Dealing with mountains and molehills

How many of our difficulties start with one tiny misunderstanding: someone didn’t give us their usual smile; a teacher gives us a stern look, word or embarrassing public rebuke? Possibly a best friend, sweetheart or target of our affection criticized us…that’s all it takes to ruin our whole day! We find ourselves so fragile, so frail and vulnerable that any offhand remark, any hasty reaction or ill-timed joke, punctures our confidence completely. If we don’t catch the misunderstanding there and then, it germinates and grows bigger and bigger, like an ugly mold.

We revel in self-pity and depression—we can’t let go of it. We’re bent on bringing retribution. We want to take revenge on someone or something, which ultimately is ourselves. We drive madly toward a crisis. We connect our imagination to the problem, like a tiny air compressor, and watch it grow, as if it were a balloon. What began as a tiny problem inflates over time, until it is as large as a weather balloon. We enjoy the shade it provides from the bright sun of reality (more negative gain. “See how big my problem is.” “I’m broken, I don’t have to/can’t do that.”). Our problem grows until it is as large as a blimp, yet we continue to fill it from our imaginary air compressor, and hold tightly to the tiny string. If we allow this to continue, we will ultimately be lifted off, and carried away by our problem. Here we are, holding onto the tiny string that connects us to our problem. LET GO of the string! You are free. You have a choice, or don’t. What makes the most sense?

Our delusion, the source of our depression, looms like some ugly sculpture. We fashion it, and build it with feverish care. We construct, enlarge and extend it, then top it off with the discovery of some “deep-seated,” ancient problem. Everything is assembled in perfect order, complete with all the best reasons of why we should be so troubled.

What completely escapes us, apart from the fact that the original problem was not really all that serious, let alone disastrous, is this: We built our depressing sculpture almost completely from “imagination,” inflated by more imagination! It exists only in our mind.

We build our own devils and specters. We conjure the spirits that weigh down our natural ability to achieve a happy, relaxed, restful and, yes, healthy life.

Hypnosis can allow us to locate, identify and view problems with new understanding. We view our specter through adult eyes, and then apply our creative mind to devise new strategies and effect new understanding. You will call this “Getting over it.” Memories are colored by our understanding at the time. When the adult self views the occurrence with new understanding, the memory changes its emotional color. You cannot change a memory, but you can reinterpret/change the emotion it carries.

I used to see a toy balloon, flying high above a fair or carnival, and feel sad that some little boy or girl had lost his or her balloon. I now see this balloon, sailing away, and find a new understanding of its journey. Imagine that.

Robert Sieveking is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. He is the owner of Hypnotherapy Resolutions, 4249 E. State St., Rockford. Call him at 226-3800 or visit his Web site,

Please send your questions and comments to the editor of The Rock River Times, 128 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61101.

From the Sept. 20-26, 2006, issue

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