By Dorota Trupp, Nutritionist
Many people come to recognise the need for self-help due to certain problems they face in their lives. Generally, these issues – say, a chronic lack of confidence, or a phobia – have spiralled out from something difficult that has happened in the past. These traumatic experiences can range from illness, the ending of a significant relationship or the loss of a job to accidents or falling victim to childhood or sexual abuse. Now, we can’t change the past, but we certainly can change our response to past events and move on, continuing to build our lives without being overshadowed by old experiences. This often can be achieved with the help of a trained practitioner, and it can also be done through self-help strategies.
Throughout my life, I have faced traumatic events, as we all have, and I too have been negatively affected to some degree by the misfortune that came my way. Fortunately, I discovered self-help strategies quite early on, and I continue to use them regularly today. And oh my goodness, what an improvement in the quality of life self-help can bring!
During my childhood, my family moved cities on average every 3 years, due to the demands of my father’s successful career. But I had one very stable point of reference, thanks to my father’s family’s farm and the grandparents with whom we spent all our holidays. This was my true home. It helped me to cope with the fact that my family was a bit dysfunctional, which led to my parents divorcing when I was 12 years old. Worse was to come, as my father died soon afterwards, and my life became an experience in poverty and uncertainty. This all forced me to grow up more quickly than the average Polish teenager.
Although I turned out OK, this didn’t happen overnight. I had to put in a lot of extra work to get myself ‘sorted out’. The far-too-early shift from childhood play to adult responsibilities stressed me out. My emotional and physical health suffered badly, and the future didn’t look too promising.
At about the age of 19, I realised that my fate was in my hands, that only I could determine my future. Some helpful literature was dropped into my hands and it prompted me to look at myself from a different perspective. Due to this, I decided to stop blaming situations, people and God for my misfortunes. This choice was painful and hard to make, as it is much easier to blame others for what’s happening to you than it is to make a great effort to change the way you think, the way you experience things, and the way you react when life challenges you. But I promised myself that I would grasp any opportunity that I felt would give me freedom and happiness.
Luck was on my side from the very moment that I started this rebuilding process. Situations arose which pushed me to my limits. Some of them were so scary, and others were unexpected, but the outcomes were positive. I started embracing change. I moved from one big city to another, seeking hard work and an education.
I eventually left Poland for England where I met Walter, and soon we were married. Fate gave us the opportunity to move to Australia, which we’d never visited before. It was a bit crazy to move to such a distant country, but, well, we did just that! We had one weekend in which to decide, and no guarantees, but we listened to our intuition and made the move. Upon arriving in Australia, finding myself in an entirely new environment, I needed to start from scratch yet again. Over the next few years, I worked to regain my physical wellness, invested in my education, and established my family and, eventually, a business.
As I journeyed through different environments, cities, countries, educational institutions and jobs, I met many inspiring people and I made some great friends. I lost some too, which was painful at times. I had to leave so many people behind, a pattern that had been part of my life from very early in my childhood. It took me a long time to accept that it was part of the transformation I was undergoing, and to understand that I could still keep all my dear family members and friends who live in Europe deep in my heart.
Having now spent 10 whole years in one spot – Melbourne – I have to say I feel settled and I am happy that I had the courage to take my chances in life. I still love travel, but only for holidays!
With this retrospective and personal blog post, I simply want to reach out to others who may be experiencing some life challenges/changes at the moment, people who maybe feel a bit scared or helpless or demotivated. I want to say to you that you are not alone! And I have some advice.
During my journey, I came to understand that to allow the transformation of your physical world, you first need to change your own thoughts. Rather than stick to the same old patterns of thinking, you need to open up your mind to what is around you. This is the essence of self-help. And so I suggest that you seek out self-help teachers and give them a try. I have learned a lot from others as I have grown and changed, and for this I am thankful.
On the photo: Dr John Demartini & Dorota Trupp
Recently, for instance, I attended a talk on financial independence by Dr John Demartini, a human behaviour specialist. He explained some thought-provoking strategies and the very interesting concept of the personal value system. I immediately did some simple exercises to determine what are my values and I was amazed with the results. I highly recommend this exercise. Discovering your own value system will help you to love your life as it is, to drop the envy you feel towards others who you see as having it all and instead be happy with who you are. What you value mirrors the wealth that is present in your life. This means that everyone is wealthy, each in their own unique way.
