Tapping Into The Power Of Dreams

by Hervé Boisdé

Salvador Dali 'The Persistence of Memory'

Salvador Dali 'The Persistence of Memory'

We're all a bit fascinated by dreams even if we don't actively analyze them like Freud did. I mean...where do they come from? Do they have a deeper significance? I think we've all wondered about that. While we can't really be sure of the purpose of dreams, what we can agree on is that some amazing ideas have been born from them.

Salvador Dali's most famous painting was inspired by a dream, and he called many of his paintings "hand painted dream photographs". He also had a painting named 'Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate One Minute Before Awakening' (1944).

This video about the Beatles' Yesterday explains that Paul McCartney came up with the song in a dream and was fearful that he had unknowingly plagiarized it from somewhere he couldn't remember.

John Lennon also claimed that one of his songs, "#9 Dream", also came to him in a dream.

Niels Bohr, known as the father of Quantum Mechanics, had been struggling with the correct structure of the atom when a dream helped him with the discovery. In his dream he saw the nucleus in the center with electrons spinning around it much like planets orbiting the sun. When he awoke he became certain that the image he saw in his dream was correct.

On a less scientific note, director James Cameron credits the idea for his blockbuster film Terminator on a fever dream he had when he got sick. The ambitious director was little known at the time having only directed Piranha II: The Spawning up until that point. But when he had the fever he dreamt of a robot, cut in half, pulling itself along using a kitchen knife and dragging a broken arm, as it chased after a fleeing girl. He said it was "a really horrific image" and when he woke up, despite his illness, he forced himself to make a sketch of the robot which became the inspiration for the movie.

So we can see that dreams can be a source of creativity and ideas. But how do you tap into that?

Some people claim that they don't remember their dreams. It's been proven that we all dream, even if we don't seem to remember them later on. Many people have been able to improve their dream recollection by keeping a dream journal close to the bed. Often-times when we awake after we've experienced a dream we are still in a semi-asleep state and then we fall back into sleep and the dream disappears. If you can train yourself to jot down the dream in a journal immediately after you wake up then you will be able to get better at recalling your dreams more easily, even if you don't write them down every time.

People have also been able to train themselves to have lucid dreams, where they are asleep but aware that they are dreaming, and thus able to control what is happening in the dream. This is a bit like being a director in your own mind movie and there are inspirational possibilities with that also.

Meditation and hypnosis tap into the alpha and theta brainwave cycles known for accessing the subconscious mind, which is the seat of imagination and emotion. Similarly, hypnagogia is an altered state that everyone experiences when we are between sleep and being awake. We can have dream-like visions and this is a very creative brain-state to be in. Many people have had moments of clarity, epiphanies, or the spark of idea...an "Aha!" moment where they have come up with the solution to a problem that that has been troubling them for a long time.

On a more spiritual level, some people believe that there are dreams that are memory fragments of a past lifetime, especially if they are extremely vivid and seem to be set in a distant time. This has led some adventurous souls to look into Past Life Regression hypnosis to explore the possibilities of past lives. Dr Brian Weiss, author of 'Many Lives, Many Masters' (who trained me in Past Life Regression Therapy), advises people to look down at their feet and notice if they are wearing antique footwear if they suspect they are having a past life dream or past life experience in trance.

 

Why Do We Self-Sabotage Ourselves?

By Hervé Boisdé

raquel-aparicio-mindfood-self-sabotage.jpg

You may not realize it, but most of your negative behavior is influenced by your "inner child." All behavior is influenced by the subconscious mind, because that's where emotions reside, and emotions drive behavior (more than the logical conscious mind). But when we trip ourselves up as adults, it's usually because of a block that's been living in the subconscious for a long time. From very early childhood up until about age 8, kids are sort of living in a state of permanent hypnosis. This is because the critical factor, the gatekeeper that separates the conscious mind and the subconscious mind, has not yet been formed. This is also why kids are so creative and imaginative,  love to play make-believe and can absorb information so quickly. Their brains are like sponges and all that information just goes directly into the fertile depths of their mind. This has huge benefits for kids' development, but it also makes children more vulnerable to negative ideas. The subconscious mind cannot form it's own ideas, but it is very good at storing them....for a long time.

As an example, let's say a small child of 6 years old is in Second Grade at school and eagerly raises her hand to answer a question in class. The teacher asks the little girl to go to the front of the class and spell the word Cat on the chalkboard (let's assume this was back in the days when classrooms still had chalk and blackboards). The child confidently approaches the board, picks up the chalk and spells the 3 letter word....but instead writes K...A...T. The classroom immediately erupts into laughter. The little girl hears someone in the back of the room say the word "dummy!" so she begins to cry and returns to her seat in shame. In this somewhat dramatic example, there has been a clear traumatic event for the child. But even if she had not been crying she may have internalized an idea such as "If I do things publicly, I will get embarrassed" or something similar like "People think I'm stupid".  Fast-forward several decades and the now adult person might have a fear of speaking up in work meetings, or going back to school to get a higher degree.

Now that's a pretty straightforward example of an adult fear provoked by a childhood experience. But sometimes it's not so straightforward. Because chances are that an adult would remember that event when they spelled Cat using the letters "k-a-t" and try to look back on that episode with compassion for the child version of themselves by saying "I was just a kid...we all make mistakes" which would help to heal any lingering fears stemming from being embarrassed in school settings etc.

But what if the little girl in that example is now a teenager, but doesn't have fears related to being embarrassed in school or in front of groups of people? Maybe she is instead having difficulty driving a car confidently when someone is in the passenger seat. When she is driving alone she is confident and alert, but as soon as someone else is in the car she become distracted and nervous, and drives badly.  Maybe she beats herself up a little by repeating stereotypes about women drivers. And then maybe she begins to limit herself in other ways.  So later on as an older adult woman she has decided to take the "backseat" to others at work, in relationships, and in other situations having nothing to do with driving.

Perhaps that woman works hard to get a promotion and becomes manager of a department at her place of work, but 6 months later, she is struggling to do the things required of the position and gets demoted back to her previous role. She's returned to the "backseat" where she feels more comfortable. Consciously she may really want to have the managerial role, but underneath she is acting on the emotions still put into place by her inner child. Subconsciously she fears the attention. And because there isn't a straightforward connection between misspelling the word cat back in second grade and having more of a "driver-seat" role at work, it's more difficult to become aware of the event or events that created the mental block.

