Stuck On Heat
“I just didn’t know that anything better was possible.”
I think this phrase summarizes the thinking of so many of my clients. It also taps into a deep frustration that I feel about our cultural misunderstandings of thoughts and emotions and what changes are possible.
I used the following analogy in session to describe the rampant thinking that we see as mental health professionals.
Imagine that you have owned a beat-up car for your entire life with no ability to trade it in or buy a new one. Imagine that your car had the heat on constantly. Whether you just got in or had been driving for hours, your heat is just blowing in your face. Never thinking twice about the heat, you make sure you dress for the heat by making changes in your attire and packing additional clothes to change into when you leave the interior of your car.
Sometimes you drive your friends around and they are so uncomfortable that the heat is blasting in your car that they either decide to not drive with you or they try to alter their attire as well.
One day, a mechanic friend gets in your car and starts fidgeting with buttons for the heat and you tell him, “What are you doing? Stop touching those buttons! Nothing is going to help it. It’s always going to be this way.”
The mechanic looks at you and says, “Are you serious? This is an easy fix.”
Having a difficult time hearing this, you tell the mechanic to get out of your car and “Stop judging my car. If you were a true friend, you’d accept my car for how it is.”
The mechanic friend exits your car and you feel good for sticking up for yourself. You roll down your windows to get some cool air so you can breathe and you keep driving down the road.
I’m hoping that this analogy will stick in your mind as you may begin to re-consider something as “just being a part of me”. It makes sense that many of us had not thought about what is possible to change and I want to encourage you to speak to your mental health professional to shed light on what this may mean for you. Being stuck in this pattern is not one that changes easily but the idea is that if you now know that change is possible, then you might start working towards change.
I want to leave you with this thought. If you think “I’m always going to be this way”, think again.