Unleashing Your Authentic Power
by David McMillian LPC, LMFT
Happiness is the most sought-after commodity in the world. It seems as if everyone is looking for it, from a princess looking for a chance at real love to a celebrity on drugs trying to escape personal pain. People seem to be willing to do just about anything to get it, and they try to find it through their families, significant relationships, careers, their religious or spiritual affiliations, sex, vacations, hobbies, cars, money, addictions, and the list goes on. What seems to get in the way of consistently experiencing happiness is our dramas of life. We all have them, from the President of the U.S. to the single mother living on welfare, and we’re all trying to figure out the same thing; how do we move past our dramas and find true “happiness?” I once hosted Jim Britt, a trainer and human behavior counselor, who has written Unleashing your Authentic Power (Health Communications Inc., 2000) and he makes a great deal of sense. He claims that the key to having all we want in life is to learn to let go of the negative feelings held inside: not only those associated with old hurts, past mistakes, and failures, but those we encounter as part of our daily life as well. He says that there is no need to seek to acquire power because we already have it. Authentic power is a part of all of us. We are born with it! The real problem lies in not fully understanding this power, and therefore not using it. The book is a manual of sorts to teach us to use this power resource that we all possess.
It is important for us to realize that unhappiness is a learned behavior. All of our dissatisfactions originate within us. The only reason we have unhappiness is because we continue to hang on to what we believe happiness should be. Our pain and unhappiness are caused by our unwillingness to accept what is, right now, and to let go of the past and our expectations of the future. We discover our willingness to let go of our old ways only when the pain becomes more than we can handle. There are basically five reasons for our unhappiness:
1. Not getting what we want in life.
2. Getting what we want but not being satisfied with it.
3. Suffering the absence of something or someone we love.
4. Enduring the presence of something or someone we do not want in our lives.
5. Our greatest concern: living in the past or in the future; not being here now.
How we respond to the above leads us either toward or further away from happiness. Self-observation and letting go is the key to living in the present. Letting go of what makes us unhappy is the key to happiness. We can’t chase away the past, and we can’t grab hold of the future. Letting go and living in the moment is the only way to find happiness. We can spend years in counseling, therapy, attending seminars, going to spiritual retreats, or looking for some guru to enlighten us, but until we make a conscious choice to do it differently, we’ll just keep right on going around in our circles looking for a way out.
In the Bible there is a saying, “And time shall be no more.” This statement simply means, “One day we will all live in the present.” Only our ego speculates about what will happen tomorrow, or relives what happened yesterday. Another great quote from the Bible is “Many are called, but few are chosen.” In other words, “few listen.” We continue the lifelong habit of running after something, but each and every moment is complete and full just the way it is, and our real mission in life is to truly exist in that moment. Another way to say it is, “Wherever you are, be there!” When you are willing to just be there, exactly as you are, life is always okay. If things go right, that’s okay. If things go wrong, that’s okay, too. We only think of the emotional upsets we experience as problems because of the pain they create, and we want to avoid the pain. But the pain we feel is the result of our expectations, which are created by remaining focused on the past and projecting it into the future. When we replace our expectations with aspirations, we see things from a completely different point of view. With aspirations, we can have the courage to remain in the moment, remain in resourcefulness and accept the results that the moment brings. If we don’t get the results we want, we accept it in the moment, and take action out of resourcefulness in the next moment to make the desired change, rather than bringing our disappointment with us. This moment is all we have. By living with expectations, our mind wanders into the past and the future. When we live our lives with aspirations, we can gently return to the present moment, where the real action takes place.
Our stories and dramas literally run the world. Everyone has a story, but the good news is that we are not our stories. Just remember to let go, because your story is not you. Simply create your vision of how you want your life to be and then play with whoever shows up to play. In order to help the world, we must first help ourselves. Every action we take is always based on our desire for acceptance. Our need for acceptance from others always stems from our need for self-love. This deep-seated desire causes us to seek power, money, fame, and a need for acceptance or control. Unfortunately, love cannot be obtained in these ways. Only by letting go of these needs, existing in love and sharing our love from that free place can we truly find love and happiness. This guy makes a lot of sense to us. Our hope is that this message sparks something inside of you too. See you on www.strategiesforliving.com!