The GUILT Trap…John Page Burton

All of us experience feelings of guilt. Guilt is an emotion that occurs when we believe we have violated a moral standard that we have been conditioned to believe is true. Many of us allow ourselves to be put on guilt trips. Guilt trips are no more than a manipulative tactic other people employ to gain a desired result from us. We have all been subject to those guilt trips that begin with “if you really loved me you would”…(fill in the blank) Those who routinely use guilt trips to gain an upper hand include parents, children, spouses, friends, employers, bill collectors, siblings, teachers, clergy members and just about everyone else we interact with. In short, guilt is one of the most effective ways to exert control over others.

Let’s take a closer look at the emotion of guilt and see if it really serves our higher good to hold onto these feelings.

G – Gullibility. Being gullible is a failure of social intelligence in which a person is easily tricked or manipulated into an ill advised course of action. We have all found ourselves in a situation we knew instinctively was not in our best interests, yet we moved forward anyway. Peer pressure is one of the most profound ways in which guilt is used. The fear of not “fitting in” with the group overrides our judgment and leads us to make decisions that are often not in our best interests. When our feelings of guilt begin to surface, we must stop and seek our truth. The emotion of guilt can only pray on those who are gullible.

U – Useless. In my opinion, of all of the human emotions guilt is the most useless. Guilt serves only one purpose…to keep us in bondage. When we feel guilty we are telling ourselves  something is OUR FAULT and we will NEVER be able to make it right. This is highly dramatic! We have all said and done things we would like to do over. Most of us have experienced the death of a loved one and wished we had told them how much we loved them while they were still alive. We have all been “dumped” by a significant other and contrary to what they told us it was not entirely our fault. Many of us have raised children who found themselves on the wrong side of the law. The child made a choice. The list of things we can CHOOSE to feel guilty about is a long one. With few exceptions, once we look at the true reality of any given situation it usually comes down to the choices that were made. Choices are based upon our knowledge and understanding at that point in time. New understanding=different results.

I – Ignorance. People who choose to be ruled by the emotion of guilt are actively choosing ignorance over intelligence. Ignorance is a deliberate act to ignore or disregard the truth. True emotional intelligence dictates that we are able to form a clear distinction between fact and fiction. Guilt is fiction!

L – Lack. When we are driven by feelings of guilt we possess a scarcity mindset. We are allowing a past hurt, event or circumstance to keep us from moving into a place of abundance. Many of us will use guilt as an excuse for staying stuck in a dead end job or relationship. “My boss said  this place couldn’t run without me” or ” my mom gets really sad when I don’t stop by EVERYDAY” are no more than self imposed excuses keeping us from moving forward. When we are coming from a place of abundance we make decisions that are in alignment with our dreams and ambitions and we refuse to be held hostage by guilt. This does not mean we are not compassionate, only that we are discerning.

T – Tombstone. The single greatest truth in life is that someday we will die. How we are remembered and what will be written on our tombstone is the final testament to how we lived our life. Were we bold and adventurous of were we afraid we might let others down? Did we think and act for ourselves or did we let those around us dictate the terms of our existence? Did we try and fail only to spend the rest of our life wrought with guilt because in our mind we failed? Did our marriage or a relationship fail and because of this we made a conscious decision to never love again? Each of us has the opportunity to author what is engraved on our tombstone. What will yours say?

If like many of us you find yourself operating from a place of guilt, it is time to let it go. We have all made mistakes and we are bound to make more. Our ability to forgive ourselves and move forward is the key to our happiness. When someone attempts to put you on a guilt trip simply let them know this is not the way you desire to communicate with them. If they cannot accept this you have nothing to feel guilty about because you are speaking your truth. Remember, the truth will set you free!

