FEELINGS ARE NOT FACTS!

DO YOU HAVE FEELINGS THAT JUST CARRY YOU AWAY AND COLOR YOUR WHOLE WORLD GRAY? Don’t worry! Such feelings are often created by fearful thoughts that aren’t even true.

SO, HERE’S THE TRUTH: We don’t have the means to make people and things exactly as we want them. We just aren’t that powerful.

For example, we live in the wreckage of our future (“Its going to be awful!”) or we create “unenforceable rules” (“This should (or should not happen”). Often, we try to change the past by thinking how it “could have” been better.

Such thoughts are driven by the fear-driven belief that, if we just think long and hard enough, we can protect ourselves (and our loved ones) from pain and harm.

HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS: We can find peace of mind and contentment in the midst of our fearful feelings and thoughts. Why? BECAUSE WE CAN CHOOSE WHAT FILLS OUR MIND.

HOW? Meditation, walks outside, stretching, yoga, prayer, reading or watching inspiring books/movies, 12-step work, spiritual practices, energy work, and thought-correction can all soothe our most difficult feelings. Good healthy friends or counselors really help too.

When we get still and listen to our inner wisdom (or that of another), we receive the comfort of ACCEPTANCE (non-attachment to specific outcomes). Further, we find ways to address those problems that still bother us—IF they are still bothering us (quite often, they’ve shrunken down to nothing!).

NEXT TIME YOUR FEELINGS are having a hissy fit, stand apart from them for a moment to recognize they’re mostly a result of inaccurate and disturbing thoughts. Then, ask yourself, “What healthy actions can I take to soothe my mind and body?” And then, do that!

PLEASE SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WAYS OF SOOTHING UPSET FEELINGS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. THANKS!!

Worry Less Now; Gigi Langer

Gigi Langer has been sober 35 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat Murphy.

My award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now describes how to reject the faulty thinking leading to addiction, dysfunctional relationships, perfectionism, and worry about loved ones. Check out the practical directions, personal stories, and other helpful suggestions. Amazon: 4.8 stars (Buy Paperback, e-book, OR audiobook HERE)

REVIEW by Karen Casey, best-selling author of Each Day a New Beginning (Hazelden) “Even though I have been in recovery for more than 4 decades, and didn’t think another self-help book would make it to my treasured list, I was wrong. This book is a winner.”

How to Curb Our Selfish Motives

worry less now Gigi Langer

Selfish thinking wrecks our relationships, health, and life success. This destructive force sounds like this:

  • What can I get out of this?
  • How can I hold on to what I have?
  • What can I accomplish so I can look good? Why can’t those other people behave so I can relax?
  • How can I avoid pain and suffering?

THE COST OF SELF-WILL

Ironically, most pain and suffering is caused by living from selfish motivations. As long as our dishonesty and inconsideration are in the driver’s seat, we have little chance of happiness or peace of mind. In my experience, we gain love and success when we ask a power greater than our selfishness to guide us, and then consistently practice rejecting self-centered thinking.

If that seems far-fetched, let’s consider how well your life works when guided by your own self-centered thoughts and feelings. In my case, I could not get relationships to work because I was seeking only to fulfill my own emotional and romantic needs. I only got good grades and degrees to gain respect and admiration from others. Such purely selfish motives resulted only in disillusion, bitterness, alcohol abuse, promiscuity, extreme stress, and chronic pain.

But all that changed once I got honest, found a higher power, and chose to make my life better through consistent practices and healthy tools.

HONESTY

It takes a healthy amount of self-honesty to take responsibility for the failures in our lives. Unfortunately, our selfish mind tells us it’s all everyone else’s fault. It loves to play the role of the victim. Makes sense, right? If I didn’t make the bad things happen, then I don’t have to do anything different!

Perhaps all personal and spiritual growth begins with admitting that our way of doing things is not working. Noone is forcing us to overwork, overeat, lie, or blast anger at a loved one. These reactions are driven by the delusion that I deserve better than what I’m getting.

I must say that honestly owning our own attitudes, judgments, and actions takes courage and often requires the support of healthy friends or a professional. Further, it’s hard to get honest when we’re using drugs, booze, shopping, food, overwork, or other ways to numb our feelings.