Hypnotherapists can uncover those initial sensitizing events or ISEs with regression therapy to help heal those past minor (or not so minor) traumas that create blocks and self-sabotaging behavior in adulthood. Sometimes there are are 2 or more "minor" events that create enough emotional stress to create an issue such as fear of flying where the subconscious mind is really saying "I fear a loss of control". The fear of flying might instead be a metaphor for the gradual loss of control in that person's life and it manifests itself only in situations where it's impossible to be in control (unless you are the pilot of the plane).

If you find yourself taking two steps back for every step forward in a certain area of your life, ask yourself "Am I perhaps sabotaging myself?"  Maybe then you can help yourself to find the cause of your behavior and heal the inner child that's still just trying to avoid pain in the only way he or she knows how.

 

Creativity, Intuition, (and getting out of your own way...)

By Herve Boisde

Albert Einstein once famously said "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Supposedly, we live in the Information Age and one of the buzz-words that people use is that this or that is "data-driven" and that seems to correlate to efficiency. But does society also value intuition? 

Maybe more and more. As Einstein also once said to a colleague "When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of imagination has meant more to me than any talent for absorbing absolute knowledge." Elaborating, he added, "All great achievements of science must start from intuitive knowledge. I believe in intuition and inspiration.... At times I feel certain I am right while not knowing the reason."

Geniuses like Einstein might be naturally intuitive and also creative because they use their intuition in very productive ways. Intuition and creativity are closely linked, and while the Information Age has gotten us to where we are today, some are speculating that the next phase of civilization will depend on BIG creative ideas, high-concept thinking and looking at the big picture rather than just the details. After all, problems such as Climate Change, income inequality, limited resources with an ever-growing population were created, in part, by thinking from a past era. The solutions will come from a new way of thinking and seeing the world.

Another way of talking about this is to compare Linear Thinking versus Holistic Thinking. Linear Thinking refers to cause and effect and a rational, logical order to the way everything is connected. Analytical people tend to think in linear terms. More intuitive people tend to think more Holistically. The thoughts of a linear thinker tend to form a line (i.e. one thought leads to the next, then to the next, and so on). It is more ordered and organized if thoughts can have an linear formula. A non-linear or Holistic thinker might have thoughts that are more abstract or circular. In other words, a person who thinks holistically can jump around as if the thoughts are flowing across the middle of a circle rather that having to go across a line (A to B to C to D could instead be A to F to M to C). From a visual perspective the thinking become holistic because rather that move along a 2 dimensional line, the thoughts can move into a 3rd dimension across the plane of the circle.

Ok, so if creativity and intuition are almost the same thing, and abstract, creative thinking comes from less-analytical non-linear ideas, how do you train your mind to be more intuitive? Einstein said that all his breakthrough ideas came to him in the form of pictures or images in his mind, rather than words or math equations. He would then translate those images into language or math. That might explain why he thought that all scientists were artists as well.

Einstein first described his intuitive thought processes at a physics conference in Kyoto in 1922, when he indicated that he used images to solve his problems and found words later (Pais, 1982). Einstein explicated this bold idea at length to one scholar of creativity in 1959, telling Max Wertheimer that he never thought in logical symbols or mathematical equations, but in images, feelings, and even musical architectures (Wertheimer, 1959, 213-228).

In other interviews, he attributed his scientific insight and intuition mainly to music. "If I were not a physicist," he once said, "I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.... I get most joy in life out of music" (Calaprice, 2000, 155). His son, Hans, amplified what Einstein meant by recounting that "[w]henever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music, and that would usually resolve all his difficulties" (quoted in Clark, 1971, 106). After playing piano, his sister Maja said, he would get up saying, "There, now I've got it" (quoted in Sayen, 1985, 26). Something in the music would guide his thoughts in new and creative directions.

It's also useful to note that the seat of imagination and intuition reside in the subconscious mind. The conscious mind is the logical, analytical part of your mind but when you get really absorbed into a task or project, you go into a kind of trance and your subconscious mind will get more involved. This is a natural and normal form of hypnosis. Anytime you notice that you are in the "zone" or time seems to go by very quickly you are actually having a hypnotic experience. We also, through no coincidence, tend to be more creative and inspired in these states of mind. Many books and articles have been written about tapping into "flow" or these phases of inspired creativity. What it boils down to is letting your logical, analytical conscious mind get out of the way and letting your intuition take over.

To further illustrate this notion that the best creative work happens when the rational, self-editing mind gets out of the way of the intuitive inclination — something Ray Bradbury articulated beautifully in a 1974 interview — Picasso offers an illustrative example. Despite being both a professional admirer and a personal friend of Matisse’s, he cites the painter’s notoriously methodical creative process as a betrayal of this notion that an artist should honor his or her initial creative intuition:

Matisse does a drawing, then he recopies it. He recopies it five times, ten times, each time with cleaner lines. He is persuaded that the last one, the most spare, is the best, the purest, the definitive one; and yet, usually it’s the first. When it comes to drawing, nothing is better than the first sketch.

Is Hypnosis Suitable for Children?

By Hervé Boisdé

Beach Hypnosis - Imagination Games with Kids

Beach Hypnosis - Imagination Games with Kids

A recent survey showed that stress in America increased for the first time in 10 years.  "Americans' overall stress level, on a 10-point scale from "little or no stress" to "a great deal of stress," ticked up from 4.8 to 5.1 between August 2016 and January 2017." More Americans are reporting problems related to stress than ever before. In addition, according to WebMD, seventy-five percent to 90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.

Children and adolescents are not immune to stress and anxiety. In fact surveys show that stress is rising among US children and teens as well. Schools and universities are continually adding mental health services staff to keep up with the needs of the students. Anxiety is the number 1 concern among college students and at least 51 percent of kids in college who seek out counseling do so for anxiety.

Hypnosis for children and teens is also growing in popularity and acceptance. Where parents in the past may have consulted a hypnotherapist for behavioral problems such as bed-wetting, an increasing number are seeking out hypnosis for emotional issues, phobias, anxiety or stress.

This begs the question: Is hypnosis appropriate for young people?

