Origins of Hate

October 29, 2018

With all that has gone on lately, especially lately the word hate has come up and been acted on in a way that is overwhelming and repugnant. We have over the course of the last ten years been witnessing domestic shootings that seem pointless and originating from those we would classify as seriously depressed to the point of being just plan crazy. We know that random acts of horror have been perpetrated on the innocent for no other reason than someone has lost their way and their mind. The recent acts of violence, however are of a very different origin though not unfamiliar to our history.

There was a line in a song from the musical South Pacific that said, you have to be carefully taught. Carefully taught to be prejudice and hate anyone who is so different that they need to be watched, shunned, or eradicated. However, not since McCathyism has fear been so nationally reinforced and spoken to in the most horrific manner. Those who ‘have been carefully taught’ as well as those feeling so deeply disenfranchised believe they are being somehow patriotic by killing those who are different. When hate and the deadly acting out on those beliefs seems to make one a good card carrying member of some new order, we are moving into the flagrant ‘dark side of the force’ of pure evil.

The origins of hate commence when children are brought up to be socialized to inately believe they can never get ahead or actualize their dreams. They are taught that there are those who are “not like us” as well as more privileged deserving to be hated or projected on. Thus, this way of behaving and believeing becomes the normal way of thinking and acting. In essence, never having to look deeper at one’s own responcibility and potential or even ever believe it is possible to be more. This lack of possibilities begets viewing those who were not given this negative message and have therefore moved ahead, as deserving of hated. The groups that are wrong or too different from those who are taught to be disenfranchised are the easy scapegoats for all the woes experienced by this self fulfilling prophecy of being less. As in another movie,  Pretty Woman when upon hearing that she had great qualities, she says, the negative is easier to believe. When you been weaned on hearing that its everyone else’s fault for how things are and if only “they” were gone will things be right for “us” makes fertile ground for bigotry and hated.

In fact, all these people who feel disenfranchised and pushed aside are horribly alone and hopeless. They anaesthetize depression and worthlessness with substances coupled with blame and hate. Ideally, what they need is to be reached out to with encouragement and a process offered to them by which they can learn to believe in themselves and achieve differently. Obviously, if this were done at the elementary school level the outcome would be more fruitful.

Until we all get on the band wagon of helping and understanding where hate and bigotry come from, we will never have an inroad to healing a severe problem in our country. BUT, along with this we must have leaders who promote this perspective and attitude, while condemning scapegoating differences and hateful violence.

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Passion

October 15, 2018

So many of the younger people I see in my practice are struggling with finding their passion. Even older adults wonder where their passion has gone. They look to their heads for the spark and the juice associated  with  passion. They seem to believe that it dwells in their heads and can be accessed as if googling an app. They have been socialized to look even more outside themselves then their parents generation. They seem to believe that the origins of passion are in their intellect wondering why they can’t access this tangible file that must be close at hand.

Passion exists in one place and one place only, i.e. the heart/feelings. Passion by design is a feeling, and that which springs up from this place are the excited aspects of desire and want. It is the place that once accessed, spews forth an energetic targeted on a doing that is overflowing with joy, sacrifice, and enthusiasm.  It is as if we are directed to a place or objective that has almost no thought, except how to manifest it. And though the doing takes some doing as anything worthwhile does, the well from which this springs is clear, definitive, and exciting, and all encompassing.

The rub is that so many have been taught to suppress feeling and oneself. In a society where vulnerability and mindfulness of self are not encouraged, especially in this tech oriented world of texting and social media, we don’t know how to engage self. We distract our self from ourselves being taught not to “dwell,” “linger,” “burden,” “stay stuck,” “loose control,” “breakdown,” or embarrass ourselves by having and owning our emotions. Moving on and “getting over it” are the defaults of our day. No one including your own self, has the band width for emotions or depth. In this collusion against self reflection, we stay as far away from ourselves as humanly possible, accompanied by a good heaping of judgment.

Passion is the juice of/for intention, invention, risk taking, direction, path, knowing, intuition, loving, deepening, and excitement. It comes from deep inside of our higher selves and bursts forth with gusto and intense motivation to grasp intensely and completely whatever shows up. But it can only be felt if we do the work to stay open to self, involving the more difficult work of staying in touch with our deeper selves. To the level you can do this, is the level and depth of passion you will experience.

