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Have you been plagued by relationship anxiety? Has it been a factor in your life because of your own anxiety or because of the anxiety of a partner?

Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager.  You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick.  ~Steve Bull

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Symptoms of Relationship Anxiety

Here is how you can tell if anxiety is a problem for you in social situations, relationships or even work related areas. You do not need to be in a romantic relationship with someone in order to have relationship anxiety. Everything is relationship.

  • Are you suspicious of another person’s behavior? Do you  make up stories in your mind about what they are thinking or doing when you are not around?
  • Are you overly needy when you are in a relationship? Do you need constant reassurance that the other person/job/friend will always be around? Do they need to prove their allegiance to you, over and over again?
  • Are you impulsive? Have you heard the story about the young woman who broke into her lover’s girlfriends house in order to see if they were both there, cheating on her? Yes, that is definitely impulsive behavior.
  • Are you bothered by mood swings? You feel up and then down with no predictor of which mood will come over you in a social , work, or relationship situation?
  • Are you an over analyzer of the relationship? Do you try and read meaning into every little word or thing?

All of these symptoms can be mild or can escalate until they make how you function in your life difficult. Some people only feel anxiety when they are in a romantic relationship. Some people feel anxious in their work related roles. Others feel anxiety when they are at different social gatherings with friends and loved ones.

What Lies Beneath Relationship Anxiety

The root cause of anxiety is fear and what is fear? Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real….that’s right…unless you are being pursued by a bear in the woods or another event where fear is appropriate. 

Fear of an event that has not happened yet is fear that you create in your mind with your imagination. You imagine that the event will turn out badly…and so, I must ask you this…”Why would you imagine a future that is less than you want?”

Think about that for a moment. Why would you? Perhaps…and this is just an idea…you have made it a habit to do so…it has become part of your automatic operating system. The grooves in your brain, the patterns that years of negative beliefs have created, are there. They are a well worn path that your mind likes to travel and so it is easy to fall into that pattern.

Steps to Feeling More Confident and Avoiding Relationship Anxiety

Use that wonderfully creative imagination of yours to visualize a happy future, one filled with ease.

Create an anchor that you can trigger when you feel distressed and full of anxiety. Click here for more instructions on that.

Set small goals for yourself, baby step goals, in your relationships and then celebrate their success. If you have anxiety over calling someone up on the phone, set a small goal to find the phone number. That is a baby step. Another baby step after that is to put the number into your cell phone as a contact…and so on, until you work up to actually being able to call.

If there is a specific event that you are creating anxiety about, imagine the event being over and that it is fifteen minutes after and you tell yourself “That worked out well”…it really helps (it works great if you are taking a test, too!).

Relationship anxiety does not need to be permanent. It can be overcome, really…and the important question is this one and worth repeating…” Why would you imagine a future that is less than you want?”…it is that simple…maybe not easy in the beginning but it will be soon…because you can use that brilliant brain of yours to imagine something different…can’t you?

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner


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Are you aware of the creative power of your imagination? It is a powerful creative tool that you can harness and use to mold and shape the life that you want.

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Albert Einstein and Michelangelo had it right…imagination is very important. Here are their exact words and two of my favourite imagination quotes.

"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free." Michelangelo

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." Albert Einstein

The Role of Imagination in our Lives

Have you ever heard the expression “Your imagination has gotten the better of you?” My mother used it a lot when I was a young girl because it did…get the better of me, that is. I had a very vivid imagination and it was stirred up regularly by my habit of reading everything that I could get my hands on! I grew up in the days of only one television channel (oh my, I have just dated myself, lol). Our local library had masses of books that were murder mysteries and science fiction. I read them all…

Now, if you can picture this…a young girl, reading those kinds of books and living on an isolated country acreage with little to no outdoor lighting? It was dark and my mind assigned scary creatures and people to the shadows. It was not fun…

Our imagination can be a force for good or a force for bad in our lives. If we imagine positive scenarios and focus on what we want, it is a positive force. If we focus on the negative and what can go wrong in our lives, then it can be a force for less than good…and it is powerful, no matter what direction we are focused on.

Focus Your Imagination on What you Want

Have you had difficulty moving out of your comfort zone and imagining what you really want? If you find it easier to focus on what you don’t want, you need to reframe that, to turn it around.

