When people come to me for counseling they are often puzzled about how to grow… psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Many have expressed the thought that it is almost as if there must be a “Book of Rules” out there somewhere which needs to be memorized before we can grow! The fact though is that if we work on any one aspect of our inner life all of the other aspects will shift and grow in response to the work being done in that one area. So the key is to start! Simply start working on one specific area and as growth occurs then insights will come as to what needs to be done in other areas. (click any picture to see larger images)
It has been said that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing in the same way again and again, each time expecting a different result! I once observed someone trying to learn to use her computer who wanted a specific result but kept pressing the same wrong button over and over again, each time getting the same unwanted result. The session ended with them being overcome by a tsunami of anger, a blood-curdling scream and a keyboard flying across the room!
All of us can identify with the problem of being overwhelmed and bewildered by our own anger. So was it the computer that made the person angry? No it was the person’s response to frustration which was being expressed by anger. Anger is normally a protective emotion that covers up the deeper and more vulnerable emotions… often fear and frustration. Real growth in maturity occurs when we begin to look beneath the surface of the expressions of our emotions and discover the real issues hiding there.
What my keyboard-hurling friend had to learn over time was that the surface anger was actually an expression of her frustration. This was a realization she had never made before but came to believe that there must also be a depth to her other emotions that she was not looking into. By training herself to not automatically hurl things when she became angry she also began to automatically look beneath the other expressions of her inner life. She discovered a much richer and more complex life at work within herself than she’d even known was there! And she no longer hurls keyboards!
We CAN change! Things CAN be different. And all of it begins by asking ourselves “What is really going on here inside myself?”