Put Out the Fire First

September 25, 2015

Personal Growth

In all my conversations with people, I’ve noticed a tendency for them to analyze their problems—often at great length and with little yield. Therapists are usually strong proponents for analysis, understandable since psychoanalysis was one of the first attempts to reach people in pain. Analysis is also entirely understandable in light of our natural need to understand the mysteries of life. Why is the sky blue? What made the Grand Canyon? Why is my life such a mess? We don’t like confusion.

I’m in favor of a certain amount of understanding. I was a surgeon for twenty years, and a diagnosis was a real advantage before beginning any form of effective treatment. And in emotional pain, it’s helpful to understand the role of the lack of unconditional love in the cause of that pain.

But we can analyze a problem forever and accomplish nothing. When a building is on fire, for example, the first thing they do is not to analyze the cause. If they stood outside the building figuring out the cause, the building would burn down. First, they put the fire out, and then they analyze what started it.

When people are in pain, they can’t see or hear anything clearly, so over-analyzing just confuses them. They need to feel loved first. They need to get to some healing before they can learn and grow past the wounds and lies of the past.

Put out the fire first. Get loved, and figure out the cause of the fire later.

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