Several weekends ago, my husband and I headed up to my in-laws cabin. This is our sanctuary, where Yahtzee is the main event and sleep comes easily without Melatonin or Sleepy Time Tea.
My mother-in-law received her Masters in Social Work and is currently working as a Counselor. She is constantly exploring and learning new methods. Over an intense round of the main event (I was only down by my threes on the top), my mother-in-law and I were discussing some concepts from ACT Therapy, also known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Many of the concepts of ACT are uniquely similar to the Passion Provokers Process, where forgiveness is used as a form of acceptance. This is taught as a way take action.
What is so powerful about the concepts behind ACT and the Passion Provokers Process is how the simple principles are so easy to apply.
ACT views the core of many problems to be due to the concepts represented in the acronym, FEAR:
- Fusion with your thoughts
- Evaluation of experience
- Avoidance of your experience
- Reason-giving for your behavior
And the healthy alternative is to ACT:
- Accept your reactions and be present
- Choose a valued direction
- Take action
Growing up, my parents would tell me “You choose how you feel.” To be honest, that really got to my nerves. My 15-year-old self would think, yeah right…YOU’RE the one making me angry so I have the right to be a total jerk to you, and be angry. Now, I understand. There is so much freedom in choosing how you feel. This means that you could be in the most painful and damaging situation possible and still choose to feel peace. Or joy. Or pain.
There is no justification to being a jerk.
My mother-in-law responded to my story with saying “Well, choosing how you feel is always easier said than done. But then again….everything is literally easier said than done.” She paused for a second and said “Saying ‘Oh I’d like to go grab a snack’ is easier than getting up and getting that snack, or ‘I’m going to work out every day this week’ or ‘I’ll get an A in that class.” It was one of those unexpected moments of laughter. Like peeing-your-pants laughter.
Once we were able to breathe again and we started a re-match, I started thinking about that phrase, which honestly is ridiculous. Which, now that I think about it, I suppose is the point. This brought me back to the cobwebs of my Junior year of High School in English. The term is “Idiom”.
An idiom (Latin: idioma, “special property”, from Greek: ἰδίωμα – idíōma, “special feature, special phrasing, a peculiarity”, f. Greek: ἴδιος – ídios, “one’s own”) is a phrase or a fixed expression that has a figurative, or sometimes literal, meaning. An idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms, and they occur frequently in all languages. It is estimated that there are at least twenty-five thousand idiomatic expressions in the English language.
Action is more proactive than discussing action, so rather than talking about what you’re going to do, just do it. Of course, the cliche advice is repetitive, but does not repetition become habit?
But, maybe, that is just easier said than done.