Because we are born into the unknown, our first dilemma is whether we will be accepted or not. Depending on how we interpret our parents/caregivers' behaviour in the very first hours/days, we make gross assumptions that we bring with us to other situations later in life. These often occur when we begin something new - a job, a marriage, a country, a school... Just look back, you will see that your experience of a beginning will be more meaningful when you think about it in terms of your first experience in the world!

Shame is one of the most debilitating feelings we experience. When we are ashamed, we are actually sort of using our internal breaks to avoid being upset about what someone does or says to us. Our hope is that they realise what they have done to us and repair the relationship. When they don't, and we think we had enough, our shame turns into self-righteousness. And we go on and on...

The problem with "The Secret" or the so-called "think positive so that things will be positive" movement is that when you tell a person to not think in a certain way - especially if they have a slightly perfectionist streak, they can from then on only think of what you told them not to. I once worked with a young woman who was diagnosed with breast cancer. During our initial meeting she confessed to me that she brought 'this' onto herself. When enquired about it, she told me that her father unexpectedly passed away two years ago. About six months later, the family was devastated again when her brother got killed in a traffic accident. Following these tragedies, as many of us would be, she became 'obsessed' with her health and ended up visiting various specialists with several health scares. It was during one of these visits that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was therefore convinced that it was her focus on 'the negative' that brought the breast cancer on to herself. In that moment, I felt the need to re-frame her story and asked her: "So rather than thinking that your vigilance made it possible for the doctors to diagnose your breast cancer at an early stage you feel that it was your negativity that brought this on to your self?" She stopped and smiled. And I smiled back to her.

Human beings are like pressure cookers. When the whistle of the PC blows, do you try to close it with your finger? I hope not. You take it off the stove and let it rest a little, and then, slowly you unscrew the lid to open it. So, why is it that when one has a recurring thought, anxiety, panic attack or a depressive tendency, people want that whistle to just 'shut up'? I suggest that it is just a whistle and thank God that there is a whistle! If it wasn't for such an emergency valve, we would not last for very long! But you need to take yourself off the stove and let it settle a bit, before you even think of opening that lid. The emotions I mean. In a safe and sound environment, hopefully with a therapist! Have a good day ;)!