• You Are What You Become Emotionally Involved With

    emotionally involved

    You are what you eat! say the clean-eating gurus.
    You are what you think about! say the Law-of-Attraction teachers.

    Neither are wrong, exactly. I know from experience that the food you eat has a huge impact on how you feel, not just physically but also emotionally and mentally. The manifestation/attraction process indeed begins with one’s thoughts. And yet, somehow I always knew that the above statements only tell part of the full story.

    Then during a training with Bob Proctor, the penny dropped. He said: “You are what you become emotionally involved with.” I immediately knew that this was it. It’s what I had been struggling to put into words. And the ramifications of this seemingly innocent sentence are manifold.

    Let me show you.

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    Disclaimer: No, you don’t have to feel good all the time


    I keep saying, writing, and teaching it, and I will continue to do so until I’m blue in the face and you’re sick of hearing it: None of this means that you must always feel good, or that you’re sabotaging yourself and/or your happiness when you feel angry, sad, or down.

    Emotions are there to be experienced. When you lose someone you love, of course you’ll be mourning. It’s the natural way of things, and it’s not going to sabotage anything – otherwise, anyone who manifests with ease would be a cold-hearted monster. They’re not.

    This is why I like Bob Proctor’s way of saying it so much. Years before, it was Lynn Grabhorn who first pointed out that it’s the feelings that matter for manifestation, not the thoughts (read her milestone book Excuse me, your life is waiting).

    However, saying that it’s about feelings doesn’t go far enough and leaves room for interpretation and mistunderstandings like the above – that somehow, in order to manifest happiness and success, you can’t ever feel anything we label “negative”. And that’s rubbish.

    What does “emotionally involved” mean?


    Emotionally involved is not just feeling an emotion. We all “feel”, all day long. We’re happy, sad, angry, curious, bored, content, joyful, and frustrated. We laugh and we cry. We mourn, we celebrate. If all of this resulted in major manifestation or determined our character, we and our lives would be kaleidoscopes of ever-shifting shapes and colours.

    This is why you needn’t worry or feel guilty about not feeling great about something. Putting obstacles in our way is life’s way of teaching us what we need to learn, and life’s not known for being particularly subtle about it. So if you’re reeling from a setback or loss, join the club. You’re not failing, you’re not being punished – you’re simply alive. Now go and feel your emotions.

    “Involved” is something else. Emotionally, it’s the equivalent of getting serious about a relationship. You may be dating, you may even have a fling. You might get a little starry-eyed about someone. But once you feel your feelings solidifying, becoming stronger and steadier, you’re getting involved.

    The same goes for everything else in life.

    flying kite

    Examples of emotional involvement


    To put all this in more practical terms, I’ll give you a few examples.

    Person A has a stressful job and often works overtime. That’s what makes her come alive; she’s “married to her job” and gains great satisfaction from meeting tight deadlines, living the company values, and gaining her managers’ approval.

    Person A is clearly emotionally involved in her job.

    Person B is also a dedicated employee with a great work ethic. When she’s in the office, she focuses on her work 100%. However, where Person B’s heart truly lies is in tennis, and so she sets clear boundaries around work-life balance. She trains several evenings a week and spends most weekends at regional tournaments.

    Although Person B spends far fewer hours playing tennis than working, her emotional involvement is with tennis.

    This is why passions are key


    Are you beginning to see why I promote prioritising passions? And why it doesn’t matter whether or not you give up your job and/or make your passion a source of income? Or how good or bad you are at it?

    If you can choose what and who you are, and shape yourself according to what you get emotionally involved with – why would you pick something stressful and cut-throat? Passions bring you joy. They make you overflow with happiness and ooze love from every pore. That’s something worth becoming, wouldn’t you agree?

    Before you ask: If we’re going to stay with the relationship metaphor, then no, you don’t have to be monogamous with what you’re emotionally involved with. You can have a happy relationship and adore your kids, and still put a passion front and centre as well. You’re emotionally involved with all of these, and they make you who you are.

    emotionally involved

    What does this mean for you?


