One of my favorite videos ever is Bob Newhart’s psychotherapy session, called “Stop It.” In the clip, a woman comes to see a new therapist, and when talking about her problems, is met with the same blunt response each time. “Stop it,” the therapist tells her. Each time, she is stumped — unable to take in such a simple solution. She had expected to discuss at length the variables that have gone into each of her troubles, and yet, the therapist stops her with the same two words each time: “Stop it.”
It’s genius. I have to admit that I have tried this technique in my own life when I’ve experienced my own negative patterns that undermine my joy and well-being. These patterns span from falling into a comparison trap, feeling separate, getting overwhelmed, and overall negative paradigms. When I have looked in the mirror and told myself to simply “stop it” (with great intention and authority!) I’ve been amazed to see how that part of myself starts to weaken. Just like the patient in the video, the negative voice asked, “What do you mean, stop it?” — to which I repeated: “I mean, stop it.” Believe it or not, you can scare the pattern away with those two simple words, provided your intention is behind it.
Remember, we’re not talking about diagnosed mental illness — we’re talking about those everyday thoughts that nag at us and keep us from being our best selves. These thoughts and patterns suck out the air within us. They take over our minds and our emotions, and make us believe they are real. We have to take control, and kick them out of the window. If a child loses his or her temper, you don’t give in. You have none of it. So why not do the same with your wicked little parts with their broomsticks?
It’s extraordinary to think about how many of us get caught in these patterns, and we feed them by judging ourselves, ruminating over them, sharing them with our friends, and living as if they were true. You and I know that so many of our patterns are not true — so we have to use our force and power to inform them that we are the master. So I highly recommend you watch the video, identify a pattern within yourself that is causing you misery, fear, and worry — and do nothing else other than looking in the mirror and with all your force, raise your voice to say, “Stop it.” Say it over again until the voice subsides and can’t latch on any longer.
We have authority over our patterns. Use those two simple words to get you out of them — and anything that’s causing you unhappiness.
Please share with me a pattern that you’re facing, and how you’re using your authority to put a stop to it. Let’s support each other to realize how much more simple it is to move past our addictive negative patterns, and claim more of our freedom.
— Published on October 25, 2019