The secret to happiness
Malcolm Tortell is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice. He explains that one of the central tenets of his work is that people can be happy to the extent that they can control their thoughts.
Some people mistakenly think that they cannot control their own minds. This is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to happiness that exists! The fact is that it's very possible, and easier than you may think. The following story illustrates this perfectly.
A few weeks ago a new client walked into my office - man in his late 50s who had been in the same job for 30 years. He was telling me about how he constantly worried and ruminated, and how he would snap at his wife and people at work, until his spouse put her foot down and demanded that he seek help. He then told me that he didn't really think that therapy could help. He said that "his mind just controlled him". I stopped him 20 minutes into our first session and said, "No it doesn't, you control it". Amazingly enough (this doesn't happen that often, usually it takes a while longer!) he just stared at me; in that instant, in that moment, he got it. It was a classic "aha!" moment. He went off and began to control his thoughts, and of course his feelings followed and he became more positive. He began to live by the maxim that he could control his own mind, and that he was in charge of his emotional state. The transformation was practically immediate. He was calmer, his wife was happier, he was less abrasive at work and altogether happier. He also started getting positive feedback from colleagues, which helped reinforce his new mindset. He even quit his 40-a-day smoking habit, unbidden. He came back a few times to consolidate this insight but the work was basically done, he grasped the most important principle of all and put it into practice: you can control your mind and therefore your happiness!
The point is that this guy, on paper, had the odds stacked against him. It seemed like it would take a long time to make some kind of progress but he made an amazing leap and transformed his life in a very short time. There were three things which made this possible.
1: First of all he was extremely dissatisfied with his current situation and so strongly motivated to do something about it.
2: Secondly he applied the principle fully and diligently.
3: Finally he took what I said on faith. I need to qualify this last statement. I don't expect or demand that my clients believe me without checking against their own experience. In fact I encourage people to be discerning. That said, it can save a lot of time sometimes. It's like going to a gym. You can figure it out for yourself, or you can follow the instructor's recommendations. Also this sort of thing only works in terms of general principles, like "you can control your own thought" and not specific interpretations like "you are like this because..." Beware the therapist who is too quick to make interpretations!
I like this story because it perfectly illustrates two things. First of all that it is perfectly possible to consciously control our own mental processes, and secondly, that doing this can lead to very rapid positive transformations in our life.
Thanks for reading this and be well!
Malcolm Tortell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org