The Problem with The Secret (and The Law of Attraction)

the secret, the law of attraction

The reason the Secret was so popular, the reason it was right is because it teaches us that our lives will only change when we recognize our personal power. 

But the problem with it, with the Law of Attraction, is true power embraces the complexities of being human.

Doubts, fears and anxieties are a part of that. 

We can get some much needed perspective by embracing them, by investigating them, instead of trying to avoid them. 

I can honestly say this after wasting years of my life trying to avoid my fears and anxieties…

After wasting years of my life afraid of the questions that were coming up.

The most growth I’ve had…

My biggest breakthroughs and opportunities came only after acknowledging that I felt stuck and overwhelmed.

Being brave enough to look into these feelings helped me to discover if they were valid. 

If they were valid, I got to create a plan of action to deal with them.

And if they weren’t valid, I got to release them

Either way I felt so much better… 

So much more prepared…

So much more free.

If you’d like some help in dealing with your doubts and anxieties check out the framework I mentioned below. It’s something I created after wasting years of my life being crippled by anxiety. You can find it below along with an example from my own life. It’s yours to use anytime you’re feeling confused, doubtful or anxious.

(Of course, if fears and anxieties get overwhelming, please talk to a qualified psychologist.)

FRAMEWORK TO HELP WITH DOUBT, FEAR AND ANXIETY-

Example from my life:

An incident with a meditation teacher who ended up being accused of sexually assaulting several women.

My desire for a mentor, a guru, made me blind to the early red flags in that relationship. It made me blind to times he crossed boundaries, to the times he said or did something to get me comfortable with him having access to my body and control over my life. 

His predatory behavior could have ended with me being assaulted if I didn’t eventually pay attention to the doubts and questions that I had.

The framework below uses this incident as an example to show how helpful it can be to investigate our doubts and uncertainties.

What happened? 

(Psychologists refer to this as the Activating Incident. You can think of it as the the thing that triggered the feeling below.)

At the end of my first meditation session, the meditation teacher told me my heart chakra was blocked and he touched my chest

How am I feeling?

Confused and a little worried.

Is this feeling valid?

I think so.  It doesn’t make sense that he would do that when I came to him for help for sexual assault

What am I telling myself to ignore this feeling?

Maybe meditation teachers are more physical. Maybe this is normal for people like this.

What might happen if I ignore this feeling?

It can happen again. He might continue to do things that makes me feel confused and uncomfortable.

What can I do address this feeling?

Talk to someone who’s been in a situation like this. Find out if it actually is normal.

How will I move forward?

If they say it’s normal, but I’m still not comfortable with it, I can try to set a boundary. I should also try to set a boundary if it happens again just to let him know that I’m not comfortable with people touching me right now.

Boundaries Are Essential For Happy Relationships

We’ve all had people in our life who treat us badly.

They’re rude to us, they talk down to us, they can be really aggressive or manipulative. They might even be verbally or physically abusive.

And it can be really difficult to know how to tell them to stop. Because, like I mentioned in the video, most of us didn’t grow up knowing how to set boundaries.

But it’s essential, for our relationships and for our happiness, to be able to teach people how to treat us better.

We need to learn how to say no, how to set effective boundaries, so that we don’t reinforce their undesirable, manipulative  or abusive behavior.

The 5 steps below are something I’ve used again and again to help me set boundaries, to remind myself that I deserve love and respect, and to walk away when I’m not getting it from someone so that I might give it to myself.

These steps were put together by the psychologist Kati Morton. They may be of value to you if you struggle with setting healthy boundaries.

Step 1: Notice when we reinforce the bad behavior of others. This is an important  first step if, like me, you’ve grown up in a home without boundaries. So pay attention to when you say yes to someone when you really want to say no.

Step 2: Recognize that we have the right to walk away from others. You do not have to stay in a conversation or situation that makes you feel like crap. You might tell the other person you’d be willing to speak with them if they stop being disrespectful or manipulative.

Step 3: Understand that we have the right to say NO if something is not in our best interest. Saying no doesn’t make us rude or selfish or a bad person. It’s actually a sign of healthy self-respect because we’re honoring what we need for our happiness.

Step 4: Act upon our recognition that the relationship is unhealthy. We always have the ability to distance ourselves from toxic people. Even if we live with those people we can still limit the time we spend around them, we can still choose to be emotionally unavailable for toxic people.

Step 5: Stick with it. If you feel guilty for setting boundaries ask your self “is it more important that other people like me or that I like me?”  This is where heathy self-respect, healthy self-love, comes from. Reinforcing this and acting consistently will help to ensure we’re treated the way we want to be.

How to Stop an Anxiety Attack- A One Minute Technique

It was a regular evening.

I was sitting in a taxi on my way to an appointment. 

The phone in my hand lit up with a new message.

Everything slowed down as I read it.

My heart started pounding against my chest… as though trying to escape the car before the rest of my body. 

My throat went dry.

My chest tightened. 

The car suddenly felt too small. 

I had to get out. 

Struggling to keep my voice calm, I told the driver to let me out and I started walking. I didn’t know where I was going but I was in hurry to get there.

I stopped. Closed my eyes. And took a deep breath. 

I’d felt like this before. 

I was in the middle of an anxiety attack. 

And I knew the message caused it. The contents of the message wasn’t devastating. But it was triggering. And my brain and body didn’t seem to know how to handle it. 

I took another deep breath and reminded myself that I wasn’t in any immediate  danger. 

It didn’t help. 

I took yet another deep breath  and tried to remember what my therapist  told me to do in this situation. 

It was a 54321 technique, but I couldn’t recall exactly what the 54321 things were. 

They came back in fragments:

Five things you can see…

Some things you can hear…

One thing you can taste.

I knew I wasn’t  remembering everything perfectly  but it didn’t matter. 

By focusing on my breathing, the taste of gum in my mouth and the sights and sounds around me,  my errant heart starting slowing to it’s usual rhythm.

That technique didn’t actually save my life that day but it felt like it did. 

So I’d like to share it with you.

It’s actually a proven way of treating  anxiety attacks. And it only takes less than a minute. 

The version below is from the Calm meditation app. It’s something I’ve revisited a number of times whenever I felt stressed or overwhelmed . 

If you suffer from anxiety I sincerely think it’ll help.

If you don’t suffer from anxiety but know someone who does, please share this post and video with them. They’ll thank you for it.