When we have feelings, thoughts or behaviours that are a problem for us, we have bought into an idea, that it is helping us in some way. A smoker might tell me that they smoke to de-stress, yet if that smoker were wired up to a heart rate monitor we would see that their body becomes more stressed when they smoke. The person with OCD may have convinced themselves that if they fail to succumb to a ritual, something bad will happen. For the bereaved, some fear that if they let go of that sadness, it means they don’t care. In reality, letting go of the sadness allows the treasured memories of the loved one to come forward, providing comfort.
One of the most difficult concepts for some clients can be around coming to peace with past events. Continuing to stay angry or upset at someone for hurting us in some way is rather like feeding ourselves poison and waiting for the other person to die. Holocaust survivor, Eva Mozes Kor controversially forgave the notorious Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, for his crimes against her, and her twin sister Miriam. Mengele, also known as the Angel of Death, carried out medical experiments on many pairs of twins, and it is thought that the experiments damaged Miriam’s kidney, eventually leading to her death. Of this contentious decision Eva said. “What I discovered for myself was life-changing. I discovered that I had the power to forgive. No one could give me that power and no one could take it away. It was all mine to use in any way I wished.”
I have had clients that have carried guilt or shame over things that they have done, or that have happened to them. These feelings can span decades, in fact I have worked with people that have carried guilt or shame for more than 50 years. Guilt and shame are huge problem emotions for us, as they burden us with feelings of not being good enough. We are what we believe ourselves to be, so if we feel that we are in some way a bad person, we unconsciously seek to prove that we are that. I don’t need to know what it is that makes someone feel guilty, ashamed or anything else, I can do fast, effective, content free therapy, so that these uncomfortable feelings can be changed without having to disclose the issue.
The great news is that the human brain is so amazing, we can find ways to see thing from a new perspective – one that supports us better. In actual fact there are always lots of different ways to see things. Some people see the glass as half-full, whilst others see the glass as half-empty. When two witnesses come forward to report what happened in a car accident they will often give a different account of events. Remember ‘that dress’ that some saw in blue and black, and some saw in white and gold? Seeing things from a different perspective, challenges us to consider what right and what is wrong.
If your perspective on something isn’t serving you well, I can help you see it from a different angle, one that empowers you.