The answer is that with a well-qualified, certified hypnosis practitioner, hypnosis with kids is easy, safe and can even be fun. Children go into hypnosis easily and naturally because it's similar to "playing pretend". The subconscious mind is the seat of imagination and kids are fundamentally imaginative. When a trained hypnotist guides a client to go into hypnosis, he or she will ask the client to visualize a calm, relaxing place, or to imagine taking a flight of steps downward into a place of tranquility. Because children are so good at visualizing, they often can come up with the perfect antidote to their issues by being guided to do so, with their imagination, and to reverse the blocks in their subconscious mind.

Hypnosis can even be used for chronic conditions and medical problems. Chronic symptoms tend to have an emotional root cause, or be at least aggravated by stress or anxiety. Children as young as 4 years old have benefited from hypnotherapy or pre-recorded hypnosis CDs. A recent study showed that hypnosis CDs could effectively aid children with IBS, Functional Abdominal Pain, or Functional Abdominal Pain Syndrome. Whereas 6 sessions with a hypnotherapist within a 3 month period successfully treated the control group (ages 8-18), another group of children of the same ages also benefited from hypnosis CDs. The CD group was instructed to perform exercises  5 times per week or more for 3 months. The benefits for both groups lasted for 1 year after the treatment ended.

Post-election blues is real, and it's OK to acknowledge it

by Hervé Boisdé

Days after the most intense and bitter election cycle in recent US memory was over it became clear that many were not coping too well. The initial shock of the result gave way to anxiety, hopelessness, and for some, depression, as denial or anger shifted into the knowledge that the unthinkable, for those voters, had happened. Some major publications like Psychology Today, Vogue, and the New York Times, put out articles about the "post-election blues" with tips from experts on how to more effectively deal with the very real problems that millions of Americans are experiencing. If you yourself are having trouble getting back to your normal self again as a result of the election, it's important to remember that you're not alone.

The Psychology Today article tells us that elections aren't just about our ideas or values. "Our partisan beliefs don’t only define us socially, but also influence us deeply, on an emotional level. When our candidate of choice loses, we feel that our very identity has been rejected or is under threat. Research even goes as far as to suggest that the emotional impact of national tragedies, such as mass shootings, is significantly less than the impact of a political loss." It does go on to state however that the negative symptoms don't usually last for too long and should begin to taper off after a week or so. 

If however the tips in the articles don't seem to be working and a deeper depression seems to be setting in, talking to a professional could be helpful. Stress management through exercise, yoga, mediation or self-hypnosis could also help to prevent a relapse. But acknowledging those emotions and realizing that it's normal to be upset after such an event is also good. Don't be afraid to experience things strongly or try to bury them away. We can learn to channel that energy in positive ways such as writing in a journal, or taking up creative projects. Many have discovered that out of darkness they can tap into new talents or discoveries. How will you move forward?

Is Past Life Regression real?

by Herve Boisde

 

Interest in past lives and ways of exploring possible past lives is growing. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the Pew Forum, 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation and a full 24% of US Christians do as well. In 2010 the New York Times published an article titled "Remembrances of Lives Past"  which talks about this expanding interest and how many people are trying Past Life Regression, through hypnosis, to try to remember these past lives. The article states that "The popular purveyors of reincarnation belief these days are not monks or theologians, but therapists — intermediaries between science and religion who authenticate irrational belief."

This is because many believe that Past Life therapy can heal traumas that affect us in our current lifetime. One of the therapists cited by the NY Times is Dr Brian Weiss, a physician and psychiatrist (and graduate of Yale and Columbia), who wrote one of the most famous books about Past Life Regression, 'Many Lives, Many Masters'. Dr Weiss was a traditional psychotherapist, that occasionally used hypnosis, who didn't believe in reincarnation until one of his patients spontaneously regressed to a past lifetime and started describing her experience in stark historical details. This patient was a simple woman with not a lot of formal education but this experience, as well as many other past life explorations, convinced Dr Weiss that her descriptions could not possibly be invention, fantasy, or an attempt to fool the therapist; especially after a historical discovery, following one of their sessions, confirmed some specific details she had described.  But what surprised Weiss the most was that his patient, Catherine, began to quickly heal her many phobias and emotional issues, even though long periods of traditional psychotherapy had failed.

I personally attended a week long training seminar with Dr Weiss for Past Life Regression therapy. As a certified hypnotherapist I was receiving requests from clients to explore past lives through hypnosis. I could have done a similar training earlier at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America, in New Mexico, where I got my hypnotherapy certification, but at the time I was skeptical, not to mention a bit creeped-out by going back in time to before I was born. Eventually I began to read more about the many people that had healed not only phobias and emotional issues, but medical ailments as well, simply by doing hypnosis regressions to explore their past lives. This made me consider that regardless of whether it was fact or fantasy, the healing potential alone is worth doing the training.

So away I went to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and was able to listen to Brian Weiss tell innumerable fascinating stories about the many ways this type of therapy has changed him and his life. He described how he went from being an extremely Left-Brained, fairly close-minded individual, to a deeply spiritual man with a passion for life, dedicated to spreading hope through his books and speaking engagements. And of course I had an opportunity to have an experience of my own. In one of the very first group regressions that Weiss conducted, I had a vision of a past life where I was a traveling soldier in a barren hilly landscape among men appearing to wear viking clothing and helmets. I eventually saw myself alone and trying to cross a bridge (made out of 3 ropes) over a turbulent stream and then slip and fall into the water, to drown and see my body from above as if floating over the scene. Dr Weiss said that to review a death scene would cause no pain or discomfort and was perfectly safe while in hypnosis, since the subconscious mind will only review material that the subject is ready to handle. This appeared to be the case for me since I wasn't startled by what I was seeing, even less than if it had been a dream I was having at night.

Afterwards I kept wondering if what I had experienced was real or imaginary. I did notice connections between the events in the "memories" and my current life. Some were obvious and some were subtle but even though I had made no intention to explore these specific connections they had spontaneously appeared in the regression session. Could my subconscious mind have been looking to find closure or heal some lingering traumas? The drowning part was particularly interesting because though I don't remember it, I did fall into a swimming pool when I was 2 years old. Luckily, my older sister was there to fish me out, but up until I did my hypnotherapy training I never considered it a trauma or something that was affecting my adult life because I have never been afraid of water. Maybe this regression session to a "past life" was a safe way for me to acknowledge that I came close to drowning as a child. Or perhaps, as Dr Weiss suggested, we tend to repeat traumas in multiple lives, until we finally learn the lesson that enables us to grow.  As far as whether past life experiences are real or imaginary, this is up to the individual. But even a skeptic could be surprised and enlightened by exploring the possibilities.

