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Types of Traumas Experienced in Childhood

It is no longer a secret that adverse childhood experiences can manifest as traumas in their adult life. Traumas, if unaddressed, can haunt them for the rest of their lives, leading to complicated physical, mental and emotional challenges later in life. However, once identified, there are ways to heal, there are ways to recover and there are ways to transform. A majority of human beings that I’ve known in a specific space like the healing modalities have gone through a lot of stuff themselves and yet we are still here. So if you are someone that’s going through that stuff and it’s fresh and it’s raw and it’s real and it’s overwhelming, just know that the cure for the pain is in the pain.

 

In this post we talk about some examples of how adverse childhood experiences can manifest as traumas in adult life.

 

Fear of Abandonment

If you experience fears, if you experience adverse childhood experiences growing up, I think the most important one that pops up is this thing called fear of abandonment. And sometimes this fear is rational. You want to know why? Because those who were supposed to be there for you and support you and love you and nurture you and care for you abandoned you. So therefore where does your ideology and framework and the perspective and the way you view the world come from? From reality. Mom and Dad left, I was abandoned. Sometimes that abandonment can come through something like death though there was no choice with it. Sometimes there could be the abandonment that comes through separation or divorce and the situation was so volatile or hostile that the kid couldn’t really continue a relationship with one of them, but in the mind of a child they were abandoned. 

 

When we have that fear of abandonment in every relationship we get into, guess what? We always think that we’re going to be abandoned. We always think that we’re not worthy of love. We always think that we don’t deserve happiness. And people put up with so much crap because they don’t want to be abandoned. And this doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships or relationships. It can happen at work. People put up with so much because they don’t want to be abandoned and ultimately what happens my friends is, people start to leave people. Before they leave them they don’t allow anybody to get close. Because they’re terrified of being abandoned. And if that happens to you in your life just know that you got to go back to the source, the origin. 

 

You got to be able to change the way that you view this whole situation because the saddest thing that happens to those who have a fear of abandonment is that those individuals start to do one thing. People start to abandon themselves. So hear this if you have a fear of abandonment because of your adverse childhood experiences, because you were abandoned by those who weren’t supposed to abandon you, and you don’t heal from it you will start to abandon yourself as an adult, you will abandon your values, your goals, your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations, and your standards, and you will live a life that you look around and say what the f— is this. So in order to break that cycle you got to stop abandoning yourself. You got to start reconnecting to that wounded part of self that was left and make one promise, one commitment, that you will no longer do to yourself what other people did to you. Once you start doing that it’s the opening in the catalyst for your healing recovery and transformation process.

 

Impact to Mental Health

If you experience any type of adverse childhood experiences you will experience a significant impact to your mental health. How does this show up? 

 

In a child it could show up as:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD

 

If you don’t have those things treated you carry them on to adulthood and if you have all of those symptoms it’s very uncomfortable and difficult to live life, or live it in a way that you can thrive. So if it becomes unbearable, we start to use people, places, things to self-regulate those emotions, substance abuse, codependent toxic relationships, workaholism, any type of way that you can just check out for a little bit. And if you do that what’s going to happen? You’re going to have impacts to your health. If you’re using food to cope you’re setting yourself up for potentially cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes. If you’re using substances to cope you’re developing potentially setting yourself up for dependency addiction. If you’re using people to cope you’re probably going to set yourself up with some volatile toxic situations. So when it comes down to it starts and also impacts the immune system, stress and cortisol levels do a number on the immune system which turns into autoimmune diseases. There’s enough studies out there that correlate things like stress and cancer together. You don’t have to take my word for it. I know some of you don’t believe that stuff but it’s out there, it’s validated, it’s verified.

 

Needing a Lot of Space

Those who have experienced a lot of adverse childhood experiences in their life usually need a lot of space, a lot of alone time, a lot of quiet time. Because that’s the only time they were able to kind of just be with themselves. Because if you’re constantly around dysfunction, if there’s abuse, chaos, domestic violence, substance abuse, abandonment, parental separation, divorce, if all that stuff’s around you and it’s always wild and chaotic, the only time that you can actually be with yourself is when you are with yourself. The problem with this is sometimes the space that people gravitate towards happens at the end of the night, like from 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock in the morning, and because that’s back in the day when they were able to just be quiet and chill, well now as adults, if you’re up at 1 or 2 in the morning and you got to function and really be on point at 7 or 8 in the morning it’s not realistic. It’s not sustainable. It works for an adolescent because they can sleep four hours and be okay, but when you got life responsibilities and you need a lot of time to yourself and you can’t find a lot of time and you’re on your phone and scrolling on crap in the middle of the night just know that it’s potentially a response to trauma, potentially. 

 

Becoming a Caretaker

If you were in a chaotic household where you were the parentified parent, you had a bunch of siblings and there was chaos and dysfunction, you have to grow up and and and take care of responsibilities and do laundry and make food, and take kids here and there, and you’re a kid yourself, and you lost your childhood, it’s safe to say that there was an unequal burden of responsibility in the family. You think it just goes away, if you were responsible for a lot of people in your life growing up do you think that when you become an adult it just goes away? You get to experience a new life? No, nope. I don’t know you that well but guess what? I bet you created a life where you could be responsible for a lot of people. You didn’t do it consciously but it happened. You got an adult child you’re taking care of now, you got some aging parents you’re taking care of now, you got some people in your life that are in crisis mode and guess what? You are the caretaker, the fixer, the person that goes in at their own cost, their own health, their own sanity, they go do for others. Do you think that’s a natural choice we make? I believe it’s learned behavior. I believe it’s an adaptation to trauma. 

 

The beauty of learned behavior is the following: anything that can be learned can be unlearned. It can be unlearned, it could be relearned, and you can have a new experience. So you first have to come to the awareness that who I am and how I live my life and what I’m doing may not have anything to do with right here and right now, but it has to do with then and there. 

 

Staying in Relationships Past Expiration Date

We forget how precious this thing called life is, how short it is to go. I understand when you’re working through stuff, duty and honor in that you love somebody you’re going through a turbulent time, you want to go work together on it to heal and move forward as a unit. Wonderful if you’ve done that, one, two, three times in a long-term relationship, beautiful, good for you. You’re growing together. If you’ve done it like 2,000 times in a 10 year span at some point you must look and see that this ain’t working. 

 

And it’s not just with romantic relationships. One of my biggest pet peeves are people that come to me and they just bitch about work and their boss and the structure and the lack of organization and how they take advantage of everybody there and how they’re not appreciated and how they’re not blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. You know what I say to them? “Leave.” People stay there for years, just miserable, going to work miserable, coming home miserable, as if it’s the only store on the block or business on the block that could actually provide them whatever it is that they get from them. Which I guarantee you, they’re probably not happy with anyways. I don’t know why people love staying in super unhealthy relationships after their expiration date. Could it potentially be trauma they experience in life? 

 

Constant Conflict or Avoiding Conflict

If you catch yourself constantly arguing or fighting with someone or something, or avoiding conflict at all costs so what does that say? Very black and white, very hot and cold, very this or that. Both of those are a byproduct of the inability to connect your emotions to your thoughts, to your words. If you never learned healthy proper timely communication that is rooted in emotions, thinking and words, then you’re not going to know how to do it. So when you get emotional, when you get flooded with emotions, when you get racing thoughts, you don’t know what to do. So you just go all in, ripping people’s heads off, blowing up, impulsive explosive anger, scary stuff. People walk on eggshells around you or growing up you experienced a lot of rage and anger by others around you and it terrified the heck out of you, so you never want to say what’s on your mind. You never want to share your emotions because you don’t want to get confronted because you got a fear of confrontation. Do you really think those two ways people address conflict, whether they just fight with everyone, argue with everyone, or people that avoid conflict by all costs is just like a personality trait? No, something happened, potentially adverse childhood experiences growing up. 

 

Our childhood connects to our present. It’s okay my friends, I’m telling you this. If you experience that stuff it’s not a death sentence. If anything it makes you stronger, it shows you who not to be, what not to be, how to not treat other people, and it kind of encourages you to heal. So you can actually go do more of the good stuff rather than the bad stuff.

Childhood Trauma can Impact Adult Life

If you experience some of the traumas that I’m going to identify, how can those traumas impact you or your loved ones later on in life as adults? So we’re taking something from the past and just identifying a general overview which is adverse childhood experiences. We’re going to take that and then we’re going to see that if you or someone you love, experience that. What are some ways that it can manifest in their life as adults? 

 

Whenever I talk about trauma I always want people to hear this: just because you experienced trauma in your life it does not equal a life sentence. There are ways to heal, there are ways to recover and there are ways to transform. A majority of human beings that I’ve known in a specific space like the healing modalities have gone through a lot of stuff themselves and yet we are still here. So if you are someone that’s going through that stuff and it’s fresh and it’s raw and it’s real and it’s overwhelming, just know that the cure for the pain is in the pain. 

 

What is Trauma?

Before we get into how childhood trauma can manifest in adulthood we first need to identify what the trauma is. So trauma is oftentimes referred to as things that happened to us that should have not happened. Like physical abuse, sexual abuse, those things that someone did to us that they should have not done. We all know what those are.

 

Sometimes trauma is things that should have happened that did not happen. You should have got that hug and that love when you needed it but you didn’t get it. Maybe you were neglected when you needed presence and availability and accessibility. So trauma is not always bad things that happen to us. Sometimes trauma is things that never happened to us that should have happened. 

 

Needing a Hug

You want to know something sad? For some of you that might not have any substance abuse history or personal experience with it I’ve sat in chairs across many individuals who are addicted to let’s say opiates, so the heroin, the roxies, the fentanyl, you know those type of opiate sedatives, powerful painkillers. What a lot of them have shared with me is that opiates is like the warmest hug I always wanted but never got. Damn! We’re like, “Oh they’re just drug addicts, they just care about themselves, they don’t care who they’re hurting, they don’t care this, they don’t care that.” In their mind they say that the experience that they get from using opiates is similar to the warmest hug I always wanted but never got. You know what that also means? Love – a lot of times people do addictive behaviors because they experience something from it that they never got in life. And so we’re going to go and identify some of these childhood adverse experiences. 

 

Negative Childhood Experiences

So when we’re talking about first childhood experiences real quick we’re talking about any type of abuse, physical, sexual, emotional, we’re talking of any type of neglect. If you ever had a family member in your house between the ages when you’re growing up 0 to 18 to 20 that experienced some type of mental illness, Mom, Dad, siblings. So if you’re raised in a house with mental illness, if you were raised in a house with substance abuse, alcoholism, sometimes gambling, sometimes illicit drugs. If you were raised in a house that there was domestic violence present and specifically if you ever watched violence committed against your mother, that’s a very specific adverse childhood experience. If there was any type of incarceration, or family members going off to institutions. If there was any type of parental separation or divorce. These adverse childhood experiences, there’s about eight of them in the original study, the more someone experiences those from zero to 18 to 20 years old the more likelihood that later on in life they’re going to have some problems when it comes to their mental health, when it comes to their potential use of illicit substances, risky behavior and also their physical health. 

