Watch out for that weak link in your Chain. Many times when counselling a client I observe that they want to talk about their strengths. I think this is good to a point but they didn’t come to see me because of their strengths. After giving them time to polish those strong links in their chain I bring them to the issue they brought them in to see me.
“We are only as strong as our weakest link,” I remind them. “We’ve spent enough time polishing the ones that never fail. Let’s talk about the one that seems to fail enough that you have chosen to see a therapist.” It is hard to talk about our weaknesses but until we do, we set ourselves up for another bout of failure. When this link fails we experience, divorce, getting fired, being expelled, charged with drunk driving…the list is endless but quite predictable.
A metaphor I use is as follows, “When we stray off of our path and onto a divergent trail we follow it to the side of a nice river. There we find a canoe and a paddle that seemed designed to fit us perfectly. We push off and paddle around enjoying ourselves immensely until we begin to hear a distant roar of water. Now we begin to paddle upstream but to no effect and slowly are drawn towards the sound of the waterfall. Now paddling in earnest we still are pulled toward the inevitable and as we begin to tilt just before the fall we have a sense of being here before. Next comes the screaming, the crash and the consequences. We have done this before, maybe many times before. The problem is not with the waterfall, not the river, not even the canoe. The problem is leaving our path in the first place.
Our weakest link, when we master it, will become one of our strongest but that will never happen when we are in denial. We need to look at the cause of our failures not the reasons, the situations or the resulting pain and chaos. We can’t change the past and we haven’t screwed up once tomorrow but we can become mindful in the moment.
Have a destination, know the path that will take you there, acknowledge you weaknesses, whether it be alcohol, drugs, hate, love of money etc etc., and overcome them by being mindful in the moment and thus succeed in your life.
If your weak link in your chain hangs so low that it is submerged in your unconscious get help from a therapist. If it is an addiction that fails you when you need to be strong get into recovery. If it is a wound resulting from abuse in your childhood as an adult get help for your inner child.
Remember this though, your weak link that now leads you over that waterfall, when you are healed and have insight, will be one of the stronger links in you chain.