 

 

I'm Looking At The Man In The Mirror...

By Herve Boisde

Crazy times in the world these days. Whether it's politics in America or strife around the globe it can be stressful to follow the news day to day. ISIS and extremism dominate the headlines and extremist politics seem to be taking hold here at home in the US.  When everyone appears to be looking for real leadership instead we seem to be getting mobs riled up by angry and fearful pseudo-leaders. Sometimes it's difficult to be hopeful for the future.

People wiser than me have said that in times like this it's better and easier to start at home...meaning ourselves. If we want healing and positivity in the world then we need to first look in the mirror. Gandhi might have said it best but for whatever reason today I had Michael Jackson's song stuck in my head today. "If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and then make the.....change"

It's natural and easy to react to problems with fear. With change comes uncertainty and with uncertainty comes stress and anxiety. On a global scale this translates into lots of distrust and negative politics and perhaps violence. As human organisms our natural primitive instinct is to go into 'fight or flight' mode. But fight or flight evolved as a survival mechanism to be used in short bursts when man was confronted by an imminent threat such as a dangerous animal. Once our ancestors either confronted or fled the threat, they would literally shake off the stress (like your pet dog does after it gets startled) and then calm down immediately, ready to resume the day in peace.

Nowadays we have been socially conditioned to "keep it together" so we don't tremble or shake off the stress when we endure a traumatic or scary event. This animation describing that process is the basis for TRE or Trauma Releasing Exercises which are meant to release pent-up traumatic stress in the body

In essence, modern humans are not in touch with their natural healing instincts and responses. But those instincts to heal are still there. And if the world is to become more...human, then it's our job to nurture those instincts again. Meditation, hypnosis and other healing modalities help us to reconnect with our true basic nature. In terms of the mind, those instincts are held in the subconscious.

In our current Information Age we have placed so much value on the linear, logical, analytical thinking of the conscious mind, that we are neglecting our instincts and intuition. As a hypnotherapist, it's my job to help my clients get into alignment on a mental, physical and spiritual level. That means that the conscious mind and the subconscious mind need to be on the same page, working together towards the same goals. If someone is unhappy or unfulfilled in life, it's usually because there's a conflict or disconnect between their conscious and subconscious thoughts. Buried or suppressed emotions can also lead to stress and anxiety.

Let's heal ourselves and the world. And rehumanize. And with that, I'll leave you with this other 80's reference. Peace.

 

 

Metaphors and the Language of the Subconscious Mind

By Herve Boisde

 

Your subconscious mind takes up over 80% of all of your mental activity. The subconscious is the seat of emotions, your imagination, your unconscious body processes, all of your memorized impressions and unconscious memories since the day you were born. It's also your internalized beliefs, habits, preferences, instincts and drives. In short, there's a lot going on under the surface. When we’re overtaken by strong emotions or in the grip of an unwanted habit, it’s our subconscious mind that’s pulling the strings.

But the subconscious isn't logical and analytical like the conscious mind. It doesn't distinguish between fantasy and reality. And it uses the language of symbols, pictures and metaphors to communicate ideas to your conscious mind. That's what dreams are. But you can also use metaphorical language to introduce ideas to your subconscious mind, since, like a computer program, the subconscious mind doesn't come up with beliefs or ideas on it's own. It just stores them.

A female client that is having problems with relationships might hint at the following metaphor.

Client: "I don't know why I have trouble with men. I guess my thorns are just too sharp."

Therapist: "Roses do have sharp thorns. Do you see yourself as a closed bud, or have you started to bloom now?"

Client: "I guess that I've been seeing myself closed up and that's why I needed the thorns, to protect me."

Therapist: "And that's been fine in the past, but now we need to nurture this bud to allow her to start blossoming, don't you think?"

Imagine you want to talk about an emotional experience. You might say something like,  ‘I’ve got a dark cloud hanging over me.’  and other people will instinctively understand because their subconscious mind knows that a cloud can be used as a symbol for feeling upset or unhappy. Since the subconscious mind doesn't distinguish between reality and fantasy, a hypnotherapist might guide the client into hypnosis and have them picture themselves with a dark cloud over their head, representing their problems and negative emotions. Then the client could be guided to visualize the cloud dissipating and turning into a rainbow, maybe some beautiful golden light surrounding the client or other healing imagery. The negative metaphor becomes transformed into a positive one, and this allows the client to have a shift in perspective, effectively tweaking the program in the subconscious mind that was tripping up the client.

Guided visualization like this can have benefits outside of hypnosis as well. Taking a few deep breaths and closing your eyes can allow the mind to relax enough to be receptive to imagery for goals and positive results. Just picturing yourself healed or successful can help the subconscious think that those things are real and achievable, and allow it to start working towards that reality.

It's also important to be mindful of critical self-thoughts and language. Saying things like "I'm dumb as a brick" or "This is a pain in my neck!" can be interpreted as commands to your subconscious mind with unintended consequences.

Do You Self-Medicate?

by Herve Boisde

Here in New York City everyone self-medicates to a degree. Or to a large degree. Whether it's after work drinks with coworkers, a glass of wine at home to unwind, or some other substances ranging from pot edibles to prescription drugs, we are a society that consumes to relax. Why do we feel that we need them? For one thing, they can be a social lubricant that seem to enhance the good times with friends. But on another level they help us to forget our problems. Or do they? Addictive substances are addictive because they help keep unpleasant emotions suppressed below the surface. That means that those negative thoughts and feelings are still there somewhere but just not as easily accessed by the conscious mind. And too much partying can lead to a general numbness, so even the good feelings aren't much there anymore. Comfortably Numb is a good Pink Floyd song but probably not the best approach to life.

Carl Jung once noted that modern Western culture tends to favor a driven attitude and suppression of emotion that comes at the expense of the intensity of living. This has resulted in people forcing down into their subconscious much that is real and life-giving. Jung was exploring the Sahara desert when he came upon a figure dressed all in white sitting on a black mule whose harness was studded with silver. The man rode past without saying a word but Jung noted his proud demeanor and sensed that this person was somehow wholly himself and this struck him in stark contrast to the average European with his “faint note of foolishness” and his illusions of grandeur due to modern advancements in technology and travel.