POWER

Once we realize our own efforts are only bringing us unhappiness, we are left with one choice: to find a power greater than our own failings to guide us. We may find it within us, outside us, or all around us. It doesn’t matter what you call it—God, higher power, universe, love, inner-guide, true self, nature, etc.–this power can dissolve the fearful self’s messages. But, this requires commitment and practice.

CHOICE & PRACTICE

Unfortunately, one decision to trust a loving power doesn’t put things right. Each day–and sometimes each minute–we can choose to reject our selfish behavior by visualizing how we want to be in the future. And then we practice keeping our mind away from limited thinking.

In my case, I ask a higher power to give me courage, compassion, and grace in all my interactions. I also ask for specifics, for example, a successful new “Worry Less Now” video course. I always leave a little “wiggle room” for a higher magic by adding “in the best way for all.” We don’t have to plot each step toward our desired goal; we just have to keep affirming that it is coming to us in its own time and in way. But we need to be on guard for dishonesty and self-centered fear.

Only regular practice can replace the chatter of self-will with loving wisdom and care. To open the channel to our source, we might use meditation, energy work, cognitive reframing, prayer, acts of kindness, forgiveness visualizations, guided meditations, or groups studying inspiring texts (e.g., The Four Agreements, The Power of Now, Course in Miracles, Bible, etc.) Any practice that connects us with a positive power can overcome our self-centered, demanding, and critical thoughts and actions.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO OVERCOME SELF-CENTERED THINKING? We’d love to hear from you.

For more specific practices that reduce selfish, negative thinking, please see my book and blog at GigiLanger.com.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Michigan with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews. Amazon rating: 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.

A NEW-YEAR WISH FROM THE 15TH CENTURY

I’m so glad I opened my Messenger app in Facebook today, because my dear friend, Gail, shared this image from Joan Halifax at the Upaya Zen Center (upaya.org) in New Mexico.

Thank you to Gail and Joan for this New Year wish! 

Fra Angelico is a Renaissance artist whose work I studied when I lived in Madrid, way back in 1969. Can you believe that my art history class actually met right in the Prado Museum??

Having had little exposure to great art, I was mesmerized as our vivacious professor explained each of the original paintings right in front of our noses! This went on twice a week for 15 weeks, I’ve been forever grateful for that experience.


On This New Year’s Eve, I offer you this gorgeous, hope-filled greeting from Italian friar and painter, Fra Angelico (1387-1455).

“I salute you.
I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.

There is nothing I can give you which you have not already,
but there is much, very much, which though I cannot give it, you can take.

“No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today.

“Take heaven. No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this precious little instant.

“Take peace. The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is joy.

“There is radiance and courage in the darkness could we but see; and to see, we have only to look.

“Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their coverings, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard.

“Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, and wisdom, and power.

“Welcome it, greet it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it.

“Everything we call a trial, a sorrow, a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence.

“Our joys, too, be not content with them as joys. 
They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

“Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,
that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.

“Courage, then, to claim it, that is all!
But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims wending through unknown country our way home.

“And so . . . I greet you, not quite as the world sends greeting,
but with profound esteem now and forever.
The day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

MAY YOUR NEW YEAR BE FILLED WITH COURAGE, BEAUTY, AND DIVINE GIFTS. With great love from Gigi.

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in SW Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

Worry Less Now Gigi Langer PhD

In Worry Less NowGigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews. Amazon rating: 4.8 stars. Buy signed copy HERE

Claim Your Christmas Gift Now: Forgiveness!

Forgiveness is the message of Christmas. 
worry less now

We become free by letting go of our limited human perceptions and asking God to help us see others with pure, forgiving love.

I hope the words I offer here will help you look beyond human error to see the true spirit of love within each and every person you encounter.

Sin (Missing the Mark) and Forgiveness (Seeing only Spirit)

This year, I’m amazed to realize how Jesus’ birth and life created a revolutionary understanding of two ideas that had long held many in fear: Sin and Forgiveness.

It turns out that forgiveness is not about pardoning an essentially “sinful person” while still holding on to their misdeeds. No! It’s about seeing the loving essence of each human being, regardless of how they’ve “done wrong” (or, as the Greek definition of sin states, “missed the mark.”)

