Don’t Over-Think How Russell Crowe Relates To Cows
Believe me, no one was more surprised than me when Sally Ann Bopkins came to my office this week. You may remember her from my wildly popular snack-sized book, Just Stop Having Problems, Stupid!, a book which is often handed out at the reception desk of many therapists and psych wards.
While I hadn’t seen her in years, I could instantly tell that Sally had changed. She was no longer dangerously overweight, and she didn’t walk around like a hurt puppy, certainly not a morbidly obese one.
I asked her what changed in the five years since I’d seen her. “A lot has changed, Dr. Matt,” she said. “At first I didn’t know what you were talking about with all that stuff about barrels of gunpowder and decks on my ship and Russell Crowe.”
This instantly got me thinking about the fact that I hadn’t seen Russell Crowe in a movie for some time, which worried me, but I temporarily set my concern aside.
“Go on,” I said.
“Well, Dr. Matt, I wouldn’t say I understood what to do overnight. None of what you said really made any sense,” she said.
“Don’t worry,” I said, “a lot of my clients say that.”
“Oh. Well, anyway, like I said, I don’t know that I ever figured it out, but the more I was determined to change things, the more things changed without me understanding how.”
“Well that sounds pretty good,” I said.
“But that’s the thing,” said Sally. “There’s still more I want to change, but I don’t really understand how I got to where I am. I figure that if I can figure it out, then it won’t take me five years again.”
“Sally, in Texas we have a saying: ‘There’s nothing like sitting back and talking to your cows.'”
“What does that mean?” asked Sally.
“I’m not sure exactly,” I said, “but Pop used to say it a lot. He said a lot of things that I didn’t understand, but for some reason, having it in my brain seemed to rattle some things free at times. You talking about what you didn’t understand made me think of it.”
“Well, that’s interesting…” said Sally.
“It sure is,” I said. “He also used to say, ‘There’s nothing more terrifying than having nothing to be afraid of.’ ”
“Do you think that’s what I’m afraid of?” asked Sally.
“I don’t really have a clue,” I said. “To tell the truth, I don’t really understand why you’re here. I mean, obviously, you already stopped having problems, so I’m not sure what else I can accomplish. But I’m not going to spend a lot of time thinking about it. I figure if I just let myself talk, then whatever needs to come out of my mouth will come out. I prefer not to over-use my brain.”
“Hmm, so maybe I’m over-thinking,” said Sally.
“And maybe,” continued Sally, “I’m afraid because now that I’ve gotten myself this far, I realize that I have a say in how my life turns out. I guess I used to see myself as a victim of other people’s choices, and now I know that I’m in charge of my life. But then my brain gets involved and I want to control a perfect outcome.”
“In fact,” she continued, “when everything was crushing down on me in the past, all I could do was feel sorry for myself. I was sure where I fit into that picture because I could feel it. And now with nothing to feel sorry for, I don’t feel where I am.”
At this point, I really wondered just what the heck she needed me for, but I added: “All I was pointing out is that you’ve accomplished a great deal. So, if you want to know where you are, start by acknowledging what got you here.”
“You’re right, Dr. Matt! I got me here!” Sally squealed excitedly. “So, if I got me this far, then I can do it again!”
At last, I could see that Sally had more work to do, and where I would be needed. You see, she wasn’t able to recognize that I was the one who had got her this far, so it was going to take some time before we might make some progress.
Which is good. After all, if I didn’t people who needed me to tell them what to do, I’m not sure where I’d be. Sometimes, there’s nothing like sitting back and talking to your clients.
Just My Thoughts,