By David Joel Miller.
Those sudden moments of insight.
Have you had one of those times when suddenly it occurred to you that the way you had been doing things just wasn’t working? Where do those sudden insightful moments come from and why can’t I seem to get these things until I have done it wrong at least a thousand times?
There was that time when I went to register for classes. The first one on my list was trigonometry. It had come highly recommended by my school counselor. Suddenly it occurred to me that the last three times I had signed up for trig I had ended up dropping it. Then out of no where came the thought – maybe trig just wasn’t my thing, maybe I should consider another major?
Have you had those experiences? More than once after making a comment to someone I thought why did you say that? Why can’t I stop saying stupid things in front of other people?
I believe I have solved that problem. Instead of saying stupid things to people one at a time, I write my thoughts here on the blog, for all to see. That way I can get the embarrassment over with all at once.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all find a way to get those mistakes of life over with and move on to be right more of the time?
In therapy those Ah Ha moments are the exact point when we or our clients make the greatest progress.
I am sitting with a teen talking about how unreasonable their parents are. Then I ask them about themselves. Any friends? Do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend? Think you will have kids some day? You think you will let your child go to that kind of party?
Out of nowhere that teen who was telling me they are angry their parent does not trust them and won’t ever let them do the things their friends parents allow other kids to do, those kids are telling me they would never let their kids go to that kind of party cause they know what goes on there.
One thing that clients often say to me is “I hadn’t thought of it that way.” I find that one of the healthiest things I can do is reexamine things I thought I knew and see if there is another way to think about things.
That is one of the benefits of having friends, lots of friends. Now some friends are just people we work with or do a specific activity with. But we each have or should have those really close friends that we can talk with about anything. It is in those talks that suddenly we may have that flash of insight and realize that we have just never thought about it that way.
Professional helpers like counselors and therapists are especially trained that if they are going to be able to help someone it is all about the relationship. We humans have a hard time listening to people we don’t like or respect. But in that one trusting relationship we can sometimes hear something that results in that Ah Ha moment.
Ever asked yourself “What was I thinking?” Careful here – you may be about to have one of those Ah Ha moments.
We get wrapped up in our own thinking. When it is rattling around in my mind it seems like such a good idea. Let me tell someone else and see their reaction and suddenly that brilliant idea does not sound so brilliant.
Hearing our behavior described by another, some of us are surprised at how others experience them. They describe this experience as being like “hearing about someone else.” That other point of view is so valuable in learning.
Some of you may have noticed that a few of those “What was I thinking” ideas slip by and get into these posts.” That is one of the prices we bloggers pay for trying to write a lot of posts and get them up quickly. Occasionally one of my friends assumes the role of editor and emails me about an error so I can correct it quickly. Other times it just gets by.
Now shouldn’t we all just be more careful and not make mistakes? I don’t think so. The only way you don’t make mistakes is to do nothing and that, come to think of it, would be an even grander error.
So what we all have to do as part of this human existence is try new things and see what works and what doesn’t. Do more of the good things and less of the things that do not work. Recognize that you, like everyone else, will have some of those Ah Ha moments. Rather than beating yourself up and criticizing you, learn from those mistakes.
Be able to laugh at your mistakes. When you can look at something you did in the past and tell yourself that was “silly” which tells me that your way of looking at things is changing.
We all need more Ah Ha moments in our lives and we need to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we are required to make to create those moments.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books