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

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Embracing The FLOW, Emotions Of Power…John Page Burton

Most of us have heard the phrase ” go with the flow”.  A person might ask, why would I want to “go with the flow” when I could just as easily put my “nose to the grindstone” or “put my shoulder to the wheel”? Many of us find ourselves “rowing upstream against the current” because we don’t understand the value or the freedom that comes from embracing the FLOW. What exactly does it mean to “go with the flow”? I believe that we are naturally “going with the flow” when we master four specific emotions of power.
F – Focus. Our ability to get laser focused on what it is we truly desire is our first step into “the flow”. Far too many of us set “weak” goals and we subconsciously condition our mind to give up easily and often. Clarity of purpose followed by massive action will launch us into “the flow” and keep us there. Once we have stated our intentions and have taken the first steps toward their achievement, we are effectively sending the universe a clear message that we are ready to embrace “the flow”. Have you ever wondered why certain people or opportunities seem to “show up at the right time”? It’s called “being in the flow”.
L – Love. When we inject love and passion into our work, relationships, friendships and health we are bound to attract like energy. Love is the great equalizer. If we don’t love what we do, the people we spend our time with or where we choose to call home, we will more than likely find ourselves experiencing a high degree of inner turmoil. If you don’t love what you do, where you live or the people you spend your time with, it is probably a good time to make a course correction. Life is to short to be in turmoil.
O – Optimism. When we seek to find the good in other people, embrace the lessons inherent to our setbacks, recognize that tomorrow is a brand new day and we constantly strive to become better people, we are truly living in “the flow”. Those who embrace “the flow” tend to view their cup as “half full” and seek solutions rather than dwell on their problems.
W – Willpower. Willpower is the sum total of focus, love and optimism. Willpower is what keeps us in the game when life is throwing us curveballs. Willpower simply means that I am focused on my goal or dream, I love what I am working towards and I am optimisitc that everything will work out in my favor. When the going gets tough, I am able to summon the strength to stay in “the flow” and maintain my forward momentum.
There is no replacement for hard work and sacrifice. Being in “the flow” does not mean that everything always works out in our favor. Life happens when we are making other plans. Being in “the flow” simply means we are working within the natural rythym of the universe and we accept that all of our experiences (favorable or unfavorable) are necessary for our growth. We don’t try to apply force against force, instead we seek leverage, enabling us to re-direct our energy toward a more favorable outcome.
I look forward to your thoughts and feedback on embracing “the flow”.

Living A Truly R.I.C.H. Life…John Page Burton

Most of us were brought up to believe that the overall quality of our lives would be based upon our educational accomplishments as well as our income level. With this being said, I have come to believe that living a truly rich life extends well beyond degrees, an impressive financial portfolio, great homes, fun toys and a tree in our front yard that sheds $20 bills everytime the wind blows. Simply put, being rich is a state of mind, one that is shaped through a lifetime of diverse experiences. Money, along with the luxuries it can afford are merely the bi-products of our journey. The person that we ultimately become is a determining factor in whether we die rich or poor. What does living a truly rich life look like? Below are several of the characterisitics I have observed in those I consider to live truly rich and abundant lives.
R-Relationships. When most of us find ourselves knocking on death’s door, it will not be our”money” that we are going to miss but rather the people we shared our time with. As I have matured, something interesting has taken place. I am no longer driven to collect “things”, instead I am driven to collect experiences and knowledge. Make no mistake, my competitive fires still burn, yet I no longer have the insatiable need or desire to impress others with my “stuff”. I am comfortable with who I am becoming, what I am accomplishing and I am enjoying my personal relationships more than ever.
I-Integrity. Personal integrity is the foundation for living a truly rich life. First, we must be in integrity with ourselves. This means that we are honest about our feelings, we take ownership of our emotions and we seek to find the good in others. We recognize that true growth begins when we speak the truth about ourselves to ourselves. By striving to always come from a place of personal integrity, we are making daily deposits into our emotional bank account.
C-Centerdness. Those who live truly rich lives are balanced at their core. They pay little or no attention to unwarranted judgement or criticism and they remain firm in their beliefs. They know who they are, trust their inner compass to guide them and make very few emotional decisions. For many, sprituality is a grounding force in their lives and they turn to their faith to get them through the challenges or obstacles they encounter.
H-Habits.  Those who live truly rich lives are “creatures of habit”. Habits serve as guiding principles in our lives. Empowering habits may include, healthy diets and lifestyle, volunteerism, spiritual practice, wealth management, uplifting communication, accountability and serving others.  Empowering habits are the foundation of a truly rich life.
I encourage you to explore your current reality and ask yourself if you are living a truly rich life? Your answer may determine your direction.
As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback.