Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

 With 401Ks dwindling and many of us struggling to make ends meet, the thought of giving seems very counterintuitive. The instinct is to cling to what meager portion we may have and make it stretch as far as possible.

 

However, that knee-jerk reaction may actually place us in a larger state of panic, creating a general view that there isn’t enough: enough money, enough time, enough love, enough strength to continue on in a time of such perceived deficit. And this shift in thinking can really take its toll on our minds and spirits, sending us straight to the nearest bottle, pill or joint in an effort to calm our rising anxiety.

 

So, how effective can giving in a time of “not enough” possibly be? It does happen to be a concept shared by such luminaries such as  Deepak Chopra.

 

 Chopra states, “Every relationship is one of give and take. Giving engenders receiving, and receiving engenders giving. What goes up must come down; what goes out must come back. In reality, receiving is the same thing as giving, because giving and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe. And if you stop the flow of either, you interfere with nature’s intelligence.” (The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success)

 

So the theory goes, the more generous you are in spirit–which naturally affects your behavior–the more you actually receive.

 

Meredith Watkins from Recovery View says generosity need not be monetary. We can give through our unique, innate gifts, such as a home-cooked meal, playing a piece of music for a sick friend or even building an unwieldy dresser from Ikea.

 

There’s a reason why service is a component in many drug and alcohol treatment programs: it works. It takes the focus off of you for a while and opens your eyes to your place in the larger context of community. So take an opportunity to give to those around you and you might suddenly find yourself surrounded by abundance.

 

My E ! News Report of Lindsay Lohan’s stay at Betty Ford for her treatment of drug and alcohol addiction. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s120JY3Kvcs
 

It’s no secret that our society has a little, shall we say, hang-up on body image. While women are the primary targets, let’s not forget our testosterone-laden brethren, who are not exempt from “good-natured” ribbing from pals, or offhand comments from wives or girlfriends.

While many may see this constant criticism as normal, the fact is, the dark side of eating disorders is very real and even life-threatening. For those suffering with anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorders, professional help is available and necessary, says Meredith Watkins from Recovery View.com.

And for the rest of us, here’s a little reality check, some perspective from Carl Jung: “We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” Consider this the next time you cast a critical glare at that part of your body that apparently did not get the memo that it was supposed to remain unchanged from its 18-year-old counterpart.

End the dictatorship that has oppressed your unsuspecting thighs, stomach or backside. Paradoxically, doing so does not relinquish you to the slovenly mound of mush you so fear — My book, The Law of Sobriey says this  frees up the energy you have spent in frustration and self-loathing to be used productively, in such ground-breaking endeavors as taking a deep breath and smiling. Filling your lungs with ocean air or rejoicing that your legs are capable of taking you down a sun-dappled path.

Like any shift of perspective, this takes time. But the only way to begin the shift is to try a little bit every day — some kindness turned inward, like soothing an injured child. Perhaps this is exactly what our abused bodies have always needed: praise for what it does right, rather than punishment for not living up to our unrealistic expectations.

Anne Lamott, in her book, Grace (Eventually) sums it up perfectly: “To step into beauty, does one have to give up on losing a little weight? No, of course not. Only if you’re sick of suffering. Because if you cannot see that you’re okay now, you won’t be able to see it if you lose twenty pounds. It’s an inside job.”

Negative thinking is addictive. Once you start to believe the negative things you tell yourself, it’s as if you’re caught up in a powerful whirlpool and you can’t break free. “I won’t get a better job.” “I can’t make new friends.” “I can’t learn a new skill.” “Good things never happen to me.” When you believe this, you’re defeated before you ever start anything. And of course, then you never start anything anyway–why bother, because you’ll just be defeated?

            Negative thinking can be comforting in a strange way, too. That’s because it enables you to avoid taking any responsibility for your life. If you’re the person bad things always happen to, you don’t have to even try to make good things happen. You’re off the hook.

            The Law of Sobriety says whatever you resonate, the universe sends back to you. In other words, your thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Radiate negativity and nothing good will come to you. Your own negativity brings you exactly what you don’t want.

            Fortunately, the opposite is also true. When you believe good things will come to you, that’s what will happen. It will happen because positive energy attracts positive results. But it will also happen because you’ll stop asking the world, “When am I going to get mine?” and start looking around at what you’ve already got. Appreciating what you have changes everything–not just your outlook, but your reality. Your world is richer and more satisfying. That happens right away, as soon as you break out of the negativity addiction.

            Take a moment to stop and do a little inventory. What did you see and hear and smell today that makes you happy? Was it a kid walking her dog? Was it a snippet of a song you like? Was it the smell of fresh-roasted coffee? Appreciate the little things and the big things will come.