How to set ourselves free from our own minds
‘Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.’ Bob Marley
I find this quote really helpful to sum up how and why therapy can be useful for people to help them manage the emotional difficulties they have. It highlights that only we have the power to change how we think, feel and behave. We cannot change the world around us and we cannot make the people who we are close to change either, all we can change is ourselves.
One challenge we have as human beings is that we all want to feel like we are in control of our own lives and so when difficult feelings, events and situations arise we feel that we want to control them. However, there is only so much we can control and ultimately all we can control is ourselves, how we choose to think, behave and live.
There are times when we are slaves to our thoughts and perceptions and they become rigid and inflexible. This can be limiting as the world does not operate in the ‘black and white’ or ‘either/or’ that our minds prefer. This limit on our minds and the world does not afford us the flexibility which helps us to navigate life’s roller coasters.
Figuring out how to think more flexibly and consider multiple perspectives allows us to free ourselves. Only we have the power to free ourselves-you cannot easily teach someone how to achieve this but sometimes in therapy people are able to figure this out for themselves. So try it, question and wonder about whether the way you are seeing things might be seen differently by other people who are kind to you and want the best for you. Be kind to yourself in the ways that they will be and set yourself free from thoughts which just hold you back and limit yourself.
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About Sara Trayman
I am a Counselling Psychologist working in South Woodford and Redbridge. I work with children, adolescents and adults offering individual therapy. I also offer parent consultancy for parents struggling with relationships or behaviours of their children. I hope that the ideas here are useful and connect with some of your own experiences, Sara.