 

Adult Health Problems

There is so much data and reports and studies out there on people who experience adverse childhood experiences. Four of them, six of them, have a 100 – 400 – 800% greater chance of developing things like cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases. And here’s the two most staggering statistics and I’ll move on from this. If somebody experienced six or more of those adverse childhood experiences and if you’re wondering that’s a lot, I’ll tell you this. Our program participants at any given time there could be a quarter to a half to 75% of them who have experienced six or more of those. If someone experiences six or more versus someone that experiences zero or one there is a 4,600 it’s called 46 fold greater chance of the person with more to develop intravenous drug use versus the other person. And you’re ready for the most staggering one? If somebody experienced six or more of those versus somebody who experienced zero or one they have a 20 years shorter life expectancy. Wow, that’s how trauma manifests later on in life. 

 

I strongly suggest you go read the adverse childhood experiences research data support out there. CDC did some good things on it but the original founder is Vincent Felletti. Kaiser study. 17,000 people. 90s San Diego, California. Go check it out. Blow your mind. 

 

Childhood Experiences can lead to Substance Abuse

And yes, even if you’re not the person with substance abuse it can develop in your life too. Unfortunately the parents may not have known about the abuse, it could have been a relative, a family friend or others. It was a secret that the child was afraid to share. This happens more than you expect – family, friends, relatives, sometimes even caregivers, coaches, people in trusted positions. Sometimes the child even says something to their family that’s even more heartbreaking and the family says, “Nope, you’re lying, that didn’t happen, you’re making it up,” and unfortunately I’ve seen that happen. Happened so many times and sometimes it took 15 – 20 years for the family to come around and believe them. Maybe because there were more incidents in the news or something happened but it takes a lot for a kid to share something like that, and unfortunately there are times the family doesn’t know, and there’s times that the family knows and turns a blind eye to it. 

 

If you’ve experienced childhood trauma, parental separation, divorce, abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, neglect, if you experienced it in your past and you don’t do something about it today, it’s going to suck. It’s going to hurt. But the worst part is it’s going to continue to repeat itself in the future over and over and over again until you say I no longer want to live with this pain. I want to heal. I want to recover, and I want to transform. And if and when that day comes for you, we will all become a more compassionate person as a result of it. And people that have a lot of compassion tend to do compassionate things and treat themselves and others compassionately and make the world a more compassionate place.

How Adverse Childhood Experiences/Trauma Manifests in Adulthood

Alright, what’s up everyone? Welcome back to another family education support personal development talk here with your host Parham. It is Saturday, September 30th of 2023 so if you’re watching this on Saturday September 30th 2023, this is live we are here. And I look forward to another wonderful session with you. And it is what? 

 

Is it the start of the fourth quarter of the year is tomorrow, so my friends, if you look at the last nine months of your year and you compare it to what you thought the first nine months of the year were gonna be like, did you hit your goals? Did you accomplish what you wanted to accomplish? Did you make some strides in the direction that you’re headed in life? If the answer is yes, congratulations and finish strong! If the answer is no, it’s okay and finish strong! So regardless of how the first nine months of your year have been, these last three months are very important and here is the reason why. Because of this thing called momentum, so if you are in a place that you’re stuck psychologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, and you are just kind of frustrated with how life is showing up and appearing in your life, you got two options. You can say, “Well you know what, the year’s already gone by and it’s about to be 2024 and three months and the holidays are coming up so there’s not really much I can get done right now.” So you kind of put your foot off the gas and if your foot was already off the gas you just pretty much just sit back and wait for the next 90 days to pass and then get in that mode that a lot of people get into when the new year starts. Like, “hey, I’m going to change my life around, I’m going to accomplish all of my goals and all of my dreams and all of the things that last year I didn’t,” and if you go into the new year with no momentum I’m telling you whatever little jolt of inspiration you have on January 1 will be gone by January 7th or 10th or 14th, and for sure it will be gone by the end of the month. But if you start to build some habits, some patterns, some momentum in these next three months of your life, not only will you accomplish some goals this year but you’ll go into next year with a much more advantageous starting point, and potentially be able to create some habits that’ll push you through that.

 

So let me just go through and say what’s up to everybody here. Good morning Marilyn. Good morning Mr Jim. What do we got here? Kenny from Pacific Sands, Jess on time! Bita, good morning. Mom and Dad, good morning. And so we got a little crowd in here. Eileen, good afternoon. She’s on a little different time so she’s giving us some NCO time and we’ll go from there.

 

So let’s start with a quick introduction. My name is Parham. What we do here each and every single week is we talk about personal development, we talk about mental health, we talk about addiction, we talk about codependency, we talk about boundaries, we talk about self-respect, self-esteem, we talk about family, we talk about goals, dreams, aspirations, we talk about a lot. But the most important part is the receiver, which is you, is being able to apply what we talk about into your own life, the practical application of it all, and then sitting back and watching where the journey goes. So I do have a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, so I am a licensed clinician. Today when we start talking about things like trauma I’m not just talking with no professional background or expertise or knowledge. I’m well-versed in the clinical realm. I’m also a licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor in Addictive Behaviors. I am in personal recovery myself. June 13, 2008 is the day that I said no more. I got to do something different with my life and I’ve been doing so for over 15 years. I do coach high school basketball. Our basketball season starts in less than a month. We have yearbook pictures in two weeks. It’ll be the 15th time I’m in the high school yearbook as a coach. And outside of that, let’s get into it.

 

So today we’re going to talk about something that’s a little bit more serious in content matter but we’re not going to talk too in depth about the different traumas that human beings experience. What I want to talk about is if you experience some of the traumas that I’m going to identify, how can those traumas impact you or your loved ones later on in life as adults? So we’re taking something from the past and just identifying a general overview which is adverse childhood experiences. We’re going to take that and then we’re going to see that if you or someone you love, experience that. What are some ways that it can manifest in their life as adults? And whenever I talk about trauma I always want people to hear this just because you experienced trauma in your life it does not equal a life sentence. There are ways to heal, there are ways to recover and there are ways to transform. A majority of human beings that I’ve known in a specific space like the healing modalities have gone through a lot of stuff themselves and yet we are still here. So if you are someone that’s going through that stuff and it’s fresh and it’s raw and it’s real and it’s overwhelming, just know that the cure for the pain is in the pain. I didn’t say that. Someone’s smarter than me did. 

 

So real quick, before we get into how childhood trauma can manifest in adulthood we first got to identify what the heck is trauma, what’s this guy talking about? So trauma is often times referred to as things that happened to us that should have not happened. Like what are we talking about? Physical abuse, sexual abuse, those things that someone did to us that they should have not done. We all know what those are but sometimes trauma is things that should have happened that did not happen. You should have got that hug and that love when you needed it but you didn’t get it. Maybe you were neglected when you needed presence and availability and accessibility. So trauma is not always bad things that happen to us. Sometimes trauma is things that never happen to us that should have happened. You want to know something sad? For some of you family members that might not have any substance abuse history or personal experience with it I’ve sat in chairs across many individuals who are addicted to let’s say opiates, so the heroin, the roxies, the fentanyl, you know those type of opiate sedatives, powerful painkillers. What a lot of them have shared with me is that opiates is like the warmest hug I always wanted but never got. Damn! We’re like, “oh they’re just drug addicts, they just care about themselves, they don’t care who they’re hurting, they don’t care this, they don’t care that.” In their mind they say that the experience that they get from using opiates is similar to the warmest hug I always wanted but never got. You know what that also means? Love – a lot of times people do addictive behaviors because they experience something from it that they never got in life. And so we’re going to go and identify some of these childhood adverse experiences. 

 

Let’s see what Marilyn said here. I like to give shout outs to the interactive part. “I feel so blessed to have four years and six months into the transformation of my life, thanks for your help Parham.” You know, that’s a beautiful timeline: four years and six months and I look forward to that turning into five years and I look forward to turning into 15 years and wherever the lifetime and the timeline goes. Because at each stage of our transformation it unleashes and opens up a new realm of possibility, a new realm of hope, a new realm of transformation. So that’s why I like personal development transformation work. It never ends. We can always go deeper and deeper and deeper, and experience more and more and more, so thanks for letting me be a part of your journey.

 

So when we’re talking about first childhood experiences real quick we’re talking about any type of abuse, physical, sexual, emotional, we’re talking of any type of neglect. If you ever had a family member in your house between the ages when you’re growing up 0 to 18 to 20 that experienced some type of mental illness, Mom, Dad, siblings. So if you’re raised in a house with mental illness, if you were raised in a house with substance abuse, alcoholism, sometimes gambling, sometimes illicit drugs. If you were raised in a house that there was domestic violence present and specifically if you ever watched violence committed against your mother, that’s a very specific adverse childhood experience. If there was any type of incarceration, or family members going off to institutions. If there was any type of parental separation or divorce. These adverse childhood experiences, there’s about eight of them in the original study, the more someone experiences those from zero to 18 to 20 years old the more likelihood that later on in life they’re going to have some problems when it comes to their mental health, when it comes to their potential use of illicit substances, risky behavior and also their physical health. 

 

There is so much data and reports and studies out there on people who experience adverse childhood experiences. Four of them, six of them that they have 100 – 400 – 800% greater chance of developing things like cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases. And here’s the two most staggering statistics and I’ll move on from this. If somebody experienced six or more of those adverse childhood experiences and if you’re wondering that’s a lot, I’ll tell you this. Our program participants at any given time there could be a quarter to a half to 75% of them who have experience six or more of those. If someone experiences six or more versus someone that experiences zero or one there is a 4,600 it’s called 46 fold greater chance of the person with more to develop intravenous drug use versus the other person. And you’re ready for the most staggering one? If somebody experienced six or more of those versus somebody who experienced zero or one they have a 20 years shorter life expectancy. Wow, that’s how trauma manifests later on in life. So if you do not believe me I strongly suggest you go read the adverse childhood experiences research data support out there. CDC did some good things on it but the original founder is Vincent Felletti. Kaiser study. 17,000 people. 90s San Diego, California. Go check it out. Blow your mind. So now that we’ve identified trauma and how it could show up, let’s talk about how it can manifest as an adult. And yes, even if you’re not the person with substance abuse it can develop in your life too. Eileen, thank you for that. Unfortunately the parents may not have known about the abuse, it could have been a relative, a family friend or others. It was a secret that child was afraid to share. This happens more than you expect – family, friends, relatives, sometimes even caregivers, coaches, people in trusted positions. I don’t want to really get into that that component of it but so what happens is sometimes the child even says something to their family that’s even more heartbreaking and the family says, “nope, you’re lying, that didn’t happen, you’re making it up,” and unfortunately I’ve seen that happen. Happened so many times and sometimes it took 15 – 20 years for the family to come around and believe them. Maybe because there was more incidents in the news or something happened but it takes a lot for a kid to share something like that, and unfortunately there are times the family doesn’t know, and there’s times that the family knows and turns a blind eye to it. But we’ll get into how this stuff can impact you as an adult.

