As most of you know by now, I am an MSW by trade even though I am not currently a practicing counselor. However, for many years I sat at least five days a week for probably 50% of my work hours and listened to countless problems, issues, and concerns Then when I got home the rest of that time was taken up with family, friends, people in the line at the Wal-Mart, on the plane, the train or in the elevator. I’m one of those people who says without speaking…Talk to me.
Though many of the stories and situations I heard were similar and reoccurring, the one thing that I often wondered is “why do individuals kept doing the same things over and over again, but expecting different results.” In addiction counseling in particular, there is a running theme on the definition of insanity. They tell a story about an individual walking down the street and falling into a whole. It is a lengthy story so to shorten the story, the final analogy is that the individual kept going down the same street falling into the same hole. Now the irony of it all is that it would make common sense to go down a different street, right? Particularly If you went down a street where you knew there was a hole, and you had fallen into the same hole not once or twice, but several times before. You’d think that you just might want to change your route? Well, that never happened. The person in the story just kept going the same way and falling into the hole again and again and again, and wondering, Why? Interesting huh?
Well, actually most humans are not much different from this person even when they are not addicted or mentally challenged. You see, there seems to be something in the psyche that makes humans want to believe that things will eventually change even if their personal behavior does not change. In counseling, this is called magical thinking. It’s like, if I just believe hard enough, the hole will fill itself up and go away; one day I will walk down the street and poof! the hole will have disappeared. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but that’s not the way it works. In order to not keep falling into the same holes in life, you have to change your behavior and come up with some solutions where you control the outcome. For instance, if you want to walk down the same street, at least switch to the other side where there is no hole or walk around the hole or patch the hole. However, in any instance there is one common denominator in all of these new scenarios; the person walking down the street has to do something different in order to for there to be change.
There is a such thing as the “status quo” – the more things change, the more they remain the same. Change is more internal than external. Sometimes the outside things people circumstances etc never change, however you must be the change. You have to change you mind, change your heart, your thinking, your actions… Sometimes you even have to change your location and your relations, but always keep in mind that where ever you go, there you will be.
Remember, If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten…dare to do it differently. If you want something different, you’ve got to do something differently, be somebody different. Dare to be different and stop traveling the road called insanity.
You can do it, oh yes you can! All you have to do is put your mind to it!