Contemporary medicine also recognizes that suppressing negative emotions can have long-term effects as well. Effects of consistent emotion suppression include increased physical stress on your body, including high blood pressure, increased incidence of diabetes and heart disease.

Research has also shown a connection between avoiding emotions and poor memory as well as more misunderstandings in conversations with others. This is because people who regularly suppress emotion are often less aware of the signals they are sending to others and also less aware of the social cues present in daily conversation. Finally, men and women who avoid emotions, especially negative ones, are more likely to experience high anxiety and depression in their lifetime.

So if self-medicating isn't the solution, what is? For one thing, channeling our negative emotions, such as anger, in a healthy way can have enormous benefits and lead to more satisfying lives. Taking a kickboxing class to get some exercise while letting off steam that you accumulate during the workweek is much better than blowing up at your boss or your spouse during a stressful period. Other people prefer to meditate to help calm their minds. And of course hypnosis is extremely useful for balancing out the subconscious and conscious mind. Especially if there are repressed traumatic events, or stuff that doesn't naturally come up to the surface, then a few hypnosis sessions can be very helpful. Some of us have a hard time expressing certain emotions because of the way we were raised. Anger doesn't feel acceptable to some people. Hypnosis can help to relieve the anger and to change the trigger thoughts, while also anchoring positive emotions to help in certain problematic situations. And no matter what the negative emotions are, hypnosis can help to boost self-esteem which will naturally lead to more positive perceptions of the world and the challenges that life brings.

Hypnosis for Pain and/or Suffering

by Herve Boisde

Pain equals suffering and suffering equals pain. Right? Actually no. They are different and one does not necessarily need to follow the other. Pain is a physical response to a stimulus. Suffering is emotional. We need to experience pain in certain situations in order to be safe. If there was no pain response we could burn ourselves and not even notice it. Or we might not be cautious when playing rough sports. Pain is important feedback for our health. Suffering on the other hand may linger after the physical pain has died away, because, like many emotions, it can be habit forming. When we expect to suffer we tend to help those expectations come true. Suffering is the emotional pain caused by the resistance to what is. Sometimes we suffer because we don't accept our situation. Sometimes when we get sick we fall into self-pity mode and think "why me?"  And that very attitude can cause us to neglect doing the things that would help us to get better. In those situations we're not only resisting 'what is' but we're actually making things worse.

With chronic pain or injuries people tend to tense up when they are in situations that usually cause pain. For example, if someone has back pain and they are dreading having to bend down to tie their shoes, they will usually brace themselves and tense up as they are bending down. Again, this is a form of resisting the pain and making things worse. Fear of pain leads to tensing up, which then leads to a cycle of suffering. You might be thinking: "It's impossible to NOT brace yourself for pain. Pain hurts!" Yes, pain can hurt and it's perfectly normal to want to avoid it but there are techniques that work to allow your mind and body to feel more comfortable in those situations. Hypnosis can be used to condition your body to relax in those 'trigger' situations and help break the fear-of-pain cycle. The hypnosis practitioner would actually deliver a post-hypnotic suggestion to the client's subconscious mind such as:

(Client’s name), when doing things like bending down to tie shoelaces, you are calm, confident, and relaxed. More and more now, your back muscles are flexible and comfortable when bending down and standing up. Because you expect to be comfortable, you are more comfortable when bending down and standing up.

One of the more impressive things that happened when I was at hypnotherapy school was when the class watched a video of a patient undergoing major leg surgery (with a bone saw and everything) with no anesthesia except for hypnosis. I felt like I was in more discomfort just watching the video than the patient. A close second was a video that our instructor shot of himself getting a crown replaced at the dentist. He doesn't like Novocaine so he instead used self-hypnosis to put himself into a comfortable trance where the dentist could do the procedure and he was awake and conscious, just feeling no pain.  I'm not sure that I would attempt that but he was well practiced enough with self-hypnosis that he was completely confident that it would be successful. Of course he had also instructed the dentist that if he put his hand up it meant that he was feeling pain and would receive the Novocaine. He never raised his hand.

The conscious mind can only focus on one thought at a time so hypnotherapy can direct the client to empty his mind of the experience of pain by filling it instead with pleasurable thoughts.  A person with a broken limb might visualize that they are on a beach in Hawaii and focus instead on the warm sun on their face, the cool breeze, the relaxing sounds of the ocean, and the feel of the fine sand next to their plush beach blanket. The hypnosis practitioner could either anchor that comfortable feeling so that it can summoned up whenever the client touches their thumb and forefinger together, or teach the client self-hypnosis so they can go back to Hawaii whenever they want. They might also record a self-hypnosis CD or audio file for the client to listen to as they are falling asleep at night, with added suggestions for a comfortable night's sleep!

These are just some examples of how hypnosis can be used for pain management. But all of us have the ability to look at pain and suffering in a different way.

The Emergence of Clinical Hypnosis

by Herve Boisde

Session of hypnosis, Richard Berg

Session of hypnosis, Richard Berg

The last few decades have seen hypnosis become much more accepted as a valid and effective means of treatment for medical and psychological issues than ever before. While it still has a ways to go in terms of public perception, hypnotherapy is beginning to replace "stage hypnosis" as the common reference in popular culture.

Although hypnotists have existed in the western world for over 200 years, since German physician Franz Mesmer induced trance states to treat patients and developed a theory he called "animal magnetism" that was later referred to as mesmerism, the scientific establishment has only recently begun to embrace hypnosis for clinical purposes. This is partly due to the misguided notion that hypnosis was more for entertainment and used by stage performers on gullible participants. These presumptions aside, there is a long history of clinical use of trance states.

The term "hypnosis" was coined by Scottish surgeon James Braid in 1842 when he wrote Practical Essay on the Curative Agency of Neuro-Hypnotism and then later simplified the name to "hypnotism". Braid used hypnotism to successfully treat a wide variety of conditions, such as that of a 45 year old man who had suffered four years of limited mobility in his upper body following a spinal injury. Braid used hypnosis to alleviate pain in the spinal cord and arms, and after two months of daily treatment, the man was able to return to work. In 1892 the British Medical Association unanimously endorsed the therapeutic use of hypnosis, however medical schools and universities largely ignored the subject.