    It means that you can choose what you become emotionally involved with. A while ago, I had you do an exercise where you added up the hours you spent on sleep, work, chores, passions etc. each week. This exercise is a great start and gives you some hints on your priorities. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.

    The more accurate measure is your emotional involvement. You can be a good employee and work hard, but there’s no need to dedicate your whole life to your job. Pick and choose what you’d like more of in your life, how you would like to be and become. These are the things you should dive into with all your heart and soul.

    P.S. Don’t worry about doing well at work: Person B above will get promoted long before Person A. Because happy people with a strong sense of self and strong boundaries make great leaders, they tend to be recognised in the workplace, often ahead of their overtime-working colleagues. Think about it!

  • The Reason Why It’s So Hard To Slow Down



    Slowing down is not just a subject I talk about a lot, it’s all over the internet. People talk about wanting a simple life. They post nostalgic memes of cosy cottages with fireplaces and happy people taking a walk on the beach.

    We also spend a significant amount of our time on complaining about how busy we are. Two friends meet in the street, and you can bet they’ll talk about how much they have to do.

    We obviously hate being so busy. So what’s our problem? Your mission today is to learn why it is so hard to slow down.

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    Task 1: Why it’s so hard to slow down


    We tend to think of being busy and stressed as bad. It’s what makes us tired, irritable and whiny. We basically bitch about it all the time! Therefore, what I’ll say next will come as a bit of a surprise.

    The real reason why it’s so hard to slow down is that it’s easier to be busy.

    This may sound ludicrous, but stress addiction is a thing. If you haven’t heard of it, I’ll briefly explain it: Stress causes our bodies to go into alert mode. Amongst other things, adrenalin is produced. This is a good thing if we need to escape a dangerous situation, which is what stress is meant for.

    If stress becomes (semi-)permanent, though, it’s a problem. Constant high alert is really bad for the body. We get addicted to the adrenaline. And that, right there, is why it’s easier to stay busy than it is to slow down.

    hard to slow down

    Task 2: How to escape


    No addiction is broken in a day. It’s usually a process and involves more than one step. I’ve listed a few things you can do in a previous episode, but today I’d like to focus on one particularly effective aspect: Your body.

    Stress accumulates in the body, and the adrenaline circulates there as well. That’s why it’s a good idea to use your body to get rid of stress as well. You can do this by moving in any way whatsoever. Obviously, a walk in the forest would be great, but even walking inside your building is better than nothing.

    Sport is great, too, but dancing is just as good. Get up and pace up and down for a minute or two. Do a five-minute yoga session. Every physical activity helps to reduce adrenaline and get you back into balance – and then you’ll be able to actually put up your feet and read, rather than rushing towards the next adrenaline fix.

  • Why You’re Not Who You Think You Are



    Apologies for the in-your-face title. Who am I to tell you what you think about yourself is wrong?

    Well, actually, I do have grounds for this, because I work with a lot of people and I see how widespread these misconceptions about oneself are. Still, what I’m saying might not apply to you – it’s not a universal truth. Therefore, judge for yourself.

    Your mission today is to learn why you might not be who you think you are, and what to do to fully become who you are.

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    Task 1: Why aren’t you who you think you are?


    We tend to think that we know best who we are. To a certain extent, this is definitely true. Nobody else can tell us what to do or what we want.

    And yet we don’t always see the picture clearly. We tend to identify with what feels familiar about ourselves. It feels right and true because it’s been with us for a long time.

    But what if not all of this is our true self? We all get conditioned by our families, schools, peers, by the way we grow up. Some people are deeply traumatised, something that’s been imposed upon them.

    This also means that who we truly are, might actually feel wrong.

    who you think you are

    Task 2: Learn who you truly are


    So how can you tell who you truly are, especially if it feels wrong? There’s a process to this, and it can take some time and get messy, but here are the basic steps:

    • Heal what needs to be healed. Think of it as unlearning what other people tried to make you.
    • Remember your earliest dreams and wishes. What were your dreams and daydreams like as a child?
    • Explore your passion(s). Passions say something about you on a very deep level.

