Awesome Kristen asks: “I have been reading your blog lately and really getting interested in the way you present things. I am a burgeoning therapist and I am trying to reconcile some of what I’ve learned here with what I know about our brains on a neurobiological level. It seems to me that the LOA favors those brains that have been formed “correctly” so to speak. Most people can “overcome” limiting beliefs. Most people can raise their vibrations. But what about those people who, from early childhood or even the womb, have brains that do not function properly?
For example, attachment theory is the study of how an infant/young child relates to his or her caregiver. A child that is neglected will literally experience a wilting effect of neuropathways in the brain. They are not able to experience emotions the same way that you and I might and often have very skewed cognition. How is one to overcome something so seemingly insurmountable with pure belief when belief and emotion are concepts not even within their grasp? These connections or lack thereof are produced before higher cognition is readily available. Could you help me understand this?”
Dearest Awesome Kristen,
You can’t know what someone else’s experience is
First of all, let’s remember that we can never really objectively know what someone else is experiencing. We can assume, we can guess, we can empathize, and we can imagine what WE would feel in their position. But we can’t know. This concept was brought home to me powerfully just a couple of weeks ago when someone shared a video with me. In it, an autistic girl, whom everyone had assumed was locked into her own, developmentally disabled world, began to communicate via a computer and shattered any preconceived notions we have about what an autistic person’s experience is really like. The problem is that we can only ever apply our own perspective to the experience of another, and since our perspectives can vary widely, our conclusions, no matter how logical, about what it’s like to be someone else, can be completely wrong.
So, while some people SEEM to be unable to process emotions “correctly”, this does not mean they are not processing feelings. They may simply be doing so in a very different way than we can currently understand. If someone seems to be unable to focus, it does not mean that they are not focusing. But they may be expressing that focus in a way WE can’t process.
You don’t need to know this crap in order for it to work
Ok, so this might sound a little counterintuitive, coming from someone who makes her living explaining the Law of Attraction in nitty gritty detail. But the truth is, the process that underlies LOA, including the emotional feedback system and the releasing of beliefs, works whether you understand it, or not. Some people find it very helpful to understand the framework in some way (I specialize in helping those people), but it’s not strictly necessary.
Small children, too young to cognitively understand emotions, can still experience the process by which beliefs are released. This is because it all comes down to energy. At the core of all this work, all these explanations, all these blog posts and funny pictures, etc., is just vibration. Frequency. Energy.
A young boy of six months who is trying to do something he cannot yet do, will get frustrated and will throw a little tantrum. He might pump his fists and cry a little. But generally speaking, if given the opportunity, he’ll recover very quickly and become distracted by something new. He’ll form a belief, “I can’t do this. Something is wrong!”, that belief will feel bad, he’ll have an emotional reaction – the tantrum, and then he’ll feel relief and move on. Tadaaa! He just shifted some energy and found his balance again. If we could all allow ourselves to do that, there would be no limiting beliefs. Unfortunately, we’ve learned that feeling bad is just a part of life and should be tolerated.
Animals shift energy. They aren’t as specifically focused as we are, and they generally have a higher vibration than we do, so they don’t often experience the range of contrast (bad stuff) that we do. But they have their own resistance and they shift energy.
Being smart can be a hindrance
Having a cognitive understanding of our world isn’t necessarily helpful when it comes to shifting beliefs. The content on my site is geared towards intelligent people, precisely because they face unique challenges when it comes to this work. The better you “understand” the rules of this world, even if they are wrong, the harder it will be for you to change your mind. It’s your mind, in fact, that will fight you. You need to deliver a lot of evidence before it will accept a whole different paradigm.
I’m not saying that stupid people have it easier (I’m not saying that they don’t…), but what I am saying is that cognitive understanding is not at all necessary in order to do this work, and is, in fact, a hindrance. Nature reacts to changes, some good, some bad, and rebalances itself. Shifting energy or releasing beliefs is simply a way of rebalancing. One could argue that nature is often much wiser than we are, and yet, all it has access to is the wisdom of pure intuition. Huh.
Can a lack of emotions be a good thing?
So, if someone is born with cognitive impairment, it can allow them to have a very different, often much more positive (potentially) experience than the rest of us, simply because they aren’t going to be making as many bullshit decisions as we tend to do. A lack of understanding of beliefs and thoughts leads to LESS limiting beliefs.
But what about if someone can’t process emotions the way we do? Well, again, I have to remind us all that we can’t really ever know what someone is experiencing. So, just because someone doesn’t seem to be expressing or even feeling emotions in a way we can understand, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing it. Everyone experiences feedback, but they don’t necessarily express it the same way. Everyone experiences intuition. They may not listen to it, but they do feel it or have the potential to feel it. We are all energetic beings, no matter how we’ve chosen to manifest our physical representations. And we’re all connected to Who We Really Are. No exceptions.
