(Mette Louise Holland, a 3P-based psychologist in Denmark, has provided this interview with her client Ida, 15 years old. Ida has agreed to allow us to share this beautiful simple truth about our healthy nature.)
I was suffering from severe depression and social anxiety when I met Mette Louise. I had tried to take my own life once and I was planning on doing it again.
Previously, I had seen another psychologist for a year or so, but nothing really changed. We talked about how I was feeling and in some periods I felt a little better, but I didn’t feel any real change. Then suddenly I felt really horrible again. It was all ups and downs with no end to it. It felt like my condition was slowly getting worse. I was beginning to give up hope that I would ever be okay.
At one point I couldn’t get more sessions at my first psychologist, and then I started seeing Mette Louise. At that point I had anxiety attacks every day, or at least every second day. But as I returned to Mette Louise for our second session, I realized I hadn’t had one since we spoke the first time. I thought: “ah, that can’t be true. It must be because I haven’t been in any of the situations that use to cause me anxiety.”
But after another couple of conversations I realized that it really was because of what we talked about in our first session. Suddenly I just got these insights: that in fact it wasn’t really the situations that caused me anxiety, I myself was the one who created my feelings in the situations. So no, it wasn’t because I hadn’t been in certain situations – my anxiety had gone. Just like that. I couldn’t believe it. But I couldn’t deny it either. I had been going like one “click” from being so far down in the darkest of moods and then suddenly, in another “click” it had just gone. I mean, after only one conversation. That was blowing my mind.
In the beginning I was thinking a lot about what we talked about. I thought I had to think positive and things like that. But after a while I realized that it’s not like that. Thinking is thinking and you can’t really control it. And you don’t need to. And with the understanding of the Principles in the back of your mind, that is all okay.
My normal state of mind has jumped up several levels. Now, I’m just really fine. And it persists. It’s more than a year since I stopped seeing Mette Louise now. I think I had 4 sessions over a three month period. That’s all. I haven’t experienced anxiety since. I’ve had the greatest change. I’ve become more spontaneous – if I get a thought, then I might just grab it and do it! Before I used to overthink every situation hugely.
Like: “if I do this, then I also have to do this and that.” Or: “If I do that, people will think so and so.” Oh my god, I was thinking so much! Now I know thought is thought. You can chose to believe it or you can just let it go. I’m doing so much more of what I want to do now.
I’ve become so much more joyful. Before, I was hiding in a corner and psyched myself up somehow, made myself feel worse and worse. In a way I wanted to feel that way – I thought: “I’m not going to get out of this anxiety anyway.” And then I just went on – because I was used to feeling uncomfortable, it felt safe in a way. Familiar. Now I know it’s just thought. You can build so many walls around yourself with your thinking. It’s pretty weird to realize that it’s just made of – like, air – it doesn’t mean anything. If you don’t hold on to it, it’s gone.
I was finishing 9th grade at that time. I was so nervous at the exams before. My thinking was like flowing around in the whole class room and I couldn’t concentrate. But now it’s totally different. I show up and see what happens. I haven’t been nervous – at all! I just do my best and leave my thinking on its own: nervous thinking comes if it comes, and so what. It can come. I don’t take it so seriously, I don’t listen to it.
In the beginning it was a little hard to make peace with the fact that other people don’t know this. People don’t do what they really want to do – they allow their thinking to steer too much.
In the beginning, when I hung out with my friends, sometimes I couldn’t help laughing – because it was so funny in a way, to watch how they were taking their own thinking so seriously. They held on to their heavy thinking. Then they got mad at each other and didn’t speak to each other for a long time. I just couldn’t help laughing because – it’s a thought you had a long time ago! Why not just let it go? Why would you go on and on with that same old thought? And when you do that, you make more thinking around the first one – you make up more thinking and the story gets worse and worse – it can go on forever if you don’t see how easily you can let go of a thought.
It was crazy how fast I saw more about thinking in the beginning, it came to me so quickly. I felt I had wasted a whole year focusing so much on negative thought, so it was really freeing to let go of it. Not that I became free. I realized that I already was free – I had been free all the time. Because, really – I had had good times in that year of anxiety too. I just hadn’t really noticed. I had had the thought that I shouldn’t be happy, that there was nothing to be happy about. So when I felt happy, I tried to think about sad things, because I felt I shouldn’t feel good.
Understanding the Principles has really transformed my life. I think I would have continued the same way as before, if I hadn’t gotten these insights. Now this understanding is mine forever – you can’t forget it once you’ve seen it. It’s yours for life.
What was your first insight?
After the first session with Mette Louise I remember I was blown away. I wasn’t 100 percent sure if it was really true what she was telling me, it had to land inside of me. But I couldn’t regret the logic of it, and soon I started to see it for myself.
Before, I couldn’t go shopping on my own, and I couldn’t go anywhere in my school alone because, what if people looked at me? And if I did something wrong? Now it’s no problem, it changed by itself. I just realized I could go shopping even if these thoughts were there. I didn’t have to believe it.