 

So number one, if you experience fears, if you experience adverse childhood experiences growing up, I think the most important one that pops up is this thing called fear of abandonment. And sometimes this fear is rational. You want to know why? Because those who were supposed to be there for you and support you and love you and nurture you and care for you abandoned you. So therefore where does your ideology and framework and the perspective and the way you view the world come from? From reality. Mom and Dad left, I was abandoned. Sometimes that abandonment can come through something like death though there was no choice with it. Sometimes there could be the abandonment that comes through separation or divorce and the situation was so volatile or hostile that the kid couldn’t really continue a relationship with one of them, but in the mind of a child they were abandoned. When we have that fear of abandonment in every relationship we get into, guess what? We always think that we’re going to be abandoned. We always think that we’re not worthy of love. We always think that we don’t deserve happiness. And people put up with so much crap because they don’t want to be abandoned. And this doesn’t just happen in romantic relationships or relationships. It can happen at work. People put up with so much because they don’t want to be abandoned and ultimately what happens my friends is, people start to leave people. Before they leave them they don’t allow anybody to get close. Because they’re terrified of being abandoned. And if that happens to you in your life just know that you got to go back to the source, the origin. You got to be able to change the way that you view this whole situation because the saddest thing that happens to those who have a fear of abandonment is that those individuals start to do one thing. That blows me away but it happens all the time. It’s even happened to people like me. People start to abandon themselves. So hear this if you have a fear of abandonment because of your adverse childhood experiences, because you were abandoned by those who weren’t supposed to abandon you, first and foremost my heart goes out to you. But secondly if you don’t heal from it you will start to abandon yourself as an adult, you will abandon your values, your goals, your dreams, your hopes, your aspirations, and your standards, and you will live a life that you look around and say what the f— is this. So in order to break that cycle you got to stop abandoning yourself. You got to start reconnecting to that wounded part of self that was left and make one promise, one commitment, that you will no longer do to yourself what other people did to you. Once you start doing that it’s the opening in the catalyst for your healing recovery and transformation process.

 

So the next one that we have here if you experience any type of those adverse childhood experiences that we talked about in the beginning of the talk you will experience significant impact to your mental health. How does this show up? You know in a child it could show up as things like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It could show up as depression, it could show up as anxiety, it could show up as PTSD, and if you don’t have those things treated what happens? You carry them on to adulthood and if you have all of those symptoms it’s very uncomfortable and difficult to live life, or live it in a way that you can thrive. So if it becomes unbearable we start to use people, places, things to self-regulate those emotions, substance abuse, codependent toxic relationships, workaholism, any type of way that you can just check out for a little bit. And if you do that what’s going to happen? You’re going to have impacts to your health. If you’re using food to cope you’re setting yourself up for potentially cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes. If you’re using substances to cope you’re developing potentially setting yourself up for dependency addiction. If you’re using people to cope you’re probably going to set yourself up with some volatile toxic situations. So when it comes down to it starts and also impacts the immune system, stress and cortisol levels do a number on the immune system which turns into autoimmune diseases. There’s enough studies out there that correlate things like stress and cancer together. You don’t have to take my word for it. I know some of you don’t believe that stuff but it’s out there, it’s validated, it’s verified.

 

So let’s see what we got here. We got a comment. Abandoned to drugs and alcohol to feel a part of something, yeah to feel alive, to feel a part, to sometimes feel hope, to be able to sleep at night, to feel a part of life. There’s so many reasons why people abandon the drugs and alcohol man but you know what Jim, I know you know this, my man. When we decide that we will no longer abandon ourselves and we realize that connection to ourselves and connection to others is actually what we’ve been yearning for and needing and wanting for so long what a beautiful experience it is, isn’t it? I know you know this and you know why we do this Jim, because we hope that somebody else one day learns that, realizes that, finds that themselves whether they got a substance abuse problem or they’ve just lived in a dysfunctional household from the time they’re little till now, all we want is connection to self and others. We just didn’t know it, we just didn’t know it. But what do we do now? I always say we did the best we can with what we knew at the time but now you know better, my friends. You got to do better.

 

So let’s see what we got next. We have needing a lot of space. Those who have experienced a lot of adverse childhood experiences in their life usually need a lot of space, a lot of lone time, a lot of quiet time. You want to know why? Because that’s the only time they were able to kind of just be with themselves. Because if you’re constantly around dysfunction, if there’s abuse, chaos, domestic violence, substance abuse, abandonment, parental separation, divorce, if all that stuff’s around you and it’s always wild and chaotic, the only time that you can actually be with yourself is when you are with yourself. The problem with this is sometimes the space that people gravitate towards happens at the end of the night, like from 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock, 1 o’clock, 2 o’clock in the morning, and because that’s back in the day when they were able to just be quiet and chill, well now as adults, if you’re up at 1 or 2 in the morning and you got to function and really be on point at 7 or 8 in the morning it’s not realistic. It’s not sustainable. It works for an adolescent because they can sleep four hours and be okay, but when you got life responsibilities and you need a lot of time to yourself and you can’t find a lot of time and you’re on your phone and scrolling on crap in the middle of the night just know that it’s potentially a response to trauma, potentially. And I say all these with ‘potentially’ and ‘maybe’ because there’s always people that say, “hey man, I never experienced any of this stuff and I enjoy being on my phone at night.” We’re talking about those who identify with what I’m saying.

 

The next one that we have here my friends (if you have any comments questions anything that I’m saying by the way feel free to share them). The next one that I have which a lot of you family members are going to identify with is if there was trauma growing up. It could be chaotic household that maybe you were the parentified parent, you had a bunch of siblings and there was chaos and dysfunction, you have to grow up and and and take care of responsibilities and do laundry and make food, and take kids here and there, and you’re a kid yourself, and you lost your childhood, it’s safe to say that there was an unequal burden of responsibility in the family. You think it just goes away, if you were responsible for a lot of people in your life growing up do you think that when you become an adult it just goes away? You get to experience a new life? No, nope. I don’t know you that well but guess what? I bet you created a life that you could be responsible for a lot of people. You didn’t do it consciously but it happened. You got an adult child you’re taking care of now, you got some aging parents you’re taking care of now, you got some people in your life that are in crisis mode and guess what? You are the caretaker, the fixer, the person that goes in at their own cost, their own health, their own sanity, they go do for others. Do you think that’s a natural choice we make? I believe it’s learned behavior. I believe it’s an adaptation to trauma and if you’re saying well damn I’m screwed then no you’re not. Because the beauty of learned behavior is the following: anything that can be learned can be unlearned. It can be unlearned, it could be relearned, and you can have a new experience. So you first got to come to the awareness that who who I am and how I live my life and what I’m doing maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with right here and right now, but it has to do with then and there. I told the program participants this morning, “hey, there are people in your life right now, because of what you’ve experienced in your life that they’re taking an unequal burden of the financial responsibilities and if you don’t want to be that person later on in life better do something about this.” So I do believe in that wholeheartedly.

 

Got a comment here. Jess, thank you. You’re welcome. Eileen: never learn boundaries or maybe to feel guilty when setting boundaries. Yeah, I think most human beings in general never truly learn boundaries so the families that have boundaries it’s not like they’re sitting down and teaching them. They’re just living by them, and as a child growing up you just watch and when people have boundaries in place and nobody oversteps or violates or takes advantage of you, just kind of learn that that’s the way life is. But if you come from a life with no boundaries and nothing then you don’t know how to set them, you don’t know how to ask for them, you don’t know how to create them and hold them, And if you find recovery and have to start setting boundaries, the moment you do it, you’re like, “oh my God, what are they going to think? Are they going to think I don’t love them? Are they going to think I’ve changed? I’m mean, I’m this and that?” I got to tell you this if you’re trying to make changes in your life because there’s an area or two or three in your life that you struggle with and now you have to set boundaries, you have to say no, you have to be assertive, and other people around you say, “hey, what’s wrong with you? You’ve changed.” You should say, “thank you, that’s what I’m trying to do.” I’ve met so many people that have a hard time with the fact that they don’t want other people to tell them that they’ve changed. Why? I mean what part of nature doesn’t change that a human being shouldn’t change? Look around – the leaves in the autumn do they look like the leaves in the spring? Do they look like the leaves in the summer? No, photosynthesis goes away because the sunlight goes away and they can’t be bright green. They got to let go of that. They turn orange, they turn red, they turn yellow. When winter time comes they fall and they go away. It looks like they’ve died, it looks like they’ve transformed to nothing. Then the spring comes around, they show up green, perfect, healthy, vibrant, full of life. Don’t be afraid of the judgment of other people telling you you’ve changed. If someone tells you, “hey, I don’t know what’s going on with you, you’ve really changed,” say “thank you, that’s what I’m trying to do, thank you, that’s what I’m trying to achieve in life by setting these boundaries.” Powerful statement – this is boundaries 101 right here Jim. When making boundaries make sure there are boundaries that you can keep. Never set a boundary unless you’re 100% willing to uphold it because if you set a boundary and you don’t uphold it you just told the person where the boundary is – it ain’t the first place – it’s wherever you landed on. And it’s hard to do because setting boundaries takes psychological and emotional muscles. And like Eileen said, none of us ever learned it so it’s going to be hard at first.

 

The next one we got here is staying in relationships longer than their expiration date. How many people have done that? “Oh but they’re going to change one day, they’re gonna to be different, I know they are.” People stay in. I think we forget how precious this thing called life is, how short it is to go. I understand when you’re working through stuff, duty and honor in that you love somebody you’re going through a turbulent time, you want to go work together on it to heal and move forward as a unit. Wonderful if you’ve done that, one, two, three times in a long-term relationship, beautiful, good for you. You’re growing together. If you’ve done it like 2,000 times in a 10 year span at some point you got to look and see that this ain’t working. And it’s not just with romantic relationships. One of my biggest pet peeves are people that come to me and they just bitch about work and their boss and the structure and the lack of organization and how they take advantage of everybody there and how they’re not appreciated and how they’re not blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. You know what I say to them? “Leave.” Oh my God, people stay there for years, just miserable, going to work miserable, coming home miserable, as if it’s the only store on the block or business on the block that could actually provide them whatever it is that they get from them. Which I guarantee you, they’re probably not happy with anyways. I don’t know why people love staying in super unhealthy relationships after their expiration date. Could it potentially be trauma they experience in life? I don’t know. I say yes but some people say, “oh that’s stuff that happened in the past doesn’t mean anything today.” You’re an adult now. I put some content out there on social media, like on Instagram, and it’s doing relatively okay and I’m happy, I’m proud of it, it’s like it’s helping some people out, but sometimes you get those few individuals that just think that mental health is the stupidest thing in the world, and it’s for weak people, and talking about childhood traumas just because you’re weak and you can’t forget about your past. The funny part is that if I had a chance to sit with that specific person, in an hour or two therapy sessions and they go through their whole childhood I could very quickly associate every response and reaction they have to how repulsed they are or how they they they recoil from mental health discussions like a hot flame to their childhood. Probably the trauma they experience, but I’m not a smart ass and I say, “hey, thank you for sharing. I appreciate you, keep coming back.”

 

The next one we got if you catch yourself constantly arguing or fighting with someone or something, or avoiding conflict at all costs so what does that say? Very black and white, very hot and cold, very this or that. Both of those are a byproduct of the inability to connect your emotions to your thoughts, to your words. If you never learned healthy proper timely communication that is rooted in emotions, thinking and words, then you’re not going to know how to do it. So when you get emotional, when you get flooded with emotions, when you get racing thoughts, you don’t know what to do. So you just go all in, ripping people’s heads off, blowing up, impulsive explosive anger, scary stuff. People walk on eggshells around you or growing up you experienced a lot of rage and anger by others around you and it terrified the heck out of you, so you never want to say what’s on your mind. You never want to share your emotions because you don’t want to get confronted because you got a fear of confrontation. Do you really think those two ways people that they just fight with everyone, argue with everyone, or people that avoid conflict by all costs is just like a personality trait? You think it’s like, “oh that’s just the way they are,”? No, no, something happened, potentially adverse childhood experiences growing up. But who am I to think that? Our childhood connects to our present. It’s okay my friends, I’m telling you this. If you experience that stuff it’s not a death sentence. If anything it makes you stronger, it shows you who not to be, what not to be, how to not treat other people, and it kind of encourages you to heal. So you can actually go do more of the good stuff rather than the bad stuff. 

