"........When Change is the Challenge."
Either/Or to Both/And"
Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.
spent seven hours with tech support, successful clearing a
nasty virus out of her computer. When she explained that she
had been unable to complete her coaching assignment because
of the time she had needed to take care of her computer, I
was sympathetic. When Helen told me how much she had learned
from the experience, something didn't ring true. Her voice
was tight and controlled.
a little, I told her how much I admired her ability to stick
with such a detailed task for such a long time. Knowing that
her personality style was much like my own, I said that if I
had been in a similar position, I would have felt frustrated
and angry. She seemed surprised. "You always seem so calm."
Helen explained that she was determined "not to give in to
negative feelings." She had trained herself to understand
all difficult experiences as learning opportunities. She
still sounded very controlled.
suggested that experiencing feelings in a stressful
situation was simply the way humans operate, and that she
could still recognize the learning opportunity while feeling
her feelings, she began to relax. She admitted that she was
feeling angry about having her valuable time co-opted by
having to deal with a dumb virus, even though she had
learned a lot in the process. It had not occurred to her
that her "negative" feelings and new beliefs could exist
was trapped by a common fallacy that things have to be
either one way or another, instead of both ways at the same
time. She knew that she could either think or feel, but had
to learn that she could do both without one necessarily
interfering with the other. The very high standards she
created for herself in an attempt to learn a new way to
relate to the world had backfired. She was suppressing her
own energy by trying to deny that an important aspect of
herself, her feelings, existed. As soon as she admitted that
she did have feelings about the situation, her energy
shifted. In a few minutes her tightness dissolved into
laughter and she felt re-energized.
Feelings that are ignored last a long time and tend to drain
energy. Feelings often change when they are acknowledged and
Copyright 2001, Empowerment Systems. May be
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Jonathan B. Weiss, Ph.D. and Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. have
helped thousands of people make significant changes in their
lives. Working together at Empowerment Systems for 29 of
their 40 years of marriage, they maintain a coaching,
consulting, and psychotherapy practice in Littleton,
· Colorado · 80120
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"Committed to helping people use all of
their inner resources
to create satisfying and fulfilling