“A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices.”
– William James, psychologist
“I’m embarrassing myself with my behaviour.”
Abel was unable to deal with his ‘good fortune.’ Abel was a thirty five year old professional, whose classic, ‘tall, dark and handsome’ looks was probably like a magnet to iron filings, when he was around certain females. He had a good job with a sound pension in a successful company. It made candy and sold it, globally.
Abel had recently ended a marriage he said was not for him. But, he had kept the relationship with his ex-spouse, Anita, and said he wished her well. He had good health. His new, exciting future was before him. So, I wondered why he would be calling me?
This is what he said,
“I met this woman in the coffee room at work. She is new to the company and she is ‘stunning’…like ‘just stunning, Ken! I can’t stop thinking about her. I went to get a coffee about every hour yesterday, in case I might bump into her. I’m embarrassing myself with my behaviour. I should know better. I was married for five years. I’m not a naive teenager. What is going on? I need help, right away!”
“Are you saying I’m just ‘horney,’ not happy?”
I said, “Abel, you are actually showing a sound awareness of the difference between infatuation and love. As you describe your behaviour yesterday, that looks to me like infatuation.
“Yeah! That’s what I thought too!”
“Infatuation can provide four to six weeks of great sex followed by a crash when you start noticing she also has fatigue, flatulence and flashbacks to her previous relationships.” I added.
“Are you saying I’m just ‘horney,’ not happy?” he asked, already knowing the answer.
“Abel, it sounds like you are looking for your next relationship and you’re not sure what you are really seeking. Is there any truth to that?” I asked.
“Actually…yes! I’m very conscious of not making the same mistake again I made with Anita…and end up wasting more time.” he replied, his insecurity coming out full force.
“When you think about it carefully, doesn’t it have to be true, Abel?”
“Actually Abel, humans, like all animals, can’t really waste time because whatever they’re doing keeps them alive and ensures their survival for that moment of their life. Others may not agree, but you’ve done exactly what you needed before now, to get to be here now.”
“But that would mean my time with Anita was not a mistake…it helped me survive to be here today. Is that what you’re saying, Ken?”
“When you think about it carefully, doesn’t it have to be true, Abel?”
“Perhaps, but I don’t know how it helped me survive to be here right now. How do I find that out?” he asked, a challenge in his voice.
“I can help you with that part. But first, it is important to emphasize it helped you survive in some way at every moment of your time with Anita…and there were no exceptions!” I said with emphasis to test the depth of his integration of the idea.
“……the more pain the more gain…for me?”
“You mean even moment with Anita, even the ones which were the most painful, also contributed to me being here now…is that it?” Abel asked.
“Yes, that’s it! And, the most painful ones are the most important to your survival!”
“Ken, are you saying…the more pain the more gain…for me?”
“Yep! Wherever we have the most pain or the most pleasure, we have the most illusion to motivate us to learn. Do you want to explore your most painful memory of your time with Anita and find out how it is true for you?” I challenged.
“Let’s do that! My worst moment with Anita is memorable and very clear to me. It was when I decided to tell her our marriage was over for me and I wanted to start divorce proceedings.”
‘What made it so hard for you Abel?”
“If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.” – William James, psychologist
“… freeze that memory at that moment…”
“Ken, I knew she had struggled hard to make our relationship work. I cared about her, didn’t want to hurt her, but I also didn’t want to be with her any longer.” he said, the pain and confusion evident again on his face.
I asked Abel, “Tell me where and when this moment occurred and who was there besides you and Anita?”
“We were alone in our apartment on a Saturday night. We were sitting at our kitchen table discussing our finances. And, our apartment lease was coming due. It was the moment when I finally decided to tell her what I had been thinking about for months. She was devastated and very upset…angry and crying, both at the same time. I felt so bad for her.”
“As you watched her get upset and angry how did you cope with the moment, Abel?”
“I tried to explain to her why I had made the decision…that it wasn’t about her, but about me…that I had needed to move on for some time…that I had wanted to tell her for some time…but didn’t know how…so I had been putting it off and off…” he said anguish re-surging in his voice and on his face.
