Updated: Mar 3, 2019
(( Although written as flash fiction, most of this therapy session is true. ))
Michael is a confident, outgoing and a very successful insurance salesman, and last week he twice surprised and then shocked me.
First, he asked to tag along to some group psychology I had been doing, AND he immediately volunteered to go first.
Then the shock: he dropped his head and remained silent. I could not imagine what was coming. The eight of us waited; the silence stretched.
Finally, he began mumbling. As he raised his head, I heard, "-- take it anymore. I just can’t. I am killing myself.”
His dropped his head again and tried to stop the tears.
I was dumbfounded. Michael was the strongest guy I knew.
The psychologist—call me Dr. J—casually leaned back and waited. The rest of us sat uncomfortably, waiting for Michael to stop.
Eventually Dr. J said, “You are very hard on yourself.”
With his head still down, Michael murmured, “Yes.”
Dr. J asked, “How?”
Michael looked up, eyes red and said, “I schedule appointments day and night.”
“Do you eat lunch?”
He nodded and said, “After a morning of cold-calling, I usually grab something at my desk.”
“Not usually. I have potential clients to see. It takes a lot to be successful.”
“Do you put yourself off when you have to use the toilet?”
Michael hesitated and then reluctantly nodded.
“After you have pushed yourself through a long day, how do you push back?”
Michael seemed to understand the question, as he quietly answered, “I stay up too late watching movies.”
“I eat the whole time.”
“I drink too much.”
Dr. J paused and then asked, “Of what?”
He hesitated again and then admitted, “I recently switched from beer to bourbon.”
Michael and I had been friends for years, and I wondered if I knew him at all.
Dr. J said, “So, the harder you push yourself, the harder you find yourself pushing back.”
I blurted, “You make it sound like he is two people.”
Dr. J nodded and said, “We humans are made up of various parts. Some people have a strong side that pushes/criticizes, which brings out another side that rebels.
"The stronger we push and criticize ourselves the stronger we push back (rebel).
“For example, Michael pushes hard through the day, often denying himself the basics, like food, and then he rebels later with behavior he regrets.”
He turned to Michael and asked, “Who are you, the Pusher or the Rebel?”
Michael seemed to finally have his emotions under control and said, “Uh, both I guess.”
“No!” Dr. J cried out, “Neither!!!”
He held the silence and then forcefully said, “You are the one who will release the struggle.”
Michael looked confused.
Dr. J glanced at each of us, as he said, “Thoughts and feelings are not the same as actions. You may be feeling and thinking like a Pusher, or like a Rebel, but you can choose to act differently!"
He turned to back to Michael and asked, “How would someone like you be living, if they were not killing themselves?”
Michael looked thoughtful, then finally said, “Well, they would take time out for breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner.”
“They would take more time for themselves on the weekends.”
“And they would find some fun things to do in that time off.”
Michael had begun talking faster: “They would take an occasional evening off, blocking out the time on their planner.
"And they would cut back on the eating and drinking at night.”
Dr. J smiled, as he said, “And they would be able to cut back, because they would be giving themselves more and pushing themselves less.”
Pusher vs. Rebel
Your quality of life (level of happiness) depends on the strength of your inner-struggle, the power of your inner-rebel ( mine was an inner-brat ).
Calm the struggle and day-to-day life is easier. Free
Calm the struggle and positive change becomes easier. Free
And inner-strength grows as the inner-rebel weakens.
The Power of Becoming Your Own Best Friend
Now available and (temporarily) free
Additional ways to be happier:
23 Ways to be Happier
The Benefits of Controlled Breathing
How to be happier includes giving yourself enough sleep. Here's how:
The very foundation of personal improvement is self-care/self-love. At this link: https://www.danielsperaw.com/single-post/Self-Care-Self-Love-3-Tips--Raise-Your-Quality-of-Life