The most painful kind of client to meet is one so invested in their pain that, in order to change, they would actually have to invalidate so much of their lives, so many beliefs, values, and relationships that there is more pain than pleasure associated with the process.
–a woman so invested in a hugely brittle and inflexible religious belief that has poisoned relationships and stolen joy. To change, she would have to acknowlege the massive fear of death she keeps behind those barriers.
–a man who has invested huge amounts of time, energy and treasure in an organization that bleeds him. If he awakens to it, he has to admit that he’s been (from his position) an utter fool, shattering his self image.
–a racist who justifies her position as “science”. If she ever grasped the amount of pain her attitudes, and those who hold them, have inflicted upon the world, the amount of guilt would be staggering.
–a woman trapped in an abusive, controlling marriage. She has given up so much of her power that it is very possible she is no longer capable of being self-supporting. To awaken to the trap she is in might actually be worse than continued delusion.
And on. And on. People who stuffed their dreams until there is no time to fulfill them. Who abused their bodies until they broke down, and need to believe it is their body’s fault. Who worship parents who abused them–to ever acknowledge this, let alone confront them, would destroy whatever slender threads connect them to that image, however false, of parental love.
To deal with one of these, or the thousand variants, is genuinely painful. There is almost no genuine leverage to “get” on such people, because truth has, absent massive intervention, become more painful than fantasy. There are steps such people can take (and I’ve been able to help a few of them) but breaking their disempowering patterns can be horrifically difficult.
And from a distance? Just Skyping, telephoning, or email? I can’t do it. I don’t doubt there are people good enough to handle it, but that’s beyond my current capacity.
All I can do is start with the most central, bedrock advice: learn to love yourself. To connect so deeply that you provide all your own NEEDS emotionally (“Wants” can remain. That’s fine). To love yourself as you would your own most beloved child.
Give me anyone who has taken that step, and showing them the door “out” of their pain is relatively simple. Because, even if they are at the end of their lives, they can connect with this love, and be at peace. And if they have any time and energy left, they can either find a way to make genuine peace with their life as it is, or see a way to make a change that gives more pleasure than pain.
And if they are like about 99% of people, once they learn to break their painful pattern, and connect with love, it is possible to strategize to optimize their efforts and move toward greater pleasure, greater integrity with Self, greater love and joy and personal evolution. Most of what stops us is fear, especially fear that we are not worth the effort. “Fix” this, and teach yourself to connect with this love and joy daily, first thing, right out of bed…and it changes the nature of your entire day. And all you need to have a perfect life is collect a string of perfect days. That’s it.
- Find the love inside yourself. Heartbeat meditation.
- Admit you want to feel more joy. Ancient child.
- Learn to break your disempowering patterns and re-connect on demand. Five minute miracle
- Take steps in the direction of your goal, knowing that, like all humans, you will fail repeatedly. Vow to fall down 1000 times, and get up 1001.
- Set goals in all four major arenas AT THE LEAST. More, sure. Less…I don’t think so. Your real problems will hide in the perversely precise shadows where you are afraid to look.
- Keep loving yourself. Enjoy the journey.