by Jennifer Johnston-Jones, Ph.D.
Do you hear yourself say "I have to…" or " If I had/did this, then I would…." ?
If you responded yes, it's a sign that you may be suffering from "Unaware of Your True Power Disorder." It’s a kind of mental disease that is contagious and often starts when we are young. We are told “you have to….” We are brainwashed that we have no choices, no power, that life “happens to us” instead of seeing the truth: that we create life.
Fortunately, creating a life you love is simpler than one would imagine. with highly effective results which will transform your subconscious mind so that, with little effort, your life will begin to transform, like a flower blooming in spring, slowly, one petal at a time, just as nature intended.
The cure for "Unaware of Your True Power Disorder” is a special kind of homemade soup, taken daily, made with these three ingredients:
1. Measured doses of Intentional Decisions
Every day you make thousands of micro decisions and a few macro ones. The micro decisions, while often overlooked, become the foundation for your subconscious mind’s understanding of choice. Herein lies great power. Here is what I want you to do: think about your day from start to finish, from the time you decide to wake, to what you decide to think about first thing in the morning, to what you decide to think when you look in the mirror, to what you decide to wear, to what time you decide to break your fast, to what kind of food you decide to nourish your body with, to whom you decide to speak to, to what you decide to think of them, to what you decide to speak aboout, and so on…. As you can see, the emphasis is on the verb decide. The point is, in making these often habitual and unaware decisions intentional, great change will begin to take place. Every micro decision you make accumulates into your daily life. This requires subtle and minimal effort, but measured doses throughout the day.
Yet, the most important and most powerful micro decision you can make is choosing how you feel. To be honest, this is my absolutely favorite teaching that the field of psychology has given us: that feelings are a choice. No one is forcing you to be low energy, disconnected, or irritated--it is a choice you are making. Obviously, no one wishes to feel this way and often the choice to feel this way comes unconsciously as a result of feeling unloved, like you are lacking, and most importantly, that people and life have power over you. To transform these unconscious beliefs doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple practices such as what you think when you are falling asleep and when you first wake can create dramatic shifts in consciousness.
We process stress when we sleep, therefore, if you go to bed thinking about the things in your day that brought you simple joy--even something as simple as the great relief and comfort of laying on a soft bed, your brain will shift and patterns of positive thinking will emerge.
2. A Sprinkle of Possibility Mindset
A Possibility Mindset is a way of thinking that allows freedom--the essential block for creating a life you love. Like a cake without baking powder, your life will not rise up unless you add a sprinkle of possibility and freedom. The Possibility Mindset releases you from your unintended self-built prision to take you to a land of magic.
Your Possibility Mindset will naturally grow as you cook your Intentional Decisions (above). But there is something else you can do that is essential in relesing you from your prision. I call it A plus A and it’s my favorite equation. You take a possitive affirmation (e.g., I am getting healthier every day) and add an action to prove that this is true (you drink one green juice a day). It’s important that your action is an easily achievable one and that your affirmation is precise. For example, if your affirmation was “I am healthy,” your mind would argue with you about a generic globilization and it will lose its efficacy. Or worse, if you have an affirmation with no action to back it up, your mind will certainly not be fooled. We’ve learned since the 80s and 90s that transformations rely on data. Affirmations without actions are simply bad math. So, what does A + A=? A Possibility Mindset. And the best part is, once you begin to see the effects of A + A, you will see the sky is the limit.
Broth of Everyday Joy mixed with a Practice of Loving Everyone
Everyday joy mixed with a practice of loving everyone is the most fun skill to practice. It requires you to see the world as a happy child and find connection in people. It is incredibly rewarding and leads to my next favorite teaching in interpersonal psychology and neurology: what we feel about others is what we feel about ourself. Simple as that!
So, you can see the importance of finding love for everyone--from the grocery clerk to that person who absolutely rubs you the wrong way. Mirror neurons, the powerful forces of projection, repression, and denial are some of the forces that come into play here.
