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Mastering Self Realization

July 03, 20238 min read

Self realization is at the heart of happiness. Your degree of happiness is dictated by your perceptions and interpretations about the world around you. With this in mind, it’s why I recommend people to take the time to understand how their memory system works.

Think of your memory system as a puppeteer. Outside of your awareness, it is directing many of your choices and actions. It is at the heart of your ability to feel happy or not. It is at the heart of your success in relationships or life.

When you can clearly see how your memory system works, your self awareness will increase and you will find yourself more in charge of your destiny.

This article is about how you can increase your self awareness, interrupt and modify your memory system when needed, and get better results.

Our Safety Filter May Need To Be Updated

Here are some brain characteristics to keep in mind:

1. Our brains are hard-wired to compare the present to the past.

2. It also has a filtering system that generalizes to help us make decisions faster.

3. Finally, our brains top priority is to make sure we are safe. Everything you perceive gets filtered through the “safety” lens first.

In other words, if you had a lot of difficult experiences when you were little, you will be more prone to see life through the lens of “Its not safe to be here.”

Many of your choices in life will be motivated by this unconscious belief. You may also not realize you have this filter because sometime things happen to us at such a young age, we have no idea we adopted certain beliefs or patterns of thinking that still affect us today. It took many years of healing and reflection for me to realize this was a core issue I was trying to navigate.

We Make Meaning Out Of Everything

Our brains are also meaning making machines. This is the ego at work. It’s the part of us that wants control and to know everything has a place so we don't get surprised. Anything “out of place” raises the alarm bells. It is why we cling to our beliefs when someone rubs them wrong.

Any experience today, that even slightly reminds your brain of a past experience, will be assign similar meaning and automatically engage a strategy to process it. In other words, we make assumptions and generalizations so fast we don’t even think to question them. Think of the ramifications of that…!

The dilemma is this. We assign meaning to everything. Yet, when we are little, we don’t have very good critical thinking skills, so many of the assumptions we made about dangerous situation from our past are missing details that would probably change the meaning we have on something.

This is why it’s so important to make it safe for others to tell you the truth. You need that information to re-inform your nervous system. It’s also another reason it’s so important to tell the other person what you think they just said means to you.

Many of us are walking around unconsciously fearful of things, that, if looked at more closely, may not be scary at all. This is where the value of self realization and self awareness comes in.

The challenge, is to get people to slow down enough to realize their memory-belief-habit system is orchestrating all of this.

KEY POINT: Your brain, perceives information, compares it to the past, then responds according to models you instinctively used BEFORE you had the ability to sort out the bigger picture of what may have been going on.

Any-time we get triggered, we have an opportunity to reflect on what happened in the past and the possibility of rewiring the meaning we made out of it.

Levels of Safety

For much of my life, I made fear-based decisions. Until around age 52, my entire life was built on a “house of cards” so to speak. Fear based strategies will rarely hold up in the long haul. I learned this the hard way. In 2011, that “house” crumbled. Fortunately I’m very resilient. After many years of study and training myself, I could see what I needed to do to rebuild my life based on solid footing.

The truth is, I had already been building a strong foundation, and in 2011 I had to go through the next stage of letting the rest of my “house of card” crumble so I could let go of some old ways.

Think of a spectrum, on the left end are people who are afraid in life and live in chronic anxiety. On the right end, are people who learned healthy resilience and have a default of, “Things will work out.”

We all fall somewhere between these extremes.

To move towards the right on the spectrum, it’s imperative we question our responses to life.

If we don’t question our reactions and beliefs, we will be at the mercy of our memory system.

Relying on my memory system, doesn’t seem very empowering to me!

Many of us stay stuck for years, in fear based strategies, unless we have a way of discerning when to question our current reactions.

That’s what you are about to learn…

Questioning “Current Reality”

If you want to see what has affected you from your past, simply look at the results you are getting.

