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Changing Constructs



Recently when returning from Albuquerque, New Mexico, I found myself driving in a "white-out." That's when the snow is falling so thickly that you have limited visibility in all directions. It was scary to say the least when I watched large commercial trucks and trailers swerving in front of me. I nearly lost control myself as I attempted to go around them. I didn't feel safe again until I drove long enough to get to the lower lands of the Arizona desert where the temperatures rose and the snow melted away. I called a friend of mine and shared my experience. He said, "Oh how fun! I love driving in snow storms," and his words brought me back to a memory of driving to Mammoth Mountain to go skiing with 2 other friends and we thought a white-out was "fun." Suddenly the fears of recent were changed to laughter as we shared those memories of the past. We had just changed my emotional construct (belief) from a negative experience to a positive one.


A client sent me a TEXT indicating they were in crisis and needed me to help them rebalance. They shared their thoughts and became tearful as they expressed their greatest fears becoming a reality. I said, "Hey, this is what we therapists call catastrophizing. We know there's a cliff, but you don't have to rush toward it and jump off!" I then read my blog about being silly called "Go Nuts!" to her. She laughed and shared her experience with being silly in her marriage and reminded herself that it's okay to be silly saying, "Thanks. I needed that."


Why is it that something so simple, like a story, a word of encouragement, a change in our paradigm, can have such profound and immediate effect? It's easy to get suck in spiraling negative thoughts and it is fairly easy for someone to pull you out of it. But you have to be willing to accept that help from another. That acceptance is the key to change. If you enjoy the drama or are defined by it, it's much harder for someone to pull you out of your negative ruminations. The desire to change is overwhelmed by the desire to remain a victim. The need to be seen as hopeless, helpless, and needy will reinforce our unwillingness to change. We truly don't want to change and will blame others for our inability to change fostered by our lack of desire to change. We don't want to work that hard. So we won't and change does not happen without someone's consent. The ultimate Drama Queen has no desire to change because who would they be if they did? Who knows...but they won't be the Drama Queen anymore.

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