Midlife is a Crossroads, Not a CrisisWritten by Dr. Jim Manganiello
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Our deepest possibilities often emerge most clearly during times of psychological and spiritual confusion. Many of us enter midlife with well established patterns of identity. Our work and family life have become predictable sources of externally based identity and enjoyment. Then all of a sudden we can begin to feel depleted and out of sorts. What we have worked hard for, and what we have valued, begins to seem lacking in some vague way.
Our lives begin to feel like a drama that someone else has arranged. We lose energy for what we do every day. It becomes repetitive and boring. Even our most prized possessions may all of a sudden appear to be just "things" that no longer mean very much to us.
It can almost feel as if we have lost something that we then struggle to get back. But typically that doesn’t work. We can find ourselves stressed out as old wounds in our self-image begin to feel very sore again. As a kind of panic sets in, we might find our connections to people in our family and work lives feel strained. We begin to question everything that seems to have a hold on our time and energy. And we can feel a strong appetite for freedom.
Midlife is a time when old images that we had come to rely upon for self definition no longer seem to work well. But, as yet, there are no new images on scene that could provide us with a clear sense of identity. As a consequence, our experience of ourselves, of "I" or "me" that we tend to identify with can become uneasy and indefinite.
It is a little like discovering that solid ground that we were standing on is actually a large turtle's back that is moving. What results is a subtle sense of stressful panic as we lose our balance and certainty of who we are.
Next month we’ll continue exploring fascinating territory of midlife in part two of this series.
After many years of study and work in best of western and eastern psychological, spiritual and well-being traditions, I created Good Life Process™, a life enhancement practice that brings together ancient wisdom and cutting edge knowledge. The Process is a powerful tool for negotiating midlife change and for creating a life that can be well lived, loved and understood.
Dr. Jim Manganiello is an award winning depth psychologist, Master coach, and meditation instructor. He works with people who want to craft their life into a work of art. Jim created the amazing, 5 part, Crafting the Good Life Course, now available at www.craftingthegoodlife.com. The Course features a powerful life enhancement practice, The Good Life Process™ Sign up for the Jim’s Newsletter and get Part One, Step 1 of the Process FREE.
Control, Helplessness, and LoveWritten by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
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Once you accept your helplessness over others, then lots of energy is released to take care of yourself. Many of us have been taught that taking care of ourselves is selfish. Contrary to taking care of yourself being selfish, taking care of your own feelings and needs is what personal responsibility is all about. As long as you make others responsible for your feelings of worth and lovability, you will try to control how others treat you and feel about you. As soon as you take responsibility for defining your own worth and lovability and taking care of your own feelings and needs, you move out of being a victim and into personal power.
The challenge is to accept our helplessness over others. This is often difficult, because as infants, if we were helpless over getting someone to feed us and attend to us, we would have died. Many of us went through terror of crying and crying and no one coming to love and care for us. Many of us experienced that life-threatening experience of helplessness over getting others to take care of our needs. We became deeply terrified of feeling of helplessness and learned to do anything we could to avoid that feeling and that situation.
The problem is that we do not realize that today we are no longer helpless over ourselves as we were as infants. We will not die of someone doesn't attend to us. We can feed ourselves and call a friend for help if we need it. Yet many people still react to feeling of helplessness over others as if it were a life and death situation. Many people still do anything they can to avoid feeling helpless, including controlling others or shutting out our feelings with addictive behavior. How often have you found yourself grazing in front of refrigerator, turning on TV, grabbing a cigarette without even realizing you were doing it? Often, this addictive behavior is a way to avoid feeling of helplessness that may have come up in an interaction with someone, or as a way to avoid responsibility for taking care of your own feelings and needs.
The first step in moving beyond controlling and addictive behavior is to be willing to become aware of feeling of helplessness. Once you are aware of what it feels like in your body, embrace feeling as you would embrace a small child who is feeling scared. As you bring love to feeling of helplessness within you rather than avoiding it with controlling and addictive behavior, you will discover that it isn't as bad as you thought. If you are willing to open to love that surrounds you in Spirit and bring that love inside to part of you that feels helpless, this frightened wounded part that just wants to be loved begins to get healed. The more you practice embracing helplessness rather than avoiding it, more you will move out of being a victim and into your personal power and ability to love yourself and others.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?", "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?", "Healing Your Aloneness","Inner Bonding", and "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?", "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?", "Healing Your Aloneness","Inner Bonding", and "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:email@example.com