Relationships are a mirror. Everytime we have a negative feeling about someone, it infiltrates into our psyche and creates poison. One effective tool for releasing the power that negative behavior from others can have on you is to use the “Empathic Hook.” It’s a tool that was taught to me in graduate school when I was working with someone who sexually abused children. I was told that I had to create a positive relationship with this man and I thought it would be impossible based on his past behavior.
The “Empathic Hook” pulls you into people through empathy--that is, finding areas where you relate, connect and understanding the person’s pain. After about a month working with this man, his stories helped me to release my judgement and love him despite his behavior--and this became the basis for his healing. I now use this with everyone in my life. Whenever I feel negatively about someone, I imagine what they must have gone through to have such behavior and I look deeply into them to see them as a wounded child. With closer relationships, I will inquire more about their history or how they view the world. I also remind myself tht trauma is relative. Just because someone grew up priviledged doesn’t mean that they didn’t expereince pain.
Finally, there’s everyday joy. Can you remember when you were a child and how the simple forces of nature amazed you? Bring that thinking back...life is magical, amazing, and overwhelminglt beautiful when we really see it as it is.
Cook these ingredients every day, in warm and comfortable temperatures and you will be astonished at the miracles that happen.
I would love to hear all about how this recipe works for you! Let me know via Twitter: @DrJenniferJones
Parenting From The Inside Out by Dan Siegel
My absolute favorite all-time read and definitely the most influential book for me as a mother. I interviewed Dan Siegel last year (see "Videos with Psychology Rock Stars" under Categories on this page). He is a hero of mine and I was gushing a bit. He is brilliant and has helped marry the fields of psychology and neurology to help us all gain wider wisdom.
Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
An in-your-face informational and research-based book about the hidden consequences of traditional discipline and absolutely a must-read for every parent wishing not to psychologically scar their children!
Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
Po and Ashley did an excellent job of taking some of the best psychological research that applies to parenting and summing it up here for you.
by Dr. Jennifer Jones www.DrJennifer.com
It’s the morning of the election. I just cast my ballot. I rarely cry but find myself in tears this morning. My tears are joyful and full of hope for possibility and yet sorrowful for the separation and anger that has surfaced. I use the word “surfaced” when describing the divisiveness of our country where others use the word “created” because these feelings weren’t created, they were in us all along. These powerful feelings of anger, hate, apathy, judgment, and fear, didn’t just appear out of nowhere. They have been with us for a while, possibly since our childhoods. It is unresolved trauma that we are unaware of.
I’m thrilled the election is heated and that it’s divisive. It means things are changing, progress is being made, and most importantly, that people are done being victimized. Anger is a great tool to move out of depression, sadness, and apathy.
We are an angry country who are un-friending each other or much worse (on Facebook and in real relationships), won’t consider an alternative view and hold onto our anger because it gives us a sense of possibility.
But what now? How do we heal, how do we move on in a productive, peaceful and conscious way so we don’t add to the unconscious trauma that brought this about in the first place?
As approximately 89% of adults in the world are parents, we have an incredible opportunity to heal through our relationship with our child. Two important pieces of psychological knowledge that will help us heal:
1. We unconsciously project ourselves onto our children more than any other relationship.
2. We are most annoyed in others that which is not healed in ourselves.
Therefore, our children become like a mirror to us. If you find yourself angry, annoyed, yelling, or being sarcastic with your child, it is a sign that you have not healed yourself.
We can use our relationship with our children to help us to practice tolerance, patience, acceptance, and non-violence. When we feel the need to punish, control or manipulate our children, it is often out of unconscious, or often conscious fear. Instead of feeding the fear by distancing the relationship, the task is to connect to the child and do our best to investigate the potential source of the behavior.
We can apply this practice to those who voted for the opposite political party. Instead of judging them and seeing them as different, less than, arrogant, ignorant, or worse, we can look for the potential source of their behavior, be mindful of our anger and fear and look to connect rather than punish.
