Admit it or not, we all see greater self-acceptance – sociopaths excluded. At Wright, we see this as one of the key challenges of adulthood.
Each of us has a self that has been defined by our world. We see this definition by others as childhood. It is highlighted in our affirmation and hunger stage which corresponds roughly to Freud’s narcissistic period (I am the center of my universe). For our purposes, we see this as at its height between six months and 24 months of age, but the process really is going on throughout our lives. We accept ourselves to the extent we are accurately seen in the here and now, accurately, consistently, and unconditionally. Some of us had very little of this and none of us had it all the time. From our point of view, humanity is not ready to accept all of itself. The Jungians refer to it as the shadow or Freudians sometimes refer to it as the denied self. These are the parts that were not seen with positive regard and were submerged. I cannot go into those of us who have identified ourselves as what others see as shadow self, for example, angry versus those for whom anger is a function of the denied self.
In short, we are like love sponges seeking to be accurately seen in the here and now as loveable and acceptable, but parts of us were not. So, we learn to deny many of these. From our perspective, adulthood is a time to reclaim these shadow or denied parts of ourselves and reclaim them by taking responsibility to provide the accurate positive regard what was missing in childhood that led to our denial of these aspects of ourselves. You will note that I have dropped off with positive regard, consistently and unconditionally. I have done so because it is simply too much for this discussion.
For now, I am seeking to simply point out that in our childhood development, we deny certain parts of who we really are until adulthood
In contrast, we believe that adulthood is a time to reclaim our denied or shadow selves. You can think of this as learning self-acceptance, learning to accurately see ourselves in the here and now with positive regard consistently and unconditionally. The benefit of this is a mature capacity to establish high-quality rapport with the highest number of others.
We all want a great life, and a great life is a quality life. A quality life is a life that is led by values that we hold dear. In order to live a life of values that we hold dear, we have to make a choice.
Making choices is a lot easier when we make a choice that we call the One Decision. The One Decision is a decision that my wife wrote about in her book of the same name, “The One Decision.” Whereas purpose is about why we live, the One Decision is about how we live. It’s a foundation for making good choices in our lives. It’s like a touchstone. A touchstone is like a diamond cutting glass. Glass is a touchstone for the diamond, and what the One Decision does is it gives us that diamond-hard test about whether we’re living the life that matters to us and whether we’re making choices that are going to satisfy and fulfill us.
Every time that we make a choice, the One Decision helps us look at the alternatives and it gives us that touchstone to say, “Is it A or is it B?” Whichever is closest to our One Decision, that’s the choice we’re going to make. A typical One Decision is what Judith talks about. She made a One Decision that she was no longer going to live pleasing people, doing what she thought others wanted her to do and that she
was going to begin living her life for a deeper sense of meaning and for greater satisfaction. Other One Decisions could have to do with living a beautiful life. I look at choice A and choice B and I ask myself which is more beautiful. A life of integrity: choice A or choice B which choice is most consonant, is guided by my One Decision. So that’s what we’re focusing on this week.What is your One Decision? What is that one absolute value by which you are going to lead your life so you make good choices – the right choices.
When you make a choice will you feel greater certainty that it’s close to your One Decision?
When choosing a career, a clear One Decision, let’s say that it has to do with leading a life of integrity. Let’s look at which job provides the greatest opportunity for us to learn integrity. Maybe learning and growing is my One Decision. So when we make a career choice, we ask ourselves just that. When we’re interviewing for a job, we ask our potential employers questions about their values. How do they make decisions in their business? How do they know they’re making choices that are from a higher value? Then once we have the job, we make good choices because choices are happening all the time at work and in our careers. We’re choosing to speak or not speak, to work hard or to not work hard, what matters or doesn’t matter.
Moreover, we’re choosing the friends that we make and the people we stay away from. Is that One Decision really determining with whom we deal? There are a lot of different One Decisions you can make. You can choose to live your life as an adventure, the way of the heart, or the power of presence. Each of these can cause us to make different decisions.