Before, I didn’t want to go to school and I had a lot of days at home from school, but then my thinking changed and I was like: “Hey! I want to go to school every day!” It just occurred to me: “why not just do it?”
Before, I felt like the girl who couldn’t get friends and couldn’t be really happy and now it has just turned upside down. I have allowed myself to be with others, if you can put it like that. I don’t care what people think anymore. You never know what they’re thinking anyway. Before I just knew they didn’t like me and now I’m like: how would I know what’s going on in their minds?! And so what? If they like me, great, if not, then that’s just how it is.
And my friends felt the change in me really clearly, they were like: “Oh Ida, you’ve really changed!” It’s so weird to think about.
It’s not that I never have unhelpful thinking anymore. But when I do I just see it and realize: it’s just thought. And then I let go. It doesn’t mean anything to me anymore.
I can still feel bad, but not for a whole day. I can be sad, but I don’t let other people make me sad because I know it’s just my thinking. It’s not people who make me sad. I’m the one who creates that thinking.
How does your future look to you now? And before?
Well, before I didn’t really think I had any future. I thought that if I continued my life, it would just go downhill from here. I would never get married and I would always feel bad. Now I think… well, I don’t think so much about the future. I’m sure it will be great, but I just live more in the moment now. I don’t make up a lot of thoughts about how my future will look like.
When I think about how I tried to commit suicide, I sometimes think I wish I had met Mette Louise before. But other times I feel really lucky, because if it hadn’t happened, maybe I would never have heard about the Principles. And maybe I would never have felt as good as I do now.
That’s amazing to hear!
It’s unbelievable. And I can’t wrap my head around the fact that most people still don’t know about it. I think that EVERYBODY should think like this! Think about how different the world would look like, if everybody knew! When I began to look in this direction, it was like understanding life at a deeper level. What life really is. And I’m only 15. How cool is that?
Isn’t it funny you don’t realise what you have until you don’t have it anymore? Usually we mean this to be something we’ve lost that we treasure. In this case losing something has been the best thing that has happened to me and my family. Let me explain…
As a teenager I remember feeling self conscious, lonely and depressed once or twice to the point of wanting to end my life. I didn’t even know what depression was then, the label came a few years later and I self diagnosed myself. I didn’t talk to anyone about my feelings, I just sat in my room, thinking and thinking and imagining how life was so different for me than everyone else. I learned to put on a good front / mask.
Anyway swipe through to a few years later, I didn’t do bad at all in my life I have a wonderful loving, caring, understanding husband of 12 years, I have 2 beautiful children and loving parents. I also had a well paid job that I loved and was good at.
However, I still had self doubt, I cared a lot what others thought and I lived my life and made decisions based on outside influences such as friends, family, adverts, society etc etc… I thought this was just the way life was… there was, however, something constant in my life, episodes of depression, sometimes they’d camp out for one or two days and other times they really move in and stayed for longer and dragged me down deeper. I coped though, tablets sometimes, acupuncture, reading all about it, drinking, diet changes etc etc
I got through some pretty traumatic times and was quite grateful for getting through 3 IVF rounds, split from my husband for 6 months, 24 week premature baby and then the diagnosis of my eldest child on the autism spectrum, without ending up in a straight jacket.
I went back to a full-time full on IT traveling job when my children were still young and hired childcare. I loved the freedom that my job was giving me and I spent 1 year putting my all into getting up and running after being 6 years out of corporate life.
What I wasn’t focusing on though was the beauty of my children growing up in front of me. I thought that having more money and being a corporate working Mum was who I needed to be to have what everyone was saying “my identity.” What I wasn’t focusing on was the wonderful husband (and parents) who were so patient with the stresses and strains of managing both our travel plans, jobs around the house at the weekend, the commitments of parenting (grandparenting) plus the biggest thing of all a constantly stressed out out wife / daughter.
So supposedly I “had it all.” So why then did I feel so unhappy most of the time?
I remember very clearly the day before I was going to go on holiday I was in a meeting in work and all the insecurities that I had about being back at work and who I was started to descend on me. I was shaking, I had thoughts about how rubbish I was at my job, I couldn’t do it, I was a fraud etc. I could hardly function in the meeting. I made a decision that made me feel better in that moment, I was going to hand my notice in when I got back from my holiday.
I read Jamie Smart’s Clarity book on holiday.
Something got my attention, but I really have no recollection what. I don’t think the words “three principles” or “Syd banks” even popped out as relevant to me at the time.
I played a bit with some of the ideas while I was still on holiday, giving people my full attention when they spoke to me for example… sounds simple doesn’t it? It was fun and I enjoyed trying out this new game.
So I went back to work and I thought I had nothing to loose as I was going to hand my notice in anyway, I tried out some things from the book, listening mainly with nothing on my mind… although back then I don’t think I really knew what that meant.
