“It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem.”
— G.K. Chesterton.

Eliminating the Blinkers.

At the age of 72, Jim is a persistent complainer. I learned a very long time ago that I don’t have to buy a newspaper or watch television to understand what’s wrong with the world; there are lots of people like Jim who will tell me exactly what’s wrong. Grumbling, gossiping, criticizing, and negative attitude are a few of the most dangerous practices.

Bit by bit, negativity eats away at an individual’s health and removes the possibility for joy. If somebody near you is a complainer, a criticizer, or a negative thinker, your own well-being is at risk.

Grumbling about things beyond our direct control is one of the most destructive routines. Yes, I understand, it’s also one of the most typical things that people do. We complain about the weather; we discuss whoever is the focus of the current celebrity scandal; we blame the government– any government– for whatever that’s wrong.

Grumbling about things we can’t control is a really reliable method to prevent facing up to things that we can do something about. By spending his life complaining about things that he is powerless to alter, Jim avoids having to face his own negative attitude and bitterness.

Jim desires everybody else to alter. He blames everyone else for his problems: his parents, a former organization partner, the federal government, the local economy. In his present state, he can’t start to comprehend that his unhappiness has absolutely nothing to do with any of these things, and whatever to do with his habit of blaming others for exactly what’s incorrect in his life.

Jim does not have a practice that triggers a clear health risk. He does not smoke, consume alcohol, utilize drugs, or overeat. But his health is failing, and he is fretted about the need for significant surgical treatment. Unfavorable thinking hasn’t been conclusively linked to cancer or heart illness, scientists are starting to find proof that resentment, bitterness, and hatred literally kill individuals.

Jim feels no need to change his own mindset or behavior. He is a timeless example of an individual who is not able to acknowledge the real reason for his distress. Jim remains in rejection.

Denial is the first stage in the cycle of self-change. The huge majority of people whose health, joy, or relationships are being threatened by a self-destructive practice invest months, if not years, in a stage where they deny the severity of the issue.

Individuals in this stage share the following attributes:

– They choose not to admit that they have a serious issue.
– If challenged about the need to change, – They withstand change and usually become aggressive.
– They have a basic sense of despondency, no matter how busy their lives appear to be on the surface.

Many individuals who have self-destructive habits likewise experience feelings of distress. Research recommends that as much as 50% of drug users have some kind of anxiety. Torment enjoys company: We have the tendency to form relationships with people who have our bad habit.

By investing time in a bar, individuals can encourage themselves that it’s the regular method to unwind after a difficult day since there are many other people in the bar doing the very same thing. When they live with other scientifically obese individuals, research shows that clinically obese individuals are less most likely to lose weight.

Self-destructive behavior

Lots of people are so persistent in their unconscious requirement to protect their bad routines that they refuse assistance even when their lives depend on it.

In “Changing For Good”, James Prochaska points out an interesting experiment done by a zoologist called Calhoun. Instead of using domesticated white mice and rats in his research study, Calhoun studied wild mice to get an insight into how they make every effort to preserve control over their own habits.

In one experiment, Calhoun offered the mice an electrical switch that permitted them to pick dim light, brilliant light, or no light in their cages. When permitted to make their own option, the mice avoided brilliant lights and darkness; time after time, they turned on the dim light.

In another experiment, the mice were provided control of a switch that triggered a treadmill, which was their only source of exercise. Caged mice require to run about 8 hours a day to stay healthy. Without any prompting, the mice turned on the treadmill and ran at different times of the day.

Whenever the experimenter turned on the treadmill, the mice instantly turned it off, although the first part of the experiment plainly showed that the mice wanted and required to exercise.

Prochaska calls this “absurd freedom.” Laboratory mice are too domesticated to show this kind of habits. Prochaska explains that the wild mice “required control over their behavior, even if it indicated sacrificing their own health.”

Assisting relationships

Individuals in rejection have actually lost control of the problem, which suggests that they have lost control of their lives. They seldom progress to the next phase without the advantage of a helping relationship.

