If You Relapse

A therapist once told me he had a client, Dirck, who's wife didn't feel loved. The therapist helped Dirck find out what his wife needed to feel loved. She craved physical demonstration: Hugs, touches, kisses, holding hands. That was something that really got through to her and meant the most to her. Dirck had been simply telling her how much he loved her without doing much physical demonstration. So although she knew intellectually Dirck loved her, she didn't feel loved.

The therapist helped Dirck learn to demonstrate his love physically. Dirck returned a week later to say, "It worked!" His wife felt loved!

Six months later, Dirck was back. His wife didn't feel loved any more. The therapy apparently hadn't succeeded like he thought.

With some careful questions, the therapist found out Dirck had stopped doing what he was doing before and was merely professing his love with words again!

As stupid as that sounds, you will have to be careful to avoid making the same mistake. When things are going fine, you will tend to take your attention off the problem, which is good. But if you stop doing the things that help manage your anxiety, it will creep back into your life, and one day you'll realize you've relapsed, and you may even throw up your hands in despair because "Apparently this stuff doesn't work as well as I thought it did."

Well guess what? It works just fine. But the knowledge doesn't do anything. You have to take the steps if you want to reap the benefits. The only thing that makes this difficult is: It's hard to notice the absence of a negative condition (except immediately after it goes away). That's just a fact of life. And it causes relapses and backsliding. But it is really no big deal. Just remember what works. And when it seems you've relapsed, start doing again what worked before.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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