Saturday, 10 January 2009
LIVE AND LET LIVE, BY BEING RIGHT BEING YOURSELF
It's odd, when I work I end up saying the same things over and over again to people.
Hopefully not the same person!
I have to see each person and listen to their story, and then I help them find solutions to their issues. And each person needs to feel that I am telling my words fresh for them. I cannot allow myself to come across as jaded or disinterested in any one persons story. On the whole the difference between people is the story, cause the feelings and reactions are fairly universal.
I don't really work like other therapists, as I believe that if I explain why you feel something in language that is understandable then the client has a chance to use what they've learnt in the session and practise out in their world. So I talk a lot in therapy sessions.
I use the language of emotions and feelings. I swear a lot in therapy, but I wait my moment for the first time I use an expletive. Generally I judge this right, and when I say something like 'I'm not fucking surprised' when someone has told their tale, and is upset, then I can see the fear lifting from my clients.
Cause suddenly they realise that they don't have to hide from me, that I will not judge them for being who they are. That I understand, and can not only empathise, but that they have a sense that I've been there to.
People are so frightened of their feelings, and it is this fear that I work on dispelling in a session. I try to get people to understand that whatever they feel is perfect for them. After all, we are all different and there is no right way to be. Otherwise everyone would be like me!!!
It is incongruous to think that, for example we all have to eat the same breakfast, why would we? We eat what we fancy and not what someone else thinks we should eat.... that is unless someones on a health food kick and is extolling the virtues of porridge and convincing people around to try it! But even then, if you really didn't like porridge you wouldn't eat it just to please someone.
It's the same in so many areas of life, music, sports, TV, films, clothes, we make our own choices. And if we did do as everyone else then you better get used to listening to jazz, hating sports, loving NCIS, adoring the movie Slumdog Millionaire,(which by the way is a must see movie)and wearing levis, timberland boots and cashmere jumpers all the time when your not at work. Cause those are my choices and I'm right........ well at least for me.
So what people do is allow everyone those choices, but then hook into their feelings not being right, which is just madness in my book. What right has anyone to say I have to like porridge YUCK! or that I should vote this way or that, at least for those of us living in a democracy we have that choice. Or I should have a particular religious faith. Or that I should feel whatever it is someone says I should feel.
The answer to all those is NO, I will make my own mind up, and know that my choices are right for me. And this belief in our own power is what I encourage clients to do. To feel confident that it is ok to say NO to someone else. That doesn't mean it has to be rigid, otherwise I'd never have tried curry years ago, as my sense of not liking it would have never let me experiment in the first place. But now I know how hot I like my curry, I won't eat a korma or a vindaloo, as I think they are both horrible. But within the range of what I will eat in terms of temperature I will continue to try different things. So that all the while my taste is being refined to what exactly works best for me.
Feelings are not like this, as what we do with them is we have a hard core belief, usually set in stone as children and then we have a terrible time trying to change our rigid belief systems. But we do, think about how your views have changed over the years as you got more experience of the world. I know that I have a much more global village outlook on the world than ever I did before blogging for example.
So I'm not so fearful as I used to be in that regard. Ok I'm still utterly useless round spiders! But even with those over the years I've learnt to let go of some of my fear some of the time.
As people learn to feel better about themselves they learn to be more empowered about their feelings being right for them. We cannot live our lives through others, how ever much others may want us to. Or that we want to for an easy life.
Living like that is being passive and unhealthy, as an individual has no control over the rightness of being themselves. Obviously if it goes to far the other way that is equally bad, in so far that taking power from other people makes people aggressive. It is very difficult to be around people who, when they ask you if you want a drink, and you say yes to a coffee and they then spend ten minutes telling you that you actually want tea you can end up feeling very disempowered.
I'm talking here about being assertive, believing that I have rights, and that you have rights. And that neither of us has more rights than the other. That we are both equal and different. And that being that way is fine.
And just maybe if more people around the world realised that yes they have power over themselves, but no-one else, then we'd stop all the bloody wars going on. Cause if there is one thing that is a power play it's rightness of enemies views about their enemies.
Whatever happened to live and let live?