Four weeks ago I re-entered the real world after spending seven days with 24 other participants and four teacher/coaches for The Hoffman Process. It felt at the time like I was exiting a life-changing week, but I felt it was too soon to share my experience in any detail. What if the changes I felt were just fleeting? And how do the lessons apply in the real world?
Four weeks is still early, and certainly too early to say for sure that the changes I have experienced will be truly lasting. Nonetheless, I feel like it was a good time to share my post-process experience thus far, and I may continue to share over time.
To start off, what is The Hoffman Process? I heard about it on a podcast. One single podcast and that was it. It sounded like something I wanted to do some day for sure, and then it took me a surprisingly little amount of time to sign up. As my new business was growing, I felt that I was stuck in some areas and that therapy would help me fulfill my potential. But I had tried therapy, and it didn’t seem to do the trick.
I didn’t have a specific, concrete, problem or pain point. Rather, I grew up with a variety of different traumas, for lack of a better way to put it. Violence, drugs, etc., and I felt that I had never addressed whatever effects of the trauma might be lurking, but that there was something there that should be addressed. Being the person that I am, I thought maybe Hoffman was a way to get a ton of therapy in a single week rather than dealing with the hard topics every single week for years. (ie, can’t I just compartmentalize the hard sh*t and dealing with emotions and take care of it all at once??)
That is why I went. As you read my story, do not think that this is the only background that would lead to a rewarding experience. In fact, most other attendees had what they had considered great family upbringings. What’s more, many people were there to up-level their lives and relationships, or because another family member had done the Process and told them that it was a must-do experience. Put another way, this experience would probably be rewarding and beneficial to anyone born to or raised by other humans.
The actual steps and activities are not particularly shareable. It’s something you must experience for yourself. But what I do want to share are some of the reactions I have seen in my own life. Everyone there is working on their own things. You work on discovering why you act or react in certain ways, and then learning tools to change things in the future so that you are choosing how to act and react rather than relying on patters developed at a very young age. We formed an incredible bond as a group, but it is not about group sharing; rather, it is about your own experience surrounded by others.
With that preamble, here are some of the lessons I personally am taking from Hoffman, and some changes that I have experienced in my real life since leaving. If you read this and would like more information about Hoffman, I am happy to share more of my experience!
- I developed a better understanding of myself as a social person, and a recognition that I tend to feel unwanted in a group social setting. Through my own introspection, I realized that I learned this from my mother, and that this behavior can harm others and myself. (Here I thought it was all about me, and that being shy was actually beneficial to others). Since the Process I have been able to embrace social settings and to engage more fully when in them. This is not a situation that presents itself regularly, and I look forward to continuing this new way to interact with myself and others.
- I realized that I push people away. Now I can start to embrace relationships and set healthy boundaries.
- I have tools to check in with myself and what I really want, not what I think I should do or want. For example, recently my husband and I were planning some travel, and we got all caught up in the research and almost made one decision that didn’t feel entirely right. Instead of going along with it, we took a pause, and later when on my own I spent some time checking in with myself on what I really wanted to do. Now that we had more information, I wanted something different than the path we were heading down. I was able to then express what I wanted, without fear that my husband wanted something different. It happened that he agreed with me, but even if he hadn’t agreed, it feels good to identify with me as a person, each express our own wishes, and then move forward rather than playing the ‘I’m saying this because I think you want it’ game.
- I have a new appreciation for the work that it takes to live as a couple and a desire to strengthen the bond we have on a deeper level of connection (and we had a great relationship to begin with!).
- I learned that I have a bias against people who are breaking the rules. In men I even perceive them as dangerous (even if it is a minor rule being broken). This is because my father was very aggressive and violent and he didn’t tend to care about rules or standards. Because I now understand this, I can be aware of it and have a chance of changing my view of someone.
- I have spent my life pushing emotions away. During the Process we spent a lot of time experiencing different emotions and learning to check in with our present emotions at different times. I was recently in a stressful situation, and I was able to really feel the emotions and cry deeply when reflecting on my own. Prior to The Process, there is no way I would have accessed the emotions that I was able to in that moment. Doing so felt deeply healthy for me.
- I have danced nearly every day for the last month. This brings me great joy, lightness, and freedom. I am also listening to music more than ever before.
- I have a pattern of doing things and wanting to feel productive all the time, but now have a deeper understanding of the importance and joy of other things in life. This is tied towards letting go of deeply engrained thoughts that I am not good enough. This is a big process to let go of the negative feelings of myself…but I am well underway. I’m also learning to have greater self compassion. The issues in this bullet point are so tremendously huge, and I do not think that just using our minds changes things in the same way that the Process did. The Hoffman Process uses visualization, cathartic work, writing, and more to learn, unpack, and change old ways of thinking.
So there are my current thoughts on The Hoffman Process. I am blown away and grateful for the experience, and, again, happy to share more if you are interested. Or, perhaps I should say, if this sounds at all interesting then just go. Or talk to their staff – they have staff on hand to answer your questions as well!
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