Guides to Life

2004/09/09 at 09:35

In a recent blog post, Lance Arthur shares some insights about therapy, but I think they’re good advice for life in general:

Your therapist knows what your problems are pretty early, but they have to allow you to discover them for yourself or you won’t believe them, and/or you’ll be so quick to believe them that the discover itself has no meaning to you and you think you’re cured simply because you now understand what’s wrong, but that’s only the first step in a long, laborious process.

Knowing what’s wrong isn’t really helpful. It’s a step along the way, and it has a certain satisfaction, but it isn’t the resolution. It’s like cooking. You set out the ingredients and there they all are, sitting there, the sugar and butter and flour and salt and baking soda and semi-sweet chocolate chips and brown sugar… but that’s not cookies, is it? It’s what makes up the cookies, but you have a lot to do before it’s cookie time.

Saying things out loud changes them. You’re constantly telling yourself things internally, things about how you feel, or “woe is me” things, or ideas about how you’re feeling and why. It’s only when you say it out loud that, suddenly, and for whatever reason, it turns real. It hasn’t changed… but it has.

However you feel about yourself, you’re right. There is no wrong. You can be wrong about the reasons, and you can be wrong about the person you are (characteristics and behaviors and so on, the things that physically manifest based on the way you think you out to be) but you’re never wrong about how you feel. Feelings are just that, and trying to control them is an exercise in futility.

You can’t force anyone to do anything they aren’t ready to do, including yourself. You can’t force yourself to be happy. You can’t logic your way out of it or into it. There are always reasons, but you may not be able to see them or verbalize them or understand them.

Words can fail you, but they’re only words. Don’t think that because you can’t describe the way you feel or why that it isn’t real. Words may come later, so don’t let that frustrate you.

It’s sometimes more important to understand something than to believe it.