I love the times when a client has a major accomplishment after only one session. And not crying or freaking out during a math test for the first time in your life is absolutely a major accomplishment! And this is someone that’s beyond high school, so we’re not talking about a first grader that’s only had to take a handful of math tests. This was our second session, one week after our first, and our exchange went something like this:
Me: So how’s it going?
Her: Pretty good. For the first time, I didn’t freak out during a math test. [very nonchalantly]
Me: Wow, that sounds good to me! Wait… for the first time? I mean, you’re in college now…
Her: I’ve always freaked out during math tests. There’s never been a math test that I haven’t cried on. My anxiety goes through the roof.
Me: Wait, so you’re telling me that you’ve ALWAYS cried during math tests, every time? And then you talked to some random dude (me) once, only once, and you learned how the body-mind works, and then you didn’t cry during a math test a few days later? For the first time ever??
Me: WOOHOO!!! [freaking out and jumping around and high-fiving – hey, I get kind of excited about these things…]
Isn’t that awesome? I just love it! As I’ve said many times, I love a good measuring stick. Something that used to cause a certain feeling that doesn’t anymore. When I asked her how this test was different, she said she just told herself, “Even if I fail it, there are plenty more options down the road.” Perfect! I always talk about the two radio stations on the dial, only two, and she chose her wisdom/common sense. And notice this is not rosy thinking that’s not really true. Because she said she did horribly on the test! So she wasn’t lying to herself and saying, “I’ll do great, I’ll do great,” when in reality she knew she wouldn’t. She was honest that she might not do great, but it won’t be the end of the world. This will not keep her from getting a college degree. And this will not cause her to be homeless or dead.
But the other radio station, the chatterbox, pretty much goes right to that kind of ridiculous conclusion – “Oh my god, I’m going to be homeless or dead because of this!!” And since we’re feeling our thinking, the body actually feels like it’s about to be homeless or dead. And it’s all a sham. When you think about it, believing that failing a math test is the end of the world is like believing that 1 + 1 = 17. It’s just not true. But when people don’t know the rules of the game, they have all kinds of these ridiculous thoughts floating around. And since the body is always responding to our thinking, it’s no wonder that they don’t feel good. Well, this person knows the rules of the game now, and after only one session with some random dude. Great job!
The mind is very, very powerful, folks. So powerful. I’ve talked people down from suicide and from the edge of a nervous breakdown and seen them the next day in my office and they were pretty much fine. Like, fine. And this was not being in denial. We owned it and talked about it very seriously, but they were NOTHING like the day before. Their whole demeanor was different. They were themselves again, and you could see it instantly. And they are still fine today. We also followed up very seriously and kept our sessions up, but they learned a very powerful lesson from their experience. They learned that the mind is incredibly powerful, and that the body can feel all kinds of crazy ways as a result. And this might be the most important thing, they learned just how temporary even the strongest of feelings can be. If strong feelings sometimes rule you, then read that again and let it sink in. Understanding this one simple fact would prevent a ton of suicides, folks, a ton. There’s never been a permanent feeling in the history of the world, and these people know that once and for all now. And that can be very reassuring in the moment. And when we stay in our wisdom, sticking to the facts as my client did, we don’t even get to that point in the first place.
So there we go folks! Good stuff. And please don’t send a bunch of teenagers to me, because I really prefer adults. College students are usually okay, though. Maybe I’ll develop an online program someday that could be used to teach this to younger folks. And finally, I used to be a math teacher, so maybe I’ll help that client with her homework sometime. Because she said she definitely bombed the test… And if an insurance company person is reading this, just kidding!