The Difficult Answer

Every conversation we have with every other person is a conversation we have with ourselves.
Every conversation we have with ourselves is a conversation we have with every other person.

1: Thanks for seeing me, you must be very busy
2: No problem
1: Yeah, so… The thing is, well… I made a few suicide attempts when I was younger, and I got some help, and I got completely better. Like last Spring I was really happy and doing really well. Then this year I just seem to have gone backwards, what with everything that’s going on, and I don’t want to end up back in that position of having those dark thoughts again, and then acting on them… I just can’t go through all that again… So that’s why I decided to get in touch
2: Yep. That makes sense… So if it all works out from this point on, then what do you hope life might be like for you in future?
1: …Heh! Well, what I’d really like is to be successful and have my own place, y’know? Somewhere to call home. And a decent car, no money worries, and a family of my own, to be happily married with children one day…
2: Ok, and what difference in you might result from having all that?
1: Difference in me?… Well I’d feel proud of what I’ve achieved, you know? I could feel really good about myself.
2: Right, I see, so what are you most proud of achieving so far?
1: Nothing. No. That’s just it, I’m not proud of anything. I’m probably too hard on myself, and I just feel… disappointed with myself
2: Hmm simple as that eh? No hesitation, really clear. Nothing. Easy answer I guess?
1: Uh, yeah, nothing. I really don’t feel I can be proud of anything. And I don’t know if you can imagine how much that’s dragged me down. That’s why I’m here.
2: Yeah I get that. That’s absolutely the sort of thing that could drag anybody down, no matter what they’ve survived in life so far… So what’s the difficult answer?
1: I’m sorry?
2: Nothing. That’s the easy answer. What’s the difficult answer? The answer that you have to dig really, really deep to find. The one that you really have to think hard about?
1: Err… I’m not sure I follow. I can’t think of anything.
2: Ok, so taking some more time to think about it. As much time as you like. If there’s even the remotest possibility that you might eventually have the life you most want to have one day? A future in which you’re proud of yourself, and unshakeably feeling good about yourself overall, no matter what’s going on… And the key that can unlock the door to that future depends on you coming up with an answer that really means something to you, and that rings true, but which is almost out of reach, so you really have to search around to find it… What are you proud of achieving in your life so far? The stuff that shows you can feel good about yourself through remembering and knowing that that’s who you are?
1: Oooo….ah… umm….
2: ……
1: Err…..
2: ……
1: …… I’m not sure.
2: Awesome! Now we’re cooking!… Keep going, we’re looking for a hard to find answer here…
1: Err… I don’t know. No I just can’t think of anything
2: Keep going. It’s there somewhere. Much time as you like. Think back over everything you’ve been through. What are you proud to have achieved?
1: (sigh) Ok, let me think about this…
2: …
1: …
2: …
1: … Well…
2: …
1: … Well… Ok, well you know what? I’ve had a lot, and I mean a lot, of stuff to deal with, but I’m still here at least. I’ve never given up. I can’t. I got help when I needed it, but actually dragging myself back up and carrying on… I did that. That was me.
2: Yep. That was you alright! You just told me who you are! That’s the person who’s taken steps before towards that possible future life you want to go in the direction of. That’s who could take the next step in that direction, difficult as it is
1: Ah ok. I get it… To be honest though, it doesn’t feel like me very often!
2: Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me under the circumstances. So even though it doesn’t always feel like that’s you, what’s the sort of thing you might just catch yourself doing going forwards from this point that might remind you that you are also that person, who’s been through all that stuff and is still here, carrying on, even feeling good about themselves?
1: Well, just smiling… You know sometimes, in spite of everything, I still catch myself smiling! Even with everything going on. Still smiling! (smiles)
2: And the difference it makes for you to notice that?
1: … Well, it just shows me that I’m not beat. That I can do this… I can carry on. Who knows what life might bring in future, right?
2: Right

3 thoughts on “The Difficult Answer

  1. Love your clear SF of mind, into body – mind experiential SF results.
    Your guidance to ‘ keep looking it’s there ‘was inviting them back to their breath
    You could have been saying ‘breathe into this ‘
    This was a good example of the inherent mindfulness of SF practice . I presented on this a couple years ago . But this example was missing !

    Liked by 1 person

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