Wendell, Pain, Tabula Rasa discussed on The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss


Responsible for him for not telling me and me for ignoring the Times that it did come up and not really pursuing it because in some ways even if our stories are are not stories we want to live we somehow orchestrate our lives to to keep the story line going so someone might have that story of victim and they don't want to be a victim but what happens. Is they orchestrate things so that they will be a victim in those stories. Why I agree with you that that happens. Why does that happen? It happens because because we cling to the familiar so that feels like home so even if home was unpleasant miserable at least. It's something that we know if we go and we say oh wait what if I what if I'm not? I'm not a victim. What if I have? What if I'm not trapped right? My therapist told me about this. This was so life changing for me. It was a cartoon. He told me about a one point. I was talking about all the ways that I was trapped and Doorway out of any of these situations that I was talking about and he said You remind me of this cartoon and it's of a prisoner shaking the bars desperately trying to get out that on the right and the left. The bars open the prisoners. Free Right But so many of us don't walk around those parts of the questions. Why don't we? Why don't we walk around the bars and the reason is because we want to be free but with freedom comes responsibility and so if we walk around those bars? We're not the victim anymore. And now we have to take responsibility for our choices. Now we have to be proactive and make things happen for ourselves now. We can't say the world is limiting me. The world is holding me back. I can't have this dream of mine because you know something out. There is preventing me from having it. Now it's on us so that was a story. When I had to anno- myself I had to unknown part of myself that tended to go into that place of everything out. There is limiting me and you know life is unfair right So I had to. I had to really examine that story and I didn't even know that I was still carrying around that story. Thank you for sharing that. And what distinguishes in your mind. A good therapist from a great therapist. What are what are some of the differences that you would observe if you reflect back on the people you consider great therapists. What do they have in common? That separates them from good therapists. Yeah I think Wendell the therapists that I read about in the book. is a great therapist and they think what makes him a great therapist. Is that he so himself in the room. He brings his full humanity into the room. He's not I think there's a stereotype of therapists as being very much like a Tabula Rasa. And it's not that Wendell was disclosing things about his life. I knew very little about his life until of course the night that I google stockdale. That's another story but But you know I I. It wasn't we didn't talk about him in the room but but he is a human. It was clear that he was the same person in the therapy room. That he might be out in the world that there was not a persona that he was bringing into the room and so he was very spontaneous in the room. And I think it's almost like like as a musician right if you are a pianist. Let's say and you have to learn your skills and they have to be very precise and you have to know them so well and you just drill the Madrid them and drill them. That's what we get in graduate school. We drill the precision of being a therapist. But we don't drill the art right. The art is something. That's the comes out from experience. And so I think that you know once you know those skills then you can improvise. You can't really improvised as well. If you don't have the foundational stuff down so the same thing I think with Wendell was he had the foundational stuff down but man. Could he improvise? How did that manifest? What would what did good Improv. Or what does it or can it look like one of the things he did? That really surprised me was at one point. I was sort of going on and on about the break and You know and I and I was looking social media and I was looking at you know this imaginary wonderful life that my ex was now having and and he just he he stood up. Wendell stood up and he came over and he kicked me and didn't hurt me. It was like it was like I was like what was that and he said well. You seem to really enjoy suffering. And what he meant was he explained that. There's a difference between pain and suffering. We all experience pain at different points in our lives but we sometimes don't have to suffer so much that sometimes we are the cause of our suffering and I was the cause of my suffering by spending all of this emotional real estate on what was going on with my ex boyfriends life right and it was just it was creating all the suffering. You know I didn't have to be doing that. There were other ways that I could manage grief that I can move through my grief. That didn't involve kind of re traumatizing myself. All the time and that was so effective like that kick right because I always remember that the difference between pain and suffering. So let's let's segway. This feels like a perfect window to segue into a believe what would still be one of your favorite maxims that I highlighted for myself and that is insight is the booby prize of therapy. Can you explain what that means? I love that too because I think a lot of people believe that when they come to therapy. They're going for insight. Why do I do this? Why is it like this? Why do I keep getting into these arguments with my partner? Why am I stuck in my job? You know the why And and you can have all the insight in the world but if you don't actually make changes out in the world the insight is useless so I like to say that when you come to therapy you have to be both vulnerable and accountable. The vulnerability is you have to actually let me see you. You can't do the whole lake. Look over here look over here look over here and try to distract me with all these different stories. Because if I can't see the truth of who you are. I won't be able to connect with you. I won't be able to help you. Connect with yourself and we won't be able to get that insight so let's the insight piece but then there's the accountable part right which is okay now that you understand why these arguments keep escalating in your marriage right. Somebody might come back the next week. And they'll say yes so I got in this fight with my wife and I understand now exactly. I understood it as it was happening. Exactly why why this was happening and I said well did you do something different will no but I understood why it was happening right. It's like that's not helpful. I mean it's it's helpful to some extent but what you need to do then is you need to do something different because of this insight so maybe you understand now that when you react in a certain way to what. Your wife is saying That that's going to escalate things so just because you understand the why and what it brings up in you. What are you gonNA do differently now? So once people start changing their behavior. That's when they start to see real change in their lives. How did you for instance I take? The PAIN IS UNAVOIDABLE SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL. Just to paraphrase. How did you take that insight after Wendell kicked you if you did and translated into behavior modification? Yeah well the first behavior was. I stopped You know the whole online searching for the ex boyfriend Because it just wasn't serving me I think also changing my behavior in terms of making up these stories about you know if he posted a salad in a restaurant. I'd be like well. How can even eat? He didn't miss me at all. These these I mean you go to a very young place I think when we experience the end of a relationship no matter how old we are we often go to this very primal place because as as as a species we need to connect and I think that experienced sort of the shock.

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