If your daily mind chatter is about survival, e.g. “What if I get fired” or “What should I be doing for a living?” or “Should I eat this or that?” or “Will I get any new clients to pay the bills this month?”, there is a very good chance you are still playing out unresolved trauma or entangled in disempowering beliefs from your past that never got resolved or challenged.

Take a moment right now and write down any patterns you can see that are affecting your today.

Here are some examples I regularly see in my coaching practice:

  • Not sure where I belong in the world

  • You don’t feel seen or heard by your partner

  • Maybe you regularly don’t feel close to your partner and live in a perpetual cycle of wondering if you should stay in the relationship

  • Maybe you chronically worry if you’ll ever find Mr. or Ms. right

  • You have regular thoughts you are unsure you are doing what you were meant to be doing in this life

  • You work too many hours

  • You believe something has to be a certain way for you to get a particular outcome

  • You are overweight and feel guilty

The first question to ask yourself is “Do I want to change this dynamic?” Without a clear “yes” you will continue down the same path. That of course is fine, but be aware there are consequences you’ll need to live with later on.

Let’s assume you get a clear “yes” from yourself.

Next, use your body to guide you.

What do I mean by this? Pick something right now from the list you made.

Say it out loud a couple of times. Then pause and feel where in your body you feel that.

Now ask yourself, “How am I contributing to this outcome or belief?”

Let me illustrate. An issue for me has been “Not sure where I belong in the world.”

When I ask myself, “How do I contribute to this dilemma?” here is what I come up with:

  • I continue to move around and not establish a base of friends

  • I avoid feelings of sadness when I feel lonely (which causes me to get more confused and move into more isolation because in those moments I don’t feel lovable)

  • I stay isolated and don’t participate in community activities

  • I keep others at a distance at times (there are many ways I do this)

You get the idea. The first part of the solution, is to take healthy responsibility for how I continue to contribute to the outcome I’m getting.

The second part, is to take action to stop doing the things I do that contributes to staying stuck.

Be careful not to fall into the shame trap. Some people may read that list and shame themselves. I don’t recommend that. Instead, feel excited that you can take action and stop doing some of the things that are working against you.

Gay Hendricks once told me, “The definition of responsibility is when you can see the connection between events.” What he is referring to is, when I take responsibility for my perceptions, interpretations, choices, and actions – I become liberated. That I will see how all things I do interconnect to each other.

Seeing this connection is key to a good life. Knowing that this is how life works continually guides me in my daily decisions. I no longer have to look outside myself to heal what needs to be healed.

The last thing I will say about this is, as soon as you identify a destructive unconscious pattern, take a moment to re-commit to a new belief or strategy that embodies more possibility.

Stay open to the possibility that you can accomplish your goal even though you may not know the perfect answer in any given moment.

Trust and remain open to the possibility that more information will come and re-inform your nervous system.

Let’s summarize:

  • Our memory system is the puppeteer of our results if we allow it

  • Fear based strategies ALWAYS lead us to a dead end path (And I don’t mean emergencies where we need to do whatever to survive)

  • Self awareness updates our memory system

  • Responsibility liberates us

  • Commit to a new outcome and stay open to all possibilities of how you may achieve it

If you are not already part of our Facebook group please join us. I would like to make that our primary portal to dialogue about these kinds of topics.

If you are not on Facebook please let me know. I’ve been thinking about activating a private portal with Facebook type feeds but it would be a private website. If you would join and participate in that kind of situation, please let me know.

self realizationemotional intelligence
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Ed Ferrigan, M.A., CPCC, SEP

Working with Ed, you’ll get a clear focus on what you are wanting, gain permanent skills to identify and remove any limiting beliefs and heal any potential trauma from that past (most people have no idea this is an issue). He will make the process simple to understand so you can make more conscious choices in the future that create the results you are wanting. Ed lives in Durango, CO and is fond of most outdoor activities including photography, fly-fishing, hiking and camping. Ed is also an avid dancer and has an affinity to West Coast Swing.

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