A New Path to Success
Discovering the True Emotions That Will Lead You to the Success You Desire
by JANIE LOUBSER
In this master article, I will explain why we often feel so anxious; how to become more empowered and how you can use this new empowerment to create the life you want and deserve.
WHY ARE WE SO ANXIOUS?
People sometimes ask me if it is depressing to listen to other people’s problems all the time. It is true, people do bring their problems, their worries, their failures and fears to me much of the time. They are anxious and depressed about the ongoing problems they face individually and on a global scale and they can feel threatened and powerless to do anything about it.
Our ways to cope with these threats are usually to talk about it, read about it, Google videos about it and think about it… only to then talk about it some more so naturally, they would want to talk about it with me in therapy too. But the reason people commit to therapy is usually because they have a desire to change and if you are reading this article, then you are probably ready for change as well. My answer to that opening question is: how can I be depressed when people seek me out looking for advice and answers? I listen with care because I believe that embedded in every problem, lies the very solutions you seek and this is the most exciting and fulfilling work to me – to help you find the solutions you are looking for.
Very early in my career as a psychologist one of my supervisors told me that a therapist is there to hold the torch and shine the light on the dark parts of their clients’ stories. After ten years of trying to do this, I have worked out my own personal approach to shining the light on the problems my clients bring and I have found that within the chaos of one’s life, lies the gold of your soul – your desires. I have developed a tried and tested way of getting to this gold that allows you to step out of the darkness of your problems and into the light of your desires.
As I’m writing this I am smiling, because I know we just love to talk about our problems … it’s what we know best. But by the same token, we feel silly talking about our dreams because our minds find it easier to focus on the very things that are threatening us. We think the more we know about danger, the more we can do something about it. We somehow feel empowered or validated when others agree with our views, or if we read or watch something that confirms our fears. And yes, it is important that we are aware and don’t live in denial but like I said, what if our problems framed the very clues about what we desire? By knowing what you don’t want you can figure out what you do want. But, if you want to move out of your problems and out of the accompanying anxiety, you have to move beyond what you don’t want to fully feel what it is you truly desire.
If you are not sure how to do this – that is, if you are unsure of what your desires are – then the first step may very well be to get clarity on your desires. There is absolutely no need to feel bad if you need help with this part. Quite frankly, as a society, we do not typically encourage one another to talk openly about our dreams and goals. As I’ve said before, it is far more fashionable to talk about our problems than our desires. Most of us had parents who had no idea how empowering it can be to allow their children to talk about their dreams and so, as children we learned to join our parents in their worries about things like money, the economy, safety, politics, performance, productivity, employment and the future.
FROM ANXIETY TO EMPOWERMENT
Fortunately, however, things are starting to change. The current state of the world is creating a global desire for things to be different. A collective desire is emerging for new leaders, new ideas, new ways of doing things, new ways of living … People are seeking solutions to their problems every day and I am strongly suggesting that we all commit to solving our own problems, first and foremost to fully feel what it is to be empowered.
Some of you have already begun the work in your personal lives but there may be an emotional quality to this commitment that is making you feel overwhelmed or anxious, or both! The inner peace you are looking for still feels far away and you may even feel anxious because you are trying to improve your life in a frantic, or forceful and controlling way. You try this and that, making rules for yourselves and others as you go: ‘I have to do this and they have to do that or else it won’t happen…’ and I get it, there are so many things you want to improve on in the hopes that you will feel more secure – more money, more stuff, able to do more etc – but the reality is, the harder you try, the more anxious, paralyzed and stuck you end up feeling.
I’m going to explain how anxiety is merely a state of confusion about what we think and feel. Your mind is addicted to thinking and when it is in a jumble about what you don’t want (coupled with thoughts on how to bail you out of those anxiety inducing feelings), it isn’t focused and clear. This leads us to feeling hopeless, desperate, depressed and stuck in the darkness I mentioned earlier and while you want to free yourself out of this cycle, you don’t exactly know how. That’s because in this anxious state, we are mostly in a state of survival. The mind is closed up and our ability to think freely and creatively is severely limited. I feel great compassion when I hear how hard my clients work to improve their finances, relationships, health, homes, family life, careers and even their holidays. And while there are some successes, I don’t see the anxiety easing away.
