Here’s a radical idea I want you (yes, you) to try for one week. For one week, I want you to take any situation that is trying, upsetting, or even enraging to you, and I want you to do the following:
- Take a few deep grounding breaths. When you connect to your breath, you immediately become more present and more aware. You think more clearly and your heart rate slows down. It is very restorative and unendingly useful in any situation.
- Find ONE thing about this negative event that is here to serve you. Is it an upsetting phone call from your mother-in-law? Maybe this situation is here to serve you because it is a reminder from the universe that you need to work on setting boundaries and standing up for yourself. Is it a car accident on an already hectic day? Maybe this situation is here to serve you by reminding you that need to SLOW DOWN and focus on the business of living, not just business. Just look for one thing. Maybe it’s a learning edge in your personal growth you now get to explore. Or perhaps it’s an opportunity to continue to build a skill you already have. I promise you—there is a gift there. There might even be more than one! (And, yes, I am a woman who found a gift in my cancer diagnosis so trust me…you can do this.)
- Say thank you. Wow. This is even harder than the last step! Yes, I want you to say thank you to the person who harmed you or the event that harmed you. I don’t mean you have to walk up and say “Thanks, mother-in-law, your rude remarks really taught me a lot about myself today.” But internally, you can thank the universe for sending you this very important message, and you can thank yourself for being brave enough and whole-hearted enough to hear that message. When you can be thankful for pain and discomfort, you are truly in a state of home frequency. You are exercising your heart muscle in a big way and become a Olympic champion at love.
- Write down your experience so that you remember it. Write down you felt initially—irritated, unhappy…maybe even angry with me! Talk about how hard it was. Examine how it felt when you slowly let the lesson sink in. Maybe you felt insulted. Maybe you felt betrayed. Why should I have to hurt like this? Why do I have to be self-aware and work on myself while other people are just rude and thoughtless? Allow those thoughts in. Allow it all and journal the experience in total. Memorialize how it felt when you finally began to embrace the lesson and open yourself up to what the universe has to show you.
Then, circle back with me and tell me how it went! I want to know how your experiment works.
Here is an email from one of my readers who shared her recent experience. I hope it inspires you and encourages you to take this journey as well:
I can’t thank you enough for your recent book. It has been life-changing in big and small ways. One of the biggest changes was how it changed my relationship with my mother-in-law. I used to get so angry with her when she would offer me unwanted advice on my parenting and my home-keeping. I felt attacked and violated. I began to really hate this woman! This elderly woman who my children adored and my husband idolized—yes, I hated her!
One day I decided to do something brave. I got deep into home frequency and I challenged myself to look at the situation with a whole heart. I forced myself to ask: What about this is hurting me so bad? What about this situation is here to serve me? Why was her advice such a slap in the face?
It was then that I realized that my mother-in-law’s flippant remarks were so painful because they spoke to a deep unworthiness in me, an unworthiness carved in my heart from years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of my alcoholic mother. So when my mother-in-law recommended a pediatrician or a new recipe tip, to me it just felt like an insult—as if once again a maternal figure was pointing out my flaws and my lack of value. To her, it probably felt like useful advice. To me, it felt like she was saying, “You suck as a mom.” And since being a mom is the most important thing to me, no wonder the pain radiated so deeply in my soul!
Well, I really let that lesson sink in. I thanked the universe for giving me this opportunity to honor the wounded child within me. And then I took accountability for my part in the equation. For one thing, I never told my mother-in-law anything about my past or how her words hurt me. Instead, I would just scowl and pull away. So one day I took her to lunch. Beforehand, I really focused on my breathing and I even spent 10 minutes meditating in my car to make sure that I was in a place of coherence.
Over coffee, I explained to her that sometimes her words really hurt me because I felt like she was saying I wasn’t a good mom. I explained that her advice felt more like criticism, and that my own abusive past made me very vulnerable to messages (real or otherwise) of unworthiness.
She listened deeply and intently. I could tell my words shocked her. “Mary, “ she said, “I never knew about how hard your childhood was. I can’t believe it…because my own mother was an alcoholic as well.”
Now it was my turn to be shocked. “Your son never told me that,” I said.
“Ah, he doesn’t really know,” she said, “We didn’t talk about these things back then. She wasn’t around much. In fact, she was hardly ever around. My grandma raised me. I barely knew my mom. When she did turn up, she was out of it. Then, when I was 16, my beloved bubbe passed away. From then on, I raised myself. I took care of three kids while my husband was overseas. I didn’t have many close friends because I was so busy and I didn’t know how to connect with other women. It was just me on my own, figuring out things as I went along. And making lots of mistakes. Lots.”
I smiled. It was hard to believe this woman making a mistake—she always seemed to have an answer for everything.
She sighed. “That’s why I always want to offer you advice and help you. I guess I don’t ever want you to feel like you are on your own. I want you to have the support and love I didn’t have. And now I find out that I have been doing the exact opposite…I have been pushing you away.”
Her eyes filled with tears, as did mine. I reached out for her hand.
“That’s in the past now,” I said, “I think I can accept the advice you have to offer in the sprit you intend now. And if it is hurtful for some reason, I think I can speak up and tell you.”
She looked doubtful. “No, no,” she said, “I will keep my mouth shut! I am just the grandma.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” I said, “Besides, I have been secretly wanting to ask you why the icing on my red velvet cake isn’t turning out like yours.”
“Oh,” she said, her eyes lighting up. “Here’s what you have to do…”
So, Dr. Berman, I can’t say thank you enough for what you have done for me! Not only did you help me face my past issues with a clear, brave heart, but in a weird way, I feel like you have helped both me and my mother-in-law repair our painful pasts. It was as if the universe wanted us to find each other all along…..
Click here to watch my video on OWN “”The Secret Mind Trick to Attract The Love Life You Want”