Help your Clients Let Go the Myth of a ‘Quick Fix’
Common themes emerge in my client work.
This blog contains three myth-busters that when addressed, help my clients trust the process (and stop seeking quick fixes).
1. There’s no such thing as a 'lazy' person.
Most people want to contribute to their own wellbeing, and even to others’ happiness if they are able. If they can’t change, it’s not because they’re lazy, rather, it’s because they are presently unable. Their nervous system doesn’t yet have the capacity to do what we know will help them feel and function better. However, it’s the practitioner’s responsibility to build the client’s capacity for change, not to re-create a childhood dynamic by asking them to do something that’s beyond their current capacity. If we ask our clients to do something they can’t, we will trigger shame and diminish their capacity to take any action at all.
2. There is no such thing as 'self-sabotage'.
The idea of sabotaging one’s own success is a popular idea, especially amongst women building a service-based business. Visibility challenges, financial struggles, mindset wobbles and health setbacks are frequently attributed to self-sabotage.
I like to reframe self-sabotage as a protector instead of a saboteur and ask, “How does not doing something help my client?”
3. ‘Introverts’ and ‘Extroverts’ don’t exist
People choose to be alone or to spend time with others according to the amount of openness or contraction in their nervous system, and the level of activation in their nervous system as a result of being with others.
I often hear clients despairing of their introvertive tendencies when it comes to visibility.
‘Introvertism’ and ‘Extrovertism’ can be understood as survival strategies employed when the threat response is triggered.
‘Introverts’ focus on avoiding others to feel safe, whereas ‘Extroverts’ use strategies like ‘tend and befriend’ to feel safe around others. Even someone who enjoys the company of other people might feel the negative impact of being sociable and become overwhelmed. The filters they developed in early childhood in order to stay connected to neglectful and/or self-absorbed caregivers will cause their nervous system to work extra hard to feel safe.
They may be focused on anticipating the needs of others and lose connection to their self. From an environmental perspective, their nervous system might contract around perfumes, deodorants and shampoos, feel swamped by the noise and pitch of different voices speaking all at once and over each other, and irritated by the buzz of fluorescent lighting and machinery.
How do we go about creating the conditions for change?
Highly sensitive clients need their boundaries to be affirmed, and their self-protective impulses to be normalised.
Helping a client understand that their impulse to avoid doing something or being with others is neither pathological, nor an obstacle to be overcome, lays the groundwork for learning to trust their body, respect their boundaries, and follow the wisdom of their intuition.
Their locus of control will move from outside to inside, which creates greater self-responsibility and fuels self-accountability. The mind’s uncertainty (and the client’s need for re-assurance) inevitably diminishes when their innate impulses are validated and encouraged.
Focus on helping clients to:
Trust their body
Respect their own boundaries
Recognise and follow their intuition
Without pushing or forcing them, they will move towards:
Trusting other people
Respecting others’ boundaries
Over time, they will move to greater coherence and self actualisation. They will:
Be truly self-compassionate
Be naturally patient with self
Let go of dualistic thinking
Have clarity about the difference between judgements and preferences
Embrace all experiences as ‘wanted’ and move towards them
Appreciate the sweetness of ‘neutrality’ instead of being pulled by ‘intensity’
Let go of dogma - recognise that knowledge comes in many forms, and all forms are valuable