Dr Demartini also teaches you how to identify the aspects of your life that need more attention, and then how you can link and shift your values so you can achieve more balance in your life. For example, if you wish to achieve better health and improve your cooking skills, the first thing you need to do is to identify where these things sit in your value system. Are they at the top along with all your other priorities, the things that you spend a lot of time thinking about and talking about, the stuff that motivates you and gets you excited? Or are they at the bottom along with the other things you never think that much about and which you don’t put any time and energy into – in other words, the stuff you don’t really value that much?
To work out where health and cooking ability lie in your value system, ask yourself how much time you spend daily on activities that will benefit both of these things. Do you like to cook several times a day? Do you like to exercise frequently, or take care of your body in other ways? Do you read about these topics, talk to your friends about them, think about them most of the time? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it looks like health and cooking are two of your top priorities and you are probably very healthy and cook wonderful meals for your family. You are wealthy in this respect.
Now let’s have a look at someone who is sick and who can’t cook, someone who has never bought a cookbook and eats out every day, who visits doctors only when there’s an emergency. Where do you think health and cooking rank in this person’s value system? Not very high up, or perhaps not at all. This person could not expect to make a strong recovery from illness or become a 5-star chef … unless, that is, they shift their values. To shift your values, you simply need to become aware of the need to include certain activities in your lifestyle and to link them with other aspects of your life that are already at the top of your value system.
For example, let’s say that at the top of your value system is the wellbeing of your children. Simply make a note that by looking after yourself now, you will benefit your children and grandchildren in the future. They will be able to spend time with you for many more years if you’re an active, fit grandparent than if you are dogged by poor health. This will make it easier for you to focus more on daily activities that promote your own wellbeing, such as undertaking weight-loss exercises or learning how to cook good food yourself.
Can you see how easy it is to shift your lower values by linking them to your highest values? I have also found that routinely setting new goals helps you to understand yourself better and gain more control over your life too.
I asked a few friends who came along to Dr Demartini’s talk to tell me about their experiences in using these self-help strategies. I asked them if it changed their life in any way and if they would they recommend this approach to others. Here’s what they said:
On the photo: Justyna Kalka (left), Zulu Flow Zion, Dr John Demartini and Suzana Grau (right)
On the photo: Dr John Demartini and Bernardeta Griffiths
Bernardeta Griffiths – music teacher, hapkido and yoga instructor
‘Through Dr Demartini’s self-help strategies and teachings, I have learned how to count my blessings and live a happier life. I would recommend this experience to anyone.’
Justyna Kalka – nutritionist, hapkido black belt
‘Dr Demartini’s teachings are truly inspirational. They are like a breath of fresh air after living in the pollution of negative thoughts and the self-destroying patterns that we often play out in our lives as a result. He’s an amazing speaker, leading and guiding his audiences to breakthrough realisations and tears of gratitude. I have since used Dr Demartini’s tools and techniques to simply better myself, whether it’s to do with my career, excelling in university studies, my self-confidence, clarity about my value systems and the goals that are in line with them, or my family and other relationships. I think it is very easy for us to slip into our comfort zones and stop questioning our daily experience of life altogether in any deeper sense. However, when we are not reaching for progress, aren’t we allowing decay? This is how it goes for our physical self, so the same must be true of our mental capacities. Well, Dr Demartini has challenged the way I think in a very profound and enlightening way. I would recommend his teachings, from the bottom of my heart, to anyone who is ready for change.’
Zulu Flow Zion – musician, healer, lifestyle coach
‘It has definitely helped me, mostly in the area of getting to know myself, to be myself and love myself more. Really, it’s the key to having an awesome life once you break it all down.’
Suzana Grau – founder of Aluna Temple, actress, storyteller, singer
‘My personal experience with self-help techniques is that whatever you follow for at least 40 days will open a path to transformation, to change! I think it’s important to find a tool that works for you, such as dance, singing, yoga – to work through your body, and to work through stories within your heart and mind and transform them into those you want to see. Consistency and repetition is rule number 1! The longer you use a tool, the more it offers. Yes, I use self-help tools to transform my life and other people’s lives too.’