There’s a lot of problematic advice being given out by well-meaning counselors, coaches, and writers, as of late, that I really feel convicted to address and try to correct. I am only all too aware of this advice because it is advice that I have literally paid for and now, it has me feeling a bit of buyer’s remorse. It is the finickiness of frequency preference that, from my point of view, looks a lot like supremacy. And if I have learned anything in the past year, it’s that supremacy must be called out and condemned. Here, I’ll try to do that as compassionately as I can.
Dude, You’re Not Even On My Frequency
A good life, a positive life, is all about frequency, according to many. And in order to maintain this positive life, a higher frequency must resonate. In order for that frequency to stay constant, without too much echo or reverb, we have to soundproof our relationships and inner circles from the lower frequencies that try to creep in and disrupt our harmony.
This starts, according to well-meaning coaches, with inspecting your inner circle of relationships. We are to take an inventory of the people that are closest to us and examine their frequencies. Then, by some measure of pitch and tone, based on the judgments of the coaches and influencers who hold the proper views of what high frequency looks like; we are called to break away from these people who give off low frequency vibrations.
Essentially, we are to cut negative Nancy and Ned from our lives. In exchange for those we cut out, we are to seek out positive Paul and Patty.
What does low frequency look like? According to one life coach, the people that seem to have drama, problems, and who are victims, are low frequency people and just don’t belong in our inner circle of relationships.
For the record, despite this example and the use of the term “victim”, I would like to grant the benefit of the doubt to the life coach and assume he meant those who operate within a victim mentality mindset, and not so much those who are victims.
At least, I hope that is what he meant. Otherwise, I would begin to wonder if his suggestion was that low frequency people are victims; which could be perceived as him saying that those who have been victimized don’t belong on your circle.
And that would be just too far-fetched, right? I wouldn’t necessarily categorize a victim of rape or abuse as low frequency, although, I would wager at some time during their post-trauma and healing, they could have been sending off low frequency vibrations.
Even though I am willing to extend the benefit of the doubt with life coaches that offer this kind of advice about victim mentalities, I do part ways with the idea that those who have drama or problems are people that shouldn’t be in your inner circle.
First off, because so many coaches don’t really define their terms, I take issue with what “problems”, “drama” and “victims” actually look like. If a person who is trying to coach you cannot provide for you clear definitions, this should be taken as a red flag.
In so many instances, they just use the words and assume everyone has the same understanding of the word. And as much as I would like to hope and assume we all use the same words in the same way, the reality is that we don’t.
One thing you may notice about some particular coaches and “gurus” is that they get mighty comfortable with nuance.
From my observations and interactions with life coaches, I have come to see that this distinction is very divisive in many instances. It’s also a clever way to put a spin on things when confronted with what appear to be double-standards and blatant contradictions.
In his intellectually compelling book, Confident Humility, Dan Kent observes one of the heavier contradictions:
To keep our positivity power potent, we must work diligently to block out all negative people, avoiding all negative places, and even avoiding the news, as the news often fixates on all that is negative in the world.
For many of these folks, positivity trumps everything—even reason. Joel Osteen declares: “You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.” Then, moments later and with the same conviction (I kid you not), he proclaims: “Other people do not determine your potential.” This incoherence is the inevitable outcome of the positive-thinking ideology.
Others will use nuance to tell you that everything is an illusion and that there is no such thing as right or wrong—there just is. Interestingly, however, they hastily will remind you that their method is the right method. Curiously contrary, isn’t it?
They will tell you that scarcity is an illusion. Time is an illusion. In some instances, money and wealth are an illusion. Yet the same people who tell you that, will also tell you that your time is priceless and that you shouldn’t waste your time with low frequency people. Notice also that they don’t believe money is an illusion when they are working out the terms to their services they provide for you.
More than that, many of these positive thinkers will try to convince you that you are either one type of person or another—you are presented with false dichotomies to simplify their rather confusing calculations and equations so that one can really “live for a living”. Whatever that means?
A rather curious and confusing bit of advice comes from a life coach’s recently published book. In it he writes about the illusion of time. Chapter 9 begins:
You have absolutely no problems right now. It doesn’t matter who you are and what your situation is. Yes, you’re right. I may not know you or your situation, but I think I can confidently say that you have zero problems right now. Think about it. What problems do you really have? If you’re thinking about a problem, I can probably predict what kind of problem you have. As Michael Singer discovered, your perception of the problem is probably rooted in your perception of something that happened in the past, or it is about some aspect of the future that is causing you anxiety because you are uncertain about how something will work.
I suppose one could say, that as one is reading the pages of that very book, within that particular context, sure, they don’t have any problems.
But if no one has any problems—absolutely; why would that same life coach then present the notion that we are to remove from our lives, the people that have problems?
Here’s a truth that many don’t like to admit: we all have problems. We all face dramas, and we all are victimized at some point in our lives, some more than others.
This does not mean we are low frequency people. Otherwise, we are all low frequency people. I mean, you can’t honestly tell me that there are people who literally never have problems or dramas. Maybe Betty White, but the rest of us are not shielded from reality.
