Sunday, April 20, 2014

The "F" Word

 "What we focus on expands." ~ Unknown

A client, let's call her Amy, told me she wanted to be free of her ex-husband. "He controls my life and tortures our children," she said. "I want to be free of him!" she exclaimed. Amy's pain and frustration were palpable. I asked her what she wanted for herself. Her answer: "I don't know." When I pressed a bit, she told me she wanted to own a business and that her 9 to 5 existence was something she loathed. While Amy's concerns about her ex-husband were not unfounded, she had become an expert on focusing like a well-targeted laser on his actions and behaviors. She could recall in detail dozens of conversations she had with him and even conversations her ex-husband had with their children. She had an opinion about all of his relationships and actions even when they did not concern her. On the other hand, Amy gave little thought to her personal desires. Her fuzzy notion of owning a business reflected the time and energy she gave that aspect of her being.

When I asked Amy how she was able to divorce a man who "controlled" her, she said, "I wanted out so badly, I didn't care anymore. I was determined to leave." I suggested that her focus became her reality. Instead of focusing on how bad her marriage was she focused on leaving.  After a couple of months of working together, Amy admitted that it was easier to keep her focus on her husband's behavior rather than face her real fearfailing. The comfort and ease of the dance that she engaged in with her ex-husband held a lesser threat than failing for Amy. She was well acquainted with placing her fate in the hands of others. When she was a girl, Amy told me her mother, although well-intentioned, led her to believe she was helpless, ugly, and should be grateful to find a man to care for her. Amy held those words in her heart her entire adult life until she decided to put her focus elsewhereon herself. 

The True Law of Attraction
Once Amy put her focus on her dreams and her gifts, they became sharper. A plan was erected, executed, and now she is a proud and successful business owner. Regarding her adult children, Amy discovered they were quite capable of taking care of themselves. When she stepped out of her role as micro-manager of their lives her children stepped into their own ability to create a workable relationship with their father. The myth of The Law of Attraction is that if we focus on what we don't want it will go away. The contrary is true. When we focus on what we don't want we get more of it. As energy beings, we attract and align where our energy is centered and that becomes the reality we experience. Amy's former reality was being imprisoned by her husband. Her thoughts led to actions that put her exactly in the nucleus of her focus. Amy told me recently that she sees her ex-husband in a new light. She is now grateful that he had a stable job that provided the alimony she needed to get her business going.

 The "R" Word
A life without taking personal responsibility is a life unexamined. Taking our emotional pulse and really seeing ourselves can be hard. It is so much easier to fall into the familiar folds of blame.  Amy admittedly spent too much time focusing on her ex-husband's "wrong" behavior and puffing herself up by imagining she was standing on the moral high ground by being "right," which was a poor substitute for what she really wantedto believe she was beautiful and capable of taking care of herself. Taking responsibility is empowering. It empowers us to love ourselves no matter what we were told by well-intentioned parents, teachers, partners, or co-workers. Taking responsibility for growing ourselves up instead waiting for that parent, spouse, or boss to apologize gives us back our power instead. Waiting for the one who hurt us to make things better keeps us helpless by handing over our self worth to another. It even strips us of compassion by determining that the parent, spouse, or boss had the capability to be anything other than the focus of their own lives. If we can compassionately hold love for those who have hurt us by accepting who they truly are rather than whom we think they should be then we are truly free. But a deeper freedom is found when we hold that same love for ourselves by taking responsibility, learning, and growing.