If there’s one thing Jesus’ life demonstrated, it’s that even though the human body passes on, spiritual death is impossible, Our divine essence is not earth-bound; it’s made of the same God-stuff as Jesus’ spirit. So, let’s choose to live in the freedom of that truth.

What’s going on here on Earth is temporary and limited by our bodies; therefore, we’re not to condemn or judge other’s human frailties and misdeeds. Best that we follow Jesus’ teaching: to love one another as spiritual creations of a loving God.

How to Forgive

I’m not saying this is easy to do; but isn’t this a time of new beginnings? And isn’t it worth it to be at peace and in harmony with others?

  • First I have to admit that my human thinking is limited; that there is so very much I can’t understand. For example, as humans, we just don’t comprehend the “why” of suffering and pain. In other words, there is a God, and I’m not it.
  • Next, I ask a higher wisdom to guide me to a new interpretation of the behavior I’m labelling as “bad,” and I wait for a new perception to dawn on me. Every time my mind focuses on the person’s imperfections, I ask God to help me to see them as God would. In short, I’m asking to see only the person’s essential goodness, even if they aren’t currently operating from that place. (That’s one definition of forgiveness, according to A Course in Miracles.)
  • Eventually, I’m able to look beyond the behavior and behold the person’s shining, pure spirit. We’ll know we’ve reached the freedom of forgiveness when we can no longer feel the “heat” of the old emotions, and we recall the past behavior as merely an event.

Now, does this mean I love to be around a person who has hurt me? Or that I have to put up with their unacceptable behavior? No. But, by refusing to harden my heart toward them, and by plugging into God’s wisdom, I’ll be led to the right words and actions for all involved.

And, guess what? Forgiveness is a “two-for!” As I forgive another, I also free my self from judgment and fear, thus receiving what I have given away.

One my favorite spiritual teachers, Richard Rohr, recently wrote, “Scholars have said two-thirds of the teaching of Jesus is, in one form or another, about forgiveness. Forgiveness is simply the religious word for letting go.” Read more from Rohr below; awesome!

Richard Rohr on Forgiveness & Letting Go

Rohr writes, “if you do not transform your pain, you will most assuredly transmit it.  Healthy religion on the practical level tells us what to do with our pain—because we will have pain. We can’t avoid it; it’s part of life.”

“If we’re not trained in letting go of it, transforming it, turning crucifixion into resurrection (so to speak), we’ll hand it off to our family, to our children, to our neighborhood, to our nation.

“Letting go helps us fall into a deeper and broader level at which we can always say, ‘It’s okay, it’s all right.’ We know what lasts. We know who we are. And we know we do not want to pass our pain on to our children or the next generation. We want to somehow pass on life.

“This means that the real life has started now. It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven; and it’s Hell all the way to Hell.”

We [can be] “in Heaven now by falling, by letting go, and by trusting and surrendering to this deeper, broader, and better reality that is already available to us.”

We [can be] “in Hell now by wrapping ourselves around our hurts, by over-identifying with and attaching ourselves to our fears, so much so that they become our very identity. 

Any chosen state of victimhood is an utter dead end. Once you make that your narrative, it never stops gathering evidence about how you have been wronged by life, by others, and even by God.”

Which Do You Choose: Heaven or Hell?

We CAN choose to let go of past resentments, fears, and judgments so we can see the truth: that every person here is a loving child of God–regardless of whether they’re currently demonstrating that truth. Choose love anyway; focus on strengths rather than faults. You’ll be amazed by the freedom of letting go with forgiveness.

This is the season to make a revolutionary flip in how we think about others: Can we look past their flawed human behavior to the spirit within? Can we do the same for ourselves? Let’s hope so, because happiness depends on it!

Gigi Langer Worry Less Now

Gigi Langer has been sober 34 years, and holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford University. Formerly crowned the “Queen of Worry,” Gigi resigned her post many years ago and now lives happily in Florida with her husband, Peter and her cat, Murphy.

In Worry Less Now, Gigi shares her personal journey as a prisoner of fear, worry, and substance abuse, along with 50 practical techniques anyone can use. Award-winner with rave reviews. Amazon rating 4.8 stars.

Get special offers on the paperback, e-book, and audiobook HERE.