Healing the Stories that Bind You to Suffering – 101Apr 27, 2022
Have you been suffering long enough? Whether your suffering is due to your limiting beliefs or outdated identities or missing pre-skills or underdeveloped EF skills – if you’re suffering, then you’re suffering – no matter which of these are the source of your suffering.
In this episode, I talk about:
- Suppressing emotions
- Stories you tell yourself that keep you suffering
- How to break free from suffering
- And more!
Developing your Executive Function Skills and shifting your limiting beliefs is the fastest and most effective way to overcome ADHD limitations, find focus, gain confidence, and a newfound freedom in your life!
My mission is to put an end to the worldwide needless suffering of adults with ADHD and those with under-developed Executive Function Skills - whether from ADHD, chronic depression or anxiety, trauma, addictions, or chronic illnesses. And, you don't need a formal diagnosis to know you need help developing these executive function skills in order to greatly reduce your suffering.
Full Episode Transcript Have you been suffering long enough? Whether your suffering is due to your limiting beliefs or outdated identities or missing pre-skills or underdeveloped EF skills – if you’re suffering, then you’re suffering – no matter which of these are the source of your suffering.
May 2nd is the first day you can put an end of your needless suffering, but ONLY if you are on the Information List. Is that you? If yes, awesome. If no, I encourage you to get on that Information List today, so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to benefit from the most exclusive bonuses to kickstart putting an end to your needless suffering. They are ONLY available from May 2-5 – and ONLY if you are on the Information List.
In one recent coaching call, a student mentioned that working with me in the program is so much more than just developing EF skills; it’s all about life and philosophy and what it takes to design and create a life worth living according to your real values and criteria; no one else’s. It’s true. What started out as a program to help adults develop their missing EF skills has become a transformational program that is helping adults around the world to heal the many, many stories that bind them to suffering. And, this is happening as a secondary benefit, all the while they are developing their EF skills.
Clearly, every EF lesson in the program has stories attached to it that the student becomes aware of, and not only gets to develop that EF skill, but to release the suffering connected with that skill and the others. Students are changing by immersing themselves in the program content and community; emotionally supported by the knowing that they are not alone in their limiting beliefs or outdated identities and that together we journey for 7-month from their personal prisons into freedom.
It's interesting that the journey from slavery to freedom in the Jewish tradition has just recently completed itself. It was a week of Passover rituals, discovering our personal slaveries and emerging from them into freedom. Just like those who are imprisoned in our physical prisons, and don’t have a sense of what it is to live free, especially if they have been imprisoned for a very long time, so it is with my students and with you. Many students have lived imprisoned for a lifetime due to their underdeveloped EF skills, limiting beliefs, outdated identities and so much more. All the gifts that reside within them have been held hostage by a lifetime of slavery. I offer them, and am offering you, the freedom to walk out of your personal prison and live a very different life than you have for a lifetime. It may feel strange, awkward, a bit unnerving or even frightening at times to think that suffering is no longer a necessary part of life. That suffering is optional and we can all learn that we have the power to release our suffering and fully live.
Some of my students have been raised to suppress their emotions and not be permitted to feel what they are feeling. Or, suppress their thoughts and not express them as their perspective. Many have been taught to keep the family secrets and not share or discuss what’s real and painful and in need of expression and healing. Some had their life planned for them, rather than being given a choice. I experienced all of this and more as I grew up. And these experiences no longer define or limit the person I am today.
As humans, we have a need to make sense out of our lives, out of the realities that we are living in. We make up meanings and stories to explain what we are experiencing and since they are made up, they are often hurting us if we don’t revisit them and update the narrative. All of our stories need to be examined periodically to update them and determine if they are empowering and truly helpful to us in the now so that we can live the life we envision for ourselves.
We haven’t been taught that the source of our feelings are our thoughts and that we can and do think our lives into existence. The problem is that just like working out at the gym and coming home and looking in the mirror to see what you got for doing your workout, you won’t see the difference right away. The same is true of your thoughts. Changing your thoughts to empowering thoughts won’t necessarily show you the fruits of your empowered thinking right away because unlike the speed of thoughts, the manifestation of things in our outside world takes time. It’s kind of like fantasy thinking – I can think of being in Hawaii and be there in an instant with my thoughts. If I actually want to physically be in Hawaii, I need to purchase a ticket, get on a plane and fly from California to Hawaii and that takes time and has many steps to take from the thought to the actual experience of being in Hawaii. And for those of us who have underdeveloped Inhibiting skills, we often prefer to fantasy think our lives rather than take the steps because fantasy is so much faster and immediately gratifying.