Hypnosis was used by field doctors in the American Civil War and was one of the first extensive medical application of hypnosis. Although hypnosis seemed effective in the field, with the introduction of the hypodermic needle and the general chemical anesthetics of ether in 1846 and chloroform in 1847 to America, it was much easier for the war's medical community to use chemical anesthesia than hypnosis.

In the early 20th century, French psychologist and pharmacist Emile Coué treated groups of patients for free using the "Coué method" of auto-suggestion. When asked whether or not he thought of himself as healer, Coué often stated that "I have never cured anyone in my life. All I do is show people how they can cure themselves.

Thanks in large part to the work of Milton Erickson, who is known as the father of modern medical hypnosis, the field has enjoyed an increasing amount of scientific interest in the past 30 years, as well as widespread clinical application for an array of medical and psychological purposes. Around the same time as Erickson's rise to fame, psychologist Ernest Hilgard, Ph.D., a former president of the American Psychological Association, set up the Laboratory of Hypnosis Research at Stanford University.

As additional research into the applications and results of clinical hypnosis is published in the coming years, it's acceptance and usage should become even more widespread.

Among the leading researchers in the field is Guy H. Montgomery, PhD, a psychologist who has conducted extensive research on hypnosis and pain management at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, where he is director of the Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program.

In one study, Montgomery and colleagues tested the effectiveness of a 15-minute pre-surgery hypnosis session versus an empathic listening session in a clinical trial with 200 breast cancer patients. In a 2007 article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (Vol. 99, No. 17), the team reported that patients who received hypnosis reported less post-surgical pain, nausea, fatigue and discomfort. The study also found that the hospital saved $772 per patient in the hypnosis group, mainly due to reduced surgical time. Patients who were hypnotized required less of the analgesic lidocaine and the sedative propofol during surgery.

"Hypnosis helps patients to reduce their distress and have positive expectations about the outcomes of surgery," Montgomery says. "I don’t think there is any magic or mind control."

Eric Willmarth, PhD, founder of Michigan Behavioral Consultants and past president of APA Div. 30 (Society of Psychological Hypnosis), says interest in clinical hypnosis is growing and more psychologists are learning how hypnosis can help their patients.

"It goes in waves," he says. "Right now, we’re on an upswing."

The Mindset That Multiplies Success With Hypnosis

originally posted on hypnosis101.com

The right mindset multiplies success with hypnosis. If you know what it is and put it to work for you, you can be oodles more effective. What’s the mindset, then?

Well, to understand how this mindset works and use it effectively, it’s good to understand how hypnosis works. One definition of hypnosis is bypassing the part of the mind that makes judgements and concentrating on a particular idea. Now, why would we need to bypass the part of the mind that makes judgements? Isn’t that dangerous? Don’t we want to be able to use our logical brains?

When we need to get something new into the mind, we may need to get around pre-existing judgements. They may be the problem. It’s that old chestnut about not being able to solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it

When Is Critical Factor Bypass Unsafe?

It’s good to realize that the part of the mind that makes judgements (the ‘critical factor’, or ‘critical faculty’) is regularly bypassed. When you’re watching a movie, you usually let yourself “pretend” that the movie is real. You know it’s not, but in order to enjoy the movie more, you allow yourself to think of the characters as real people and the situation as a real situation. That’s a critical factor bypass.

And yes, it can be dangerous. Children don’t have a fully developed critical factor. So, it’s dangerous when a kid grows up in a situation where a parent (or other authority figure), is constantly telling a child that the world is a bad place or that the child is not worth anything. As an adult, it’s best to have your critical factor up and running when you’re exposed to advertising or propaganda.

It’s when you don’t know a suggestion is being given (such as in an advertisement) that you’re in danger of taking on ideas you don’t want. Why do you think ads often show beautiful people having fun with the product? They do their best to plant the suggestion that you too will have fun and be surrounded with attractive people if you just drink that soft drink. It’s good to remind yourself that those specific, attractive people probably won’t appear in your mom’s basement, just because you pop open a can there.

When Is Critical Factor Bypass Safe?

But if you’re in the office of a hypnotist/hypnotherapist, you’re in just about the safest place you can be for letting go the judgmental mind.

Why? Because you know that you’re going to receive hypnotic suggestions! Look at it this way…

When you’re watching a movie, at any point, you can direct yourself to remember that it’s a movie. You can imagine where the cameras are, how the shot was set up and edited and wonder where the microphones are hidden. The same is true in an office, under hypnosis. At any point you can bring your critical factor back into play and reject any suggestion you don’t like.

While in hypnosis, you’re conscious, you can hear and you’re aware. If you’re working with a good hypnotist, they’ll work out any suggestions with you in advance. That way you already know what the suggestions are and agree with them. Plus, you can block suggestions you wish to block. Which brings up the point — your mindset has a great deal to do with how effective a suggestion is. You can block it, or you can have a mindset that multiplies the success, strength and effectiveness of an hypnotic suggestion.

So, What’s That ‘Success Attitude’?

I noticed an attitude of mine the other day in Yoga class (I started doing Yoga a few weeks ago). My goal, when I’ve given an instruction, is to follow the instruction as accurately and as completely as I can. And I do it right away. That got me thinking about all the other times I am focused on doing exactly what another person asks me to do, without question.

The best way I can describe it is if you have a coach you really trust. Let’s say it’s a baseball hitting coach. You’re standing at the plate, with a bat in your hands, ready for the pitch. The coach says, “lift your left elbow.” If you’re smart, you don’t question. You just do it. You accept it and do it immediately.

It’s the same way with the vocal lessons I take. My goal is to carry out instructions as best as I can — no questions.

Think about in what types of situations you act that same way. There’s an old quote, “No matter how tough you are, if a toddler hands you their ringing toy phone, you answer it.” Does that apply to you? When the dentist says, “Open your mouth,” do you do it instantly? When you hand your movie ticket to the ticket taker and she says, “It’s the 3rd door on the left,” do you automatically go where she pointed?

The point is, you can make a decision to follow suggestions in just that way. Your job is to think, “Yes!” when you hear a suggestion. Now, if you hear something you don’t like, you can always say “cancel that one” to yourself. You have that power.