 

Lou, I don’t know how old you are. Do you want to tell us how old you are, if that’s okay with you? Because the question if you’re here feel free to write a little question I know you’re from YouTube so I don’t really know who you are but I’ll gladly help you if you could tell me how old you are. I would be able to help you a little bit more because I could be more specific to tell you about your parents, a parents divorce in general, okay? So I’ll look for your comment and I’ll make sure I answer for you. Yeah I have a feeling I know how old this individual is going to be but I do think that. Yeah, okay, perfect, okay. Can you listen right now and just be patient and everybody else just be patient so I can answer this young person’s question? So first and foremost, I want you to know that I’m sorry that you’re going through a challenging situation in life. If this is something that’s happening to you or someone you love, it could be a time that’s scary, it could be a time that’s full of fear, it could be a time that you’re confused, and maybe nobody’s sharing with you what’s going on. But I do want you to hear one thing from me. I know you don’t know me and I know that you probably don’t even trust me but I want you to hear one thing. That parents going through any type of separation or divorce, it is not your fault, okay? And what happens is adolescence and when I asked you how old you are I was going to guess you’re between the ages of 11 and 16 and in adolescence, in that stage of your life the child or the young adult or the young adolescent thinks that everything in their life has to do with them. But I’m telling you as a professional therapist that’s been doing this for a long time – it has nothing to do with you. Nothing to do with you. It has to do with their own world, their own experience. So something that you’re doing right now is very powerful and very mature of you to be able to come on a stage like this and share about an experience you’re having because you don’t have to go through this thing alone. You don’t have to go through this thing alone. So when you say that your parents argue every day on who will take me and I cry under my pillow, needs to be walked on, that’s not true, that’s not true. I’m not going to lie to you. The next stage of the relationship with all this stuff’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be challenging, but one thing you got to do is keep talking about your emotions the way you’re doing it right now. I know it doesn’t seem like it’s solving anything but it’s letting you process and get these thoughts out. And sometimes if there’s no one to talk to grab a pen and paper and just write out as much as you can about these thoughts and feelings and emotions you’re going through. And just know that the actions of other people, the decisions other people make, does not impact your self worth. I’m going to give you an example right now that I haven’t used in a long time. This is really good too and look at this. You can love both your parents so if both your parents are not in a good place of loving each other right now as Eileen said right now, you have the right Lou, you have the right to love them individually, any way you want. You don’t have to feel bad about loving mom or loving dad more or less. You can love them any way you want and you’re right with that. But I’m going to tell you something and I got move on to the next thing. But I know you’re only 16 and you’re going through a specific situation. This channel is good for you. Go watch some of these videos and see if you can find something that helps. But I’m going to tell you this because you said you feel like a piece of dirt that needs to be walked on okay? If I had a $20 bill in my hand right now okay if I was holding a $20 bill let’s just say a $100 bill Lou that you’re you’re a $100 bill, if I’m holding a $100 bill in my hand right now and I tell you, “do you want this $100 bill?” You’re gonna say “yeah I do” and I say “okay, why do you want it?” and you say “because it’s a $100 bill.” If I grab the $100 bill and I put it into a little ball and I say, “do you want this $100 bill Lou?” and you say, “yeah, I want it,” and I say, “why do you want it?” You’re like “it’s still a $100 bill.” If I grab the $100 bill and I put it on the ground and I step on it and I step on it and I step on it and crumble it and crumble it and crumble it and then say “do you want this $100 bill?” you say “yeah, I want this $100 bill.” I say why? You say “because it’s still a $100 bill.” So listen to this. You are going to go through times in life that you’re going to feel like you got folded, you’re going to feel like you got crumpled and in your words you’re going to feel like you got stepped on but it does not change the value that you have as a human being. You will always have the same value. And I know this is a lot to hear right now and I know you just want a normal family as you call it, and I wish I could just gift that to you, but unfortunately I can’t and that’s okay. Just know that you have value. You’re mature beyond your years for showing up to a channel like this and just sharing your truth. Keep coming back and keep talking to us. There’s a group here that would definitely support you. I hope that helped by the way, I hope that helped you.

 

And the last couple ones that I have here is let’s just go with the last one. Let’s see, actually let’s look at the comments. Dang, this is all my life. This talk seems really dead on and super heavy but I appreciate the encouraging words. That gives me some hope to fixing things in more over time. Yeah, this is for you Lou by the way – she said you’re a courageous soul and will be a more compassionate person because of this experience. I know it’s hard to get all that because that’s not what you want to hear but but there’s a lot of truth to those words. Really appreciate everything you do for us. You give people hope that there are people out there that care. Yeah man, there’s a lot of people out there that care and that’s kind of what we forget sometimes in society. We think that everybody is out there for their own self and you know why we think that? Potentially we experience some stuff in life that distorts our reality.

 

But the very last one here that I have I’ll probably skipped a few but that’s okay. I just knew this stuff was a little bit more important than my agenda today. But the last one says (well, I misspelled it. Let me fix the spelling. That’s gonna drive me nuts.) If you’ve experienced childhood trauma, parental separation, divorce, abuse, alcoholism, mental illness, neglect, all that stuff, if you experience it in your past and you don’t do something about it today, it’s going to suck. It’s going to hurt. But the worst part is it’s going to continue to repeat itself in the future over and over and over again until you say I no longer want to live with this pain. I want to heal. I want to recover, and I want to transform. And if and when that day comes for you like Eileen just shared with young Lou, our 16-year-old courageous friend, that we will all become a more compassionate person as a result of it. And people that have a lot of compassion tend to do compassionate things and treat themselves and others compassionately and make the world a more compassionate place. So if it wasn’t for all of us trauma survivors and people that have endured a lot in life maybe the compassion of the world would be a little bit less.

 

And with that, I love and appreciate all of you guys. I will see you back two weeks from now. Next week I’m going to be with my parents on a little mini vacation, so I love and appreciate all you guys. Take care, bye everyone!

YouTube video

7 Exercises to Foster Gratitude

I share this exercise around this time of year because regardless of the historical nature of this upcoming holiday and what it is or what it isn’t, and what it actually represents and what it doesn’t, it is a time of year that we all tap into gratitude of the people, places and things in our lives. And sometimes we withhold the amount of love that we have for people because of things like pride and ego. And you know, I did this talk in the morning and I actually got pretty emotional and I feel it coming again. As you guys know, my brother passed away earlier this year and I would do anything to go back to April 9th of 2023 and write a letter like that to my brother and to be able to read it to him. I really would.

 

1. Gratitude Flush

The first one is something called a Gratitude Flush. What a gratitude flush is, you sit down with a pen and paper and you set an alarm for like 3 – 5 minutes and it’s a stream of consciousness focused on gratitude. You can just write anything and everything that you’re grateful for that’s in your life, or also grateful for that is not in your life. And you can just freestyle it. There is no right, there is no wrong, and after two minutes, when you get in that third minute, the fourth minute, the fifth minute, you’ll start to realize how creative we can be when we actually explore to find things we’re grateful for. And it just kind of flushes our system out and it makes the unknown known, or makes unconscious conscious, or makes the things we don’t pay attention to appear in front of us, and that’s a very powerful thing. So a gratitude flush is a really quick and easy way to be able to kind of flood your system with gratitude. And sometimes if it’s hard or you don’t want to do it, that’s exactly the time you have to do it, because you might start off slow but you’ll start to gain some momentum to it. 

 

2. Gratitude Memo

The next one we have here is called the Gratitude Memo. Now what a gratitude memo is, is you can either use like a cell phone and a group chat so you can include other people in your life and you can write things that you’re grateful for. For example, let’s say there’s five of you and you write three things that you’re each grateful for, and you put in a group text the next day. When you share your three you can’t repeat any of the ones you did before, and the day after that, you can’t repeat the day after, that you can’t repeat in the process. As it goes on for a course of a month you realize “Oh my gosh, look at all these things I’m coming up with.” Or you can leave a voice note like me – just like a one minute thing of things you’re grateful for and you share it to the group, and then they share it back and it creates this experience of abundance and love and warmth. So gratitude memo is a nice way plus when there’s other people involved it helps us stay accountable for the days that we don’t want to tap into gratitude. When two or three or four people are sending you gratitude stuff and they’re like, “Hey, where are yours or you haven’t sent one yesterday. Send us what you’re grateful for,” the accountability piece really helps.

 

3. Gratitude Thing

So the next one I have is called a Gratitude Thing. This one’s more on the meditative state. So you pick one person, place, thing, object, situation, and that becomes your primary focus for gratitude for that day. So anytime your mind goes somewhere else you come back to that thing, the singular thing that you’re grateful for and it’s kind of just like a mantra. It’s kind of just like a reset. It’s kind of like a way to reshift focus back into that one thing and it’s a very powerful way, because we’re able to, no matter how distracted we are, regain focus. It’s also very powerful because it’s a form of distraction from all of that stuff in a healthy distraction, because as we learned today in the earlier videos and the talks that the grasping onto gratitude improves our mental health and our mental well-being. And it’s just a very nice easy way to do it.

 

4. Gratitude Letter

The next one is the Gratitude Letter. So you grab a pen and paper, you write a letter to the person who’s been most influential to you in your life, you write to that person why they’ve been influential, how they’ve helped you, and kind of what your whole total experience about having that human in your world is like. You write that letter, you either send off the letter, you call that person, you read that letter. And if they’ve passed away you write it and go by the ocean, or go in a park under a tree, or go somewhere peaceful in front of a little garden, and just kind of be with them. A gratitude letter is powerful. It’s a tool that I hope most of you pick up after this talk.

 

5. Gratitude Quickie

The next one’s a Gratitude Quickie. Sorry for the name but pretty much what a gratitude quickie is, is a very quick shift in perspective. For example, people that have problems with alcohol and drugs, one thing they do is they don’t want to forget their last drink or where their drug addiction led them to. So as soon as life gets difficult they go quickly back into that moment. Anytime you want to quit, remember why you started right? Or for me for example, someone says, “Hey Parham, are you having a good day? How are you doing today?” I’m like, “Oh it’s a good day. It’s a better day because I believe today we only have good days and better days.” A bad day is when you close your eyes and take a walk down memory lane to the time you got that phone call you didn’t want to get, to the time that you were really struggling with trauma, with addictions, with instability in your life – those are all bad days. If today you’re not dealing with that stuff it’s either good or better. That’s a quick shift in perspective, a quick shift in perspective.

 

6. Gratitude Jar

The next one I have is a Gratitude Jar. You grab a jar, any type of jar that you can see through. A glass jar would work, a little plastic box would work. And you just write down a few things on little Post-it pieces of paper, what you’re grateful for, you throw it in the jar and just leave it. Over the course of about a month the jar starts to fill up and it’s a nice visual cue and a visual reminder of the fullness an abundance in your life even if you’re not paying attention to it. Some days when you’re really struggling you go and you grab the jar and you grab what’s inside of it and you read it and you’re like, “Okay man, like perspective, perspective, perspective.” So the gratitude jar is pretty important.

