How to Access a Part of You That Already Knows How to Solve Your Problems
When therapists get together, one of the things we talk about frequently is the challenge of doing the things in our own lives that we regularly are suggesting to our clients. Most therapists have agreed with me when I have said, “It’s not doing it that’s hard, it’s getting into a difficult spot in my life and saying to myself, ‘What would you tell a client who is going through this.’ If I can only remember to ask myself that question, it seems that about 90% of the time what I need to do immediately becomes clear.”
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It’s okay that you’re probably not a therapist, and therefore do not have the graduate-level counseling education and years of experience working with clients that, for therapists, is often just one question away.
But all the same, in a lot of situations where you struggle, you already know the answer. You just don’t know you know it.
A lot of what I teach couples to do is stuff they are busy in their everyday lives teaching to their children.
For example, struggling couples often take very harsh tones with one another, even as they frequently admonish their children, “Don’t take that tone with me.” They already know the way something is said is often even more important than what is said, but they are not following that wisdom in their relationships.
Or they will tell each other half-truths, while teaching their children to be honest.
Or they will blame each other for problems, instead of accepting responsibility and working together for a solution, something competent parents teach their children.
Or they will make assumptions and judgments about what the other person means, when they talk to their children about the importance of not doing that.
The truth is that you already know a lot of the things that you’re going to come to my office and pay me to tell you.
You may think it’s different because you’re an adult.
You may think the rules of responsibility and fair play are different. If they are, the standards for adults are higher, not lower, so everything you’ve taught your child applies to you as well, and then adult responsibilities go beyond that.
You may think marriage and relationships are different because they are so complex. But much of that complexity comes from both partners giving themselves reasons why it’s okay to not do the very things they are teaching their own children.
Or, like many therapists, you may just know a lot more than you give yourself credit for, and not be aware enough to ask yourself, “What would I say to my child about this?” “What am I teaching my teenager about this?” “If my son/daughter asked me about a very similar situation they are dealing with, what would I say?”
The fact is you probably know more than you think you do, you just have to access that part of yourself that knows it, and you do this by asking yourself the “What would you tell someone else” question.
The moment you begin asking yourself that question on a regular basis, similar to most therapists I know, you will find you know more than you thought you did!
[Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna on Plex]