“Abel, freeze that memory at that moment…as you are explaining to Anita why you want to end your marriage!” I said firmly to catch his attention and focus.
Then I continued, “Now, close your eyes and go right inside that moment and be there saying to Anita what you said.”
“…you were redefining your relationship with Anita?”
Abel sat back a little in his chair, closed his eyes and there was quiet for a moment.
Then I said, “Remember with great pain there is equally great pleasure at the same moment to equilibrate it naturally. Abel, be in that moment and tell me what was the pleasure for you to have the opportunity to say those things to Anita?”
He kept his eyes closed and I waited patiently knowing the natural laws of balance, symmetry and synchronicity prevail at all times in our lives.
Then, he said,
“Well, the first thing that comes to mind is I was getting it out, I was saying what had been on my mind for so long…I felt relieved in some way.”
“Why were you relieved, Abel?”
“I was relieved that I finally said what was in my mind…and my heart.”
“Do you mean you were redefining your relationship with Anita?” I asked.
“Yes, and I was verbalizing my thoughts, my wishes, really my dreams for myself and my future.”
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
– William James, psychologist
“Why was it so important…to have that opportunity…that moment in your life…?”
“That sounds like you were honouring some of your highest values, would that be true?”
“Yes, Ken! That’s exactly what I was doing. I was being me in a new, more assertive and more empowering way!”
“It sounds like you were taking control of your own destiny. Why was it so important for you to have that opportunity that day and at that moment in your life, Abel?”
Again, he went quiet, closed his eyes and sat back. When he opened them about 60 seconds later, they were moist. He said,
“Ken, I’ve been a wimp my whole life. I have always struggled with self-esteem and self-confidence. Growing up, my parents ran my life until I left home ten years ago. You’ve heard of helicopter parents, I had ‘knapsack parents,’ they were never really off my back, constantly trying to control my life.”
“Would you give me some examples of what you mean?”
“Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but they picked my friends in school, my girlfriends in high school and my courses in university.” he said.
“So you felt controlled in the past. Did you perceive Anita as trying to control you, too?”
“…trying to find anywhere…this balance law…does not apply.”
“Looking back now, I have been struggling to empower myself my entire life. And, my relationship with Anita actually helped me to notice how depowered I was in our marriage. And, I realize now, I practice what I needed most at that moment…to be empowered!” he said, smiling softly with insight and appreciation.
This was the start of Abel’s journey to more self-esteem and self-confidence. He had several other experiences in his past whose truth needed to be uncovered as well. He noticed a recurring pattern of him empowering himself in different forms on each occasion of his painful memories.
Near the end of his work with me, he made an insightful observation which reflected how far he had come in the evolution of his sense of himself and the law of balance. As he arrived in my office for his consult, I had asked him how things were going.
He replied smiling, “I’m doing OK! The challenge I face now is trying to find anywhere in my past or present this balance law of equal pleasure and pain, does not apply.”
I returned his smile saying, “Now, you’re getting ahead of me!”
““The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.” – William James, psychologist
Until Next time…
Now you know, …your significant others have been part of your history to help you learn to appreciate and empower yourself in new ways you need to learn. Not one was a mistake. Every one was an important learning opportunity for you. Go find the value of each past relationship so you can get on with your life.
YOUR NEXT OPPORTUNITY TO UNCOVER YOUR PERFECTION:
“A COUPLES’ TRANSFORMATION DAY”
Saturday, June 17th, 2017
Suite #3 The Pierce Institute Offices
549 North River Road, Charlottetown, PE
Here is your chance to:
- Confirm Your Relationship Commitment!
- Conquer Relationships Challenges!
- Build More Emotional Stability!
- Settle Financial Disputes!
- Create A Social Life!
- Resolve Parenting Issues!
- Reinvigorate Your Intimacy!
So: Invest in YOU! – Invest in your RELATIONSHIP!
Register Today! There are no mistakes, only learning opportunities for your future well being!
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you
Be well…balanced! Ken