 

7. Gratitude Rock

And the very last one is a Gratitude Rock. Gratitude object is something you put in your pocket and every time you grab something from your pocket – you grab your keys, you grab your phone, every time you feel it, it’s a reminder to express your gratitude. If you’re at work somewhere you put it on your workstation, or put it hanging from your rearview mirror in your car – it’s just the visual cues are good for human beings because we have these things called built-in forgetters. We forget the little things in life. 

 

And here’s the thing my friends, things in life that are easy to do are also easy not to do. Everything I just shared with you is so freaking easy, that means it’s easy not to do as well. So the choice is yours. How do you want to experience gratitude in your life? What’s the benefit of it to you and for you? I don’t really know but I do know this. That this upcoming week is a holiday – it’s a holiday that’s usually rooted with loved ones and people spending time with each other. So do me a favor and as much as you love the food on the table don’t make it about the food on the table this upcoming holiday. Make it about the people sitting around the table. Make sure you take a few minutes to share to them and express the gratitude you have for them and who they have been in your life. Make sure that you let them know how much you appreciate them. Make sure that it’s sincere, genuine and authentic. Make sure that it’s from the heart and allow them to just kind of marinate and soak into that experience. Because remember, not only is it going to make their world and make them feel good it’s going to make yourself feel good potentially up to 19% Improvement in your mental health.

All Things Gratitude

Alright, what is up everyone? We’re back for another family education and support group with your host Parham. This one is a nice holiday edition and we’re going to be talking about all things gratitude, and how the understanding, the expression, the experience of gratitude cannot only help you in a day to day life experience, but it can also help significantly improve your perspective, improve your emotional processes, and the quality of your healing recovery and transformation process. So all that being said, let’s go into our little talk today and before we wait for all the people to start popping up, whether you’re watching this live right right now on Saturday November 18th 2023, or you watch it later on (I know some of you do), I want to say welcome! You are always a part of this recovery community and I am grateful to have the opportunity to share my Saturday mornings with you. For the most part you know next week we got a basketball game so we can’t do it but you know we just keep moving forward.

 

What’s up Jess? It is interactive just so you guys know, I could put up your comments or your questions on the board and it’s a very nice opportunity for us to be able to have something really good, you know. We got Mom and Dad in the house, as always. 

 

So quick things about myself. My name is Parham. I have a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, with an emphasis in Child Development. I am a licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. I coach high school basketball. I’ve been doing it for 15 seasons and I am in recovery myself. So June 13th of 2008 is the day that I shifted and transformed my life into what it is today and it was just a moment. You know these moments sometimes, they mean a lot and sometimes they’re meaningless, but the only thing that’s important is the meaning that we choose to give to it. You can have a magical transformative moment right now if you give it the right meaning and use that meaning. 

 

So before I get into this, I know there’s a lot of Iranians and Persians that follow this live stream. They’ve been doing it for years. Unfortunately, one of the pioneers and one of the most influential human beings in the therapeutic treatment recovery transformation space – his name was Dr Iraj Shamsian – unfortunately passed away and it kind of sent a shock in the community. A lot of people are grieving at this moment right now. A lot of people have questions and they’re wondering why and when’s the last time I talked to him and why did I wait so long and all that kind of stuff. But there’s another lesson for us and all we can do in moments like that is to carry on legacies, and to live a life that we know that they lived, and to help ultimately transform lives the way we know they did. My condolences go out to anybody who is firsthand or secondhand experiencing any type of grief and loss. I know my parents are. I know I am in regard to this new loss. And it’s been a tough year for a lot of us you know, and hopefully today’s talk provides a shift in perspective of how we can take advantage of these moments in life. 

 

And you know for those of you guys who have been following me around this time of year where it’s the holidays, in the theme of Thanksgiving, there’s a couple videos that I show. One of them is about nine minutes long, and one of them is four minutes long, so about 15 minutes of today’s talk is going to be videos that I’m going to play for you. I checked before to make sure that it works and all that kind of stuff you know, I did my due diligence, but the power of these exercises is the following. A lot of people come into recovery feeling depressed, feeling down, feeling sad, and they use people, places, things, substances to be able to improve their mood, and self-regulate their emotions, and all that kind of stuff. But there’s another way to do it that doesn’t cause harm to self or others. If anything, it improves our relationship with self and our relationship with others, and that’s the expression of gratitude. 

 

So another legend that passed away taught me that gratitude that is not expressed does not exist, no matter how much you think you’re grateful for the life you have and the people in it. If you don’t express it you’re not. So this group it’s called Soul Pancake. They decided to do an exercise on gratitude. I’ll let you watch it and then from there we can go ahead and have a discussion on it. And then I have 7 ways to implement gratitude in your life. 7 exercises that I think you’ll find some value from. So let me just go ahead and present. Share my screen, okay. here we go.

YouTube video

Okay so, what I want you guys to know is that we’re talking about how the expression of gratitude can actually change the way you feel, and the way they went about this was they had individuals pick the most influential person in their life. You all have one, everybody watching this has the most influential or a few influential people in their lives. They told them to write them a letter of why that person is so influential. Write a letter and they wrote it, and then they said, “Okay grab the phone and call that person if they’re still alive.” And like that one gentleman, they might not be. I know for a lot of you the most influential person in your life might be passed on. So what they did was they wrote the letter and then they picked up the phone and they called that individual and they just shared their truth. They just shared who that person is. If you notice something really interesting as soon as they called and wanted to talk, the other side was like, “Hey, is everything okay? What’s going on?” We’re so not used to talking to each other about beautiful things that when we want to pause and tell someone, we want to tell them something, they think something bad’s happened. Such bad conditioning. And what happens from there is they read it and at the end of it said that people that wrote the letter and didn’t do anything with it, they had a little spike of happiness, like 2 – 4%, nothing big. But the people that actually wrote the letter, picked up the phone and called, they had a spike of happiness anywhere between 4 and 19%, like 20% better. And he said the most interesting part was the people that were the least happy going through the most amount of psychological torment were the ones that experienced the biggest spike in happiness. And you know I share stuff like this to people and they say, “Oh, that’s a cute idea, oh that’s nice, that’s interesting,” but rarely do people follow through with these things. Because I don’t know, we think we’re too good, it’s not for us. We got pride, we got ego. 

 

Well I want to show you the second video of people who watched that video and they said, “You know what, I’m gonna actually do this, and not only am I going to do it, I’m going to record it while I do it.” So I want you to watch this next video and then we’ll come back have a discussion on it. And I’m going to share with you 7 tips on how to actually implement gratitude in your life. Very, very simple strategies that work. Okay so the second video is coming and let’s see.

YouTube video

So my friends, what we just watched there right now was the practical application of the first video. So when you write a letter to someone who’s been influential to you in your life and you take the time to read that letter to them that’s what happened. And you know, the most profound thing – I don’t know if you caught it or not, I don’t know if the audio was good enough – the girl wrote the letter to her grandfather and she probably took 3 – 5 minutes to write the whole thing. After she read it to him the grandfather said the following statement. And this is a direct quote. “Sweetheart, that was wonderful. You just made my 91 years here on earth worthwhile.” Just think about that. On one side you put 3 – 5 minutes of your time. On the other side of the scale that 3 – 5 minutes was equal to 91 years of that man’s life. And that’s what we withhold from people when we don’t express our gratitude. You know I share this exercise around this time of year because regardless of the historical nature of this upcoming holiday and what it is or what it isn’t, and what it actually represents and what it doesn’t, it is a time of year that we all tap into gratitude of the people, places and things in our lives. And sometimes we withhold the amount of love that we have for people because of things like pride and ego. And you know, I did this talk in the morning and I actually got pretty emotional and I feel it coming again. You know my mom and dad are watching this too so I gotta be mindful of it, but you know I tell people, “Hey, what’s holding you back from writing these letters? Why don’t you just write this letter and read it to somebody?” and they’re like, “Well I just I don’t have time or I’m not in the mood or I’ll do it some other time.” As you guys know, my brother passed away earlier this year and I would do anything to go back to April 9th of 2023 and write a letter like that to my brother and to be able to read it to him. I really would.

 

And Lynn just came here too and you know this is the beauty of these rooms. I know she would do the same for her son, I know she would and there’s just so much that we can say to people right? The thing about these tears, I read somewhere that it’s okay to have these tears – it’s just all the unexpressed love that we hold on to. And you know Lynn just said, “Today’s Ed’s birthday.” Man, I hope you find a way to find some peace today, Lynn. I hope you get to maybe write a letter to Ed and then highlight some of the beautiful things in his life that we all shared with him. We got lucky enough to share a few years with your son. I know you had a lot more and just remember these tears that we have is just all the unexpressed love right. And yeah, I know Mom and Dad, love you guys too, I love you guys too. It’s okay, you know the first time I cried on this camera over this kind of stuff was a few weeks, months after my brother, and maybe the holidays are coming around, maybe my birthday’s coming around, maybe his birthday’s coming around, just a heavier time of year, but the beauty is we all get through it together, the same way Lynn is getting through it, the way my mom and dad are getting through it, the way some people in our community right now are getting through it with some people that have passed away. Oh man, what would we do to be able to go back and turn back the hands of time and say a few more things, right? So how about this? How about we don’t experience the pain that I’m experiencing and the pain that you know my parents and Lynn is experiencing over there, and we express our gratitude to the people in our lives? We write them the letter and yeah see there’s another person here you know, Jess which is one of our faithful followers. She wrote, “my best friend and boyfriend just passed away the fifth of last month so that’s a very heavy loss when it’s two people in one. It’s been a really hard month for me also. So I feel the same way about wishing I could tell him how grateful I was for him and those are the kind of things.” There are other people in Jess’s life, my life, Lynn’s life that are still around right now and if we don’t learn that lesson of not expressing our gratitude through, at least let them be the lesson that we understood it. Now you know, so my condolences to you Jess. You can still write a letter to him. I think on my birthday this year I’m doing a little writing assignment to my brother but you can still write a letter to people. Go somewhere peaceful and serene and read it to the skies and hopefully they hear it.

 

But let’s get into some educational pieces. I’m going to go quick. I’m kind of a little bit dysregulated right now to lead a lecture group, to be honest with you guys, but I’ll do my best. So I want to teach you guys just 7 very quick exercises that you can Implement in your day that will foster some gratitude and please remember this. He taught me something and he said that gratitude that is not expressed does not exist. It only exists inside of our mind. And sometimes it’s too late to be able to share it. So some of you might be wondering well what are different ways I could do gratitude? It’s like I get tired of just saying I’m grateful for my roof, or grateful for my family, grateful for my hands, like what else can I do, right? So here they are.

 

  1. The first one is something called a Gratitude Flush. What a gratitude flush is, you sit down with a pen and paper and you set an alarm for like 3 – 5 minutes and it’s a stream of consciousness focused on gratitude. You can just write anything and everything that you’re grateful for that’s in your life, or also grateful for that is not in your life. And you can just freestyle it. There is no right, there is no wrong, and after two minutes, when you get in that third minute, the fourth minute, the fifth minute, you’ll start to realize how creative we can be when we actually explore to find things we’re grateful for. And it just kind of flushes our system out and it makes the unknown known, or makes unconscious conscious, or makes the things we don’t pay attention to appear in front of us, and that’s a very powerful thing. So a gratitude flush is a really quick and easy way to be able to kind of flood your system with gratitude. And sometimes if it’s hard or you don’t want to do it, that’s exactly the time you have to do it, because you might start off slow but you’ll start to gain some momentum to it. Okay let’s see, we got a comment here. Jim: “Grateful people are happy people and those who aren’t aren’t.” Ain’t that the truth?

