You can learn to enjoy yourself pursuing relationships if you know the secrets to relating and then practice them. Beyond making sure you offer a common-sense, clean physical presentation (you should know most people like this), the essential secret is to be yourself.
When you hear this, do you usually start imagining how you would act and speak if you were being yourself? If so, it is probably very frustrating, because imagining acting like yourself is an artificial activity.
The first step is to relax into yourself and appreciate yourself. You will notice a lot of thoughts, a lot of thinking about yourself. Start to pay careful attention to the way you talk to yourself. All language is hypnotic, and you are already a master at self-hypnosis – just an unaware master.
If you have trouble being yourself, you’re not just experiencing an awkwardness about how to speak or act. The awkwardness is a by-product of not allowing yourself to feel what you really feel and to know and pursue what you truly care about. Lack of awareness of these crucial aspects of self-knowledge is maintained by your inner hypnotic self-talk. To gain further awareness, read on . . . .
1. Approach Your Fear
When it comes to approaching and meeting women or men, what is there to fear? Rejection?
That’s half the fun! Seriously!
To be successful in connecting with someone you’re interested in, the first approach to make is to approach yourself. Approach your fear – and your fearful thinking. Fearful thinking literally turns your perceptions and judgments upside down. You think good is bad, front is back, and down is up.
For example, what makes rejection so terrible? Nothing, really. But fear blinds you to this fact. Notice how creative you are at generating vivid internal movies and fearful voiceovers that keep you terrified of the possibility of being rejected.
2. Your Perceptions Don’t Cause Anything
One way you hypnotize yourself is by mistaking perceptions for causes. You perceive through your 6 senses. There are the 5 outer senses, plus the inner mind sense that perceives thinking and emotions. Perceptions are just objects in awareness. They do not do anything and they do not mean anything. If a woman or a man smiles at you or glares at you or walks away from you or laughs at you or hugs you, you simply perceive the behavior. It doesn’t mean anything about you. It just is what it is: a perceived behavior.
Even though you think you’re afraid of someone, you are not afraid of perceptions. You can only be afraid in reaction to meaning. And perceptions have no inherent meaning about you. What you think about a perception gives it its fearful meaning. That meaning can affect your emotional state . . . but only according to how firmly you choose to believe in the meaning you have created.
You create the meaning and then you react to it.
The good news is that you, therefore, are in total control of the production of your fear and as well as the annihilation of your fear. Your belief in your thinking is the cause of your emotional state. The perceived object is not the cause.
Whether a woman or man smiles or frowns at you, you can keep your self respect, as long as you don’t play the inner game with yourself. As long as you don’t play the self-hypnotic game of convincing yourself, through some inner mental creation, that her response gives or takes away your essential value and your self-respect.
3. You’re in Control (Really)
A common response from clients, when I point this out, is, “It doesn’t feel like I’m in control.”
You don’t feel like you are in control of keeping your balance when you walk or ride a bike either, but you are. It doesn’t feel like it because you have mastered the control and you don’t have to focus conscious attention on the process as you once did when learning.
Through your conscious attention and effort, you taught your body — your unconscious mind — to master the process. So now it’s very difficult for the conscious mind to take back the control. You can prove this to yourself with a simple experiment: Try to intentionally fall over.
It’s going to take some effort to take back control that is located in another “part” of you.
You create meaning by scanning your perceptions and then relating them to past similar perceptions to which you’ve already attached a story, or meaning. You assign to the present situation the same meaning you’ve already attached to a similar situation in your past.
The ability to create such equivalence is a valuable ability. It’s called creating anchored associations. Anchored associations make it easy to recognize general classes of objects such as tables and chairs so you can easily navigate the world.
But this scanning and associating function causes fear and suffering when it highlights superficial similarities and misses significant differences.
If you hear someone speak in a loud angry voice similar to the one your father used when you were a little boy or girl, you may become terrified on the spot, because your mind immediately brings up the memories of witnessing your father’s anger.
To the degree that you are feeling afraid and small, your mind is giving great value to a superficial similarity — the angry voice. At the same time, your mind is completely overlooking significant differences, such as the fact that you are all grown up now, that it is 20 or 30 years later, that this is not your father who’s speaking to you, and that you are not in the living room of the home where you and your father lived when you were a little girl or boy.
4. Maintain Your Adult Perspective
I define ‘Adult’ as any person who has a functioning, moment by moment, self-validating awareness. In the example above, the consciousness in the grown-up body is not self-validating. Fear is present because the “person” in the body has instantly regressed to the perspective of a naïve child standing in the presence of a seemingly all-powerful, mysterious god-like being.
(As a small child, you instinctively sensed your parents had the power of life or death for you – that is the definition of a god.)
It makes sense for a child to be afraid in this scenario, but it doesn’t make sense for an adult to be afraid.
Self-validating function has many important aspects:
- It accurately labels fearful emotions as being childlike states of mind
- It holds these childlike states as objects in awareness, not as self
- It holds present time awareness of self-identity and stays connected to all the accumulated wisdom of having lived many years into “adulthood”
- It appreciates it has the power to take care of oneself.
- It understands the naïve and gullible mind of the child and its lack of power
- It nurtures the child state as if being sought out by a child needing protection — instead of disappearing into the child state
- It responds appropriately to present time perceptions without projecting the “reality” of the child’s situation and emotionality on to the present time situation.
Reconsider feeling afraid about approaching someone you’d like to meet and get to know, in the light of these points. To feel afraid you would have to assume that the person’s behaviors and presumed judgments have tremendous power over you. You would have to make that person’s responses and possible value judgments the source of your validation in the world.