So, a bypass of the critical factor (which should be in your induction) and this attitude will go a long way toward ensuring your suggestions have maximal impact. And if you’re a hypnotherapist working with clients, explain this to your clients and let them know their attitude plays an important role.

The Power of Visualization

By Herve Boisde

Successful athletes and coaches have long seen a connection between the ability to visualize a good performance and achieving the desired outcome.  Some coaches even go as far as saying that sports are 90% mental and only 10% physical. You may have watched downhill skiers during the Olympics mentally going through their run at the top of the mountain minutes before launching themselves down the slope. Nearly every pro skier practices this technique and they are imagining the perfect run as a rehearsal before they do the real thing. There's a reason why they are trying to visualize the "perfect" performance and not the opposite: wiping out disastrously. This is because the subconscious mind does not distinguish between fantasy and reality. So if you can imagine yourself doing something really well, your mind begins to believe that you are actually doing it, therefore it is possible. If, on the other hand, you are only visualizing worst case scenarios, well, guess what, you're more likely to get those results.

Look at the following scientific study for evidence of the startling power of visualization.

Researchers at Bishop's University in Quebec conducted a study which indicated that mental training alone could increase muscle strength.* The two-week study took 30 male university athletes and divided them into three groups. The study focused on the hip flexor muscles, since that is one muscle group that can't be readily exercised in other contexts or with free weights. One group performed physical training with a hip flexor weight machine; one group mentally practiced hip flexions at increasing amounts of weight; the third group did neither. At the end of the study, the group doing the physical exercises had increased its strength by 28.3%, which is not surprising. The group who did nothing not unexpectedly saw almost no difference. But what's astounding is that the guys who practiced only mentally saw their strength increase by 23.7%!

Positive visualization can be used with even more powerful effect in hypnosis. If you were to picture yourself healthier, smoking less (or not at all), maybe slimmer, in a new career, or maybe actually looking forward to going to the dentist(!), you are taking the first step towards positive results. By seeing yourself already achieving your goal, and having your subconscious mind believing that it is already happening, your creative imagination will start to kick in to try to figure out how you got from point A to point B. Most hypnotherapists use visualization with their clients to address phobias, change habits, improve job and sports performance, boost self-esteem, and for health issues. This also explains why limiting beliefs are so enduring since they are usually programmed into the subconscious mind at an early age before we have developed the "critical factor" which is the gatekeeper between the logical, conscious mind, and the more emotional subconscious mind. But positive visualization can reverse those limiting beliefs by creating a new template for positive ideas and habits.

 

*Reference: Erin M. Shackell and Lionel G. Standing, “Mind Over Matter: Mental Training Increases Physical Strength,” North American Journal of Psychology, 2007, Vol. 9, No. 1, 189—200.

Emotional Intelligence and Happiness

By Herve Boisde

It is pretty well accepted that IQ isn't the best predictor for success or happiness in life. Very often it's people with average IQ that seem to have the set of skills that enable them to go far in life, develop fulfilling relationships, succeed in their careers and be happier overall. Ever since the release of Dr. Daniel Coleman's groundbreaking book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, educators, parents and counselors have stressed teaching emotional intelligence to children at an early age to help them to be more well equipped for the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. But experts say that your EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) can be boosted at any age. 

Emotional intelligence consists of four attributes:

  • Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior, know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
  • Self-management – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  • Social awareness – You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
  • Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Emotional intelligence is important because it affects so many aspects of a person's life, including the quality of work at their job, physical as well as mental health, and personal relationships. It's a concept that is so well accepted that, in fact, when it comes to gauging job candidates, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability and require EQ testing before hiring.

Becoming emotional intelligent is the opposite of reacting automatically or reflexively to stresses or challenges.  When people can manage the "fight or flight" response then they are actually using a more intelligent portion of the brain, rather than the primitive limbic brain that humans inherited from earlier species. It's a misconception that emotions and feelings are a hindrance to making informed decisions. Studies on people who have lost the primary emotional structure in the brain, the amygdala, show that without the help of emotions to give importance to one choice over another choice, humans are completely unable to make even the most simple decisions, such as what color shirt to wear. Distracting emotions, such as being angry or bitter towards your coworkers can, of course, affect your decisions in a negative way. Emotions need to be understood to be used effectively.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is built by reducing stress, remaining focused, and staying connected to yourself and others. You can do this by learning key skills. The first two skills are essential for controlling and managing overwhelming stress and the last three skills greatly improve communication. Each skill builds on the lessons learned in practicing the earlier skills and include:

  • The ability to quickly reduce stress in the moment in a variety of settings
  • The ability to recognize your emotions and keep them from overwhelming you
  • The ability to connect emotionally with others by using nonverbal communication
  • The ability to use humor and play to stay connected in challenging situations
  • The ability to resolve conflicts positively and with confidence

Mindfulness is considered important to many of these skills. Activities that increase mindfulness, such as meditation, creative projects, or anything that allows you to be more present in the moment, create self-awareness and therefore, mindfulness. Meditation is also useful for it's ability to help manage stress. Being mindful means having more awareness in general, so that also includes awareness of your emotions and the emotions of the people around you. Hypnosis can help with suppressed emotions due to trauma, unconscious habits, or out of control emotions related to phobias.

These skills can be learned in other ways as well, for example, seminars on conflict resolution, drama classes for non-verbal communication, and going to comedy shows to keep your sense of humor primed. The important thing is to stay focused on developing the four attributes of EQ by exploring the abilities listed in the key skills above. With regular practice, emotional intelligence will become a habit hardwired into your brain, helping you to create a more satisfying life.

A Common Mistake that Makes Your Anxiety Worse

originally posted on Calm Clinic

i-can-t-keep-calm-because-i-have-anxiety-5.png

Many people make mistakes with their anxiety. In fact, one of the problems with anxiety is that anxiety itself can make mistakes more likely - because anxiety changes thought processes and feelings in a way that can lead to you to making decisions that are counterproductive for curing anxiety.

Alcohol abuse is a great example. People turn to alcohol to reduce anxiety because it can dull anxiety away, but in reality it actually makes anxiety worse because it replaces your mind's ability to cope with stress. But that is an extreme example. There is actually a single, common mistake that nearly everyone makes that causes anxiety to be worse.

