I am for you

unmixed messages

tell them what the real world is like, for a change

One of the reasons that Cognitive Therapy and Buddhism are useful, to some extent, is that an overwhelming number of the messages that parents and society give us are in opposition to reality. And since, starting at a very young age of 9 months or so, one of our main priorities is to find ways to accept what those we are closest to are offering, we have a natural instinct to believe what our parents and society are telling us.

So a child who does something, and is then told that they “can’t” do that very thing that they have, in reality, just done, does their best to find a way to incorporate that faulty logic into their normal way of thinking: “I can’t do things that I can do.”

And a young person who does something that comes naturally to them, and then is told “That’s not what we do.” has to rearrange their logical thinking to somehow either disassociate themselves from being a part of that “we”, or has to disassociate themselves from being a part of their natural selves. Either way, it’s a painful, unhealthy, and clearly an unnecessary process.

So a main part of CBT, Buddhism, non-violent communication, Byron Katie’s “The Work” inquiry process, and other therapeutic techniques aimed to change the thinking in order to improve one’s health, is to overwrite that faulty logic, and replace it with something more in line with reality.

In which case, it might be useful to consolidate the most effective elements of these processes, and simply aim for helping people become more and more aware of what actually is happening, in a neutral, fact-based, truly logical manner by having them literally practice describing what’s going on in words that reflect only the elements of “time and space”. Specifically listing only the things that can be measured and universally described as truths. Names, shapes, sizes, distances, weights, dates, quantities, and other measurements are the things that are healthfully included in what we call “facts”. Everything else is subjective and, at best, only a partial truth, which can be valued, but only as a statistical possibility…

The message that young, growing, absorbant minds do need to hear for healthy thinking is that:

Sometimes “we” do that, and sometimes we do other things, depending on the situation, and what our needs are at the moment. As our goal in life is to take good care of ourselves, and get the things we need to be healthy, which includes nutritious food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express our extra solids, liquids, gases, and energy. So if you do do something that is what some people say you shouldn’t do, you know that you have done it because you are trying to get one of these needs, and you can look to see what it is, and work with others to see if there is some other way that you can get what you need, so that they can also get what they need…

Try saying that to a young person, and see what happens. :-)


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