Do you see that this is an anchored reaction issuing from the perspective of a small child? That it’s an instant hypnotic induction into “small child trance”? The mere perception of a female or male body that attracts you, triggers the mind into lightning-fast associations with child-parent dynamics full of hope for love and validation, as well as a mortal fear of losing the parent.
If at that moment you are not in a self-validating state of awareness, then the childlike state, the hypnotic induction, takes over, intensely desires support, and becomes even more desperate if support is withheld (“I can’t take care of myself!”).
When you approach others, not just potential partners, keep in mind that childlike states are powerfully anchored and that fearful ones get triggered very easily in most people. This happens in response to our perceptions of essentially harmless behaviors, like seeing a frown on someone’s face. In my book, Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnotherapy/NLP, I have coined a term for these states: “Chronically Regressed Trance States of Identity.”
5. Create Powerful, Positive, Present Time Anchors
What is the antidote to Chronically Regressed States? Think of several different memories of times when you were at your best in various ways — when you felt very relaxed, very joyful, very witty, very curious, very alert, and very generous. As completely as you can, relive each memory until that good quality comes alive in you. Then anchor that quality by pressing your thumb and forefinger together (or by creating some other simple physical anchor of your choice). Rehearse this several times with each memory until the feeling comes back automatically when you press your fingers together (or use the anchor you created).
Follow this process with several of these qualities using the same anchor each time so that you stack the anchor with positive associations. In other words, so that when you press your fingers together, all the qualities come alive in you.
This stacked anchor will enable you to quickly feel interested, alert, at ease, joyful, witty, and generous. Now imagine a future movie with you approaching and talking to a woman or man you’re interested in getting to know. Trigger the anchor and experience yourself maintaining these qualities of your self-validating state regardless of her responses.
If this person “rejects” you, that indicates something about them, or about their response to the way you interacted, but it doesn’t mean anything about you, about your value, or about your ability to stay cheerful and approach someone else. First, you may cheerfully analyze your behavior and verbal communication to determine if you communicated your real intentions — just to improve upon your ability to do so. But it is an enjoyable learning process, not a life-threatening drama. And thus the delightful adventure continues!
6. Understand the Trance of Rejection
A word about rejection, while we’re on the subject. People do not reject each other. People reject behaviors based on meanings they’ve assigned to those behaviors, based on past experience they’ve had with similar behaviors.
People’s rejection of a behavior can be accurate in present time, like saying “No” to an unwanted magazine solicitation. The problem comes when people reject behaviors that have triggered chronically regressed states — states in which they experience fear and suffering.
When people behave negatively toward each other, they are not seeing each other. They are seeing projections from their chronically regressed states. When this happens, there is no real contact in present time between self-aware, self-validating adults. It’s two regressed states in a sparring match.
When you truly see another person, you recognize they are meeting the same challenge that you are meeting — the challenge of the human experience. A natural respectand even love arises from this awareness, and then collaboration is easy and enjoyable.
If you feel fear and then believe the “reality” created by fearful beliefs, you are being ruled by a chronically regressed trance state of identity. These trance delusions become very convincing and rapidly more intense when people get swept away in reactivity. In this way we reinforce each other’s fearful regressed child states.
7. You’re Relating, not Performing
Trying to perform in order to gain acceptance is an expression of fear.
You may know other men and women who seemingly find it easy to approach and connect with potential partners, and yet their lives have featured a series of short-term or broken relationships. This is a sign that the real person is not truly relating. It is a sign of a man or woman living in a child state, someone who is skilled at seeking out and “connecting” with others who are living in complementary child states. So don’t be too quick to pick dating role models based on another’s seeming courage about approaching people.
As a self-validating adult, you are at ease in your body and being. You allow thoughts and feelings to enter into your awareness without fearful monitoring. As a self-validating adult, you do not perform. Instead, you relate — an activity of generous, honest sharing of your ideas and authentic feelings, without concern about being judged. Remember: as a real adult, you know what you value and feel and you are unafraid to share. When you relate, you are in an adult state.
As an adult, you have the clarity to understand that people only judge their own projections, their own fearful fantasies. You understand that you’re never the target of judgment or rejection unless you pretend to be the projection (performing) instead of just being yourself (relating).
8. Approach Yourself First
The anchoring exercise outlined above can be a very quick and powerful way to change your state and behaviors in a given situation — to bring yourself back into a self-validating state. You will make the anchoring process much more lasting and dynamic if you resolve to approach and accept yourself.
It is crucial to realize that your primary relationship is with yourself. You are never alone. Thinking that you are alone is a deluded hypnotic suggestion. You are always with yourself! If you do the introspective, compassionate work of becoming your own best friend — transforming your inner self-talk to be a constant stream of honest, constructive evaluation, encouragement, and support — you will live a life free of fear. You will recognize the organic rush of energy you feel when approaching a potential partner as a sign of being alive. And you will appreciate the rare intensity of being alive! You will refrain from channeling that rush of vivid aliveness into enervating fearful thoughts of humiliation and abandonment, or into the struggle to possess someone.
You can see that relating to a woman or a man is a dance of exploration. The possibility of “rejection” truly is half the fun of approaching them.
To help you quickly achieve strength, clarity, and success in every area of your life, consider purchasing one or more of my survival kits: The Dating Survival Kit, The Sexual Survival Kit, and The Relationship Survival Kit. Good luck!
Jack Elias, CHT is founder and director of the Institute for Therapeutic Learning in Seattle, Washington. He is the author of Finding True Magic: Transpersonal Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy/NLP, a book and course which blends NLP training modalities with philosophical traditions of both East and West. Finding True Magic now available as an eBook!
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