When I’m looking at a job, which one is the greatest adventure? Which one flows from my deeper desires? The greatest truth? Which seems to have the greatest heart for me? So career is guided most effectively by a clear sense of purpose–“Why you do what you do?”–and a solid One Decision. Are you going to fight the good fight? Are you going to work daily to live from these higher values?
Some people make a choice to live a life of consciousness and presence. In your career and daily work, are you speaking up? Are you being present?
Do people feel you or are you hiding out in meetings? A clear One Decision can help you make a choice to speak up and it’ll cause you to make more good choices–they’re not all going to be great, but you’ll be much much happier in doing that. One of the things you can do is write your One Decision down and reflect each morning. How do I want to live my day today? And you can journal what you did that day and how you did things that day to embark on a life driven by your One Decision.
The power of positive thinking is a very important concept; however, it can be misunderstood.
In tandem with that are affirmations and developing positive, empowering beliefs – all geared to realizing our potential. Positive thinking requires first of all that we know what we’re really thinking. Developing empowering beliefs requires that we recognize our disempowering beliefs. These positive beliefs are constantly being undercut by what Adlerians call our limiting beliefs or our mistaken perceptions.
Positive thinking is way more than talking to myself with kind language. It requires me to see myself doing things and actually feel myself doing those things. The human potential movement is full of people scrambling to harness the power of positive thinking, and the precious few of them understand that developing positive beliefs requires that we recognize our limiting beliefs.
Affirmations must also be designed to not work against us. For example, if I have an affirmation that I will not smoke, my unconscious mind hears “smoke, I will smoke.” The unconscious mind is very primitive and doesn’t necessarily hear things the way that you think them. Beneath that are limiting beliefs, such as, “I can’t handle the anxiety,” or “I’m not good enough for this.” We all have limiting beliefs. I don’t care if your name is Jack Welsh, President Obama, or Susie Q next door. We all have limiting beliefs and we can all benefit from the power of positive thinking.
If we really want to develop positive beliefs, we must first identify our limiting beliefs and see the positive intent behind them.
Sometimes, for example, if I say to myself, unconsciously or consciously, “I can’t do it,” I’m really trying to protect myself from failure. There’s still another limiting belief that says I’m a failure: maybe that I don’t believe I can handle success. So if I want to develop an affirmation that will help me develop positive beliefs, then my positive thinking has to start with the truth: the truth of my limiting thoughts.
Our fear is designed to help us move from danger to safety. Our hurt is designed to help us move toward healing. Our anger is designed to move away from danger and to acquire things that are desirable. Our sadness is basically the loss of the pleasure, and joy is pure joy. When we believe that any of those are bad or wrong, we have invalidated our experience as human beings and we have a belief that limits our power.
The positive thinking that I’m talking about developing is the belief that emotions are all positive if they’re properly used.
Anger can be destructive, but it can also help us achieve. Fear can limit us and keep us from moving, but it can also warn us of danger. Hurt lets us know where the pain is so we can respond and get ourselves healed. Sadness is part of mourning so that we let go of a lost pleasure and can recoup joy and move on with our lives. As you move in the pursuit of positive thinking this week, think about this empowering belief: your feelings–all of them–are divine and to be honored.
Whether it’s fear, hurt, anger, sadness, or joy, we will work on developing the positive belief that our emotions are good and can harness us develop our human potential. The power of positive thinking begins with recognizing our limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs include: anger is bad, anger hurts, anger destroys. Anger can hurt and destroy but it can also do all kinds of great things and save people’s lives. Anger is a force to be harnessed and also a force that is designed to protect and help achieve things.
So, we’re working on developing the empowering beliefs that emotions in general are positive if harnessed correctly, and this week I’m asking you to think about anger and how it can be used in a positive way. This is the element of the power of positive thinking that I’m asking you to think about this week, and the affirmation that I’m going to suggest is “I harness anger for good.” Simply think about it, and see if you can notice your anger a little more this week and see if you can harness it to a positive desirable outcome. Sure sometimes it’s not going to work, you can choose that not working to affirm a limiting belief or you can recognize it as a limiting belief that’s keeping you from learning how to use it more effectively.