If you find yourself saying, “I don’t want to be alone anymore”, then the question really is, “What DO you want?”. Listen for your answer. “I want to have in my life a person who loves me and accepts me” tells you something you need to hear. Be specific.

If you have difficulty with putting a finger on what you want, you might find that negativity is keeping you stuck, with your wishes and desires in your life going unfulfilled.

In order to be able to create a compelling vision in your imagination, you first need to do these things.

  • Give yourself permission to want what you want.
  • Make sure that it is ecological that you get what you want; that is, what you want is good for you, good for others, good for the world.
  • Decide if it is a reasonable desire, one that you actually can achieve that is not an unrealistic fantasy.
  • Clear up any negativity surrounding that desire or wish that you have.
  • Realize that you are the one with the power and are 100% responsible for your life.

So let’s imagine that you have done all of those things or that it is easy for you to create a multi sensory experience in your imagination…

The Ultimate Creative Power of Your Imagination

The next question to ask is “What would happen if _______ really happened?” Do you feel happy, excited, overjoyed, relieved, satisfied…or does the very idea of your dream coming to fruition frighten you?

If it feels good to you, then you will be able to create a powerful image in your mind…one that ramps up your energy so that you can believe, deep inside, that you can create it…and you will…you will be able to put the actions that you need to take in order to achieve it, into play.

If it doesn’t feel good to you, then the creative power of your imagination will give you just that…not having what you want and creating that feeling of lack and despair. You will still feel that you “want” it but you won’t be able to bring it into your reality. Feelings are powerful.

Get clear on your feelings. When you can bring the powerful feelings of success into your imagination, along with the vivid pictures and the sensory feelings and imagine the sounds that you will hear…your creative imagination will go into overdrive and you can create what you want…just like that. Everything starts as a thought or as a series of thoughts…make sure that the thoughts you have are the ones you want because you carve your life out of them…

"Drive your own life…you deserve to, don't you?"  Sherie Venner 

 

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Have you ever been told that letting go of a relationship, a job, a negative past event or something else is the best thing for you? Then, even if you agreed with that, did you find the letting go to be difficult and hard to do?

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All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on. – Havelock Ellis

What Do You Need to Let Go of in Your Life?

Here are some common situations that people find themselves letting go of.

  • A relationship ( or aspects of one) that is no longer working
  • Habits and vices that no longer serve you
  • Resentments and anger over the past
  • Negative beliefs that hold you prisoner
  • Low self esteem
  • Lack of faith in yourself
  • Your inner critic
  • A job or situation that doesn't meet your needs

Reason #1: Letting Go is Hard When You Have Made a Public Declaration

You have made a public declaration to the world, either in the form of a commitment like marriage, living together or having a child together. There is a theory that when people have stood in front of other people and declared their intentions publicly, it is harder for them to back down and say that they were wrong or made a mistake.

That makes sense to me. How many of us know someone who converted to a way of thinking, discovered that they were wrong, yet they couldn’t bring themselves to admit it or change the path they were on? This happens quite often in the case of a marriage that is no longer working, in spite of all efforts to save it.

Would you Tell Christina on Grey’s Anatomy to Let Owen Go?

Yes, I am a big Grey’s Anatomy fan. In a previous post, we talked about why Owen thought that love hurts. This week, there is a new episode, fast on the heels of Owen’s confession to Christina that he has cheated on her (and it was only sex, according to the previews). I can hardly wait to see how this plays out!

Now, Owen and Christina are fictional characters, yet their dilemma is one that faces a lot of couples. One or both have been unfaithful to the other. Betrayals have happened and the emotional temperature is at a fever pitch. Whether they make it or not remains to be seen.

We all have friends and family members who know of someone who has been cheated on and lied to, perhaps it even happened to you. Quite often, we don’t understand why they continue to stay and be humiliated. They give excuses like “he is a good provider” or “she is an excellent mother” or “as long as they don’t leave me, I will turn a blind eye”. It can even be as simple as the sense of shame and losing face in front of those that we love.

