precious joy that he will not trade for material riches.
If a person has dominion over their attention, and emotions, they you can live in peaceful happiness. Such a person is already wealthy.   They have a kind of wealth that people with money can not afford .

Stopping Negative Thoughts and Emotions

Adam wants to stop the negative thoughts and emotions of anxiety, insecurity, and frustration.  But there is more to it than just thoughts and emotion. When you look closer you find there is something pushing those negative thoughts and emotions. There is a past memory with repressed emotion, unconscious beliefs, and most importantly a false self image.

In spite of being very accomplished Adam still has many of the same feelings and emotions he felt in grade school.  When Adam was 10 he wasn’t very big or athletic.  In school pick up games he would be picked last. Emotionally it hurt at the time.  He explained it to himself in his mind by saying he wasn’t that good. That part was true, but the story and explanation didn’t stop there. Multiple times teams chose sides and multiple times his mind made up stories to explain his situation. He concluded that people didn’t pick him because there was something wrong with him.  When he would think about going out to play the next day, or next year all he could see was that he wouldn’t get picked.  Nobody wanted him on their team.  Over time the story exaggerated into “Nobody would ever want him”.  What Adam didn’t know in grade school was that he was forming beliefs about himself, including beliefs about his identity that would be with him for a long time.

These are the kinds of thoughts Adam would think and from his perspective of how things looked on the playground, it seemed like reality.  He could point to the playground and conclude that it was true.  The pain of these experiences cut deep into him. But worse, the agreements, or beliefs, Adam made about himself remained there into adulthood. In that memory was not only the story, but also an image of himself as a grade school kid with the emotions of feeling rejected.

Adam’s mind also made a kind of template that he used to explain other things from then on. What started as an explanation to oneself continued into a long running narrative.   When a girl turned him down or broke up with him he had a ready made explanation.  “Of course she doesn’t want to be with me. No one would want to be with me.”  When one of his projects was up for an award he was preemptively managing the possible painful rejection with, “Of course I’m not going to win.  I never get picked.”  Whenever he is going to meet with a potential investor for one of his deals he has a voice in his head that is certain it won’t go well. The common element in these stories in his head is that he identifies himself in the same role as on the playground. There is part of his mind, formed when he was 10 years old still alive in his memory explaining and justifying with the same reasoning at 40. It comes complete with that boy’s perspective, explanations, emotional pains and anxiety. The repetition of these types of narratives reinforced all the false beliefs and false identity patterns and made them seem more like reality each time instead of a story he told himself.

Adam has been trying to be aware of the thoughts and how to change emotions that he didn’t even notice that there is a false identity formed years ago claiming to be him which is the source of these thoughts.

Adam often saw the adult world from this emotionally wounded perspective and view events in a way that no one else around him did. When he would talk about potential investors turning down funding for one of his projects Adam would say, “It’s like I’m still on the playground and no one wants to pick me.”  The agreements and beliefs he made about himself at 10 years old were still active, alive, and even bigger at 40.

These days Adam still spends a lot of time looking at present day world experiences and possibilities through the identity and emotions of a 10 year old version of himself.  When he is having lunch with his girlfriend of 8 months, and she checks her work phone for messages, there is a voice in his head saying, “She cares more about work than me.  She’d choose work over me.  Whenever she has to change plans his 10 year old self is quite certain that she will break up with him. The internal dialog of thoughts has a continual narrative about what is wrong with him and why she will choose someone else.

Adam would say that his issue is insecurity and anxiety. Adam has figured out that these feelings are connected to these negative thoughts. What Adam is currently working on is realizing a layer deeper.  These thoughts are not coming from him but are coming from some aspect of the mind that is generating them on its own.  This strong emotional memory forged into a false identity doesn’t just have thoughts, it has emotions, lots of them.  It’s got emotions churning around since the playground days, struggling in school, old relationships, and career concerns. Because there are so many emotions throughout the day it is difficult to tell which ones are from where.

Adam has a talented and creative mind that is brilliantly quick.  It is why people are willing to pay him six figures a year to work on their projects.  His imagination can simultaneously be in several places at once which is a great creative gift as he is considering options.  However, when it comes to his emotions and a hurt ten your old imagining and explaining things it becomes emotionally painful quickly. Adam could easily be operating consciously or sub-consciously to produce emotions in four different narratives at once. He can be thinking about a meeting coming up and creating anxiety about it. He can also imagine that the meeting happened and that the people turned him down producing a feeling of rejection.  Simultaneously, he can be replaying a memory in the viewpoint of the 10 year old feeling the fear of not getting picked.  At the same time he is imagining a later segment of time not getting picked which produces feeling of rejection and unworthiness.  While he is in the meeting with potential investors, he is also on the playground feeling the emotional memories of a 10 year old self.