And also, just like the relationship with our children, there is a window for healing. If we wait until they are adults to try to connect, the chances are much lower of obtaining an authentic connection.
In our relationships with others from the opposite political party, since the wounds are still fresh, we have a unique opportunity at this very moment in time to heal trauma, heal division and see that we have more in common than we realize.
So, the next time you are in a conversation with someone from the opposite political party, instead of falling for the more primitive, reptilian trap of looking for differences between you, go toward the executive functioning part of your brain and think about why that person is feeling the way they are.
If you are a Clinton supporter and the person you are talking to is a Trump supporter, think about the psychology behind why that person is voting for Trump—perhaps they have fear of immigrants, fear of losing/missing out. Perhaps they have felt bullied at some point in their lives and prefer to ally themselves with someone who they feel can protect them. Perhaps they have experienced poverty and have fear of returning to poverty or wish to become wealthy.
Likewise, If you are a Trump supporter and the person you are talking to is a Clinton supporter, think about the psychology behind why that person is voting for Clinton—are they a woman or a minority? Perhaps they have experienced sexism or discrimination. Perhaps Clinton represents an opportunity for them or their daughters that they didn’t think was possible before.
And there are, of course, a thousand other legitimate reasons why good people vote for candidates from the opposite party. The bottom message is: look into their suffering before you judge. Just as you would benefit from with your children—look into their suffering, their reasons for acting out before you punish or judge.
Because ultimately, relationships are the key to healing and compassion is at the core. Practicing deeper viewing and compassion with our children and applying it to our relationships with the other adults we meet in our life can have ripple-like effects in healing the trauma of the election and the state of our world in general.
Dr. Jennifer Johnston-Jones is a renowned psychologist and expert in Transformational Parenting and the Science of Success. Read more about the magic of Transformational Parenting at www.DrJennifer.com
Be Here Now by Ram Dass
Way before Eckhart Tolle, there was Ram Dass, a Harvard Psychologist who went to India, became enlightened and is credited for bringing Eastern perspective into Western thinking. I interviewed him in his home on Maui, Hawaii last year and was in awe of his ability to connect, and just be loving kindness. Check out the interview, in the "Videos With Psychology Rock-Stars" category on this page and more importantly, read the book!
Waking The Tiger: Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine
Trauma is everywhere, whether you were abused or not, we all have experienced trauma. It manifests though obesity, heart conditions, cancer, anxiety, mental illness, and has us working in survival mode, from the reptilian part of our brain instead of from an enlightened and conscious place. This book sums up some of what psychologists are taught and should be essential reading for everyone.
The Law of Attraction by Ester and Jerry Hicks
Hear me out, it comes off as a bit airy-fairy-like as the whole introduction is about the author channeling a being from another dimension. But regardless of your spiritual beliefs, the information is spot-on and the messaging now proving to be scientifically accurate. My favorite quote from the book "You are a creator, and the subject of your creation is your joyful experience. That is your mission. That is your quest. That is why you are here."
When we ask our daughter to hug or kiss someone that she is not entirely comfortable hugging or kissing, we unconsciously teach her to submit her body against her will which may lead to increased vulnerability to sexual predators. Sorry to scare you, but it is true! Yet, this act is so common that you’d be hard-pressed even in the most progressive families to find parents who do not force their children to be held, hugged or kissed unwillingly, mostly by innocent relatives who mean no harm, but still, unwillingly.
I was one of those parents when I first became a mother. I was nervous that my friends and relatives would get their feelings hurt if I didn't let them hold my daughter’s little newborn body. She would cling to me and I would pry her little fingers off to pass her off to them. Which wouldn’t go well. I soon learned that if she were asleep she wouldn’t notice and I could use the opportunity to stretch or go to the bathroom (oh the luxury!). But soon something clicked in me with my years of treating women who were sexually assaulted and I realized I was offering her body without consent.