What are the stories you tell yourself that keep you suffering? These can be stories about your physical health, your relationships, your mind; just about anything can cause you suffering if your stories are structured that way. And what is the purpose of your suffering? Do you believe that life is about suffering? That you have to suffer to get ahead? What if it’s not true that suffering is part of life? What if what’s true is that pain is part of life and suffering is optional? They are different. According to modern psychology pain is pain; perhaps an unpleasant sensation and it’s bad enough. Suffering is distress and misery layered on top and occurs when we fight the pain. Think of it as physical pain vs. emotional distress.
Buddhist teachings talk about human existence being filled with suffering because of us being human. That we take our pains and suffer with them rather than accepting them and embracing them; holding them loosely rather than grasping tightly and focusing on them as something that is wrong and needs fixing. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is not. We are the meaning makers in our lives. We get to decide what something means or doesn’t mean because we have that personal power. Many of us stay unaware of this power and think that things or experiences come with meanings built into them; they do not. We each add the meanings. All we have to do is ask a friend what their meaning is for something and discover that friend’s meaning is different than ours. We are both right because we each create our own meanings. Freedom from suffering is possible if you embrace your personal power and make empowering meanings for yourself rather than victim or broken or defective or disempowering meanings.
To break free of our suffering, we need to first recognize or become aware of the difference between our pain and our suffering. An example could be the pain of breaking a leg and the suffering from it because we are focused on thinking of all the things that we can’t do due to the broken leg until it heals and even then, might not be able to do again as we did before. This second part is the suffering we inflict on ourselves by focusing on what we can’t do instead of what we can and how we can and being grateful. Our suffering is caused by our reactions to the inevitability of pain in life. Human suffering can take the form of anxiety, depression fear, confusion, grief, anger, hurt, addiction, jealousy, frustration, resentment, conflict, stress, obsession, unfulfilled creativity, unrequited love, divorce and more. And there is suffering beyond us as individuals. There is our collective suffering such as greed, hatred, ignorance, war, racism, isolation and torture of prisoners or slaves; hunger, sickness and abandonment of human beings on every continent on this planet. We must be willing to acknowledge and accept the truth of the pain so that we need not suffer because of it.
Pain is definitely a part of human life and is woven into our very existence. The ebb and flow of life gives us pain and pleasure, gains and losses. We encounter praise and blame, success and failure.
And, when we release our judgments and reactions and indoctrinated ways of reacting, we are free to not suffer but rather to recognize and acknowledge the pain for what it is and determine what we want to do about it, if anything, or what we can do. In recovery circles we are taught that acceptance is the answer. That if we believe that some person, place or thing is wrong and not as it should be (according to us) then we will suffer and there is no possibility of serenity until we release our judgments about this. Life is as life is and much of life is painful to be with. However, we do have the personal power to make meanings out of the pains of life such that we are empowered to live with it or do something about it as the situation may warrant for each of us.
The suffering comes from the struggle. If we release the struggling and neither resist what is nor cling to what is, we avoid the suffering and the struggle. In this way we can quiet the mind, be able to see with wisdom, if we have such development, and live in harmony. We have to face the pain, our pain, whether it be in our bodies, minds or pain in the world. We must stop running away from pain because that causes us to suffer and be trapped. We can only find freedom when we accept the pain and sorrow of the world as it is and make meanings for it that allow us to live in the world with empowerment. I don’t mean to live in ignorance and block it all out as this is avoidance, not acceptance.
There is a therapeutic modality called DBT or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others. I see its premise is being about dichotomy or paradox. Life isn’t black or white; there are many shades of gray. Pain and pleasure can co-exist rather than one or the other. A situation can be both painful and beneficial if we can see and accept this co-existence.
That leads me to the celebration of wins. For those of you who have been long time listeners, you know I am big on WINS and their importance in your life. There’s another important aspect to focusing on WINS and that is you are training your mind every day to notice what is right with you, right with what you are doing and right in the world – in other words… WINS. And especially during a time in our world history when it would be easy to ignore what’s right or good or amazing – this is exactly what we need to be focusing on to keep the level of positives within us high, so it can offset the high level of negatives that we are bombarded with every day.
How you experience your life and the meanings you give the events of your life contribute greatly to the quality of your life. We don’t always have control over the events or experiences; however, we do have control over the meaning we give them. Remember, nothing has any meaning except the meaning you give it. So, be mindful of the meanings you give your experiences so they can empower you.