Reason #2 Letting Go is Hard when You Hold on with an Iron Grip

I went to West Edmonton Mall last weekend with the family. They have an indoor amusement park in the mall, complete with a roller coaster, ferris wheel, carousel, bumper cars…you name it, they have it!

I haven’t been on an amusement park ride in 12 years because I have an inner ear imbalance that makes the whole world topsy turvy when I go on one. This makes it just a tad bit nerve wracking.

I let Allison convince me to go on Mumble’s Wild Ride….well…now that’s a story. You get strapped into a two seated platform that throws you all over the place. You watch the screen with 3 D glasses  and it really feels like you are sliding down ice floes and being plunged under water. It is quite realistic.

In the first few minutes, I held on with a grip so tight that no one could have pried my hands open….and then about half way through the ride, I had a sudden realization that this was just like life…when you hold on too tightly, you can’t enjoy the ride. So I let go…just like that…in that brief moment of awareness…and just let myself be in the now of the ride…and it was fun…

Reason #3 Letting Go is Hard When You Don’t Think You are Safe

Do you believe that the world is a safe place? You might have very good reasons for thinking that it is not…abuse is more common than we would like to think…and as children, a lot of people developed the belief that the world is not safe…as a result of abuse, trauma, accidents, loss of a parent or many other reasons.

Despite any events that have happened, the biggest favor you can do for yourself is to allow yourself to believe that yes, the world is safe. When you no longer have that fear, you can let go and let the flow into your life. 

Once that belief is changed, and it can be, you know…even if those events did happen…you can believe that the world is a safe place, for you…in spite of everything…

There are so many things that you can choose to let go of…now…those things that no longer serve you…those beliefs that no longer work…and it’s all up to you…that letting go…and it can be so easy…just do it…now…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner

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You’ve got one life to live. It is up to you if you live it in a prison of negativity and feeling bad or…you can make the decision to have a different life, one filled to the brim with creativity and great relationships. You can decide, right now, to have a life that is based on feeling good and on feeling happy, in spite of your circumstances.

As we discussed in the last post, motivating yourself through criticism, bribery and manipulation has short term results with long term negative consequences. Those negative consequences are to you, your relationships and your creativity.

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A Kinder Way to Motivate Yourself

In the previous post, we talked about the “away from” strategy in NLP; the one where a person motivates themselves by moving “away from” pain. Now, let’s talk about a kinder way, that actually works on many levels to accomplish what you want.

The “towards” motivation is a strategy that has you moving in the direction (towards) of what you want. It doesn’t use negativity to motivate you; it uses positive motivations.

Are you familiar with this story?  A farmer had a little grey donkey. It was a stubborn little donkey and liked to have it’s own way. The farmer needed to have the donkey hitched up to a plough so that he could till the soil. The farmer got the donkey in its harness and stood on the plow. He told the donkey to go and that donkey, well, he just didn’t want to do it. It was hot outside, the sun was beating down and no way did he want to break a sweat doing the farmer’s dirty work.

The farmer didn’t like to do it but he got out his whip and cracked it in the air. The donkey jumped, startled and moved a little bit but not very far. The farmer continued to do that and the donkey was not going to co-operate.

The farmer’s wife saw all of this happening from her view point as she was weeding their very bountiful garden. She strolled over to the farmer, bearing a large bunch of lush orange carrots complete with the most brilliant green carrot tops. She tied them in a bundle and attached them to a stick.The farmer was quite frustrated at the moment and he was speechless as he watched his wife fasten the stick to the donkey’s harness.

The farmer almost fell off the back of the plow because as soon as his wife finished tying the stick with the carrots up, the donkey quickly moved forward. His wife laughed as she watched the donkey lumbering ahead, his head held high, trying to get the luscious carrots dangling in front of his nose. 

…and that is the way you do it…you put something in front of you that is so tempting, so bright, so full of color and life that you MUST go after it…and here is how you find your own “carrots”.

Positive Motivation: A Key Factor in Creativity

There are many ways to motivate yourself through good feelings and positive emotions. Here are a few:

  • Love
  • Happiness
  • Gratitude
  • Visualization

All of these will open up creativity in your life because a brain that is exposed to feel good chemicals through visualization and positive emotions accesses the creative part. This is the place of inspiration where ideas just seem to pop in from no where…yet…they were always there…you just did not have the key to access them…yet…

Your brain will think more quickly instead of being in a stuck state. When that creativity is engaged by good feelings, it is easier to actually visualize what you want. Endorphins are pumped up and life just feels so much better. When you feel better and your creativity is flowing, life is smoother, isn't it?