Reality includes suffering. It includes hardships. Real life hits us hard with spontaneous pop-ups and we just don’t have a guaranteed pop-up blocker. No amount of positive thinking is going to protect you from the cruelties and injustices of the world. No amount of daily affirmations or writings with your non-dominant hand are going to keep you safe from suffering, loss, and pain.
Finicky About Frequency = Supremacy
There are some who confidently proclaim that we ought to seek out only those who think like us. We need to connect to those who are on the same path as we are. That we need to conduct a flow only with those who are on the same high frequency as we are.
For me, this looks a lot like supremacy. This looks a lot like a justification for exercising a superiority mentality. And I get it, most of us are familiar with that old adage: “You are known by the company that you keep, so we think we need to be particular about who we let in our circle of trust.
But my argument to this sort of mentality is this: If you are not willing to remain open to all connections from all frequencies of people, aren’t you limiting not only yourself, but all others? When we hold to mentalities like this that tell us to be so selective with who we are influenced by; when we are so precise about the prerequisites about which types of people we are willing to interact with; we start looking like Pharisees. We resemble exclusive clubs that rate one another based on the amount of baggage and drama they have in their lives.
Is that what Jesus would do?
Jesus didn’t surround himself with people who thought just like him, nor that were on the same level of awareness as him. In fact, as he was a leader, a teacher, and an understanding Messiah; he projected a frequency that others could imitate. He seemingly gravitated toward those who sent out low frequencies, did he not?
Why did Jesus do this? Because Jesus knew that in order to influence others to love, show grace, and compassion, he had to demonstrate it for himself; he had to be the model that others would want to mimic. He never told others, “Your frequency is not good for me, I need higher frequency friends.”
Jesus reached out to those who were facing drama, who were lost, who were feeling unworthy, and he showed them that they were worthy, especially of his friendship and companionship.
What kind of problems was Peter having when Jesus scoffed at him? Matthew 16:23 shows us:
Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
Imagine if Jesus picked up on Peter’s low frequency and just cut his ties? But instead, Jesus says:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Didn’t the woman at the well have problems in her life? (Maybe that was just an illusion?)
Didn’t Zacchaeus have problems? Did Jesus dismiss him? No! In fact, Jesus remarked on how quickly Zacchaeus was able to turn up his frequency—from low to high, almost instantly. Luke 19:9
Today, salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.
The lost? Aren’t they the low frequency people some of these life coaches urge us to dismiss and cut out of our lives?
Here’s the thing. You cannot control the frequency of others. In many times, you may even turn down your own frequency and not even be aware of it. From time to time, we all become so burdened with a change of circumstance, that in order to deal with it, we have to turn our frequency down.
You may perceive that your friends send out “low frequency” vibes, but you could also be misreading them, or only judging one particular reading of a frequency. More than that, we must stop thinking that negativity is altogether bad. If you are going to pull yourself away from others because they are going through a change of season, then you aren’t really committing to a true relationship.
And if you are not committing to an authentic relationship—one that includes the risk of loss, pain, heartbreak, misunderstanding, and growing pains; then you aren’t really all that open to love. Instead, you are merely participating in an economic exchange of gain. Meaning, your connections are only about what they provide for you, what they do for you, how they lift you up. Relationships like these end up feeding the ego—or the false self. So, in essence, it’s a false relationship built on personal self-flattery. It’s fake.
More than that, you are holding others to an expectation that they should evolve exactly the way that you are, in exactly the same time frame, and by taking exactly the same path. Who can do that? No one. Why? Because everyone has their own experience in life. None of us are on the same path. No one. We all walk on our own paths. True, the paths of others may intersect with ours, may even run parallel to ours, but we have our own individual paths. And all paths lead to God, even the darkened paths.
Advice offered that tells you to break away from people who aren’t on the same path as you, is dangerous, especially to the deconstruction/transformation process. What do you do if your significant other is not evolving in the same way as you? Do you leave them? Do you give them an ultimatum to change now, just like you, or you walk away?
I would have had to walk away from everyone in my life, and everyone I was destined to meet, had I taken this kind of advice to heart.
A deeper revelation to advice like this demonstrates that the person trying to guide you this way is running from something. Be aware that others will try to take you with them on their mission to escape reality. Egos need an audience and followers. The ego will try to run away from problems. The true self will want to solve the problem, not run from it.
My final caution is this:
Examine, deeply, the simplistic advice that others are eager to dole out to you at an hourly rate. Life is complex. There are not simple answers. And none of the answers are ever going to be readily handed out to you in a six-week session with a life coach or a therapist. There are so many facets of our reality that it is crucial that we understand no one has all the answers and you won’t find all the answers. Life must, above all else, retain a bit of mystery. The heart and the mind of the individual must work collaboratively to hold the tension of high and low frequency.
Those who insist upon always running on this higher frequency should heed the warning of C.S. Lewis:
The higher a thing is, the lower it can descend.