Have you ever pondered why you do the things you do? This question comes up when we find ourselves falling in the same trap time after time, some life lesson that we seem to have a
hard time getting past. Everyone has one area of life, or another, that tends to habitually trip us up. Maybe we have a hard time with relationships, finances, employment, self-esteem, or a host of other life situations. Depending on the severity of our “problem” we may find ourselves going to counseling, and some of us go to counseling for a long time, only to find that our tendency to keep falling in the same pitfalls continues. Some counselors might ask you about your childhood, upbringing and numerous life questions, as if gazing at your belly button magically holds the cure that seems to have evaded you. As far as the healing goes, who cares why? If you look back over your life, how much time have you spent looking backwards over the life you have already lived? How much time, thought and energy have you wasted in trying to pinpoint the exact reasons for why you do what you do, or think what you think, or feel the way that you feel?
“How does that make you feel?,” you may have answered 100 times, without being any closer to the solutions in your life.
Who cares why?
So you spend three months, six months, a year, or ten years, figuring out just what makes you tick. I am a retired holistic counselor. I believe that counseling can work to heal our emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical selves. But, and this is a big but, if we spent more time moving forward as some counselors spend going backwards, we would find our healing in about one tenth of the time.
Seek solution oriented, goal oriented methods, whether you choose to go to counseling, or you decide you can work by yourself in this character development process. My recommendation in any counseling setting, or self-help approach, to allow the first 15 minutes of an hour session, to state your problem. That is it. No more, unless you want to stay stuck in the problem. If you want to stay stuck in the problem, then by all means, keep stirring the pot. What you focus on grows. The longer you talk about the problem, the reasons for the problem, the justifications for the problem, and the problem, the problem, the problem, the longer you stay stuck there. Don’t we just love to focus on the problem? It’s such an ego trip.
The ego does not like this part, only taking 15 minutes to state the problem. The ego wants to steal the floor, add to the drama, focus all of the time on the problem, spin the web of chaos, hijacking your life. But all of these tactics immobilize the situation by refusing to look at the one and only remedy, which is the solution.
Again I ask, who cares why?
No matter if you take five, 10 or 15 years to discover why you are the way you are, you still get to the beginning point of positive changes you need to make to stop the repetitive pattern of dysfunction in your life. You will heal so much quicker if you take an assessment of where you are, then consciously decide where you want to go, and make plans to get there. This life is all a work in progress. Expect to make mistakes along the way. You will make a lot more mistakes before you are through. But that’s how you learn and grow. You are where you are, right now in this place and time, because of them. Where you are right now is the perfect starting place to begin, or begin again, for the hundredth time.
Healing begins by accepting exactly where you are right now, accepting all of your actions, accepting all of your thoughts, accepting all of your feelings, accepting all of your questions. The only way to heal is to accept everything about yourself here and now. If you decide you want to stop gambling, lose weight, quit lying, cheating or stealing, or anything you perceive as a dysfunctional habit, you must begin at the beginning of accepting the truth about yourself, as you see it. Then, if you wish to make any self improvements, get out of abusive relationships, or take courses to put you on the right path, then you can focus all your attention on where you want to go, rather than constantly looking backwards, reviewing over and over again the things that gave you low self-esteem and self-sabotaging habits, and the things that did not work for you.
Ask yourself what your goals are, how you want to feel, what values are important to you. Choose one virtuous trait to work on at a time. Maybe it’s punctuality, telling the truth, or maybe it is choosing to live a life of integrity and honor. Make a plan. Make several plans. Where do you see yourself in six months, one year, and five years from now? Try working with deadlines. I have written for newspapers, as well as articles for magazines. If I did not have deadlines, knowing myself, I would most likely never have completed any of them.
You can achieve anything your mind can conceive. Life is what you make it, so make your life beautiful.