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Many of us know things we do not ...

Posted Sep 22 2009 10:52am

Many of us know things we do not believe.  As much as anything else that explains why we have difficulty in making good choices in life.

Much of therapy is composed of two steps: show or teach people the right thing  to do and then convince or motivate them to make use of that knowledge.  When clients dont then therapists do one of three things:

  1. Re-teach.  Assume it didnt get through the first time.
  2. Re-motivate.  Try to find a way  to get the client to “want” to do it enough to implement this knowledge.
  3. Write the client off as either in denial or unmotivated.

This post suggests another option.  I remember a little 12 year old boy who  was in an anger management class.  In fact he was the star pupil.  At the end of the class the kid went up to the instructor and thanked him for all he had done and then added, “…but I dont think I will use any of it.”  The shocked instructor asked, “Why?”  The kid replied softly, “It just isnt me…”  He “knew” anger management.  He aced every test given.  He understood the concepts in every way that they knew how to measure it.  He just didnt believe they had much relevance to him.  This is a fairly common response of adolescents by the way.  As I heard one kid say, “…if you dont hit them the will hit you….”  Knowledge is always judged in terms of relevance and sometimes we forget that different things are relevant to different people.

Likewise us.  We all “know” things we are supposed to do, but find ourselves time after time not doing them.  And we are continually amazed and confused at why we cant do better.  Lets look at an example to see how this plays out.

Many people “know” that forgiveness is a good thing, but find themselves being tortured by resentments they can never get past.  That is because we seldom hear the “buts” and “becauses” in our beliefs. 

“I should forgive people…..BUT……BECAUSE………..”

“I should forgive people, BUT I cant forgive him for hurting me, BECAUSE it has ruined my life and affected the way I relate to everyone.”

The qualification we place on our knowledge define our beliefs.  They tell us how what we know is relevant to the way we live.  Becoming aware of the “buts” and “becauses” that so often seem to bring us up short of what we would like to be is essential to changing the way we live.

Where do you fall short in your life?  For me there are too many areas to count.  But hopefully this post will give you a tool to understand why many times we are our own worst enemies, and a tool to change things and live a live closer that we strive to live.

Many of us know things we do not believe.  As much as anything else that explains why we have difficulty in making good choices in life.

Much of therapy is composed of two steps: show or teach people the right thing  to do and then convince or motivate them to make use of that knowledge.  When clients dont then therapists do one of three things:

  1. Re-teach.  Assume it didnt get through the first time.
  2. Re-motivate.  Try to find a way  to get the client to “want” to do it enough to implement this knowledge.
  3. Write the client off as either in denial or unmotivated.

This post suggests another option.  I remember a little 12 year old boy who  was in an anger management class.  In fact he was the star pupil.  At the end of the class the kid went up to the instructor and thanked him for all he had done and then added, “…but I dont think I will use any of it.”  The shocked instructor asked, “Why?”  The kid replied softly, “It just isnt me…”  He “knew” anger management.  He aced every test given.  He understood the concepts in every way that they knew how to measure it.  He just didnt believe they had much relevance to him.  This is a fairly common response of adolescents by the way.  As I heard one kid say, “…if you dont hit them the will hit you….”  Knowledge is always judged in terms of relevance and sometimes we forget that different things are relevant to different people.

Likewise us.  We all “know” things we are supposed to do, but find ourselves time after time not doing them.  And we are continually amazed and confused at why we cant do better.  Lets look at an example to see how this plays out.

Many people “know” that forgiveness is a good thing, but find themselves being tortured by resentments they can never get past.  That is because we seldom hear the “buts” and “becauses” in our beliefs. 

“I should forgive people…..BUT……BECAUSE………..”

“I should forgive people, BUT I cant forgive him for hurting me, BECAUSE it has ruined my life and affected the way I relate to everyone.”

The qualification we place on our knowledge define our beliefs.  They tell us how what we know is relevant to the way we live.  Becoming aware of the “buts” and “becauses” that so often seem to bring us up short of what we would like to be is essential to changing the way we live.

Where do you fall short in your life?  For me there are too many areas to count.  But hopefully this post will give you a tool to understand why many times we are our own worst enemies, and a tool to change things and live a live closer that we strive to live.

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