What You Deny Claims You, What You Accept Transforms You
Many people who come into my office want to change. Especially their situations of permanent discomfort, unease and unhappiness. Yet, without making a real change in themselves. A big part of the initial resistance to psychotherapy that these people present has a lot to do with their fear to accept what is truly happening in their lives. Funny enough, because most of the correct changes take place because the individual has recognized their starting point.
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they truly are. Part of their pain is produced by the way they evaluate themselves. At the same time, these people think that the pain they are experiencing could turn them into susceptible and belligerent people.
The interpretations that are associated with our emotional reactions are the ones which make us suffer and fall into a conflict with ourselves. Ultimately, we are the cause- or at least the “accomplices”– of our own self-harm.
Choosing to adopt an attitude of resistance will in many occasions hinder your progress. It keeps you from understanding that the cause of your suffering has nothing to do with the stimulus in question. Instead, it’s about the relationship you have with this stimulus. People who resist change simply hope that their problems will improve. That they will do so on their own in the future without assuming a proactive attitude. They expect to be compensated in some way without changing any of the behaviors which actually caused the problem.
Happiness can only exist in acceptance. When you accept something, it transforms you.
Peace comes from within, don’t seek it in the external world
Many of the patients which come into the office think the same thing. That the source of their complaints can be found in external factors, which makes them hard to control. Furthermore, a big part of their desperation emerges and is maintained due to an excessive fixation on an unjust situation. One that they have no control over.
When we’re not capable of regulating our own moods, we easily resort to placing the blame on others for our emotional unease. Upon focusing on others, we are placing the control of our emotions in the hands of others.
In regards to their essence, no one would consciously and voluntarily hand over the control of their emotions to someone else. However, we crumble every time someone doesn’t meet the expectations we had about them. Teaching people to deal with pressure and frustration is a fundamental aspect of an individual’s mental dynamic. This task begins by making the patient accept their situation and, likewise, their ability to intervene in it.
Inner changes precede external changes
When our beliefs clash with those of other people or with circumstances that differ from our way of seeing things, we tend to develop a recurrent psychological discomfort. Initiating a process of personal change will help us focus on ourselves and will keep us from victimizing ourselves. Furthermore, it will prevent indignation and resignation.
Being honest with ourselves may be painful at first, but in the medium term it is very liberating. It allows us to confront the truth about who we are and how we interact with our inner world. In truth, we are the only ones capable of disturbing ourselves.
We’re the only ones with the power to harm ourselves. Despite having liberated our own minds, this personal illusory war causes us a set of emotional burdens. Among them are guilt, resentment, grudges, hatred, punishment and the desire for vengeance. All of these emotions are the ones which lead us towards therapy, sometimes disguised as conflicts with others.
These emotions are the result of having interpreted past facts and emotions in an excessive, external way. The problem emerges when these past facts condition our relationships in the present. It poses a problem when it keeps us from moving forward. Remember: only when you accept the past will you be able to live in the present.