Gratitude

October 1, 2018

To be in gratitude. Seems like such an easy statement, but such an important, immense and worthwhile perspective. Gratitude is a authentic aspect of humility coupled with a deeper sense of thankfulness. It means that one feels and acknowledges the joy of being granted from the Universe the gifts of being. These gifts can come in many forms, but it is without ego’s pollution. Therefore, an inner acceptance and peacefulness pervades as one owns and claims self through gratitude.

Today for instance was a beautiful day, and I was driving with the top down through the forest on my way to meet a friend for lunch. I was caught by a moment of smiling gratitude that I was allowed to enjoy this incredible moment. It was not one of ego as I stated earlier, arrogance, or pride, but a thankfulness that I feel blessed to be enjoying an experience that feels so lovely. Now this may sound very Californian, but it is so much more. It is a humbling, awesome sense of joy and luck all at once. Now those who believe that there is only the  literal, logical and tangible factors in life see everything through this outward lens and will want to take issue with this. And in their defense, I am not saying I did not take steps to own my car, live where I live, and cultivate the good friend who I enjoyed lunch with. BUT, the gratitude I feel, comes from a philosophy that I subscribe to:  nothing happens that the Universe does not have a hand in. There are many twists and turns that could have denied me this day, so I honor the fortunate, true gift of my afternoon experience.

Gratitude is so important because it takes each one of us out of our ego, and therefore out of our arrogance culminating in personal toxicity. When we are all about ourselves and see everything as accomplished because of how great we are, we lose true appreciation. This appreciation is about owning something grander than ourselves and gives credence to that something more. Without this awareness and recognition, we lose track of our inner beauty and strengths. We brag, as if we are everything, rather than apart of everything grand. This grandeur is a deep resonance with something beyond ourselves and deeply centered in our selves. If you look closer at your own experiences about this, you will see/feel the difference. When you have boosted about your accomplishments, wasn’t there a hollow and somewhat empty feeling that accompanied this and/or received by others? When you have come from a place of gratitude for your gifts and strengths, wasn’t there a deep, peaceful cuddly joy that sprang  forth from inside you and others? The difference of how the two feel is palpable and distinguishable.

Suffice it to say, that ego is outside in and feels that way; empty. Gratitude is inside out and it feels that way; full. Very different perspectives as to how you experience life, and  ultimately how you experience yourself.

Empathy

September 23, 2018

Empathy is often confused with sympathy. Sympathy is more the ability to share or communicate others feelings. While empathy is the deep ability to understand and communicate someone’s feelings as if they were your own, but not. For me empathy is the deeper of the two as it lets the other know that you hear them and have a connection to the hurt they are in that particular moment experiencing.

I often tell couples who are in crises due to a betrayal that apologies are important but only go so far as to healing the pain. The work we do once the apology has been acknowledged is to have the betrayer express empathy as to what his/her partner may be suffering from the pictures in their mind around the betrayal. As this occurs, it allows two things to be accomplished, one: the injured party hears that there is true understanding of the profound pain suffered by their acting out, and two: if the person who acted out can truly empathize with the hurt caused, the likelihood of their doing it again is diminished. Additionally, when one realizes the extent of the hurt caused to someone you care for/love, you truly get that you don’t ever want to cause them that kind of pain again. From this vantage point true healing can commence if both are committed to it.

When offering empathy, it is a deep, engendering closeness to the person you are offering it to. Sympathy just doesn’t have this intensity or the sincerity for me that empathy does. The depth of wanting to connect and let the other person know that you care about them, while having their backs is connoted much more with empathy. I also believe that the person you care about for whom you are offering empathy feels your concern for them, and therefore feels less alone. It is a wonderful feeling to know that  someone is right there with your emotions and holds them in a non judgemental, unconditionally loving space.

Empathy has the ability to allow one to feel attended to, heard, honored, cared for, appreciated, not alone, closer to, and more deeply connected to by the person offering the empathy. It is a vital part of being in relationship and growing with someone. It is the juice that deepens and strengthens our attachments. Thus bringing to each, a sense of safety and security within their connection.

Friendship

September 14, 2018

All too often, I hear people saying they have tons of friends. This always concerns me because in my world it means they believe that almost anyone they engage with is a friend. I tell my patients that real friends along with your spouse or partner is essential to life and includes typically no more than three to five people. These three to five people include those who: always have your back, hold your confidences, you can say anything to and not be judged, are always there, and have unconditional regard for you. Now this inner sanctum, as I call it, is the essence of true friendships. Others are either casual friends, who like you have similar interests and you can go “do” things with. Things like hiking, talking about current events, going to movies with, and enjoying foods and wines with. All others are strangers.

