The Dark Force in us – From Darth Vader to Jedi
Darth Vader

Do you know Darth Vader, the dark force of many of the Star Wars movies? Did you know that we all have a bit of Darth Vader in us? We are driven by our fears. The Star Wars movies are full of allusions to deep psychology and how our attachments and fears form our behaviors and life. With this post, I would like to give you an understanding of how we are influenced by our fears and how you can change to become a Jedi. 

Fritz Riemann, a deep psychologist established a theory based on four basic forms of fear (“Grundformen der Angst”). The four basic forms of angst are formed in our early childhood and determine to a large extent how we behave when we are grown up. In the extreme form these fears turn into psychological illnesses.

For Riemann, the Sith are schizoid, depressed, obsessive and hysterical people. You have to be aware that even though these terms have found their way into our everyday language the clinical spectrum of these illnesses is serious and needs treatment through therapy.

Carl Gustav Jung, another deep psychologist discovered the “shadow”. Jung assumed that all of our relationships with other people are based on unconscious projections of our own wishes and expectations into their behavior.

According to Jung, the shadow is the part of us that we have driven into the unconscious as it was unwanted (for example behavior as a child) as opposed to our “Persona” which was the desired (performing) part of us.

Did you ever notice that you don’t like traits in another person and later someone told you that you have this trait too?

To speak in Star Wars terminology: You might have a bit of Darth Vader within you even though you might be a Jedi most of the time.

Like Darth Vader, we were not always bad. Some of us had negative experiences. Other lost trust in the world because of a traumatic experience. Our education system did not help either. We were ruled by authority and we had to perform. If you did not have your homework back in the 70-ies and 80-ies you were punished.

No one told us that we are great because we are creative, or even because we are who we are. We were taught to perform for making it in life. My parents had a different approach to education, but they also were young and idealistic and sometimes forgot their own children over the ones they took care of.

Today when you watch TV or check an ad statement you will see that what is often shown to us is a world full of existential angst or full of gold-coated “happy families”.

We are torn between a world to be afraid in and a world where everyone is on happy pills all the time. It’s like a world where the dark forces rule and were the Sith have won. Everywhere.

Could you still become a Jedi?

What if you decided that you did not want to be ruled by fear and anxiety?

What if you wanted to be the light and show others to stay “good” or to stay on their mission?

What if you could be Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia Organa?

You see that the Jedis confront their fears all the time. They deal with it. They do what they are afraid to do and they fight evil step-by-step. They don’t stop. They sometimes take a break to train or to collect the force. They retreat to be able to focus on their mission again.

Real change happens only through taking action. You start by confronting what you are afraid of. You go into the dark tunnel and the abyss of your soul. You dive deep into the black sea of concern and unconscious. There, you will find the monsters, the Sith, the evil you need to handle. You need to work through those with a light-saber. You tackle one relationship after the next relationship. You go through them all. All your fears, projections, shadows. I’ll stay by your side like Obi Wan Kenobi.

Cherish the people who criticize you, but don’t let their criticism stop you from what you think is right.

Stay on your path.

One day you will look back and only see Jedis around you.

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The Ego-Cave and how to pull yourself out of it

Ego can be a blocker of your personal development. Nothing happens when you are passive. You can wait for your life to happen and you will never see any fundamental change. Fundamental changes only occur from within. When you encounter your dark side and confront your fears. Others say that “life starts outside of your comfort zone”. That’s not true. You need your comfort zone.

You must not jump and do a complete makeover. In my experience, little steps are a lot more helpful to build a more fulfilled and happier life. Little steps could be to focus more on what is happening in the here and now, to appreciate more what you have and to continue on your journey to make a more significant contribution to this world. A little step could be to help a staff member be more productive, support an elderly citizen with their day-to-day routines or even being a better partner.

Entitlement is the Path to the Dark Side

What makes me cringe these days is the entitlement. I wonder why we believe that we are entitled to status, prosperity, and lifestyle. Why some of us feel entitled to rule the world, exploit our planet and dominate others?

Who allows you to feel better than others? What is the underlying assumption? Who do you serve? We often do not realize how privileged we are until we meet others who are less privileged. It’s a good practice to put yourself in the shoes of another human once in a while. One you might not be able to relate to so easily: A beggar or homeless, a refugee or a maid. Here is what I have learned by now: You and I we were lucky. We were lucky that we were born to our parents, that we had access to education and that we never knew what hunger means.

If you feel a little bit ashamed now, I would like to welcome you to the club. Once in a while, I try to check on my attitude, especially when I dramatize or when I drown in a sea of self-pity. In these (now rather rare) moments when we look at everything we have not done, not achieved, not had as kids or young adults. The moments when we wish we had had more guidance from our parents, more support from our teachers and mentors, more money and more energy.