The Most Common Anxiety Mistakes

There are so many mistakes that people make with their anxiety. Many people with panic disorder drink lots of coffee, for example, and coffee can make panic attacks worse. Others try to breathe in more when they're hyperventilating (because hyperventilation makes you feel as though you're not getting a full breath) but that actually makes hyperventilation worse.

But by far the most common mistake that people make with anxiety is moping. In this case, moping is the idea that you need to "be alone." The idea that you need to go home after a tough day at work and just sit and think so that your stress and anxiety get better.

The Problems With Moping

Moping - or some form of moping - is incredibly common. Feeling like you need to sit and do nothing to feel better is a function of anxiety. Anxiety completely drains the body. It makes it hard to want to do much of anything. You feel like you want to be alone, and that you want to go home and "veg out" until you feel better.

Unfortunately, this is a common mistake that has the potential to make your anxiety much worse. Ideally, you need to stay active. You need to be surrounded with friends and try your best to get out there, exercise, and have new experiences. Avoiding those experiences because you want to cope with your anxiety alone causes several issues that make anxiety worse:

  • Inactivity Easily the biggest problem is inactivity. Exercise and staying physically active and moving are extremely important for not only physical health, but mental health as well. Movement and exercise improve hormone function and neurotransmitter production, and drain the body of excess energy that would otherwise cause the mind and body to become more stressed. Moving and staying active in general is crucial to anxiety management, and inactivity from moping makes that much more difficult.
  • Uncontrolled Thoughts Anxiety changes the way you think, and unfortunately that often means that your own thoughts are your worst enemy. Many people don't realize that anxiety and anxiety attacks are often caused by letting yourself sit and think, because the mind eventually starts thinking about negative things. Staying active gives your mind distractions, and distractions provide you with a mental break that can reduce future anxiety symptoms.
  • "Giving In" There is a behavioral reason to avoid moping too. Namely, it essentially lets your anxiety win and controls the way that you react in the future. If you often keep to yourself when you have anxiety, then every time you have significant anxiety your body's reaction is to want to you give in again. It becomes your coping mechanism, and makes it harder to stop moping in the future.
  • Social Need Being around people that you like and make you happy is an important tool for combatting anxiety. Obviously those with social anxiety disorder are at a bit of a disadvantage here, but in general if you can spend time with people and talk to others, you're more likely to find life more enjoyable, and the more you enjoy life the easier it will be to treat your anxiety.
  • Happy Memories Finally, anxiety itself makes you focus too much on the present. One of the strategies to help reduce anxiety is goal setting, specifically because it gives you something to look forward to in the future. Staying active with enjoyable activities provides hope, and hope is important for committing to anxiety treatments.

How you react to anxiety does matter. It can be hard to control, but it matters. Those that push themselves through and try to stay active and distract their mind from these negative thoughts aren't going to cure their anxiety, because anxiety isn't that simple to solve. But they may find that when they finally commit to an anxiety treatment, they're more likely to see the results, because they've put themselves in a position where their anxiety isn't able to control them.

Moping behaviors are not the only mistake people make with anxiety, and it may not even be the worst. But it is an extremely common reaction to anxiety and stress and one that needs to be stopped in order to continue to control anxiety.

Other Anxiety Mistakes

Anxiety mistakes occur nearly every day. It can be hard enough to control anxiety even with the most effective treatment, so when mistakes occur it can really make it challenging to reduce your anxiety - especially without any help. Examples of other common anxiety mistakes include:

  • Listening to negative/moping music, rather than upbeat and happy music.
  • Purposely subjecting yourself to anxious and stressful situations, like horror movies.
  • Spending time with those that are generally negative.
  • Taking medications without combining them with a long term treatment.
  • Quitting an anxiety reduction strategy when it doesn't work right away.

The list of anxiety mistakes is incredibly long, because anxiety causes people to focus on far too many negative feelings and emotions that get in the way of better decision making.

Healing By Using Forgiveness

By Herve Boisde

When people meditate or go into hypnosis their brainwave activity actually changes. These brainwaves can be measured with medical equipment such as an EEG. Studies have shown that when people go into hypnosis or practice meditation, their brain activity switches from the common waking patterns, or Beta, to the more relaxed frequencies associated with Alpha or Theta state. Alpha state is awake but relaxed and not processing much information. When you get up in the morning and just before sleep, you are naturally in this state. When you close your eyes your brain automatically starts producing more alpha waves. Theta is associated with light sleep or extreme relaxation. Theta is also a very receptive mental state that has proven useful for hypnotherapy, as well as self-hypnosis using recorded affirmations and suggestions.

Both of these brainwave patterns are naturally very healing for your mind and body, since they induce homeostasis and your mind sends out signals to the body that you are "safe". This safety encourages the body to heal itself, boost immunity, and regulate itself in way that wouldn't be a priority if someone is in the opposite mode, "fight or flight." This is why hypnosis and meditation is so effective at managing stress and the physical effects of stress. By learning self-hypnosis or meditation, a person can not only have a greater feeling of well-being, but also help themselves to heal, both mentally and physically.

However there's an additional tool that you can use to allow yourself to heal even more. That tool is forgiveness. Forgiveness has been shown to create spikes in Alpha wave activity in people's brains that sometimes exceeded those attained through other methods.

How To Truly Forgive & Liberate Yourself

(courtesy of Vishen Lakhiani)

Step 1: Set The Scene

Firstly, with your eyes closed and for about two minutes or so, bring back all the anger, frustration and pain you felt when someone in your life wronged you. Feel yourself in that very moment when it happened and picture the same environment you were in when you interacted with them.

Step 2: Feel The Anger And Pain

As you see the person who “wronged” you in front of you, get emotional. Relive the anger and pain. Feel it burn. But don’t do this for more than a few minutes.

Once you bring up these emotions that these people created in you, move on to the next step…

Step 3: Forgive Into Love

See that same person in front of you, but instead, feel compassion for them. Ask yourself what did I learn from this? How did this situation make my life better?

So think about what lessons you could derive from this situation as painful as it might be. How did these lessons make you better? Or help you grow?

Next, think about who this person is. What pain or anguish could they have have gone through in their life that made them do what they did.

Now there’s something important to distinguish here. “Forgive Into Love” does not mean to simply let go. You still need to protect yourself and take action if need be. Criminal acts, especially, need to be reported to authorities.

But what it does mean is that the pain of what happened no longer eats at you.