A Way Home

Going home, for those lucky enough to have had a reasonably good childhood or a beloved family as an adult, has a particular feeling to it.  Even for those of us who live alone, entering our dwellings and closing the door behind us can make us feel protected, sheltered or, at least, less subject to the uninvited, unpredictable influences of the world outside.

There is a “home” inside you, too.  That can be harder to navigate to than your dwelling, though.  That home is the unwavering conviction to stand with your principles against any force trying to make you abandon them and to remind yourself that the ceaseless dramas playing out around you need not sweep you up into them.

I think the best way to return to the home inside you is to look a bit quizzically at those events that might, otherwise, have the power to impact you negatively.  The word “interesting” might accompany that quizzical gaze.

“Interesting” gets you home. –Dr. Keith Ablow

Imagine you get news that a project of yours has gone awry.  The person working with you has quit, the customer for the product you were creating together is balking at continuing as a client and the client’s lawyer has left a phone message to call her.  You can either think, “I can’t believe this is happening.  This is a calamity,” or you can simply think, “Interesting.  Well, that’s quite a turn of events.  Let’s figure this out and make it everything it can be.  Maybe there’s a reason all this is happening.  Maybe I’ll even end up better off than before.”

You could think, “This is a calamity!”  Or you could think, “’Interesting.’  This is quite a turn of events.” –Dr. Keith Ablow

Self-dialogue is extremely powerful as a tool to keep from capsizing in the inevitable stormy seas of life.  And “interesting” is a sturdy mast.

“Interesting” gets you home.  “Ugh,” “I’m screwed,” or any other such negative internal dialogue gets you lost.

I’m not pretending that this thought pattern is an easy one to master.  And you wouldn’t want to go too far with it and become a bystander in your own life.  But what “interesting” can do for you is short-circuit the panic that comes with unpredictable, potentially traumatic events.  It isn’t to be used to make you not respond to important challenges or feel the sadness of profound losses, but it is meant to steady you during those stormy events that might, otherwise, drive you far from home—the one inside you.

Dr. Keith Ablow

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