HABIT 2: Humbe Thyself
In therapy, one of the most tenacious foes I face is helping someone realize they're wrong. Most people that come into my office are just dead wrong! About what? About what they believe about their future. And boy are they certain that they have it all figured out! "Nothing will ever go right for me; no matter what I do, I'll never be okay; I'll never find the right person; I'll always struggle…be alone…a screw up, ..."
By the time a person saunters their way into my office, they've just about had it with twisted behaviors caused by outdated, distorted thoughts and feelings about people…situations…places. And, man!...do I ever try too hard sometimes to untangle a person's thoughts about how their future is for sure going to end poorly. Thankfully, time has taught me to keep my cool and let new behavioral patterns unfold organically.
People (including myself) are often absolutely wrong about what the future holds. Like blowing a candle out before you turn the lights on, anxiety can stifle your dreams and hopes prematurely. Overdoing its protective duties, it can make you the worst enemy of your future.
The "what if" worry mechanism was originally blended into our DNA as a way to self-protect. Too much self-protection, however, equals being protected from the potential "good" conclusions of your future, as well. Like how water can nurious or kill depending on the amount allowed in, anxiety can sustain life or annihilate it.
Letting Go of Your Future
When I finished the exam to be a therapist (the counseling equivalent to the bar exam), I felt like nothing I studied for was on that dang test. I knew for sure I’d bombed it! Didn't have any good feelings at all.
Did I worry? Not really. Why? Well, because I've learned something about this ol' brain of mine. It loves to take feelings to the bank and cash them in before I can even sign the checks—as if feelings are absolute and all-telling. Well, I've also learned that this rusty brain of mine doesn't like to check things out before it stamps the words "done deal" on a situation, or a person even.
If I don't intervene, my mind, like a naive teen (no offense), simply believes the feelings I have are evidence of a bad outcome.
Try humbling yourself. Like my wife is constantly about her keys, maybe you're wrong. It doesn't matter how obvious it is that my wife is wrong about something (especially about where the keys are), she will go to her grave saying…"Uhhhhh, I'm right…and you're not!"
For some reason, the truth of where the keys are takes a back seat to her need to be right. As we get older it seems we have an ongoing unspoken battle of "Whose Memory is Going First?"
I say hers…she says mine.
Have you ever thought that maybe you're wrong? Maybe the conclusions you've drawn in your head about your future are skewed, based off limited information, or maybe they formed at a different time in your life and they no longer serve a purpose.
I hope this helps...
For help in Colorado Springs call 719-433-1407
(The information included on this site/article is not an attempt to provide counseling/therapy or any other form of professional treatment, not even a bit. In no way is it intended or implied to substitute counseling/therapy or any other professional services. Also, while the content of this site/ article could be based off real life circumstances, people (clients), names and situations have been changed to protect the identity/confidentiality of the person. Each client has also signed a release to allow the therapist to write about their situation for educational [not therapy] purposes only. If you need professional help, and/or have mental health questions, by golly, seek out a professional counselor...you and your family deserve it! )