Simple phrases to keep “top of mind” are: What you focus on grows. Be mindful of who you are becoming on the way to where it is you are going. Stand guard at the doorway to your mind and don’t let in things that don’t serve you.
You are a precious child of the universe; and are called a “human being” not a “human doing” for good reason. You don’t have to earn your value; you were born with it. Your value comes from “who” you are being; not what you are doing.
So, what’s it going to be for you today? You got your free copy of 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back? Congratulations; that’s a wonderful first step. You got on the Information List for the ADDventures In Achievement Foundations Skills program so you could learn about how you can develop those EF skills you are missing? Awesome win, because freedom is on its way to those on the Information list on May 2nd with an exclusive invitation to receive some significant bonuses. If you’ve realized that you don’t have all the time in the world to transform your life into the one you want to live, that’s fantastic! Each one of these WINS deserves your full-hearted celebrating! None of this “half-hearted celebrating” like “ya, ya Dr B, I’ve had some wins today.” You’ve got to mean it. YES!!! WOW!!! AWESOME!!! I have wins to celebrate – big and small – and I am celebrating myself big time. If that’s you – that’s awesome!
How much time do we have? Not much. So, let’s get to it.
So, what stories are you dragging along throughout your life, weighing yourself down and holding yourself back from the happiness and success you deserve? Remember, we are the designers of our lives and we make up everything; nothing has any meaning other than the meaning we give it. It’s really quite magical.
Let’s look at 5 common stories that people have and what you can do about them because they are most likely causing a lot of your dysregulation and stuckness.
I am not enough or good enough, despite my giftedness
I am so far behind in my life; I’ll never catch up to my peers
I can’t commit to anything because I know I will break my word and flake
I’m the only one who is as trashed as I am; I’m filled with self-shame
I can’t even do the basics of life; how can I go for more in life?
The first thing to understand about these 5 stories is that they are just stories; stories that you made up out of the thoughts you’ve been thinking. There are so many stories you could make up about the events or outcomes in your life and these are just some of the negative and hurtful ones. And the reason you keep having these experiences and reinforcing these beliefs is because you continue to tell yourself the same stories over and over again for years on end. You do have the personal power to choose a new story; an empowering story – and you probably don’t yet know how to do that, but you can learn because it’s a skill.
The fastest way to free yourself from the suffering stories you are telling yourself and living is to reframe them. Here’s some possibilities for you:
I am not enough or good enough, despite my giftedness.
I am all that I can be today and I am enough for me today. I can be more tomorrow if I choose to expand and grow.
I am so far behind in my life; I’ll never catch up to my peers.
I am where I am right now, and I need to decide where I want to go next.
I can’t commit to anything because I know I will break my word and flake.
I choose to commit and choose to program my future with the intention of keeping my word rather than flaking on myself or others.
I’m the only one who is as trashed as I am; I’m filled with self-shame
I can focus on all the way in which I am doing well, and the more I focus on this, the more self-worth I create within myself.
I can’t even do the basics of life; how can I go for more in life?
I am open to learning how to do the basics of life so I can continue to go for more and more growth and expansion.
If you feel more space around you, more freedom in your mind and heart from the reframing examples, choose another statement of your own and reframe it to see if you again feel more space and freedom. Reframing is a powerful tool once it becomes a part of you.
I want you all to know that there is real hope for resolving the stories that bind you to your suffering. Releasing your limiting beliefs, updating your outdated identities, developed the pre-skills that lead you to better EF skill development and then developing your underdeveloped executive function skills are just a few of the ingredients in real hope.
The widespread needless suffering of millions of adults around the world has to stop, and I am doing what I can to stop it with this generation; with us. You can take action on your own behalf and develop yourself as an adult and stop your needless suffering. Just because no one else has told you that you can do this, doesn’t mean it’s not true. And just because other adults are having tremendous success changing their lives, doesn’t mean that they are the only ones who can. You don’t have to believe that these things can happen for you; however, you do need to engage with what will bring them true for you. You will come to believe soon enough.
It’s time for you to learn how to be the person who lives the life you say you want; not continue to struggle to live the life you say you want so you can become that person someday. It’s amazing how much healing takes place when you develop the skills you are lacking. It’s priceless.
And, if we can’t plan, organize, prioritize, get started and keep going until the end, or regulate states of overwhelm or conscious focusing, we won’t be able to make good decisions and know it when we make them. The load of disempowering stuff that keeps us stuck as Gifted Underachievers is heavy and costs us dearly.
Please slow down and become a student of your own life. Understand what you need to succeed with the multi-faceted brain you have. Take action on what you learn about yourself. This is the lifework that lies ahead for you if this is your time.