For more ideas on embracing emotions and getting more out of life, visit Wright Now and explore our selection of courses and webinars. We offer resources to help you discover more about yourself, your relationships, and your career. So start living a life of MORE today!
About the Author
Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
In our Year of Transformation program this week, our assignment is to share our gifts. That’s left a lot of people scratching their heads. “What do you mean by my gifts?”
Well, we purposely leave it open because we want you to discover. We want you to eventually see yourself as a gift to others so that you can fully be with others. But I’m going to give you a couple of areas to think about your gifts.
For example, let’s talk about leadership. What are the qualities of leadership that you bring to any situation you’re in? The qualities of a leader are their gifts. Good leadership qualities are strong gifts. One primary leadership quality we seek to develop is people skills. But your people skills include your capacity to understand yourself, to understand others, to have them feel understood, and to have high-quality rapport.
Nowadays, we talk about it in terms of social-emotional intelligence a great deal. Social-emotional intelligence means you’re able to recognize what you’re feeling. You’re able to up-regulate (get more excited and more engaged), or you’re able to down-regulate and calm yourself. This is an important leadership quality: the capacity to lead people to become more engaged, more excited, or to calm down when they’re overly excited.
These are qualities of a leader that make a big difference in your effectiveness. They’re not sufficient, however. The skill-set of a leader is much broader than that. There are cognitive skills, your ability to analyze what’s going on. Critical thinking skills to recognize what’s true and what’s not true, to see through illusion and to get to a bottom line with people. So when we talk about your leadership qualities, we’re talking about your people skills, your cognitive skills. We’re talking about your critical thinking skills and your emotional intelligence skills.
The cool thing about leadership is that the more you share your gifts, the more you’ll contribute to others, and the more you’ll learn and grow.
You’ll grow in self-acceptance, and you’ll grow in helping others develop themselves. Leadership qualities such as these are essential to your success in your career and in your personal relationships because the qualities of a leader aren’t just at work; they’re also at home. And people skills, as we can see, are critical to having a nourishing, supportive home, to have great relationships, a great marriage, and great dating if you’re single–just as they are critical to winning the hearts and minds of those that you lead. Winning their minds requires cognitive skills. People won’t trust your mind if you can’t demonstrate critical thinking skills.
So this week, we invite you to share your gifts. To touch and be touched. To engage. To let yourself think out loud with others.
Creating a happy marriage is no small feat because it involves joining two separate lives together. Your relationship together is a different world from your single world. In figuring out how to live together and work things out, you’re:
developing a new culture,
choosing how you are going to love
how you are going to celebrate
how you are going to fight
what you are fighting for
True love is messy. It’s not always clean and sanitized or like the romanticized images we often see in movies. Having a successful, happy marriage is allowing things to get messy and working to discover the learns and grows that come with productive fights. The meaning is in the mess.
To create a truly happy marriage both partners must take the good with the bad. That means having the willingness to be messy and enter into the battlefield of love.
Yes, sometimes love is a battlefield. It’s digging down into the dirt. It’s fighting and tussling and having your heart open to learning and growing both as individuals and as a couple. Putting the saying, “Love is patient love is kind,” into practice means letting one another see each other’s flaws and strengths and creating an atmosphere of trust in which each one completes his or her unfinished developmental business.
In a happy marriage, the couple grows closer through sharing your strengths and weaknesses, growing with one another rather than drifting apart when things get tough, and supporting each other on your journey toward fulfillment of your potential.
Studies show: couples that talk honestly are more satisfied with their relationship and their lives in general. Sadly, many couples talk only about logistics: who’s picking the kids up from school, when will dinner be ready, when are you getting back from your business trip, etc. When couples talk about the things that truly matter to them—their deepest longings, yearnings, feelings, and emotions, it can lead to greater satisfaction in their marriage and lives!
Having a happy marriage can be difficult, messy and complex: a combination of intimacy and distance. It can also be a great adventure of growth and learning. That’s a journey of ups and downs that the couple can share with one another.