Question for Bernie:
Please, I need a prescription. I feel that my family doesn’t treat me with love and respect, but if I try to stand up for myself, it upsets me so much because then I can’t see my grandchildren.
Here is my prescription for you:
Tell your family that you love them every day for 3 months, then skip a day and see what they say.
“Kill” with kindness and “torment” with tenderness. Use only kind and tender words and actions toward your family.
See yourself as a “Grand” mother to everyone…
Question for Bernie:
How does a lifelong victim of anxiety learn to calm down and love life?
I am bipolar and I wonder how much of what I suffer is because of my mental illness or is just coming from my natural personality.
Managing anxiety is one of our biggest challenges. One approach that has provided relief for many people is cognitive therapy. One thing I often suggest along those lines is to suggest imaging that you had two weeks to live, would you enjoy the time or still be anxious? The idea is that anxiety swirls around us in a way that we can’t grasp and pull down to earth…studies show that the overwhelming majority of things we are anxious about never happen.
Remind yourself daily that anxiety is a fruitless use of mental energy. Think and act with intention in all you do and be willing to accept the outcome.
Give yourself permission to be happy. Think of things in your past that has made you laugh out loud. When you do, you will just naturally laugh again. When we laugh, there is no room for worry or anxiety—the mind can’t handle happiness and anxiety at the time.
If you don’t already have some other living thing to be responsible for besides yourself, and you have a lifestyle that has room to plenty of interaction with another, get a pet. Observe that loving little creature closely—he or she will teach you how to live in the moment, which is the ultimate key to dispensing with anxiety once and for all.
Sit down and write the description of yourself as you really want to be, and then rehearse this new role for yourself. When you are ready, begin to practice being the person you want to be and before long, you will be entirely renewed in the image you know reflects the real you.
Be sure you have a confident response to anyone in your life who sees you changing, becoming confident and strong, and says anything negative to you to subvert your efforts. Eliminate people from your life if they are not supportive and thrilled for you as you change.
You can even choose to abandon the memories of your past that are contributing to ongoing anxiety, give yourself a new name, and undergo a kind of rebirth. This is your life—nobody else’s. Remember that the first person you must show unconditional love to is yourself. Push all the negative tapes in your head and replace them with positive self-talk.
Become a parent to yourself encouraging the inner child within to come forth and enjoy the experience of life, without unnatural fears that lead to chronic anxiety.
Look for things you can love and contribute to the lives of others. Being a positive, loving person does not mean that you don’t acknowledge that life—your own and other people’s lives—will always have difficulties, but we have a choice to look at those difficulties as opportunities to learn, to give, and to have the exhilaration of survival. Make that choice.
Question for Bernie:
I’m grateful to be reading other peoples’ questions and your responses. They are helpful to me, too.
I am wondering if you can help me with what I consider to be the mother of all my problems: working with the willingness to actually do the visualizations and exercises you suggest. They sound like such great ideas, but when it comes down to making time for them in my life, I so often put them off. . . I have the accompanying thought/despair that I “know” I won’t do any of these things, and I shouldn’t even bother…
This is a great question. I have heard this from many people over the years. As adults, we tend to think that it is just a matter of self-discipline, so we berate ourselves for procrastinating.
I believe this neglect of our needs goes deeper. When you don’t value yourself and your life and body there is no time for them. Between the barrage of criticism many people grow up with as children in their families, schools, and social messages reinforced by the ever-present media “archetypes of perfection,” we arrive at adulthood with a sense of diminished self-worth.
It is up to us to recognize where these distortions of who we really are come from and then take the reins in our own hands to reverse this negative outcome.
Change what you are telling yourself—actually you are a strong, uniquely talented person who first and foremost takes care of yourself. All that you can give to others springs from how well you care for yourself. All that you can accomplish in your life depends on your dedication to doing everything to maximize your authentic self…and finding that authentic self is best done using the tools of meditation, guided imagery and creative visualization.
Go to my catalog on this website and find the CDs to start with…I guide you through, so you are supported and can finally let go and learn to love the authentic self within.