Have you ever had doubts about yourself? Your ability to do well in school or at work, to have a healthy relationship, to make smart decisions and to solve problems? If so, you’re not alone. History tells us that even highly successful people have experienced self-doubt.
Self-doubt can make people believe that they have no ability to feel better, to break bad habits, or to change their circumstances. Their lack of belief in themselves leaves them feeling hopeless and helpless. Therapists often encounter such people. One temptation in doing this kind of work is to get hung up in understanding the cause, or the source of the problem. This might be slightly helpful, but it rarely, if ever, contributes to a resolution. In general what the client needs is to experience something special. Possibly, something dramatic.
The brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. Milton Erickson – considered by many to be a healing genius – pioneered the use of hypnosis to help people resolve their problems. Hypnosis was just one of his many skills. Apart from hypnosis, he developed other unique ways of getting people feeling better.
Here is just one of countless examples. Near his home in Phoenix, Arizona, there was a tall hill, called Squaw Peak. Because it was accessible on foot, Squaw Peak was an adventure destination for people strong enough to make the climb. If Dr. Erickson determined that, if a patient suffering from depression, for example, was healthy enough, he might instruct that patient that (s)he could return to the next session only after (s)he had walked up Squaw Peak. For some of the patients who accepted the assignment, the experience was life-changing.
Walking up Squaw Peak was a strenuous experience. It required determination, persistence and stamina. Not just physically, but mentally, as well. For those who got to the top, the reward was instantaneous. They had the feeling of physical fatigue – but you know, it was the “good kind of tired.” They saw a breathtaking view. They had the intense experience of doing something they never believed possible, and the sensation of freedom and strength. All of these physical, mental and emotional experiences would be sealed in memory, and in some cases would provide the cure for self-defeating beliefs that lead to hopelessness and helplessness.
What can we learn from this? Perhaps the lesson is that, in order to get past a deeply ingrained self-limiting belief or feeling, you must put yourself in the position of HAVING to do something that seems impossible. To go beyond your perceived limitations, and to experience with every fiber in your body, including your brain, that you are strong, energetic and resilient. For some people, that may be the only thing that could jar them out of the darkness of depression and release them from their fears.
Are you feeling trapped and unable to get out of a bad situation, feeling hopelessly down or afraid? Please be encouraged. Help is available. If the situation calls for it, and if you’re ready to take the leap, you may want to consider consulting a professional. If so, please do not hesitate to call. The number is (219) 309-3928. I’d be honored to be of service.
For more thoughts please click here Conquering Fear and Anxiety.
Thanks for reading!