Fallacy Number Six:
"It is easier for me to avoid
rather than face certain life problems and
Problems are best coped with by going
through, rather than around them. Why? It is simply a matter
of psychic economy - our mental energy must be used wisely
and repressing or suppressing problems, ie. trying to ignore
them or push them out of conscious awareness, uses up more
psychic energy than facing them ever does.
The mind is a dangerous weapon, even to the possessor, if
he knows not discreetly how to use it. - Michel de Montaigne
If I submerge a ping-pong ball (a problem) underwater (out
of sight), the minute I release the ball it pops up to the
surface (conscious awareness).
The only way I can keep the ball deeply immersed is by
constantly holding it down with one hand. This means I have
crippled myself, losing the use of one arm, which is devoted
entirely to holding the ball under.
Do you cripple yourself emotionally trying to hold down
problems? Don't avoid problems - face them! If you need help
and encouragement, go to close friend and if necessary don't
hesitate to get professional support.
Fallacy Number Seven:
"My past history is a crushing determiner
of my present happiness and because something once strongly
affected me it must continue to similarly affect me."
When a past event influences your present behaviour your
mind is divided against itself. Brooding over the past
wastes energy as does day-dreaming of the future.
"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrows,
it only saps today of its strength"
- A. M. Cronin
Know that all human enterprise is often accompanied,
unfortunately, by an inordinate desire to succeed (living in
the future) and an inordinate fear of failure (based on past
experience of failure).
"Men suffer from thinking more than from anything else."
- Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
You can actually train yourself to focus
your attention upon the now thus helping to release the grip
of the past. Refusing to count chickens before they are
hatched is good mental hygiene and is the basis of Karma
Yoga. Now is the time.
Fallacy Number Eight:
"There is always a right, correct and
perfect solution to human problems and it is a major
catastrophe if this perfect solution is not worked out."
All problems may be faced but not all can be solved. Some
situations are so messy and intricate that they can only be
accepted or endured. Avoid flagellating yourself if you fail
to find the answer to your marital difficulties or
misunderstandings in relationships and business.
Each person's feelings are in a constant state of flux and
what was once harmonious understanding may tomorrow become
unharmonious misunderstanding. Remember that there seldom is
a real right or wrong - there are just people with
Human relationships tend to be built upon a flimsy spider
web. Often we like people for no better reason than that
they appear to like us. When you fully understand how true
this is you will cease searching for "perfect" solutions.
It is an illusion that we like or dislike people - what we
like or dislike are the feelings that contact with them
induces in us.
Fallacy Number Nine:
"I should become extremely upset over
the problems and disturbances of other people."
Sympathy, contrary to popular belief, is not the most
efficient way to help others with their problems. Sympathy
involves identifying yourself with another's emotional state
and then two unhappy people exist instead of one.
Empathy, not sympathy, is what is required. Empathy is
understanding another person's feelings and above all
accepting them. Do not turn their problems into your
Any attempt to give advice or sympathy is based upon the
false notion that people cannot solve their own
difficulties. Each person contains the solution to
alleviating his own stress, given an accepting listener, as
surely as the egg contains a yolk. Because others are
disturbed do not fall into the trap of feeling you also must
In fact it would not hurt to quote the great Canadian
Physician, Sir William Osler, who nearly a hundred years ago
"Physicians should remember that
although they can rarely cure, they can usually relieve and
they can always comfort"
In India they would call 'comfort' an aspect of Bhakti Yoga.
An extension of this concept is becoming involved in the
problems of the world and community at large by reading
daily newspapers, watching the news on television every
night and listening to the news on radio throughout the day.
This may seem a little fanatical but I strongly suggest that
if you are constantly depressed and anxious about the state
of the world, try fasting yourself from the media - you may
be amazed at how your tension level drops!
Believe me - anything you really need to know someone will
always tell you! Psychologists are now becoming aware of how
we live in an age of "information overload" and generally
speaking absorbing the news daily is a form of mental
poisoning more potent than any ecological disasters
currently and the equivalent of taking a bath in sewerage.