 

  1. The next one we have here is called the Gratitude Memo. Now what a gratitude memo is, is you can either use like a cell phone and a group chat so you can include other people in your life and you can write things that you’re grateful for. For example, let’s say there’s five of you and you write three things that you’re each grateful for, and you put in a group text the next day. When you share your three you can’t repeat any of the ones you did before, and the day after that, you can’t repeat the day after, that you can’t repeat in the process. As it goes on for a course of a month you realize “Oh my gosh, look at all these things I’m coming up with.” Or you can leave a voice note like me – just like a one minute thing of things you’re grateful for and you share it to the group, and then they share it back and it creates this experience of abundance and love and warmth. So gratitude memo is a nice way plus when there’s other people involved it helps us stay accountable for the days that we don’t want to tap into gratitude. When two or three or four people are sending you gratitude stuff and they’re like, “Hey, where are yours or you haven’t sent one yesterday. Send us what you’re grateful for,” the accountability piece really helps.

 

  1. So the next one I have is called a Gratitude Thing. This one’s more on the meditative state. So you pick one person, place, thing, object, situation, and that becomes your primary focus for gratitude for that day. So anytime your mind goes somewhere else you come back to that thing, the singular thing that you’re grateful for and it’s kind of just like a mantra. It’s kind of just like a reset. It’s kind of like a way to reshift focus back into that one thing and it’s a very powerful way, because we’re able to, no matter how distracted we are, regain focus. It’s also very powerful because it’s a form of distraction from all of that stuff in a healthy distraction, because as we learned today in the earlier videos and the talks that the grasping onto gratitude improves our mental health and our mental well-being. And it’s just a very nice easy way to do it.

 

  1. The next one as we just watched, it’s the Gratitude Letter. So you grab a pen and paper, you write a letter to the person who’s been most influential to you in your life, you write to that person why they’ve been influential, how they’ve helped you, and kind of what your whole total experience about having that human in your world is like. You write that letter, you either send off the letter, you call that person, you read that letter. And if they’ve passed away you write it and go by the ocean, or go in a park under a tree, or go somewhere peaceful in front of a little garden, and just kind of be with them. A gratitude letter is powerful. It’s a tool that I hope most of you pick up after this talk.

 

  1. The next one’s a Gratitude Quickie. Sorry for the name but pretty much what a gratitude quickie is, is a very quick shift in perspective. For example, people that have problems with alcohol and drugs, one thing they do is they don’t want to forget their last drink or where their drug addiction led them to. So as soon as life gets difficult they go quickly back into that moment. Anytime you want to quit, remember why you started right? Or for me for example, someone says, “Hey Parham, are you having a good day? How are you doing today?” I’m like, “Oh it’s a good day. It’s a better day because I believe today we only have good days and better days.” A bad day is when you close your eyes and take a walk down memory lane to the time you got that phone call you didn’t want to get, to the time that you were really struggling with trauma, with addictions, with instability in your life – those are all bad days. If today you’re not dealing with that stuff it’s either good or better. That’s a quick shift in perspective, a quick shift in perspective.

 

  1. The next one I have is a Gratitude Jar. You grab a jar, any type of jar that you can see through. A glass jar would work, a little plastic box would work. And you just write down a few things on little Post-it pieces of paper, what you’re grateful for, you throw it in the jar and just leave it. Over the course of about a month the jar starts to fill up and it’s a nice visual cue and a visual reminder of the fullness an abundance in your life even if you’re not paying attention to it. Some days when you’re really struggling you go and you grab the jar and you grab what’s inside of it and you read it and you’re like, “Okay man, like perspective, perspective, perspective.” So the gratitude jar is pretty important.

 

  1. And the very last one is a Gratitude Rock. Gratitude object is something you put in your pocket and every time you grab something from your pocket – you grab your keys, you grab your phone, every time you feel it, it’s a reminder to express your gratitude. If you’re at work somewhere you put it on your workstation, or put it hanging from your rearview mirror in your car – it’s just the visual cues are good for human beings because we have these things called built-in forgetters. We forget the little things in life. 

 

And here’s the thing my friends, things in life that are easy to do are also easy not to do. Everything I just shared with you is so freaking easy, that means it’s easy not to do as well. So the choice is yours. How do you want to experience gratitude in your life? What’s the benefit of it to you and for you? I don’t really know but I do know this. That this upcoming week is a holiday – it’s a holiday that’s usually rooted with loved ones and people spending time with each other. So do me a favor and as much as you love the food on the table don’t make it about the food on the table this upcoming holiday. Make it about the people sitting around the table. Make sure you take a few minutes to share to them and express the gratitude you have for them and who they have been in your life. Make sure that you let them know how much you appreciate them. Make sure that it’s sincere, genuine and authentic. Make sure that it’s from the heart and allow them to just kind of marinate and soak into that experience. Because remember, not only is it going to make their world and make them feel good it’s going to make yourself feel good potentially up to 19% Improvement in your mental health. 

 

So I know I’ll be spending that Thursday with my mom and dad. Small, intimate and I’ll for sure express some gratitude that I have for them during that moment. I’m not gonna let that one go by. And I hope you don’t either. So I love and appreciate all of you. I won’t be here next week because of basketball. I’ll see you in a couple weeks. Have a wonderful, wonderful upcoming holiday. Until next time, grateful for the opportunity. Have a wonderful, wonderful weekend. Bye everyone! Oh Lynn, thank you, I don’t know about wonderful but you know and you’re welcome for the advice. We love you, we love you and happy birthday to Mr Ed. I’ll be thinking about him today for sure. Take care! Pacific Sands, Hossain Jan, appreciate you! Jim appreciate you! Mahboubeh, hi and bye! Sorry I just saw these. Grateful for you too Katalin. Happy Holidays Jess! Appreciate all you guys. I saw Dylan’s mom in there somewhere, where was she? Dorothy, East Coast, the right coast? Come on, the West Coast is the right coast. Appreciate you guys. You’re welcome and take care everyone, bye bye!

Eagerness vs. Saying No in Personal Development

I have an acronym for personal development, based on the word DEVELOPMENT. We already discussed the

 

3 Keys to Personal Development: Decisions, Expectations and Values

The Next 3 Steps of Personal Development: Everyday, Lifestyle, Overcoming Negative Beliefs

Planning and Mindset: the 2 Fundamentals of Personal Development

 

Read those before you proceed with this one.

In this post, we talk about the E, N and T of DEVELOPMENT.

 

EAGERNESS for Change

Do you remember when it was the night before your big birthday or like a holiday like Christmas or something, or the first time you went on a family vacation, you’re about to go to an amusement park, you remember the feeling in your gut? Couldn’t sleep at night, so eager and excited for the life experience? As a child I know you experienced that but when I ask adults when’s the last time you were truly eager and excited for something they say, “Nothing man, I just get excited for the weekend.” I’m like, “Why?” “I’m not working.” It’s like, Okay, well, find another job, find another career if you don’t get eager and excited to show up every day for your life and you have to wait for the weekends, that means you’re just a walking zombie five days of the year. You’re pretty much dead. You’re not even living. You’re just existing. Be eager for change, for transformation. Be eager for a new way of life. Get excited, lose sleep, why not? Oh it’s not for you? It’s only for kids? If I only knew how hard your life was, if I only knew what you’ve experienced, do you really think people that are excited and eager and passionate all the time haven’t had similar life experiences? Do you really think that? See, it’s not a matter of what you’ve gone through. It’s how you deal with what you’ve gone through. 

 

Everybody goes through something. Do some people have it a little bit worse than other people? For sure. Do some people experience more pain and trauma than other people? For sure. But everybody experiences something. Just the fact that we’re watching this on the internet talking right now we are ahead of probably two billion people in the world that don’t have this opportunity but we don’t think about those things. We just live in a world of fear, you know. So please, please, please find reasons to be eager for your life. It’s a beautiful thing. 

 

If you’re not good at planning to exercise, get help from a personal trainer. It’s a proven method for success. There’s a little cost associated with it, but the reason why that works is because of the accountability piece. Now some people say when they use their dollars and their money you know it raises a level of accountability but the research actually shows that people that have an accountability partner or a gym partner or a workout partner are significantly, significantly more likely to exercise than people that don’t. So if you’re like sitting back and saying, “Well, you know she has the money to get a trainer, I wish I had a trainer, if only I had a trainer, I’d be ripped and fit too,” I want you to know that’s categorically false. The reason why this trainer is working is because she’s accountable to this trainer. It’s the accountability piece and ultimately the goal, by the way, is as she develops her psychological and emotional and physical muscles to become more consistent with her exercise routine and planning, as she gets better and better and better and better at it because if you repeat it, if you’re committed to it, if you’re consistent to it, it eventually becomes a part of your identity. We learn how to be accountable to ourselves. It’s a powerful thing. Enjoy that trainer right now. Learn as much as you can. Gather from their expertise, build a workout routine, build a few of them, and then eventually you know, 6 months from now, a year from now, you won’t even need that. And you can become the accountability partner for somebody else, and show them the things you learn. And that’s how it goes on. 

 

How about having an open mind about the new ideas for more growth in life? I think we have to have an open mind for everything, for new ideas, for old ideas. I think a human being that closes her mind has stopped the possibility of learning and gaining knowledge and developing, all of this, everything I’m saying right now, you need an open mind for, because if you have a closed mind for any of this stuff then you’re just saying, “Hey, I’m okay with who I am and what I know.” 

 

Learn How to Say NO

I talk about this all the time. If you’re trying to become a different version of yourself, if you’re trying to grow, if you’re trying to develop, you must develop and strengthen this. The emotional muscles and the psychological muscles to learn how to say No. Because the more you say No to other things, the more you say No to other people, the more you say No to some of your impulses, the more you say Yes to yourself, to a new way of life. We can’t overextend ourselves by saying Yes to anything and everyone in a path of personal development. It’s going to be a little selfish at first because you got to grow, you got to develop, kind of like a boxer that’s getting ready to go for a fight. They say No to everything. Temptation. They say No to their diet, they say No to their loved ones, they say No to their sleep schedule, they say No to everything. They wake up early in the morning, they grind, they eat right, they work out their mind, they exercise, they rest, they repeat, they repeat, they repeat, they sacrifice a lot of stuff, to be ready for the fight. 

 

Life is that way sometimes. We have to say No to people, places, and things, and say Yes to ourselves in order to be able to grow and develop. And some people do it and some people don’t. The people that do it have learned boundaries. The people that do it have learned the value of saying No. The people that do it understand the importance of saying Yes to yourself. The people that don’t do it are usually codependent. They’re afraid of people’s judgment. They’re afraid of how they will be perceived if they say No. They have people pleasing tendencies and if that’s your way of life just know that you’re going to keep experiencing that. 

