Okay. I admit it. I like Facebook. I enjoy keeping up with my friends, seeing their pictures and sharing a little bit in their lives. I have mixed thoughts on the quotations that are posted. One I like is “Thoughts are like seeds.” Meaning, when you plant crab apples, don’t expect to harvest sweet apples. These are wise words that have been said repeatedly in different ways.
Most of the posts are good quotations, interesting thoughts, but how do you do anything about it? I suppose it is like the old Mark Twain line, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
When I was younger and worrying about something, somebody would tell me, “Beau, don’t think about it.” Good sound advice, but how the heck do I that? Saying it is easy, but knowing how to do it is another thing. It becomes frustrating. Why couldn’t I just stopping thinking about problems? Is there something wrong with me? So I just asked Beth (my wife) about that, and, well, I think I will leave her out of this edition.
One of the problems with mental health is that we have a tendency to look at the overall forest rather than the individual trees (the grownup seeds). Rather than seeing weedy seeds, I view the problem coming from Trickster Thoughts. These are the thoughts that trick us into believing that they are true and accurate when they are not. The Tricksters may lead us away from enjoying the most out of life and they cause us to think way too much on problems.
Often we think of wisdom as accompanying growing older and as a result, wiser. There are several definitions of wisdom and the one I will use here means having good sense and judgment: The good sense to avoid problems before they happen; the good sense to realize that Trickster Thoughts interfere with wisdom; and the good sense to realize when to let go of problems. Can something be done to fix the problem, or is it time to let it go? A person can’t be wise when they believe the Trickster Thoughts. Perhaps it can happen occasionally, but I don’t think so.
The other day I heard Carole King’s song “Beautiful,” which has a line that states: “You’re gonna find, yes you will, that you’re beautiful as you feel.” As any Coyote Thoughts reader knows, thoughts generally cause feelings. Trickster Thoughts get in the way of what we think of ourselves, resulting in how we feel. Many times I see people who don’t see the good in themselves. It is common in people who get depressed.
One Trickster Thought I haven’t talked about in my other columns is “Discounting the Positive.” Sometimes it is confused with being humble.
Here is how it happens. Let’s say that Beth likes something I made, and she says, “Wow, that is really nice, Beau,” and I think, “You are just saying that because you are my wife and you want to make me happy, when it is not true that what I made is beautiful.”
Thinking that way chips away at our being piece by piece. Generally what I make is pretty good, so that thought is wrong or at least not accurate. Once in a while I will compliment someone on their work or project and they will say, “It is not that good. Look at this part that is bad.” A friend of ours who is a great cook brought us a wonderful dinner. Beth thanked her the next day, telling her how delicious it was and our friend replied, “You liked it so much only because you were hungry.” This is a little different form of the Trickster, but a Trickster never the less. Our friend always makes wonderful food.
It is important to recognize when you have done something well, because it will help you feel the way you are supposed to feel. Being aware about who you are and what you do is part of wisdom. You are better than you think you are. What is it going to be, wisdom or crab apples?
Beau Washington’s therapy model is entering the clinical trial stage at the University of New Mexico. He is training behavioral health clinics in his therapy. Beau is also adapting his therapy for sports, making it easier for players to focus on the moment.