Keeping in mind that everyone experiences some kind of feedback, you may begin to look these patients in a completely different way. Assume that there’s more going on in there than you can perceive (and than you may ever be able to fully understand). Assume that nothing has gone wrong. The Universe doesn’t make mistakes. Just because you don’t understand why someone would manifest their condition doesn’t mean there’s not a really good reason.
Simply put, having an emotional “impairment” allows the individual to experience their reality in a very different way. They may not be encumbered by the same emotional baggage as the rest of us, or held back by the same understanding of the wrong framework. Of course, this doesn’t mean that they don’t experience suffering or resistance. Of course they do, as each of us does. They’re just having a REALLY unique time of it.
How do we help them?
Now that I’ve explained why someone might manifest a difference in how they process emotions, let’s take a look at what I believe is at the core of your question: How can you help an individual who seems to be lacking the ability to process emotions the way that the rest of us do?
The short answer is: you can’t. Since there’s nothing wrong with them, they don’t need fixing. They do not need to learn how to process their emotions OUR way. They have THEIR way, and it’s just as valid, thank you very much. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t help them when they’re suffering. Here are some tips (a lot of these are good tips for your practice in general, actually. You’re welcome.):
- Remember that your patient has to be a match to being helped, or nothing you do will make a difference. Set a strong intention to attract ONLY those whom you can help.
- Remember that you cannot know what their experience is. If you approach the individual with the assumption that they’re not “normal”, and that something has gone wrong, you won’t make much headway. If, however, you assume that there is a good reason for their condition, that perhaps they’ve come to experience life in their own, unique and perfectly valid way, then you’ll get farther.
- Assume that there is more going on that you can perceive. Try to let go of all your preconceived notions (and I realize that this is going to contradict the desire to compare what you can perceive to previous cases and what’s in the textbooks. Tough titties.)
- Prepare yourself energetically before you even meet. Do not expect anything specific to happen (no preconceived notions, remember?), but focus on the feeling you want to achieve. Place yourself into a state of love. If you can achieve this high vibration and stabilize there (don’t allow the circumstances around you to bring you out of it), you’ll find that your interactions with ALL patients will be vastly different.
- Understand that even if your patient doesn’t seem to be processing emotions in the way you understand, there will be one constant: There will be BETTER and WORSE. They can feel suffering and relief. Some things will agitate them and some will soothe them. You stated in your question that “Most people can raise their vibrations.” I’d like to contradict that: ALL people (and things and just “stuff”) can raise their vibrations. Even a houseplant can have a higher or lower vibration. And all people (and things, blah, blah) can be affected by the vibrations around them, if they allow it (which almost everyone does.) I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this first hand: Years ago, I volunteered with severely handicapped children. They couldn’t express themselves or interact at all. There was no recognition that they had any idea what was going on. Until we took them to the pool and immersed them gently in the warm water. I worked with a little girl and would help her float in the water, which was clearly pleasurable for her. This child who couldn’t speak, couldn’t look at me, could do pretty much nothing all day but sit in her wheelchair and drool, would get a look of intense delight on her face when she was in the water. From my perspective, she was completely present in the moment and by doing so, helped me to do the same. It was beautiful and it’s safe to say that BOTH our vibrations were significantly raised by the experience.
- Use your intuition. Feel your way through an interaction with the individual. Again, this may not jive with your psychology training, since you may be inspired to interact in a way that isn’t part of normal treatment protocol. Oh well.
- Remember that the individual is perceiving life differently and will therefore interact differently. This may be true even if they can express themselves verbally. Just because someone can talk doesn’t mean that they’re speaking your language.
- Focus mostly on vibrational interaction. Send love to the patient. Accept them as they are, and understand that nothing has gone wrong. They are not broken. They don’t need to be fixed. Sit with them and notice how your energy affects them. You may be in for some really interesting findings.
- Allow this individual to experience their reality in their own way. The goal is not to make them like everyone else. It’s to help them find their own joy. Do your best to interact with them on their level, whenever possible. Use music, sounds, soft textures, different lighting, and whatever else you can think of to try and bring about relief.
- And, most importantly: Figure out what it is you’re trying to achieve. If your desire is to truly help, then make sure you’re working towards THEIR goals, not yours. Use visualization to focus on that goal in a way that feels really good to you, and then allow yourself to be inspired to the action and methodology that will bring it about. And if, in the process, you come up with a whole new branch of psychology, so be it.
When someone is born with different and what we consider to be limited abilities, we have this tendency to think that something has gone wrong and that we need to help them overcome their obstacles. This isn’t generally true, though. A different experience is not worse. It’s simply different. But, if you’re treating those who seem to be severely limited in their cognitive or emotional capabilities, you’ll have to use your intuition more than ever. Recognize them as vibrational beings who are seeking joy and who are being called to it. You don’t need to help them do that. But you can ease their way by helping them find relief. Try anything that makes them feel better. That’s the key. Of course, that’s not bad advice for the rest of your patients, either. Just saying…