You know you’re always going to be the person that’s being taken advantage of. You’re always going to be the person that’s always feeling like the floor mat in front of the door. You’re going to be the person that feels like nobody respects them. And they think it’s the problem of the world, when it’s just – you don’t know how to set boundaries. You don’t know how to say No. No wonder everybody walks on you because they can. I’ve said that before to somebody and they got so disrespected. They got so mad at me, they got so pissed. “How dare you say that to me?” I’m like, “You just told me that for years people in your life walk all over you, you told me that I didn’t know that about you, that everybody walks all over you. It’s not about them walking. It’s about you letting them walk. The moment you say No and choose yourself, people will learn the lesson quick. They understand the assignment but they won’t learn it until you teach it. Why don’t they just know it on their own? Because you’ve conditioned them not to. You’ve enabled them for 10, 20, 30 years that this is who you are and what you do, so that’s what they expect. They are just doing to you what you have allowed them to do and they didn’t like that either.” But it’s okay. I spoke the truth and maybe one day they come back around and say. “Hey, I started to value myself. I started to set boundaries. I started to say No to people and I feel like even if they don’t like me as much I can respect myself more.” I don’t know if they will. They’re going to go to another therapist or counselor saying that people in my life walk all over me and the therapist or counselor will say, “Oh, how does that make you feel? What do you think of that? Oh I hear that you’re really sad and overwhelmed.” Man, if you want to hear that kind of stuff this ain’t the channel for you. I’m not the guy for you.

 

TRANSFORM with TEAM

The last one in the DEVELOPMENT is the T. There’s an African proverb that says the following: 

 

“If you want to go fast in life, go alone, but if you want to go far in life go with others.” 

-African Proverb

 

We only develop and transform with other human beings. Cohesive, get in the middle of the herd, follow the direction of people that have been there, that know how to get there, that can show you the way, and get better 1% everyday, everyday, everyday.

 

Planning and Mindset: the 2 Fundamentals of Personal Development

I have an acronym for personal development, based on the word DEVELOPMENT. We already discussed the DEV and the ELO parts of the acronym in Part 1 and Part 2. Read those before you proceed.

 

Why PLANNING is Important

Planning is very important if you are trying to go from where you are to where you want to go in life, because if you don’t plan for your life you will fall into someone else’s plans. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much. They got nothing on their agenda for you. You’re not even a part of their plans. You’re not even a blip on the radar. Because you want to know why? They’re into their own plans. 

 

So if you want your life to get better you must plan and prepare and here’s a wonderful powerful quote by a very, very, very successful college basketball coach named John Wooden. 

 

“If you fail to plan in life then prepare yourself to fail.” 

-John Wooden

 

“If you fail to plan and prepare in life then then you must plan to fail,” because you are going to fail. People that wake up in the morning and say, “What am I going to do today? Where am I going to go today?” If you didn’t set that up the night before it’s too hard to catch up when the day starts. It’s like changing the flat tire of a moving car. Did you get that one? If you try to plan your day after you wake up instead of planning it the night before right before you go to bed, it’s the equivalent of trying to to change a flat tire of a moving car. Good luck with that. It’s easier to plan when we’re stopped. It’s easier to adjust when we’re stopped. It’s easier to make repairs when we’re stopped. And then in the morning when you wake up you’re ready to go. You got boom boom boom boom boom lists of things that you’re going to get done and accomplished. 

 

Don’t sleep on the power of planning. 

It’s a game changer. 

Stick to the plan once you have one. 

Persistence. 

That’s another thing what people do. They plan for a little bit and then when adversity comes in they hit the eject button. And they abort. They’re not persistent. They just get up and go. It’s kind of like when people build a house and there’s proper planning that’s happening and then all of a sudden they’re building it one day and something doesn’t go as planned. Do they just abandon the house and say we’re going to go build somewhere else? No, they’re persistent until they find the solution. They work around it and they figure it out and they move forward and build the house. 

 

Life is the same way. Plans are plans and if and when the plan changes we must change with it. It is very important to know. Like in sports you go in with a game plan. How good of an example is this? In sports you go in with a game plan, you have it all dialed in, you’ve worked on it all week, you feel like it’s going to work and execute perfectly with the goal of getting a win, and all of a sudden it’s all falling apart at halftime. You go in, you have a choice – do I stick with the plan? Yes, because we worked on it. Do I need to make some adjustments to the plan? Yes, we adjust and continue on the same path. Hopefully, those adjustments are enough to produce a positive outcome. 

 

Proper planning prevents poor performance. If I don’t plan my day I actually get very tired throughout the day, lost all day. It’s 100% true. Because we’re trying to play catchup. We’re trying to pull all of our resources and finding out what’s the most efficient way to do it. And by doing so we are already burning at both ends of the candle because psychological thinking also has a physiological effect. So when she says she gets very tired, if you sit down and just think all day and not even move you’ll feel tired. Thinking even burns calories. People don’t know that but it’s very important to plan. So I’m glad we’re all on the same page with that one.

 

Create a Growth MINDSET

A growth mindset looks at challenges in life as opportunities for progress. A growth mindset is what we want to have. We don’t want to have a mindset that’s based in stagnation and complacency, and it’s based on scarcity. You don’t want to have a mindset that’s afraid of obstacles and challenges. Because my friends, the only way you get better in life is by overcoming those obstacles and challenges. And here’s why. Because you have to become a different version of yourself. You have to tap into a higher vibration of yourself. You have to tap into a more resourceful version of yourself to climb and overcome that. And when you do, on the other side you are different. 

 

Look at all of the challenges of serious adversity you’ve had in your life. Have they not changed you? Have they not changed your perspective, your mindset? Oftentimes for the better. Then why when we get faced with challenges, and we get overwhelmed instead of fighting, we go in our turtle shell and hide in fear? We succumb to fear and as long as you do so fear will always win. And you will always be stuck in the same place. This talk of personal development doesn’t mean anything. So your mindset matters. 

 

How you do anything is how you do everything. 

 

Obstacles are chances to grow. Anytime in life you experience a setback, a challenge, a problem, a breakdown, just know that after every breakdown there is the possibility of a breakthrough. A breakthrough of a new world, a new experience, a new you, so when you break down and you fall and you and your world is spinning around you either look at it as if I failed, I struggled, it’s over. Or you say what type of a breakthrough is possible, available for me on the other side of this breakdown? 

 

Embrace the breakdown. That’s where the magic happens.

 

The Next 3 Steps of Personal Development: Everyday, Lifestyle, Overcoming Negative Beliefs

The D in DEVELOPMENT is Decide, the E is Expectations, and the V is Values. To learn more about the first 3 keys to Personal Development, read this post.

 

In this post we talk about the next 3 steps in DEVELOPMENT. 

 

Why do things EVERYDAY?

Because that’s the only way it becomes something tangible and it becomes something real and it becomes a part of your identity. Three days on, four days off, five days on, two days off, it doesn’t do anything but create an inconsistent experience in life. 

 

  • Are you willing to do something everyday for your personal development? 
  • Are you willing to go on a walk, read a book, talk to someone that levels you up? 
  • Are you willing to take care of your mind, body, spirit? 
  • Are you willing to help others everyday? 

 

If the answer is yes, your life’s going to get real good, real fast. 

If the answer is no, my question is, “Why?” If the answer is no, my question is, “When?” 

Simple as that. 

 

When are you going to start doing something everyday for your life? Sometimes parents say to me, “Yeah, my kid’s not doing X Y and Z, they’re not doing this and that,” and my question is, “Oh that’s cool, what are you doing everyday?” and they’re like, “No no no, I’m not talking about me. I’m talking about my kid, I’m okay.” I’m like, “I know you’re okay but do you have the life that you want? Are you the version of yourself that one day when you were a child you thought of becoming? If the answer is no, then what’s the difference between you and your kid? What’s the difference between you and your spouse? Just because they have a raging alcohol and drug problem they have to do something that you don’t? Remove the drugs and alcohol. All human beings must take steps for personal development.” Sometimes people say, “Why can’t I just be myself?” That’s okay, I just know that oftentimes people that think they just want to be themselves have resigned on the idea that they can be something different. They resigned on the idea that at some point in their life they had dreams, hopes, aspirations, goals for themselves and as soon as life hit him in the face, as soon as they experience some trauma, as soon as they experience some pain, they just said, “You know what, I’m just going to settle. I’m just going to settle.” I’m okay with it but they’re not peaceful, they’re struggling inside. So make sure you’re doing something everyday.

 

A New LIFESTYLE will cost you your old life

So in the acronym for DEVELOPMENT, the L is lifestyle. Here’s what I think it means. If you want to grow and develop in life you have to remember the following. That your new life is going to cost you your old life. Are you willing to pay that price? Some people are and some people aren’t. Some people want to hold on to certain aspects and elements of their old life. They hold on, wondering why they don’t embrace or experience a new way of life or experience. You can’t have it both ways. 

 

If you want to grow and develop in your life you have to look at the areas in your life that you have to let go of that don’t serve you, that don’t help you get to your destination, that are holding you from your progress. And you got to become willing to let them go. And sometimes that means people. There might be people in your life that you might need to let go of. And some of you might say, “Well, that person is my family member, that person’s my this.” That’s cool. I’m not saying end your relationship. I’m just saying let go of the type of relationship you have with them. Some people say, “Every time I talk to this person and when I’m with them for like five or six hours, or I’m with them for a day, it just drains me. It’s too much to handle. They suck my soul out. They’re manipulative.” Well, hey, how about instead of five or six hours, you go kick it with them for an hour? Protect yourself, change the way you view the world, change the way you view others. Let go of certain aspects of your life that don’t serve you. 

 

Sometimes people know that their old life sucks but they still don’t want to let go of it. They know that they’re not happy, joyous and free and they still choose a life of misery. They get moments of glimpses of, “Wow, there’s so much contrast to this new life versus the old life. If only I continue on this path for a little longer, maybe I’ll get to another destination. But life slaps them in the face and guess what they do? Revert back to the old lifestyle. They settle for the status quo. They settle for their comfort zone. They settle for a life without progress. 

 

OVERCOME your Negative Beliefs

If you are trying to grow in life, if you are trying to take steps in your personal development in life, you must identify your negative beliefs and then you must overcome them. Here’s a good question to ask anybody in life. 

 

Who were you before the world told you who you ought to be, who you need to be, who you should be, who you shouldn’t be? 

 

Before the world stripped you of your authenticity, before the world stripped you of your uniqueness? Who were you when you started to believe things like, I am not smart enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not tough enough, I’m not blank enough, I’m not tall enough, I’m not skinny enough, I’m not buff enough, I’m not rich enough. Who were you before all these negative limiting beliefs started to penetrate your mind and penetrate your soul and your heart? 

 

How do we overcome our negative beliefs, is by massive action by contrary action. By doing what it is that we think we can’t do, doing it with commitment and consistency and repetition over and over and over again until you do it. And how long do you do it? Until it’s done. Here’s a fair question – how long does a mom give their infant child or their young child time to walk? Until he or she walks. It’s not like, “Oh, you got six months and if you don’t walk by then, it’s over.” Different Strokes for different folks. It takes different times for different people. 

 

How long do you go on this path of personal development to accomplish your goals and dreams? Well, until you do and when you do a very profound and powerful thing happens. You get split into two and there’s a different version of you. Are you the person that can’t or the person that just did and now you have a binary choice. Black or white. One or two. Yes or no. Which one are you? And the moment you choose the new version of you the old you can die. You shed that skin. You free yourself. The caterpillar, the butterfly, the cocoon, the transformation, you know the story. 

 

1% is a significant, significant number. And someone might say, “Dude, what are you talking about? 1% is nothing. It’s like one out of a 100 is 1%” Well, if you don’t think that 1% matters, 1° matters, let’s just look at physics. Let’s look at nature, water, the life source. What makes the world live? Oxygen and water, right? What makes the world live? At 211° Fahrenheit water is water. At 212° Fahrenheit water changes form and turns into steam. On the flip side at 33° Fahrenheit water is water. At 32° Fahrenheit water changes its form and turns into ice. See, 1% can change our form. So 1% better can change your 1% better, it can change your life, if you subscribe to the importance of just getting 1% better in each and every single thing we do. 