The inner sanctum, are the core of your existence and are where the riches of life can be found. It is here that you know where you stand, and can get the honest feedback one needs at various times of life. Now often, patients will say it hard to find these quality people. I agree. Even though there are three hundred million people in the U.S. alone, and tough it doesn’t sound so ominous, it still is. Looking for and finding quality though difficult, is always worth the hunt. Most people agree, and when I offer these parameters of what real friendship looks like, most realize they have at least one. Now these people don’t have to live down the block. It certainly helps, but with social media, skype, and travel it is not too hard to stay connected. But the reason three to five true friends is about all you can handle is because with family, and work and all that life asks of us, it is hard to maintain this quality of relationship throughout life with too many more.

One of the real difficulties is for men more than women. Men are socialized to believe that other men are only to be interacted with through competition. The vulnerability that is required to have a real friend as I describe it, is just too dangerous for most. I truly get this and it is this socialization that limits men from having the support they need and deserve. Most men have very little idea how to commence, attend, and maintain such a relationship. And yet it is imperative that men have such supports to go to.

The other misnomer connected to friendships is that people hold a double standard as to how to allow friends to support them. Many will tell me that if a friend needs them of course they would be there. BUT, if they themselves need support, it would just be burdening others, which just wouldn’t be right. I say to them, let me get this straight, if your friend came to you in need you would tell them they are burdening you? And when they do come to you and you are there for them, it doesn’t feel good? The answers are always no to the first question, and yes it feels good to the second. I then say, you are not burdening a true friend as they aren’t burdening you. AND, if you don’t let them be there for you, you are depriving them of that good feeling of being a true friend. This usually gets them thinking.

The inner sanctum of true friends is the richness of life. It allows us to feel truly connected and loved. This is an important aspect of being human and relating to others without feeling like you live in some kind of dark hole or abyss. When people are depressed or even suicidal (see my blog about Why Suicide?) it is more because of a lack of this connection.

Compassion

September 4, 2018

Compassion is the third companion to truth and humility, which I have blogged about. These three musketeers are the antitheses to the ego. They reduce the ego due to their deep humanity and lack of esteem triggers that so often get us into trouble.

Compassion is the heartfelt entity that feels deeply for others, while understanding and relating on a truly human level. When we are compassionate we step back from judgment and shame. We don’t look with the comparing eyes of the need to one up someone or hurt them for our own self interest. Rather, we step into our hearts where caring, concern, pathos, and empathy live. It is from here that we relate to another though communicating nothing but the deep felt interest of sincere love. It is from here that our very essence is felt and offered, and received in a similar manner due to its honest resonance.

Compassion in its true form sees the ever present weight of the world. Walking compassionately on your way to anywhere, one feels the sadness or the hurt that so many are inflicted with. You can feel it in the energetic field around you and in that you can’t heal every wound you come across, you must just bless it and move on. Praying that the Universe will allow those in pain to find healing. Those who empath this worldly hurt, can get hurt themselves by absorbing like osmosis the toxic energy they experience. Needless to say, this is very unhealthy and does nothing to solve the issues of those who pass by. Again, that is why you must offer them God’s speed and move on.

Compassion is a state of grace that not only can be held for others, but for ourselves as well. I tell those I work with, that self compassion is the way to move beyond self sabotage. That the learned personality believes it is normal to denigrate oneself and incite inner wounds. To move away from this, we must evoke self compassion. We must engender a new found mindfulness in which we begin to let ourself off that learned hook of shame and judgment. As we develop this habit of self compassion, we can get out of our way, and allow our authentic and more empowered self to shine.

As we learn to hold self compassion for our humanness, we begin to expand our ability to hold compassion for others. It does not mean we heal all that is wrong in and around us, but it does allow us to walk with an open and caring heart. This perspective will be felt by others, and will add to the heartfeltness in the world we walk in.

Truth

August 26, 2018

Now here is an interesting concept that seems to be bantered around quite a bit lately: What is Truth? The literal truth is an easy one to identify. Something that is, is. If there is a statistic, a statement on record, a logistic that occurred, a promise in writing or witnessed, or a known fact that is not open to dispute is truth.