The Ego-Cave

This is the ego trying to pull you back into its cave. A hungry animal that yearns for recognition, the badge of honor, the Pulitzer-Prize, one million EUROs in the bank and a youthful look. The ego is a monster and it is dangerous.

You wonder, how you can balance it? If I understand the philosophers and psychiatrists correctly only by selfless acts. By losing yourself in acts of kindness and support without expectation, without reward. You will ask me next if then you are not exposing yourself to abuse and being used by others. I say maybe. You still have to know where your limits are. I would suggest though that small acts of kindness do have a place and need a place in our modern world.

We cannot continue to behave as if everything we need from others is a business transaction. If we do that our relationships become transactional in nature and this is not working for friendships. It’s also not working for business relationships. If we only think in quid pro quo (or in the Matcher style as Adam M. Grant would call it) we are not growing up. We remain children of our society on pocket money. We demand nourishment but we are not prepared to nourish ourselves.

What could you do?

As a first step, I would like to encourage you to log your attitude and write about situations where you may feel privileged or entitled. As a second step, you could consider volunteering for while.

Kind regards
Angie Weinberger

PS: Check out this post too: The dark force in us – From Darth Vader to Jedi 

This video about C.G. Jung’s concepts is also a good addition to this post.

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Being German and how to get over it to Become a Better Blogger

seen in Germany
An example of German Humor – “Sucker – Alles bis XXL” .

I used to turn to Twitter for inspiration. I hardly ever use Google for a search. XING was my first social media affair, but Twitter is my true love. I am a short form texter and a friend of saying it in five bullets. I have returned to write posts in long form, 300 words minimum (and not only because of SEO but because it feels right). I had underestimated the challenge of being German and here is a how I got over it so I could become a better blogger.

 

Having been in the middle of my career around 2005, I think I missed the whole era of blogs coming up. I had too much to read already and I did not really understand the point of blogs. I thought of them as diaries not valuable sources of information. When I started to write in one of my XING groups it was to “inform” rather than to engage or entertain and once I was told that it was too much to read.
The way I wrote for a long time was the way I had learnt to write emails as an HR professional: Concise, factual and directive. I think, I still write concise and directive but I am moving away from the factual style. I have a hard time being funny. I wonder why that is. I realized it must have two reasons: 1) I am German and 2) I worry too much.
Apart from the obvious influence of my passport culture and mother tongue which is a limitation of English vocabulary and sometimes errors in grammar, I think the German education and university system got in my way when I wrote blog posts. We learned to base our statements on deep analysis. In blogging that is not necessary because you can write about your view of the world. I only understood this difference a few weeks ago. I don’t have to be “objective” in my writing. Readers want to hear what I have to say, not four consulting companies.
As a German (I am stereotyping now) I can’t be funny in a professional context. I take myself way too serious most of the time. I wish I could give a lighter note to my writing but I find it hard. Sylvia Day, a comedian and improv coach told me once “Don’t try to be funny.” So, I guess my only chance to make you laugh is by showing you the naked reality of our multicultural, globalized life. Maybe you read a story here and think “This is how I cheat myself as well.” For example when I write in my diary “Walk” and then I use the free time as a buffer to perfect my tweeting skills.
We assume that our published words are an expression of our analysis and experience with a subject matter. If I make a false assumption or draw a false conclusion, then that could reflect negatively on my work. I am often worried that I could be called out for superficiality. Not really hitting the nerve of the topic like in high school when you thought you failed the assignment as you did not really get what the teacher asked you to do only to hear him quoting you in front of the class as (OMG) your assignment stood out with originality and spirit.
In an attempt to make my blog more interesting I introduced movies as a theme. I love movies so why should I not refer to them in my work. You might love movies too. Make sure you enter “Darth Vader” in the search box or “James Bond” or “Iranian movies”. (Did you know that there is a Japanese movie festival in Zurich?)
I am also getting more bold at saying what I think needs to be said. That boldness might take a bit of uncomfortableness but it is very liberating. When you make helping others your profession you need to sit in their brain. When you write a cover letter I want you to hear me telling you that you break the task down in several steps and that you refrain from copying and pasting. When you network with a purpose I want you to hear that it is not about you but about helping the other person succeed or overcome a problem. And when you are asked about your salary expectations I want you to hear “Say the numbers.” This is what I would like to achieve with my work. That you reach your goals, that your work feels more rewarding and that you have a challenging growth experience on your international assignment.
That does not mean that we can’t have fun at the same time. So tell me all of your ideas how I could make you laugh.