“People and situations are powerless without your reaction.” I read that somewhere. Well, how about when you get home and a beloved family member has unexpectedly dropped dead? Or when you get locked up in the US prison system for some innocuous mistake? Those situations certainly have a lot of power…

So how much power do you have? Certainly you do control your reaction to your circumstances to a great degree, especially things that happened in the past, and we can decide whether or not to get angry or sad in many situations, but try to pull yourself out of decades of conditioning and mind control, like immersion in a cult, and it’s not quite as easy as the pop psychologists would have us believe when they sell us their books and seminars and courses.

Here’s what I think: exert the power you do have, understand the amount of power you have, but be understanding and patient with yourself. If you’re using your circumstances and your past as an excuse or to manipulate others, you know you’re doing it, and you know you’re a lying sod and you can stop it by choice, but when it comes to real feelings and perceptions, don’t expect overnight changes because you heard some guru spouting his “solution.” 

Instead, set a goal of how you wish to feel and respond, who you want to be, and then create an action plan. That can include the reading of the appropriate books, mixing with people who are already free, avoiding those people, situations, pictures and places who would drag your mind, kicking and screaming, back into your past. But it takes time. Reframing, that is finding a new way to look at situations, perceive them and interpret them, takes work. You’re not a robot or a computer that can be reprogrammed in an hour.

Diligently work that plan. But without sufficient motivation, you won’t work at your plan. I had a loser call me the other day to take advantage of the complimentary interview I offer to business owners who are considering availing themselves of my coaching services, and the had a problem with the idea of getting up early to do the interview. He’s not motivated; he’s just looking for a way to get some new, free information. I cancelled the appointment ten minutes later.

I am clinically depressive. It took a major even in my life (a series of Temporary Global Amnesia episodes, in fact), four or fine years ago, to agree to start taking medication. The change was unbelievable. I should have made that change a long time ago, but I needed sufficient evidence that I was clinically depressed, that my suicidal attitude was not just a character trait but a real problem. I used to think that, as long as other people didn’t know how I felt, everything was A-OK. That feeling sad was weak. That medication was a crutch. But it doesn’t work that way. The only people who think that, as I did, don’t understand the radical difference it made in my life and how clinical imbalances work in the brain.

Talk with a fifty year old who has been immersed in a cult since the age of seven and decide if it would be simple to make an overnight change. Talk to someone who is clinically depressed, if he is open and honest, and see how easy it would be to change. Talk to my friend who got home and found his 26-year-old son unexpectedly deceased, and understand that, while we can control most of our attitudes and choices, life is real and people are vulnerable. And so are you. Get real. Taming a lion takes time, but he can be trained.

Robin Elliott