 

Too often we have no idea who we were. The tapes were implanted so young. Sometimes it’s like the people planting us love us. That’s the weird part you know. It’s people that care about us and they just want the best for us, you know. It’s kind of like that hypercritical parent that really wants their kid to be good at school and their intention is because if they’re good at school they have a chance to go to college and get a good job and just be a good member of society, but they’re so critical and so intense that when the kid gets a B they tell them, “Hey, like what happened there? What’s wrong with you?” You don’t even have to work. All you have to do is study. Why can’t you just get an A?” And that kid doesn’t internalize it that way. They think, “My mom or dad doesn’t love me and I’m stupid,” or “I’m not good enough.” So the intention was really pure by the mom to be like, “Hey, let’s do well in school,” but when the kid struggled and failed for whatever reasons the kid doesn’t think, “Oh it’s because my mom had best intentions.” “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough.” And that kid’s screwed, because everything he’s gonna do in life he’s never going to be good enough. So we unintentionally can do damage to people we love and then of course there’s the intentional stuff. People genuinely put some tapes in their head that it’s really painful. Kids that get bullied all the time, man their self-esteem, their self-worth, really tough to overcome. People that experience trauma and the tape of what they’re worth, oh so hard to overcome. So we got to eventually overcome all these negative beliefs because they’re not us. They’re just thoughts. 

 

Read Next: Planning and Mindset, the 2 Fundamentals of Personal Development

 

3 Keys to Personal Development: Decisions, Expectations and Values

When I think of all of the people who have been able to gain some type of transformation in their life and looked at their common denominators, I created an acronym system on the word DEVELOPMENT. This post talks about the first 3 keys, the first 3 letters of the word, Decisions, Expectations and Values.

 

Before you proceed, read this post about why personal development is important in life and recovery.

 

Making a DECISION

 

If you want to grow in life, if you want to personally develop in life, if you want to go from where you are to where you want to go in life, you must make a decision and decide. I just did this group for a few group members a few days ago and I taught them this and it resonated with them so I want to say it to you so it resonates with you. 

 

What does it mean to make a decision and decide to change your life? What does it mean to decide? Well, let’s look at the word Decide. It’s spelled D-E-C-I-D-E. What other words do you know of in the English language that end with CIDE? Homicide, suicide, genocide, pesticide. Homicide means to kill off another person. Suicide means to kill off self. Genocide means to kill off a group or a race of people. Pesticide means to kill off bugs, insects, and rodents. So when you make a decision and decide to change your life around you kill off the previous version. You kill off the other options. You kill off the other choices. 

 

But what do people do? They decide to do something only when it’s convenient, only when it’s comfortable, and as soon as they start to feel their emotions dysregulated, as soon as they start to feel a little anxiety, a little bit of fear, a little discomfort, they go back to their old way again. It’s not a decision. You haven’t decided until you kill off the previous version. If someone decides to get sober that means you kill off the option of drinking and using it no longer exists, but what happens to them as soon as they get triggered somewhere, as soon as they get dysregulated somewhere, they go right back to the drink. Man, you never made a decision. You never decided. You just temporarily halted something. 

 

And the same thing goes to personal development. If you want to become a different version of yourself you have to decide to kill off the old version of life. Some people do and some people don’t. I got out of the business of trying to find out why. None of my business.

 

Curb your EXPECTATIONS

If you want your life to develop and you want to grow in different areas of your life you must learn how to curb your expectations

 

Expectations are the root of all heartbreak. 

-William Shakespeare

 

I’m gonna say that one again. So if you are trying to develop in life and you are trying to become a different version of yourself you must learn how to manage your expectations. William Shakespeare, a pretty famous poet, has the following statement. He says that expectations are the root of all heartbreak. And many people that come into this recovery world, this healing world, this transformation world, they have unrealistic false expectations, that by walking on this path and this journey for 30-60-90 days, that their life is going to all of a sudden magically get better. Don’t lie to yourself, my friends. The only thing that gets better when we discontinue the use of drugs and alcohol is the problems related to drugs and alcohol go away but every other challenge and problem and obstacle that you have in your life or have had in your life that you’re trying to overcome will be right there glaring you in your eyes. They don’t go away until we work on them, until we address them and that’s what it is. 

 

Sometimes family members come in, their kid gets sober, they’re like, “Alright, everything’s good now.” No, it’s not – their inability to manage their emotions, their inability to communicate properly, their inability to follow through with goals and expectations, their inability to become self-sufficient and manageable and reliable in their own life, that’s not all of a sudden going to change. It can change, it will change, if we curb our expectations and realize it takes time. It takes time to build new skills, to build new habits, to build a new way of life. Be careful of your expectations. 

 

Expectations can kill your peace and serenity. Not just reduce them, but kill them. And you know, they say that our expectations and our level of serenity are a zero sum. So what is a zero sum? A zero sum means that let’s say two things cannot be more than 100. So if our expectations are 80 our serenity can only be 20. If our expectations are 50 our serenity can be 50. If our expectations are 20 our serenity could be 80 and if you got no expectations in life you can be blissfully living in peace. 

 

Consistency is the key. Consistency over time is the key because people can be consistent for 30-60-90 days, consistent like machines, and then all of a sudden they put their foot off the gas and they start to relax and before you know it they’re right back to living the way they used to live, doing the things they used to do, engaging in things they used to engage in. So that part of time consistency over time is where the magic happens. And that time is different for everybody based on how long you’ve been experiencing life, based on how long you’ve been experiencing life. 

 

Commitment is a key. It’s probably the key. Let’s say if you want to develop in life, personal development, and I’m giving you this acronym system, let’s say all of this stuff is inside this box. The key to open the box up in the first place is being committed. But what do we do? Most people don’t want to be committed in life. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Repetition is the master of all skills. Doing something over and over again polishes our skill set. You know some of you have been on record telling me, “Hey, how are you such a good speaker? How do you speak so well?” I promise you, the first time I did a speech in class I was drenched in sweat. My jaws clenched. I blacked out. A five minute speech was a minute and a half, and I ran out of things to say. Well, right now I can speak for five marathon days and I won’t run out of things to say. Repetition, repetition, repetition. It is the mother of all skills. 

 

Amateurs do something until they get it right. Professionals do something until they can’t get it wrong. 

 

How many people do something just to be able to do it. If you really want to level up you got to do it till the point that you can’t do it wrong. That’s powerful. And that comes from commitment, consistency and repetition to put everything together. 

 

Align with your VALUES

Our values are our guiding light in life. Our values allow us to experience a life that aligns with our truest self but here’s the thing. If you don’t know what your values are you will never have the opportunity to experience that. If you’ve never sat down to identify what your values are in life you will never experience a relationship that is abundant of those values. If you’ve never sat down to realize what is important in your life you will have a life full of things that are not important. 

 

Sit down for 5 or 10 minutes and write down your values. And when you have that list make sure and ensure that everything you do in life aligns with those values. When we live by our values we are our strongest self. We are full of life, full of vitality, full of creation. If you say my value in life is honesty, my value in life is respect and my value in life is health, and you live a life that aligns and is congruent with those values, at the end of the day you will feel good. If your value is honesty and you’re honest to yourself and honest to others you can look at yourself in the mirror, be proud of the reflection. If you say your value is respect and you respect yourself and respect others you look at the mirror at the end of the night and you like your reflection. If you say your value is health and you live a life that is mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, healthy you will look at yourself in the mirror and be happy with the reflection. 

 

But if you lie, cheat and steal and live a dishonest life, if you disrespect yourself and disrespect the world, and you live a life that is not only in line with health but the exact opposite of it, self-sabotage and destruction of self, you will look in the mirror and feel lost. People don’t even know their values in relationships and they put up with anything and everything. We only get in life what we’re willing to tolerate. You only get in life what you’re willing to tolerate. If you tolerate a specific toxic human being in your life and you’re pissed and annoyed and frustrated that person keeps treating you a certain way it’s not about them – it’s about what you have been willing to tolerate in your life. Because the moment you say, “This does not align with my values I will no longer tolerate this,” you just free yourself of everything that human being says and does. People don’t do it sometimes unfortunately. 

 

Whatever it takes to maintain my peace and serenity takes a lot of work but worth it. The number one thing we got in life is peace and serenity. Number one thing. You know, I could be happy as a clam as long as I got peace and serenity or I could be stressed out, annoyed, frustrated. No serenity, no peace, and just hoping and searching for it. So sad that people just don’t understand how simple this is.

Why is Personal Development Important?

So you know I’m really big on this thing called personal development. A lot of people want their lives to get better, they want their relationships to get better, they want their health to get better, they want the way they feel to get better, but not a lot of people want to actually get better. So if you want your life to get better, you have to get better. 

 

I’m not saying that you’re bad, I’m saying you’re whole, perfect and complete the way you are, and the way you’re not. There’s nothing wrong with you, be you, but there’s a version of you in the future that is better than the version of you right now. And if you want to become that version in the future you must become better today, tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, until that vision becomes a reality. 

 

I started to think of all of the people that I know that have been able to gain some type of transformation in their life and I kind of looked at their common denominators and I created an acronym system on the word DEVELOPMENT. Even if some of you have heard this before, that’s okay, we’re always hearing it for the first time because each time you listen to something the goal is that you are a new version of yourself and a new version of yourself can retain information and apply information in a way that it probably couldn’t before. 

 

Why is my life never changing?

 

If you do the things you got to do for your day to get better because if you want your day to get better and don’t do them, guess what’s going to happen? Nothing. And your day stays the same and your week stays the same and your month stays the same and your year stays the same and your decade stays the same and people say, “Why is my life just never changing?” Because you never changed. You resist change. You go against the forces of nature which are always teaching us and showing us the importance of change. 

 

If you’re stuck in your old ways wondering why life doesn’t look new and there’s no new ways it ain’t about life. It’s about you and your commitment to complacency and staying the same version. And there’s a lot of people who do it because they’re afraid. What if I do all these things? What’s going to happen? I don’t know. Let’s find out. 

 

I’ve heard it all before

 

And the other thing that I’m really big on is, you know sometimes people say, “Well I’ve heard this before, I’ve heard this before in the past,” and what I say to them is this. If you say I’ve heard this before let’s say that you just went out and worked out or you were out in the sun all day or you were just kind of like in a really humid place and your body got full of sweat, well, what do you have to do as an adult that hopefully has running water? You go and take a shower, you wash your hair, you rinse your body, you wash your face and afterwards you come out looking, smelling, feeling like a million bucks. Smelling good, smelling fresh, but if the next day and the next day and the next day and the next day you don’t go and take another shower what’s going to happen is you’re going to start smelling like body odor. You’re going to start looking disheveled. You’re going to start looking tired. Someone walks next to you and they go like, “Oh my God,” because here’s the thing. The shower you took four days ago doesn’t do anything for your cleanliness today. 

 

So the talks you heard in the past, the inspiration you gained in the past, the motivation you found in the past, if you don’t constantly re-engage with content that inspires you, motivates you, even if it’s repetitive, it doesn’t mean anything. We must continuously remotivate ourselves the way we shower if we want to stay motivated. Simple. You know the simple things in life, things that are easy to do are also easy not to do. 

 

Recommended Read: 3 Keys to Personal Development

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.