However, there is another form of truth that is what delves in another realm that is for me significantly more important. From a spiritual or authentic self perspective, truth takes on a whole other meaning. In the realm of the divine there is our inner authentic nature of what is. It does not come from ego where one attempts to get over on others or defend ourselves from threats to our feet of clay or insecurities. This truth resonates at a deep spiritual place of what is so for us, about us. It comes from how we walk in the world true to self without concern for other’s interpretation or attack. Our truth is how we ultimately roll in the world consistent to an inner nature that has no wiggle room for dis-self-honesty. We know what is so for us about our walk in the world while learning our lessons to move further along our path of inner enlightenment. Therefore, we don’t need anyone to tell us we are in sinc with self or not. We immediately feel the ping of dishonesty betraying our essence or the resonance of truth. This lack of truth is what sets off the bad karma we hear about because it is a betrayal of self. Thus the Universe feels this vibration through the quantum field and shutters as we come from a place of not.

The process of this “walk” is one of trial and error along with years of work. It is something that starts when you choose to walk of path of the spiritual warrior and continues until we exit this life. It is not one of ease or lacking in difficulty. It is a path of working on self at the deepest level and turning inward. It is the biblical story of the prodigal son who gets caught up in the superficial pursuit of external validation and acceptance until he turns toward the “father within” God. From this point on, the focus is internal and the truth lies within the pursuit of authentic self. Though this path is difficult as described in the book by Dan Milliman in the Way of the Peaceful Warrior, the rewards of owning self are glorious. As we step into the glorious place of the divine, we are vulnerable and empowered in a manner that opens us to what we want more of and don’t. Thus, we know the enhancing and compassionate world we want around us and the shame, guilt, and judgment that we don’t. From this place of authentic self, we walk in truth as to what feeds our soul and gives us the joy of self that offers peace and contentment. We are clear in this truth and speak it fluently without reservation. There is again, no wiggle room or lack of interpreting what gives to us, and what is toxic and erodes us.

Shakespeare said it well, To Thine Own Self Be True. And if you embrace this life path, nothing else needs to be pursued or said.

Humility

August 19, 2018

OMG, This is such a huge topic, and though I am not sure I am the right one to discuss this, it needs to be out there and discussed. Humility is one of three wise positions to take if you are going to make any head way to as Miranda Macpherson says, “relax the ego.” For truly ego and humility are not compatible, and do not exist in the same space. They may hang out to some degree as they trade places in your experiences, but they are not even distant cousins.

Humility is where you dismiss as much of the ego as possible to drop into the depths of self.  This deepening into that authentic place of self, allows us to relate to self, others and the world around us with truth and  gentleness. None of which are passive, but rather coming from a place of lovingly empowered.

When we can allow ourselves to be humble, it means we have done a lot of our inner work to step out of our way to not “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.” Thus, the insecure wounds and triggers suffered and created in us are to a degree healed. Healed to the point that we are not set off by the egos of others trying to ‘get our goat.’ In essence, as the old Zen koan says, they shoot arrows and but find no target. None of  these slights hit home because we are not available to other’s power to hurt us. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, ‘no one has control over us we do not give permission to.’ Now typically, this permission is an unconscious one, but given up to others none the less.  If we are not turning over our power to others, and hold a strong sense of self and center, we walk in a humble manner with no attachment to other’s cruelty.

Too many in the western world hold humility in the realm of passive and weak because in a jungle fighting environment this is how its portrayed. As Jesus was quoted to have said, ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ He was also not talking about those who passively lay down, but instead to not be like the centurion warrior but walk with humility and compassion. To love thy brother as thy self. To do that one must relax the ego and embrace the divine.

When you walk in true humility there is a strong desire to relate in a true and caring manner and there is no openness to teasing, sarcasm, judgment, or shame. From this perspective there is no room for toxicity, only the purest of intentions and the desire to experience peaceful, loving kindness. Humility is a door that is open in a loving way to those who relate in this manner, and a tightly closed door to those who don’t.

Trust

August 12, 2018

Trust is something that is fundamental to every aspect of life. It is not only a crucial aspect of all our interrelationships, but includes even basics like does our pilot know how to handle the plane we are flying on, does the cab driver whose cab we are in know what he/she is doing, is our child care worker being appropriate, does the chef or food preparer know what he/she is doing to prepare a healthy, safe, and tasty cuisine, does our financier handle our money correctly, do our leaders in business or nationally really have our backs and best interest at heart, does the parachute or rope we are climbing with function properly as we jump out of a plane or scale down a mountain, etc. Get the point: we engage in carte blanche of appropriate/selective hope/denial that we can trust what is out of our true or immediate control (by the way, the thought that we are in control of anything is the greatest myth of all). If you think about it, if you didn’t give a type of unconditional trust to your world you probably wouldn’t leave home. But that being said, we do this because their are enough overseers that we do trust that someone is watching out and making sure people know their stuff.