In that space in your life, relationships flow…disagreements are lessened and those that occur are easily resolved. Make what you want compelling by making the picture of it big…use real pictures, motivational quotes, daydreaming, gratitude journals…whatever is necessary to get those good feelings flowing…

One powerful way is to think of one time in your life when you felt SO good…you know that time…see what you saw, hear what you heard, and FEEL what you felt…and spin it around…and make it bigger, clearer, louder…make it bolder…and squeeze your thumb and first finger together…just like that…then look up and let your fingers go…repeat this process again….then let it go…breathe…

The next time you need to FEEL GOOD, squeeze your thumb and finger together and activate that anchor. Let go of the old way of forcing yourself to do things because you think you must. If they are necessary to accomplish, according to you, find a way to FEEL GOOD about it. A chore that is accomplished in a positive frame of mind is not a chore…is it? Unleash that creativity and see what it brings you in your life and in your relationships…just like that…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


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Do you major in feeling bad or worrying? That might not be an easy question to answer…if you think that bad feelings are normal for you, you might not be able to realize that you are having them. There are those underground subconscious negative emotions that are always there. They aren’t too obvious. There is just a general sense of something not quite right. Know what I mean?

For some people, that can be a sense of numbness, of not actually feeling anything. If you don’t feel anything and are neutral about most events in your life, chances are that you are in the throes of bad feelings or even depression.

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"If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system." ~William James

What Happens When We are Feeling Bad?

When we feel bad, the creative part of our brain shuts down. We literally are depressing our feelings…shoving them underground. Unfortunately, when this happens, our negative emotions are keeping us in chains. We become prisoners of ourselves.

It is almost impossible to come up with creative solutions to problems or issues when you feel bad. It is a stuck state, not a moving forward in a creative problem solving mode.

When we are focused on feeling bad… it becomes a vicious circle, you feel bad, you imagine negative events and a dark future, you feel worse and then become stuck in the emotion. You get the picture, right?

All difficulties are temporary, even if they seem to take forever to pass. Really. Think of a time in your past when you thought the struggle you were having would never be over. Then…when it was…it seemed like it wasn’t that long, didn’t it? It’s like when you were a child and you were waiting for Christmas…it took forever to get here and then…bang…it was here, just like that…

It can happen like that for struggles as well as events that we look forward to. Time is funny like that. We can distort how we look at it in many ways

Motivating Yourself by Feeling Bad

Do you use any of these tactics to motivate yourself?

Criticism (You’re useless unless you ____________)

Bribery (I’ll give you a treat if you ____________)

Manipulation (You have to do it or I’ll _________)

How is that working for you?  Unfortunately, these tactics might have worked for you in the past in the short term.

You can’t feel good about negative motivation. No one can. Just because your parents, teachers, bosses or colleagues might have used those tactics in the past, doesn’t mean that they are good or even efficient.  The question to ask here is “How is that working for you?”

How does Feeling Bad Affect your Relationship?

Let’s take a look at the negative emotions that come up in that kind of motivation strategy.

  • Fear
  • Resentment
  • Anger
  • Frustration

In NLP, this type of motivation strategy is called an “away from” strategy. People move “away from” perceived pain. When you are in relationships with people and your prime motivation strategy is to get out a whip of negative emotions and bad feelings…it’s not pretty.

When you are feeling bad about yourself or using negative emotions to motivate yourself, your relationships suffer. You can't be feeling bad and expect to have a light as sunshine, happy relationship. You certainly can't expect the other person to be responsible for your happiness either…when you expect your partner to be in charge of your emotions, you are in trouble.

Fear breeds fear…resentment breeds resentment…anger breeds anger…frustration breed frustration…none of these are love. This leads to fighting, misunderstandings and in some cases, abuse.

There is a kinder way to motivate yourself that will make all of your relationships that much better.  And we’ll talk about it in the next post…remember that the relationship that you have with yourself is the most important one…see you on the other side!

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner

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