Others in the field agree; "When we force children to submit to unwanted affection in order not to offend a relative or hurt a friend's feelings, we teach them that their bodies do not really belong to them because they have to push aside their own feelings about what feels right to them," said Irene van der Zande, co-founder and executive director of Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower International, a nonprofit specializing in teaching personal safety and violence prevention. Ursula Wagner, a mental health clinician with the FamilyWorks program at Heartland Alliance in Chicago agrees, “forcing children to touch people when they don't want to leaves them vulnerable to sexual abusers, most of whom are people known to the children they abuse. None of the child victims of sexual abuse or assault she's counseled was attacked by strangers, she said.
Indeed, most sexual abusers are people who the child knows and not anything like the creepy predator tempting kids into his van with candy. Research tells us that 1 in 5 girls are the victims of child sexual abuse. When we allow our daughters to have a choice in who they want to hug, kiss or be held by, it empowers them to know it is their right to decide and practice that self-assertion.
But just as important as protecting them from unwanted touch, we want our daughters to know that they reserve the right to make their own decisions about their bodies, yes, even as babies. We want her to learn that no one has a right to put their hands on her body without her agreeing. However, we teach our daughters exactly the opposite when we tell them to hug relatives, to kiss them and to let them hold them. This happens before our daughters can even speak. As infants, we often pass their little bodies to relatives or grandparents so they can hold them. While this action is seemingly innocent, it sets the message that even though they are a little nervous or even scared, that their job is to please others by letting them hold or touch them. They may wonder, “Why is my mommy or daddy giving me to that person who I am not comfortable with?”
I witnessed this yesterday. I hadn’t seen a friend for many months and her little 3 month-old newborn was now a little 9 month-old baby. Her name was Evelyn and she was cute in every possible way, with her soft and squishy little face and hands, her big eyes and her sweet smile. She was smiling at me so I asked to hold her. Her mother started pulling her baby away from her body to bring her to me and I could see her happy little face become scared and confused. “It’s ok, Evelyn,” her mother pressed, “Go to Jennifer.” Evelyn clung tighter and I could see the mother’s concern that I would get my feelings hurt and I could see Evelyn go from feeling safe and smiling at me to feeling threatened and unsure if her mom would protect her. After all, I was a stranger to her and I was asking to hold her entire body in my arms. I immediately told her mother that I didn’t want to hold her if she wasn’t comfortable and I could see the relief in her face. After a few minutes Evelin started smiling at me again feeling safe in her mother’s arms.
Can you imagine if we did to adults what we do to babies and children? It’s no wonder that by the time our daughters start to date that they become confused and often submit their bodies to be liked. I remember when I was growing up, there was talk of girls that “put out” and girls that didn’t “put out.” The girls that “put out” often had more interest than the girls that didn’t. Some of them were my friends and explained to me that being sexual is “a part of being someone’s girlfriend.” As you can imagine, not much has changed today and baby girls, toddler girls, young girls and teens are expected to let others hold them, hug them, kiss them and later to have sexual relations with them in order to please others. The message is passed unconsciously and it’s embedded in our culture.
What we can do to change this is to consider consent for girls and women of all ages. If our daughter doesn’t want to give grandpa or grandma a hug, don’t ask her to. If everyone is hugging goodbye and your daughter backs away, don’t ask her to hug goodbye. There is a social pressure to please others and to use children to please. It’s time to let go of this expectation and use the idea of consent for women of all ages from newborn to elderly women. If you are not sure by her body language if she wants to be held, hugged, or kissed, then you can ask her privately. If she says no, don’t ask her again and don’t force her. Just like we want our high school and college aged daughters to understand : “no means no” we can start teaching them at birth.
Do you agree? What are your thoughts?
Dr. Jennifer Jones, renowned psychologist, shares her thoughts, favorite articles, and favorite resources here