I’ve been struggling lately with an unusual travel companion as I chug along the road of life–writer’s block. Most of the time, all I have to do is sit down at my computer and something will pop out of my fingertips. But, lately I’ve been following the muse into other art forms instead. Boy, I’m getting a lot of cello playing done. Nevertheless, this aimless intellectual wandering is a bit unsettling. Writing has always been my primary form of expression.
At times like this, I need to head out there and get some inspiration. For me, that usually means reading someone else’s fantastic writing (Thomas Lynch always does it) or accessing a bit of social interaction. Right now, I don’t want to do that, though. I just want to be frickin’ brilliant without effort. And that, dear readers, brings me to the point of today’s blog: thinking and insight are not enough to create substantial long-term change for you or (alas) for me. To really up the ante, you must combine the knowing with the doing.
There is a myth out there that if you understand your current situation, history and proclivities completely, that behavioral change will then be easy and natural. Folks begin to get frustrated in therapy when the insight doesn’t necessarily prompt massive changes. Don’t despair! One of the most important gifts that a deeper awareness can offer is giving yourself permission to change. But, once you have really gotten it in your head that making a few alterations will serve your best interests, you’re only a bit of the way there. I tell you this to reassure you that the behavioral efforts necessary to support intellectual and spiritual revelations are tough for everyone. If it felt natural to do those things, guess what? You would have done them already. A real longing for insight to be sufficient is common. And, it’s surmountable when you’re willing to honor the process.
If therapists have a magic wand to wave, it is assisting clients in getting clear about concerns that were once murky. For instance, noting that you ape out and scream at your partners because that is what was done in your family of origin is a handy moment of clarity. Recognizing that you constantly choose friends who have poor boundaries and require you to have the same may illuminate the path to change. But, you still have to do the things that pinch a bit to really succeed at life or in therapy. For instance, you must practice the breathing exercises we do when you become too rage-filled to participate nicely. You’ve got to stick to the meditation homework that helps us get your anxiety down a bit.
Have you hit a rough spot? Would you like a bit of help figuring out how to get back out there? Why don’t you come on in so we can talk about it.
Your Partner in Healing,
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