Sometimes these characters speak to us from our past as if they still live there.  They might still live in that same time period of the memory as well as emotional state, but they don’t live in reality. Imagination is powerful when it comes to our emotions.  If we believe the thoughts that these characters think then we will see the world the way they do, and we will continue to feel the emotions of our past. For Adam the challenge is to separate his perspective from the hurt 10 year old and keep it separate. It’s a tricky illusion of a belief bubble to step outside of but worth doing.  Becoming aware of identity perspective, and how our imagination can dream multiple distorting ones at the same time is critical to changing thoughts and emotions that arise.  It is so important that I spend more than one lesson of the Self Mastery course on ways to change perspective.

One of the common associated lies about these voices in our head (characters is what I call them) is that they are trying to help us.  They have some plan to protect us from getting hurt. They will tell us not to ask that person out so that we don’t get hurt from rejection.  They will tell us not to ask for a raise so we don’t get hurt from being told no. They will tell us not to start a business because it won’t work out anyways. If we listen to all these fears telling us what not to do a person can feel trapped and afraid of trying anything. The result is that we aren’t really happy. It turns out that these voices don’t really protect us from the pain.  The pain is already there in the memory. All the things these voices tell us work to protect their identity emotional memories and rarely helps us to be happy.

If you wish to change the negative thoughts and emotions you feel you will have to look deeper than the thoughts and emotions themselves.  You will have to look at the source of them.  There you might find some voices from your past, or something that you once identified as you at a younger age. If some of these character voices in your head are giving you advice on what you should and shouldn’t be doing today you might want to check their references.  Where did they come from and what emotions are they operating in?

 

 

Getting Your Needs Met Without Being Needy

Getting Your Needs Met Without Being Needy

Having needs is not the same as being needy.  No man is an island.  And neither is a woman. We all have needs, but we don’t have to go about getting them met in a needy way. Most days as an adult, we can take care of many, but not all of our needs.  We probably didn’t build our own house, get the water to run indoors, or farm our own food.  Yet growing up into adulthood we acquire the belief that we should be able to take care of everything our self.  As a result we ignore the reality of our interdependence.  We might even believe the illusion that we can or do take care of all our own needs. This kind of false belief is likely to lead to unhappiness in areas of your life.

If you are trying to project that positive self-image, which is often done in relationships, expressing needs looks like a stain of weakness on the success image we try to convey.  Indeed, today’s western economy makes it possible to meet all our own physical survival needs by ourselves. We can earn enough money to provide water, food, shelter, and rest in comfortable fashion. At first glance, it looks like all our needs are met.  However, in order to be happy and fulfilled, we need to have other experiences other than survival and that requires we meet other needs in ways we might not have considered.

We are complex beings and therefore have different kinds of needs.

Emotionally, we have a need to love and be loved.  These can take many forms like respect, appreciation, compassion, laughter, or other emotions. At other times it will be necessary to be in touch with emotions like grief, sadness, anger, or remorse so they can be processed and released. Without allowing ourselves to experience these we repress them and cut ourselves off from all emotions, not just the unpleasant ones. Suppressing emotions keeps us from being fully present and feeling alive in the moment.

For a relationship to be satisfying it will need to have mutual support, affection, sexual satisfaction, play, fun.  It will also need to be emotionally safe with feelings of connection, respect, and appreciation.  You don’t need these things to survive, but you will need them to be happy in a relationship.  A client, Jason, was finding that he wasn’t getting the kind of intimate time he wanted with his girlfriend, Anna.  He asked her if they could spend time during the week with their phones off, just paying attention and listening to each other.  He also asked for more time being affectionate, cuddling, and relaxing together.  Anna laughed it off, saying Jason was just being needy. In Anna’s world of beliefs, which made her successful in a corporate environment, “needy” meant being pathetic, weak.  Not long after, Jason figured out that by having what he asked for dismiss and judged by Anna, that he didn’t really need Anna.

Our mind has its own needs. The mind needs to be creative and dream.  It needs to be exercised, inspired, and at times spontaneous so it doesn’t suffer in boredom.  At times it will be good to be challenged so we stretch, grow, and learn. We also may have a need for our mind to be quiet and peaceful at times so we can relax and rest.

The aspect of our Spirit has a need for a connection to something bigger, whether you call it the cosmos, nature, or something more divine. The path to this connection will feel like a need for freedom, adventure, or at times isolation.  The yearning for a connection to a greater consciousness can cause us to ache.  If we do not seek out this connection and activity, whether it be through something inward like meditation, or outward like camping or church, we will ache in an unfulfilled way.

At a soul level we may need a connection to a community, the earth, or our fellow human beings. Sometimes this need is satisfied with a sense of purpose or meaningful work. Sometimes this need gest satisfied with gardening.  If you don’t’ find this need met with your job or hobby, then you will have to pursue volunteering.  Perhaps this need of the soul is met with a contribution to a community, or harmony with others at church.

Judging Our Needs

If our ego is so intent on not needing anything from anybody, then we are minimizing the importance of our happiness in the areas that nurture our emotions, relationships, spirit, and soul. Our ego will point to a hard outer shell and feel good about being strong and independent. At the same time the voice in our head is busy telling us that these feelings on the inside are not important and that we are being pathetic and weak for having them. This kind of self judgment will create an emotional reaction of insecurity or shame that will need to be dissolved. Sometimes this kind of self-judgment gets compounded with a fear that others will think of us as needy because we have these feelings.  It is these kinds of contradicting stories in our head, one that says we are independent, and a contrary one that says we are weak, that are clues that we are out of our integrity.   Not only are we isolating ourselves from others in ways that we could connect, we are not satisfying these needs that are essential to be happy.

