I have lost count of how many times someone has asked me to fix their child, fix their brain; make their thoughts or flashbacks go away or erase certain memories.
My answer: I wish I had a magic wand that gave me those powers, but I do not.
Then, I gently have to break the news that there is no magical cure for whatever they are going through. There are no pills that work overnight and that therapy is not a quick fix solution that is done to you.
Then I have to tell them that they have to do the work. That I am only here to guide them and give them options. If they don’t follow through and do the work and practice over and over again, nothing will change.
Therapy is work. It is at times really hard, scary and messy and if anybody says the contrary, they are lying!
“So those thoughts will never go away?”
“I will always have those memories”
“You can't erase what’s in my brain?”
No, unfortunately no one can (at least to my knowledge). However, finding health is not about erasing our past or not having certain types of thoughts. We do not necessarily have control over our thoughts, when they come or go or their content.
However, what we do have control over, is how we relate to our thoughts. We get to decide whether we believe them as true or not and whether we focus on them or not.
So here are some things to keep in mind that might help when those unwanted thoughts appear:
Just because we have a thought does not mean it is true.
I often use the example of being a kid growing up in France. We subscribed to a kids magazine on science and discovery. One year, the April edition came and the cover read “Wild Boy Found in Woods!”. The article detailed how the boy was found, that he did not know how to speak or interact with other humans. The pictures were incredible! I told all my friends and we were all in disbelief. How could it be? For that month I truly believed that this was true.
Then came the May edition. Front cover : « April Fools ».
Yes, it was all a hoax. However, because it had come from a reputable source, I believed it as true, until it was proven not true.
So who is not to say that some of the beliefs and thoughts that you are having are not also founded on faulty information or even lies?
Many of our beliefs about ourselves, others and the world are formed in our early formative years when we don’t always question what we are being told. Frankly, we don't even have the mental capacity to even evaluate or understand that something might not be true.
However, as we age and gain more understanding and knowledge, the amazing thing is that we get to decide what we want to believe as true or not. We make that decision based on all the information available to us.
So next time you are having an unwanted and unhelpful thought, perhaps ask yourself if the thought is actually true or not. Don’t just believe it’s true.