Becky asked a question in response to my Be Brave post. I asked her if we could share her question, as I suspect many others have dealt with the issue she brings up. Thanks, Becky, for giving me permission to address this question publicly for the benefit of all. Here is Becky’s e-mail question:
A note to the editor, this is one of the most revealing and core touching
subjects I have dealt with along with resentment and fear of being
hurt or taken advantage of. Can this self guided positive imagery also help
with that too?
I believe Becky is referring to the section of my “Be Brave” e-mail that says this:
“Since dating often requires bold moves that bring up anxiety about what will happen next, you can bolster your “braveness factor” by simply envisioning positive outcomes. At the moment when you decide to act bravely, force your mind to remain focused on the best possible scenario.”
As Becky read these words, the personal meaning for her had to do with the fear of being hurt or taken advantage of. She’s wondering if positive visualization will help her to overcome the fear that prevents her from opening her heart to new relationships.
Becky, here’s my response. Visualization of a positive outcome for the situation you are about to face will not help you to overcome resentment and hurt from past relationships. The kind of visualization I referred to in my “Be Brave” e-mail has to do with the immediate situation you are facing, such as a decision to approach a man and strike up a conversation.
If you are a dog lover, and you see an attractive man walking a dog in a park, you might have the thought to strike up a conversation with him. If your mind then begins to project scenarios involving rejection, you might back down in fear of that rejection. By visualizing a positive outcome, you bolster your courage while lessening your anxiety. You will seem more natural, positive, and relaxed as you approach him, which increases the odds that he will feel comfortable and relaxed as he responds to you.
If you believe the spark of a new relationship is nothing but the beginning of another painful end with bitter resentment and emotional pain, your mind and body will be pulling against you on a far deeper level. You will benefit most by changing the nature of your relationship with your past hurts.
How does one go about healing from the pain of broken relationships or hurtful men who used and then abandoned? First of all, it is not easy. That said, healing is important enough that one should try even though it is not easy.
Here is how I recommend you go about trying to rise above the pain of the past. Start by aligning yourself with all things that are good. Nothing defines who we are more than our decisions and our motivations. Let your motivation arise from a determined will, the will to embrace and become a part of all forms of goodness you discover in this life.
Now consider the pain and hurt you have experienced from the past. Recognize it as a part of reality, but not a part of reality that will define you. Do not allow pain and heartache to define you. Do not allow the darkness you have found in men’s hearts to become a defining feature of your life.
Instead, use the power generated from those painful memories to strengthen your commitment to embracing all things beautiful and worthy of your life energy. Truly beautiful relationships are worthy aspects of a life well-lived. Living in fear causes you to cower and bow to fear. You can reject fear by taking the deep emotional energy it creates and channeling it toward a fierce commitment to do the very opposite of cowering. In so doing, you become brave.
Allow me to review the core concept. It is our decision to define our own life by the things we desire to embrace that allows us to conquer the fear we find within our mind. When fear attempts to become a tyrannical dictator, we must change our focus back to the things we choose as the defining characteristics of who we want to become.
As you embrace courage, you do not hide your head in the sand. You look problems square in the face and deal with them on a practical level. By embracing courage, you are quicker to walk away from a man who shows signs of being too selfish or too emotionally immature to satisfy your need for a positive relationship. However, you will also have the courage to bravely pursue a man who seems to be ready to co-create something beautiful.
I hope this was helpful to you, Becky. Live with courage!