Expert therapists and assistants have learned that confrontation does not help an individual move from stage 1 to stage 2. Letting him have his own way– or “going along with him” to avoid a fight– simply reinforces his rejection of the issue by reinforcing in his own mind that whatever he’s doing is right.

People usually require an unanticipated reaction before they can eliminate the blinkers. This is a fact that hasn’t changed in the last 3,000 years, as the following story highlights.

King David was one of the heroes of ancient Israel. He was the leader of his country, a great warrior, an accomplished artist, and one of the biggest poets of antiquity.

One evening, the king got out of bed and went up to the roof of his home. He saw a beautiful woman bathing not far away Immediately he sent his men to find out who she was. Her name was Bathsheba. She was the wife of a soldier named Uriah, who was one of Israel’s bravest and most loyal soldiers.

Uriah was far from home, serving his nation in a war against one of Israel’s many opponents. David sent for Bathsheba and slept with her. She conceived.

The king desired Uriah out of the way. The Israeli army was besieging an enemy city at the time. David sent a letter to the leader of his army, Joab, where he laid out directions for eliminating Uriah. He told Joab to send out Uriah to the front of the fight, then retreat with the rest of his soldiers, leaving Uriah alone.

Joab performed the king’s orders and Uriah was killed in the fight. David made Bathsheba his spouse, and she gave him a son.

There are a number of things going on here that are worse than smoking cigarettes, overspending, negative attitude, and overindulging– treachery and murder, to name two. And it began with David’s voyeurism, a nasty thing in itself. How do you inform a king that he’s establishing some harmful habits?

If you think it’s tough to get somebody in your own household to get rid of the blinkers, picture exactly what the prophet Nathan was up against. Nathan understood what was going on. As a prophet, it was his job to help the king open his eyes.

Nathan didn’t confront David directly. Instead, he told the king a parable about two men who lived in the same city. One man was rich, the other poor. The rich man had many flocks and herds. The only thing the poor man had was one lamb. The poor man loved the lamb as if it were his daughter.

One evening the rich guy required a lamb for a dinner celebration. Rather of sacrificing a lamb from among his own flocks, he took the pauper’s lamb. When King David heard this, he raged– he thought Nathan was telling him a true story about two guys in his kingdom.

” The man who did this thing shall surely die,” stated the king.

Then Nathan said to David, “You are that guy.”

David listened to Nathan’s story, and it opened his eyes. Why cannot we listen better? Why can’t we see the faults in ourselves that others see so clearly in us? It is so simple to know when others are in denial, and essentially difficult to admit that we are in this stage.

In the language of contemporary therapy, the prophet Nathan remained in a helping relationship with King David. He challenged David, however not through an act of direct verbal hostility. He produced unpredictability in David by responding in a way that David least anticipated. That is what permitted David to open his eyes.

Unpredictability is what triggers us to try to find new alternatives. Nathan understood that it’s impossible to alter another individual, but you can motivate him to wish to alter himself. Your function as an assistant is to support another individual during the process of self-change, not to attack him or reject him.

We cannot all be as sensible as Nathan. But there is always a method to assist somebody open his eyes without participating in an aggressive confrontation, which typically triggers irreparable damage to everybody involved.

If someone close to you is in denial, you are currently equipped to be a better assistant by having actually read this. Do not go along with him, don’t cave into him, and by all methods, don’t challenge him openly.

The very best thing you can do is provide him with this report. When he checks out the story of Nathan and King David, he might be ready to state, “I am the man.”

If you’ve become aware of the need to totally free yourself from a bad habit, you’re already in phase 2.

I found out a long time ago that I do not require to purchase a newspaper or watch television to understand what’s incorrect with the world; there are plenty of people like Jim who will inform me exactly what’s wrong. Yes, I know, it’s likewise one of the most typical things that people do. Negative thinking hasn’t been conclusively linked to cancer or heart illness, researchers are starting to discover proof that hatred, bitterness, and bitterness actually kill individuals.


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