Visualization

When it comes to changing your life, there is no greater tool to utilize when you’re contemplating a major shift in life than visualization.

Julie Valenti

In case you’re wondering what topic(s) I will write about each day, there really is no preconceived or premeditated program. Whatever comes up that day, either in my life, the life of a client, friend, or family member determines the subject I write about. Like today, I was studying on childhood PTSD, reading Julie Valenti’s Knowing How, then followed up with a client who needed some coaching in visualization. So, there you have it.

Visualization is powerful because it helps to “rewire the brain,” as Valenti says. In my practice, visualization followed training in Christian ministry and prayer, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and Hypnotherapy (in that order) and ended up as a progression of these techniques culminating in guided visualization or meditation with concepts of the Law of Attraction thrown in for flavor.

If you have seen Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, you can get the idea about how to approach the idea of visualization and how it can change life all around you, based on where you focus your attention and practice the feeling of having whatever it is you desire, and it works.

The truth is, my mother told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, even though very early in life I was non-verbal. I didn’t talk much as a young child, but I could mimic comedy recordings word-for-word and with some degree of enthusiasm. When company would come over, my mother would call me out of my room to put on a performance for the guests. Everyone would laugh, and then I would slink back to hide in my room following my delivery.

This was me exercising visualization by mimicry and pretending, and after a while, I learned communication skills and began to interact verbally with other people. A powerful skill that would come in handy throughout my entire life’s journey, and my mother was right, I could be or do anything. Likewise, you can be or do anything you want.

All it takes is a little visualization, practice, using something we all have been programmed to disregard in adulthood: Imagination. The more powerfully you exercise your imagination muscles and engage your actions, the more powerful your results.

It’s up to you to decide to do the work of using all your powers of imagination to visualize your life, the way you want it to be, bask in the feeling of it being your reality, and to act as if it’s the real deal.

In the beginning, once you start this effort, it feels ridiculous. You’re thinking this is fakery, and you start to second-guess your efforts with thoughts like, “Who would do such a thing?” followed by a flood of negative self-talk, like, “I’m not good enough,” talented enough, or the other dissuading themes reinforcing your lack of education, resources, finances, abilities, standing in the community, or an endless number of “reasons” justifying your unworthiness.

Norman Vincent Peale

To combat this onslaught of self-doubt and negativity, you kind’a have to go a little overboard in an attempt to rewire your brain. As a young man, books like Norman Vincent Peale’s Power of Positive Thinking and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill were resources that helped to encourage my growth and expansion using my imagination to bridge the gap between here and there.

Napoleon Hill

So, you might have to look in the mirror and practice positive affirmations, study the lives of others who have overcome obstacles to achieve the results you are looking for, create vision boards, and remove yourself from any negative influences during your reprogramming phase. Whatever it takes, do that, don’t let anything prevent you for going for it, and when it doesn’t feel real, allow yourself to pretend and fake it until it becomes true for you.

Thanks to my seizing every opportunity to turn every challenge into an opportunity allowed me to have the most tremendous experiences one could ever imagine in this life. In most cases, when facing insurmountable odds, all I had to do was to use my imagination and pretend that I was fully competent to survive and thrive through the adversity, and the Creator of the universe would support me in kind.

Even when it doesn’t make any sense, and it seems impossible, if you go forward in faith, putting yourself in the proper mindset and acting as if you are fully capable and trust that everything you need will appear in just the right time, your brazenness is rewarded by everything falling into place perfectly.

“Perfectly,” is not always the way you imagined it. Sometimes God knows there is something better He has in store for you, so try to be flexible enough to allow the power of love to override your expectations in your best interest.

You got this.

The Power of Pretending

You’re frightened. You’ve never done this before. You’ve put yourself out there, raised your hand, volunteered to do this thing in faith, hoping to God you can just make it out alive. You walk onto the stage, blinded by the light, all eyes are on you. You freeze for a moment.

Your mind is racing, reviewing hundreds of thoughts in a second. Your heart is racing, like it’s going to explode any second. Then you remember why you opted to do this in the first place. You need to do this, so to get to the other side of this, you pretend.

You pretend, act like you’re someone else for whom this would be no big deal. In that moment you channel the person you admire, who would pull this off without a second thought.

Essentially you become that person, like an actor in a play, in a television show or in the movies, and you keep going.

Nearing the end of your assignment, you’re starting to second guess. Did anyone buy this? Does the whole world know that I’m scared to death and I totally just made a fool of myself in front of all these people?

As you deliver your final lines, your inner voices are taunting you, telling yourself you are a fake, a phony, you just made a complete fool of yourself in front of all these people, and your life is ruined.

Then you come to uttering the final syllable, and there is silence; for a second that seems to take hours, then you hear the roaring applause as you exit the stage. Once you’re safely back stage, you reach up, make a fist and quickly pull it down to your gut and quietly but confidently say, “Yes!”

Pretending is a powerful weapon in your life’s arsenal.

There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from conquering your fears. All you need is a good reason and the willingness to do what it takes to make it happen. If the going gets rough, you feel like you just can’t do it, and you are ready to call it quits, pretend you’re someone else with all the qualities, talents and confidence to do this thing. And do it.

Once you’ve done it… you’ve done it.

As a young man, this pretty much describes my day, every day. And it didn’t stop there. I became courageous, overcoming insurmountable odds, and if I ever found myself in a frightening situation, feeling powerless and insignificant, I pretended I was someone else who clearly would have the ability to handle this situation, and I did it.

So, once you’ve done it, now what?

Put yourself in a position to do it again, and again, and again, and before long, congratulate yourself because now you are a pro. Celebrate your win and prepare to win again, because you know you can do anything if you can play-act when necessary, through whatever you need to get you from here to there.

Some refer to this kind of pretending as, “fake it til you make it,” while in more therapeutic circles we refer to this as, “modeling.” Regardless of what you call it, it’s all just play-acting, pretending you’re someone else so you can get through it. Then keep doing it until these more confident and powerful attributes become a part of you.

People, who know me today, could never imagine the person I was before. And I’ll tell you this; you might not recognize me tomorrow.

I am on a path of changing, adapting to change, personal growth and empowering others to do the same, ever since I can remember. In the beginning, no one taught me this. All I knew was that if I wanted to survive in this world, I had to act like I could handle it, just so I could do whatever needed to be done to survive. That’s all I knew.

For me, it was lie or die.

And the more I did it, the more courageous I became.

Sure, I was still that frightened little boy inside, but I could do things in such a way that nobody ever knew.

All that to say,

When you feel like you can’t do it, pretend you can, and do it anyway.

You will be surprised to discover that it works for pretty much anything from nailing a job interview to falling in love. What?

Yeah, I knew I’d get you on the love piece, because nowadays, when people feel as though they’re not feeling the love (attraction or lust) for their partner that they once did, they just throw in the towel and find a new drug (love).

So, what if you’re in a relationship that seems to have run cold.

Pretend. Pretend he or she is the love of your life. Act like you’re in love, doing all the things and saying all the things that you would if you were deeply in love.

You know what happens next. The more you do it, the more you become it, and before you know it, you’re more in love than you’ve ever been.

Plus, look at all the grief, embarrassment, strife and money you’ve saved.

You get the idea… and it works for anything.

That’s the power of pretending.