I have a friend who is such a great guy, but he lives in the pain of his past. I wrote a full chapter of my book about him. He truly believes he can’t have a normal relationship because of the anger he harbors inside, and … He’s right! Like Henry Ford said,“Whether you believe you can, or whether you believe you can’t, you’re absolutely right.” Henry, though not a therapist, was a brilliant man and right on the money! I found out first hand, what you believe determines how you live your life.
For years, I couldn’t understand why my “magnetic personality” was drawn to jerks or why they were attracted to me. I can’t tell you how many times I found myself at the bottom, struggling to look up.
Martha Beck describes the theory so well in this series. I love the title and the content! Martha, where were you all my life? I guess I just had to learn it on my own to really own the knowledge. With any luck, it will just click for those of you who are reading my blog.
I just met with a client I’ll call Kristin, an energetic self-pitier. We were discussing her desire for a promotion when her gaze dropped and her voice took on a timbre both sorrowful and weirdly practiced, as though she were reciting a very depressing Pledge of Allegiance.
“You know,” Kristin said, her eyes welling up, “my mother never let me talk back to her, never really listened to me.” Her chest began to heave. “My therapist says she may as well have been deaf.” She dissolved into tears.
“Oh,” I said. “So, are you going to ask for that promotion?”
“She never listened!” Kristin repeated, sobbing, her hand on her neck. “My astrologer says it totally blocked my throat chakra!”
“Kristin,” I said, “Look at me, please.”
She didn’t want to. I insisted. “How many fingers am I holding up?” Reluctantly, like a dog dropping a stolen ham, Kristin raised her eyes and looked. “Three,” she said. Her tears dried up. She seemed disappointed. The story-fondling thing had been going so well. “Kristin, can you see that your mother isn’t here? Can you hear that you are able to speak? You’re a full-grown woman, with a functioning larynx, who wants a promotion. Full stop.”
I call this anchoring, establishing a simple, physical, factual connection with present reality. Try it for yourself, right now. Look around you. Listen. Touch your hair, the floor, this page. Whatever happened 10 years ago, whatever happened ten minutes ago, is not your present concern. Neither is what will happen in another ten years, another ten minutes. This moment is all you have to worry about. Narrowing your attention to this point is your reconnection with solid ground.
by Martha Beck
I will post part 3 in the next few days so come back and visit my blog.