Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients--without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate's chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person's illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.
When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane?
It didn't make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.
However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho 'oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn't let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more.
I had always understood "total responsibility" to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it's out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We're responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does. The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.
His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.
I've read many books that stress the importance of understanding your personal values, getting clear about what's most important to you in life. But at the time of this writing, I haven't yet come across a source that covers this incredibly useful concept with sufficient depth. Most of the values coverage I've read takes you through a process of eliciting your current values and then leaves it at that. But I want to take you much deeper into this rich subject and show you how to intelligently connect your values to your goals.
In Part I, I will guide you through a step-by-step process for eliciting and prioritizing your personal values. It's entirely possible you already have such a list because this is a common exercise you'll find in many personal growth books. However, I still encourage you to read through this process because you will deepen your understanding.
My second goal is to explain the process of living with integrity to your values, so you learn how to consciously use your values to make decisions and take action. There's no point in discovering your values and then filing them away and forgetting about them. This will be covered in Part II.
We have been taught to believe trust is a commodity to be earned by others. Once they have passed certain tests, then we feel safe to extend our trust. I would like to entertain the idea that trust can be a verb, rather than a noun. It's a choice you make and says much more about you than it does the person to whom you are extending that trust.
When you are involved in a relationship and you say you trust that person, it is more than a noun. It's not just a thing you extend to a person like a gift--it is followed up with behaviors--things you do and things you don't do.
When you trust someone, you know he or she will do the right thing. You know they have their affairs (no pun intended) under control. They are faithful and loyal. You don't need constant reassurance of this--you just know.
What you don't do is constantly grill a person about where he or she is and with whom he or she is spending time. You don't have him or her followed looking for proof of infidelity. You don't snoop around in his or her personal belongings or private places. You trust that he or she can be trusted.
Trusting has so much more to do with who you are as a person than it does with who your partner is. When you are secure in yourself and know that you are worthy to receive love, then it is natural to trust.
How often have you heard the following statements, "I will believe it when I see it" or, "If I don't expect too much I will not be disappointed". Taking them at face value, these statements seem to make some sense. However, the reality is that they violate some essential universal principles. The truth is that we have a belief and expectation about everything in our current reality. That is why we experience whatever it is that we experience. To say that you do not believe or expect anything is, as far as universal principles are concerned, erroneous. It is more accurate to say you believe something is not so or you expect for something not to happen.