Judging these needs/desires as weak, pathetic, or dismissing them represses them.  When the needs of our soul, spirit, and emotional body are repressed we don’t take actions to have them met and parts of our being continue to hunger and ache. The outcome of this lack of action is that we won’t have what we need to love, feel loved, fulfilled, and happy. In this case we might not be allowing our self to feel our real needs enough.

Over a long time of repressing these very real needs our pain grows and we feel victimized and then become frustrated, agitated, and angry. At this point real needs fester into a neediness driven by the victim aspect of the ego feels and we might desperate. This is when we become the kind of needy other people don’t want to be around.

Good Needs and Dreaded “Being Needy”

As we look at having our needs met, we need to have an awareness of the difference between real needs, and victim needs of the ego or we will venture into suffering at the other extreme. A clue that you are crossing the line from good needs into destructive needs are when your wants become feelings of desperation, fear, or insecurity. Another sign is if we are calculating our gestures in an effort to be covert and get what we want. If we are not being honest with our partner, then we probably aren’t being entirely honest with our self.  The Victim aspect of the ego only looks to others, and not to our self to make us feel better. And when feelings persist, or false expectations aren’t met, the victim aspect blames others for the disappointment, toxic emotions, and circumstances.

If you are hurt or blaming, then you are past the ego’s Victim aspect of needy and have possibly turned angry about it. If you find yourself making ultimatums or demanding someone do something for you, or you believe they are the only one that can meet your need then you have crossed the line as well. If your needs aren’t being met and you respond with emotional punishments like disappointment, judgment, resentment, or frustration, then you are engaged in an unhealthy neediness. Emotional punishment is not a good long term strategy for satisfying needs. Heck, it’s not even a good short term strategy. If we are trying to get our needs met in this way, people around us will withdraw, and we will be further away from the satisfaction and happiness we desire.

A quick question to ask yourself is whether you are operating above or below the line of feeling neutral. If your need involves getting out of an emotional pit like of fear, despair, or insecurity then you are likely operating from the Victim part of the ego.  If your need involves feeling more love, happiness, appreciation, or connection, then you are probably working on good needs that involve healthy positive interactions with others. The long term answer is awareness of several aspects; what your needs are, when they are victim ego driven, how you ask, and whether the people around you can or will provide for what you ask.

We are complex beings requiring only a few physical things to survive, but many other intangible things in order to flourish and be happy.  Holding rigidly to the belief of “not being needy” causes us to blur the line between material and everything else.  We think of food, water, and shelter as needs, and everything else as wants. We tell ourselves we can do without “wants” and “desires” because we don’t need them.  However, these “wants” and “desires” are what we need in order to be happy and fulfilled.  Maybe part of the problem here is that we don’t think of being happy or feeling fulfilled, as important in our life to have the status of a need. How important is being happy to you? Until it is important, we dismiss our wants and desires and live a life unfulfilled and unhappy. You don’t have to consider satisfying wants and desires necessary for survival, but they are essential needs for spiritual, emotional well-being, and happiness.

The Glass Is Your Life

 

Do you look at the glass and see it as half full, or half empty?

This isn’t a very important question, and the answer doesn’t matter. The more important question is, How do you look at your life? Even more importantly, is the story you tell yourself that makes the difference.  If you look at your life and you see the parts that aren’t full, or the feel empty, you will feel like you are missing something.  That is entirely okay to feel an emptiness.  It’s the beginning of a desire, a yearning, and that can lead to taking steps to get it.  Or do you look at that emptiness and feel down and tell yourself a story of pity and sorrow? Do you ask the people around you to partake in joining you to fill up that empty space and make it what you want? Are you willing at that moment to do something different?  Or do you look around waiting for someone to somehow know what you want without telling them, and hope that you get it, while you keep painfully feeling the emptiness at the same time.

Or do you put your attention mostly on the part of your life that is full.  Do you feel grateful for it? Do you marvel at that fact that it is all happening while at a warmed up spot on the earth while spinning through galaxies of stars?  Yes, your life could always have more on top of what you have.  The glass of life can be imagined to be infinitely tall making it seem like we have so little.  Or do you look at what you have and enjoy it?  Do you drink from that glass and savor what you have, whatever amount it is?

It may not be important how we look at a glass on the table, but it is important to our happiness how we look at our life.  And a more important variable in determining our happiness is the interpretation we make about the part of our life we look at.

What parts of your life do you spend the most time looking at?  And what stories do you tell yourself about what you focus your attention on? Change your story, and you can change your life.

The Self Mastery Course can help you change your story.

 

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The Self Mastery Course: Practical Tools for getting rid of the emotional drama in your life

  • Stop emotional reactions
  • Change core beliefs
  • Quiet the criticizing voice in your head
  • Develop communication and respect in your relationships
  • and create Love and Happiness in your life

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