“…if you are willing to allow yourself to feel good and be successful, then you will allow yourself to have the life you want.”
I would like to give you a new picture of empowerment and success – one where empowerment doesn’t have to be hard and aggressive (there is so much of that already in the world). What if you could have well-being and success? What if you could feel at peace, at ease, beautiful, smart stylish, confident, energized, focused and empowered while you are achieving what you want for your relationships, finances, home, career, business, body and holidays? This is what I call modern success, cool success! Maybe you can imagine – right now – someone who is successful, someone who you like. My guess is that this person is successful and cool - they are healthy, positive, relaxed as well as confident, driven and successful. Herein lies the secret: if you are willing to allow yourself to feel good and be successful then you will allow yourself to have the life you want. Doesn’t it feel good to know that you can have that? Don’t you just want to focus on feeling good and living well? Wouldn’t you rather create this life than talk about what is wrong with the world?
THE PROCESS OF CREATING THE LIFE YOU WANT
In order to create the life you want, you need to know what you want. I suggest you start by writing down a working definition – I’m not talking about a list of things to do and I’m also not talking about arrogantly and aggressively fighting for what you want – I’m talking about using your whole self; your soul, your feelings (even your vulnerabilities), your imagination, your thoughts, your mind and your body. Just having a list or fighting for what you want will keep you focused on the lack of their presence rather than the actual things. You will feel loss; not empowerment. You may even achieve your goals and get what you want, but it may be a long and strenuous process. As the saying goes: ‘necessity is the mother of all invention’.
What I suggest is that you move beyond this necessity into a place where you feel the way you would feel if you already had what you want. By feeling good even before you have what you want, you activate the belief that you can do it. Now you can create rather than invent the life you want. Try and feel the difference between creating and inventing, which one feels lighter and easier?
WHAT IF I DON’T FEEL IT?
If you struggle to feel, think about or see the things you desire, then you are most likely being blocked by limiting beliefs or having thoughts that are actively in opposition of what you desire. These thoughts are called ‘resistances’ and they are very normal, they form the condition of the human mind and I would say, most of the work I do with clients in therapy is working through these resistances. These self-limiting beliefs are unconscious and it takes practice to become aware of them, but it is possible to get to know your mind and train it to be conscious of these unconscious thoughts and feelings. This ability is called a reflective ability and writing, being mindful and meditating are very effective ways to help you recognise self-limiting thoughts.
I know what you are thinking now – it is not enough to just know your thoughts right, you want to know what you must do with them? And you are right! Awareness is good, but using your mind to change the way you think and feel is much better! This is what it means to be creative and by changing the way you think and feel you activate your creative ability. Just as you learn to reflect and cultivate awareness, you can also learn how to influence the way you think and feel. Practicing visualisations and positive affirmations can be very effective if used correctly.
I am saying, we as humans tend to focus way too much on our problems (what we don’t want) and keep ourselves stuck in fear – keeping us largely ineffective in achieving the life we desire. I am recommending that you become aware when you are doing this and that you develop ways to shift your focus from what you don’t want to what you do want.
I am also suggesting that you change your thoughts and feelings – you need to feel good in order to create the life you want – creating your desired reality with your own positive thoughts and intentional feelings.
Once you get better at it, it will be easier to focus and get clarity about the details of what exactly that is (your desires). You will feel inspired to take action and most of all, you will feel good while you’re creating the life you want and always deserved. Feeling good and strong will help you overcome any challenges that may come your way and it will also draw the right people and resources that will aid you in achieving your goals. Let’s face it, nobody wants to help or work with a negative, whiny or aggressive person – would you?
"The more alive you feel, the easier you will draw everything and everyone you need, to yourself."
*image sourced via pinterest.