Almost instantly in a few days, I hadn’t got the insecure thoughts I’d had before the holiday, I just couldn’t imagine them anymore, I became curious about some other areas in the book, tried them out and saw more changes at work. Still a game.
Fast forward to the end of that year, I had gone from an average performer to a top performer at work and winning two awards – one of which was for innovation. I had never won an award in my life!
This really was interesting… so I read more books about something Jamie mentions in his book Three Principles and a welder from Scotland called Syd Banks… well living life started right there…
Its been nearly 20 months since I first read that book and I have been through such an amazing journey of learning and it still continues.
During a 6 month period I started to question why I was working in a full-time full on job. I would wake and have different thoughts every day. One day I’d wake and I knew I loved my job, it was good money and I had got where I was with hard work, so I shouldn’t leave, then on the other days I’d wake with a pure longing to be with my children, and then as time went on I just knew it was the right time and place to be at home with my children and I’d just have to look for work around the children’s school hours. One fear I had at the time was would I have regrets if I left? I was frightened of regretful feelings, would I be able to cope being at home? Now I see what those fears were.
Finally I knew I could trust my wisdom fully and I realised I had to leave, so I handed my notice in. My company offered me all kinds of working hours and workarounds to keep a valuable employee, things I never would have ever dreamt of asking for in the first place. I stayed for another 6 months working around the needs of the children and still doing my job with less stress and doing more productive work than ever… and then one day I just knew it didn’t make sense anymore.
I have just had the most magical beautiful Summer with my family. No regrets about leaving work, very happy and content in all areas of my life.
Having spent time on Jamie’s year long practitioner course, deepening my understanding of the 3 principles, has truly had a transformative effect on my life and the people around me.
I knew from the beginning that “I was living in the feeling of my thinking of thought taking form in the moment” all the way through I knew this to some degree, but I kept getting caught up and sometimes even questioning whether it might be different in this situation.
Now I absolutely know that it works that way 100% of the time with no exceptions, yes there are times when I still get get caught out, but for me the more I trusted and “tested” situations out and saw that it was always that way, the implications on life have been enormous.
So going back to my opening line… what don’t I have anymore thats made me realise what I had? I had a misunderstanding about how our reality gets created.
Taking away this misunderstanding allows me to constantly see the pain and unnecessary feelings that I once had and that people around me have.
Equally it enables me to see the beauty of the world around me, like family, nature and friendships, all my senses are alive to the world and allowing me to experience a richer world. The implications of this is slowing down, being present with loved ones.
We all love “How to’s”…but there really is no shelving problems, there is no shoving things under the carpet, there is no thought changing method, all there is to do is to understand how our thoughts create our feelings and reality in the moment.
Emotions, memories, beliefs… all thoughts in the moment. The only thing that can happen when you see this misunderstanding is the feeling and thoughts dissolve away or you have the choice to take no notice. It just doesn’t make sense any more.
Sometimes I forget the game and thats when I get hood winked into thinking that something other than my thinking is causing me stress, fear, pain, I have too much investment on an end result, that I don’t trust the inbuilt guidance system we have. That guidance system is what got me through teenage years, IVF, Premature baby stages, I am here safely DESPITE my misunderstanding.
As a teenager I had no idea that all the thoughts I created about my self image, self loathing, what other people were saying about me, the lonely feelings were all created by me, not other people not teachers not my parents, not my body, my clumsy sociable ways. All thoughts created by me… never questioned, and yes a good downing of alcohol cured it all for a while.
“I had it all” – what did that mean? Whose beliefs were they? Media / friends / society? If so why did I did still feel pain? Again never questioned any of this, why would I?
The traumas – how did I manage to show up every day when I thought my little baby was going to die at the hospital? Even at that time I knew something was carrying me through.
I even thought it was Jamie’s book that gave me the good feelings and thoughts, I was caught again. Some people might read Jamie’s book and not see it. Some do and it takes longer, some immediately… without trying out “having nothing on my mind” I might never have seen it, through the judgement and beliefs I had about myself and the world.
Work, I truly and honestly thought that going to work would make me feel happy and give me my identity back.
I felt happy when I was working …BUT it wasn’t the job that was making me happy. Remember at the beginning I wasn’t happy? I was insecure. Then my state of mind and thinking about the job changed as I understood more… more clarity meant I had the ability to enjoy the job, but the job was still the same, the people were still the same. For me I was playing the game well, but then I realised I was playing the wrong game.
I thought that giving up my job and being with the children would make me happy. That situation had nothing to do with it. I was able to trust my wisdom that it was the right thing to do at this moment in time. Following wisdom meant the decision came with no regrets or guilt.
So why am I telling you this? Why am I sharing this information?
From someone who was not looking for herself, thought she had it all in life and thats as good as it got and had to live with painful feelings and thoughts, who doesn’t come from a formal coaching, mentoring or teaching background. I know from living through all my experiences in life with the misunderstanding, I can now see what caused me so much unnecessary pain.
I now know my job in life is to share this with others, to ease their suffering and pain.