Monday, March 03, 2014

Why Willpower Doesn't Work

Let me give you a secret in therapy: willpower is powerless.

Imagine riding a speedboat. Its autopilot is programmed to go east. Now you decide to reverse it and head west. One way to do it is to physically "force" the steering wheel in the opposite direction from where the autopilot is programmed.

By sheer willpower, you may grab the steering wheel and overcome the autopilot. However, much sooner than you believe, your arms would surely ache and tire of stress. Reaching a limit in your energy, you'd let go of the steering wheel and the boat instantly reverts back to its original internal programming.

This is what happens when you try to change your bad habits, emotional wounds, or behavioral disorders with willpower. You say, "I'll force my self to abstain from drugs and pornography ... control my rage more ... and quit using foul language." Of course, left on your own, you can produce short-term change through the exercise of your willpower.  But such produces tremendous internal distress because you''re missing dealing with the "root" cause. So eventually, you give up, and quickly revert to your old, dysfunctional patterns.

There is a better way for lasting personal healing and life change. You change your autopilot and deepest internal programming. You change the way you think. Healing and recovery always starts in the mind.

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