You came to this lifetime with an empowering gift, and I would love it if each and every person on this planet were able to express his or her unique, empowering gifts freely, without the threat of being shamed or criticized. Let’s put an end to that stigma once and for all and live as Empowered Achievers.
A Favorite Quote: Carl G. Jung said, “We cannot change anything unless we accept it.” He also said, “Thinking is difficult; that’s why most people judge.”
What these 2 quotes mean to me is pretty simple. Acceptance is the answer to my serenity, and thinking is the answer to stop judging. I’m curious what these 2 quotes mean to you.
Whether you’re learning from my podcast episodes, free resources, or working with me directly, I want you to live your best life, if that’s what you want for yourself. I can’t force you to live your best life, however, I can encourage, push a bit (if that’s what you need from me) and even rally the closed community of your fellow travelers to support you as well. However, the choice ultimately remains with you. You get to choose to continue living as the Gifted Underachiever or decide it’s time to upgrade to living as the Empowered Achiever and all that awaits you in that life.
So, here’s the exclusive fast-track path today. Make it a priority to get your copy of 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back (link is in the show notes). Next, get on the Information List for the AIA-FS program to learn how you can build your EF skills and strategies the Dr B way (link is in the show notes). If you are tired of the struggle of being the Gifted Underachiever and the shame you feel about it, the time to act is now. This requires you to take contrary action, which is the opposite of what you would typically do; it means getting online now rather than when you get around to it. Why? Because there is an exclusive opportunity on its way to those on the Information List. The opportunity will be in your inbox on May 2nd and is only good for a few days. To benefit from opportunities that come your way instead of missing out on them, you need to get out of the habit of being the Gifted Underachiever or you will miss out on this exclusive opportunity and many others in your life. It’s literally two steps will take you all of about 5 minutes total. Is 5 minutes too much time to spend to radically change your life? If it is, I guess you don’t want to radically change your life and that’s okay.
If you want a place to hang out with like-minded listeners to my show, you can ask to join the Living Beyond ADHD FB group. Be sure you are mindful when asking, meaning, you answer the few questions we ask, so you can be approved into the group. Otherwise, it won’t happen. And, once you are a member of the group, be sure to visit often and engage with us. Joining and never visiting doesn’t help you at all. This is about you following through. The FB group isn’t a training group, although there are great posts to learn from and a supportive community to surround yourself with and that’s worth a lot. As a member of the Living Beyond ADHD FB group, you will hear about training opportunities too. If you are on the AIA-FS Information List, you will hear about training opportunities, as well. However, you do have to open and read your emails regularly in order to know about these exclusive, time-sensitive opportunities I’m offering you. I promise that we won’t flood your inbox with tons of emails, however, when we do send them, they have important information in them for you, so be sure you read them if you’re seeking transformation.
If you enjoyed today’s episode, please share this podcast with others. I would also be grateful if you’d rate the show and write a positive or inspiring review on iTunes so I know I’m meeting your needs. That helps the ratings and more people like you will get to know about the show and be helped. That’s you making a difference in others’ lives and that means a lot to me.
So, are you ready to stop your needless suffering and free yourself from your personal prison? Have you had enough of prison life? Be sure to check out the show notes for the links and opportunities available to you. There are real solutions to the challenges you are experiencing. Time is our most precious asset, and none of us have time to waste on solutions that don’t work. I would love to help you realize a new freedom, that is…if that’s of interest to you. Thanks for listening… Until the next time… Bye for now…
Resources referred to in this episode:
Executive Function Information List & AIA-FS Program Information: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA
Free PDF - 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning Is Holding You Back: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function
Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/livingbeyondadhd
- First, get your copy of 13 Signs Weak Executive Functioning is Holding You Back: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/Executive-Function
Next, find out what you can do to change this for yourself and how AIA-FS can help you: https://www.drbarbaracohen.com/AIA There is no obligation to being informed about an amazing opportunity that changes lives!
- Join the Living Beyond ADHD Facebook Group & hang out with your peeps
- Follow me on Dr B Facebook Page and enjoy live videos and more
- Follow me on Instagram and enjoy relevant resources
To Help The Show:
Subscribe at your favorite listening spot and my podcast player has social media links (icons) in the episode player so you can share episodes you love with others!
Please rate the show and leave a thoughtful review on iTunes so I know you're benefiting from the episodes. The greater the number of reviews, the higher the ranking, and the easier it will be for others to find the show; people who also need this information.
Let's put an end to the worldwide needless suffering together! We can do this!