However, this is not the case with relationships and therefore our ability to trust others is harder to earn and maintain, as it should be. Thus, how do we negotiate this difficult terrain? The answer won’t surprise you- cautiously and over time. Trust is like a huge pine tree. It takes years to grow a hundred feet and can be cut down in an instant with a chain saw. Therefore, trust is built consistently over time. It is tested and inspected to earn the right to be counted on and in a manner taken somewhat for granted. To get to this point, a person wanting to include someone in their realm/life has to show up and walk their talk whether as a business associate, friend or life long partner. It is essential and as I say in my talk on “successful relationships” under ‘Lectures’ on my web site: drgaryrichman.com, a corner stone of making a relationship viable. Though a corner stone, it is always fragile and needs to be tended to. Almost worshiped because if lost it won’t take, like the pine a hundred years to regrow, but it will take a significant amount of time to heal. Obviously, the rebuilding is difficult because two damaging things occur when trust is violated. One, whom you have known this trusted person to be, gets LOST. Once this horror has been experienced the carte blanche of who you absolutely believed  this person to be, isn’t. In that moment, one questions every aspect of who your thought this person to be. When trust is lost it is not just the one act of what is typically betrayal, but ever aspect of who you took this person to be comes under scrutiny. In that moment, the world you could count on gets badly shaken.

Two, Thus it takes a significant  amount of time to feel safe even if this is a person you have known/been with for years. There is no quick fix here, and if the relationship is to be salvaged patience, accountability, and empathy for the emotional damage are required. Typical apologies are never enough and not really the path to healing. The true healing is more about healing the emotional nightmare one is living with, and there is no specific time frame here. It will take what it takes to heal. Therefore, one must have the commitment to hang in there as the hurt mitigates over time. This work is hard, but doable as I have helped facilitate this process with many couples. As I say, the trust can be regrown, unfortunately like the tree it is just never quite the same. Couples, for instance can move on to a once more viable, loving relationship but not quite like before. A simple analogy is when you experience food poisoning at your favorite restaurant, how likely are you to go back and give them another try? Eh? You might but not for years and always with a certain amount of suspect.

Trust and its well being needs to be thought of like a very precious and fragile entity that we carry with both hands. It is something that can never be truly taken for granted and needs watering in an ongoing fashion. If maintained well, it will and does provide a stable foundation to feel safe and comfortable with those close to you and the immediate world you live in.

 

 

Forgiveness

August 6, 2018

What does it mean to forgive? We hear all the time it is God like to forgive. So many of my patients talk about “just needing to forgive and let things be.” Many talk about forgiveness as taking the higher ground and moving on. We feel almost noble as, “we forgive those who trespass against us.”

It is my contention that doing what we “should do” or what is “right” is just another form of denial. If we believe we can move on by simply saying the word and thus our being is free to let go is being naive. In actuality, this is just another form of suppression. I am not saying that forgiveness is not important and  in actuality essential. To keep, as a patient of mine said, “living with the hate or toxicity of a grudge hurts you more than the person  you are not wanting to forgive. On this I agree.  Hating someone is like drinking poison and hoping they die. It is incorrect. Additionally, it is toxic for anyone to hold onto  pain and believe you are taking care of yourself, while leaving the other person in some kind of purgatory of unresolved issues. The only thing this brings about is dis-ease.

Therefore, a healthy working through this situation is the way to let go while not denying what has occurred. How does one do that? I teach that you first must truly understand the impact on your self esteem and even your soul. Not to get passed it. Not to let it go because the person who hurt you doesn’t care or would never be accountable for what happened. One must work through the pain and impact that the hurt perpetrated in yourself. To look deeply into the extent of what you are carrying around and then work to understand the trigger that this other person ignited in you. And then to heal the wound left by the act itself. As Elenore Roosevelt said,’ No one has power over us we do not give permission to.’ Now this permission is usually unconscious, but none the less for some reason we’ve allowed this person in close enough to harm us. Therefore, we need to do our self reflective work to understand and heal not only the overt hurt, but that part of us that would give someone else this kind of power.

Once we do this, we find our center, our self, and heal. From this perspective, we see the wound in the other and the horrible way they defend themselves from their own wounding. From our own empowered, enhanced strength and understanding of self , we can forgive them for being so damaged. And as Jesus said, ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do. And then move on from them, free of the toxicity.