    Knowing who you are also makes it easier to say no when something is not aligned with your true being. It might be a journey, but it’s worth the effort.

  • Don’t Speed Up, Slow Down



    Classic motivation tends to sound like this: Do the thing! Take action! Crush it! We follow, get inspired for a day or two, and then fall off the wagon, feeling terrible about ourselves.

    Has it occurred to you that maybe the fault isn’t with you, but with the “get going and crush it” mentality? I say: don’t speed up, slow down instead.

    Your mission today is to learn how to actually get shit done, and be happier along the way.

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    Task 1: Understand the lure of motivational talk


    The thing with motivational talk is, it’s so wonderfully contagious. Got unresolved emotional pain or a health issue? Just jump up and get shit done anyway! You’ll feel like a hero.

    Unfortunately, this is highly toxic for the exact reasons it is also attractive: Because it ignores issues. Emotional pain or health issues don’t go away if they’re being ignored, they’ll find other outlets and can turn very destructive.

    Task 2: Your obstacle course


    Becoming immune to the “crush it” mentality is like an obstacle course. That’s not because you’re too superficial to face your problems, by the way. It’s because of how addictive constant “action” is.

    I’ve spoken about stress addiction before, so I’ll not belabour it here. This task is mostly a heads-up for you to expect it to be difficult. Otherwise, you’ll become yet another person who thinks “I could meditate/slow down/etc., I’m just XYZ (too busy or I don’t need it)”.

    Don't speed up, slow down

    Task 3: Don’t speed up, slow down


    So what can you do to get there? I suggest a quick, do-able ritual:

    • Grab a cup of something
    • Light a candle
    • Take a deep breath
    • Ask yourself gently: How are you?
    • Listen

    It’ll take a while until you hear more than the stereotypical “fine”. The important part is deep listening. If you do this ritual every day, you will eventually get an answer. Then you can act accordingly – truly meaningful action towards a goal that’s important to you.

  • Joy Is A Profound Emotion (Not Just Sadness Or Anger)



    I remember watching an interview with David Bowie many years ago, where he said that people always equate profound emotion and also deep thought with things like anger or sadness, when really it’s much more subversive nowadays to be happy.

    Joy is anything but a superficial emotion, and it’s well worth pursuing. Your mission today is to learn why this is so and how you can go about it.

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    Task 1: Why joy is a profound emotion


    I’ve spoken about our evolutionary negativity bias before, but this goes far beyond that. It’s about the way we have created almost a cult around anything negative today.

    News exploit the fact that people are drawn to negativity. Even academics has succumbed to the cult of the sad and angry, to the point where fictional books or movies with a happy ending are seen as shallow on principle.

    Historically, strong emotions have always moved artists to create their best works. However, it’s not just sadness or frustration, but also happiness, being in love, finding joy – just think of religious hymns and paintings. Joy is a profound emotion, too.

    Task 2: The challenges of focusing on joy


    As Bowie stated, in our culture it’s akin to a revolutionary act to be happy. You’ll be faced with all sorts of prejudices and obstacles such as:

    • People will assume that you’re superficial
    • People will assume that you’re naive and inexperienced
    • Some will try and take advantage of you
    • “Negativity-splainers” will go out of their way to tell you negative stories to make you more “realistic”

    To stand against the united forces of negativity takes a lot. Stick it out, though; it’s worth it.

    joy is a profund emotion

    Task 3: How to pursue joy and happiness


    Here are three steps you can take to become a happy revolutionary:

    • Stop watching or reading news for a while
    • List 3 things you’re grateful for every day
    • If you’re happy and you know it… acknowledge it. Write it down, tell others.

    Happiness and joy are habits just like everything else. If you work on it regularly, you’ll feel much more joy almost every day.