A couple called me and described their family. The two of them often bitterly quarreled. The children were in various kinds of trouble at school and otherwise. Not infrequently, the father hit his children and his wife. This was a family in considerable conflict, so I began to guide them through the steps they could take to stop the madness and begin to find genuine happiness.
Regrettably, although they expressed understanding of what I said, they didn’t actually complete the practical assignments I gave them to change the patterns of their lives. They continued to call, but primarily to complain about their misery rather than to learn how they could stop it.
I finally said to the wife/mother of the family, “Imagine that you’re at Camp I on Mt. Everest, which is very high—about 20,000 feet—very windy, and very cold. By using your hand-held radio you can connect to a radio at base camp and eventually through to my house. You call to tell me that you’re cold and shivering uncontrollably. Are you with me so far?”
“Strange, but sure.”
“I describe exactly the height and temperature of your surroundings, and then I ask you what you’re wearing. You respond that you’re wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I suggest that you might be warmer—and shiver less—if you were to wear standard high-altitude apparel, which would include layered clothing from head to toe, capable of insulating you from the cold and the wind. But you protest that you’re accustomed to wearing shorts and a t-shirt at your home in Southern California, and all that other clothing and gear would be bulky and heavy.”
“That would be ridiculous of me.”
“And yet that is exactly what you do when you call me about the problems in your family.”
Most of the time, you do not what is most effective but what you have been taught in the past. You’re either imitating those who taught you when you were young, or you are reacting to them.
So you keep trying to climb Mt. Everest in shorts and a t-shirt.
It is not enough to recognize or complain that you’re in pain—that you’re shivering on the mountain. You must take the steps to become equipped with Real Love—to find and use the socks, the insulating clothing, the outer layer of wind protection, the tents—which will enable you to gracefully handle the difficult situations that inevitably arise in your interactions with situations and people.
With Real Love, you finally change your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, resulting in the happiness you’ve always wanted. You find yourself standing on top of Mt. Everest—warm and safe.
Replace your anger & confusion with peace and happiness.
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