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Don't Shoot the Messenger: Understanding the Purpose of Symptoms

Do you ever wonder why our first instinct is to get rid of something uncomfortable, like anxiety, as quickly as possible? It's natural to want relief. But what if I told you that emotional, mental, and physical discomforts are actually messengers trying to tell us something important?


In my role as a therapist, I often encounter people who come seeking psychological treatment with the hope of banishing their symptoms. Whether it's anxiety, sadness, or other emotional struggles, it's common to want them gone. However, these symptoms aren't there to harm you. They are like watchmen on a tower, desperately trying to warn you of an approaching enemy.


Imagine for a moment that you're in a fortress, and high above, there's a watchman who spots an enemy army on the horizon. He screams his lungs out, doing everything he can to alert you to the impending danger. Would you shoot him? Of course not!


Now, think of your body and mind as your fortress, and those emotional and physical symptoms as watchmen on the tower. What if they're there to get your attention? Signaling that something needs addressing, something is out of balance, and it's time to take action...?


Consider the red light on your car's dashboard. It's not there to annoy you; it's there to communicate a crucial message – you're running low on fuel. Would you simply ask the mechanic to turn off the light without refilling the tank? No! You'd take action by refueling, and keep your car running smoothly.


Yet another analogy... Let's talk about lobsters. When a lobster has outgrown his shell, it takes proactive steps to shed its old shell and find a new, more comfortable one. It's his natural response to growth and change.

As humans, we often take a different approach. We might turn to antidepressants, sleeping pills, or anxiety medication to suppress our discomfort, rather than addressing its root cause!


In my practice, I encourage a different perspective. I believe in giving a voice to those symptoms that are troubling you. Together, we investigate what they're trying to communicate. By doing so, you gain much-needed awareness and understanding. We work together to solve problems at their root, whenever possible.


So, the next time you feel the urge to "shoot the messenger" by seeking quick fixes for your discomfort, consider a different approach. Embrace the wisdom of your symptoms, and let's work together to decipher their messages and find lasting solutions. Your body and future self will thank you for it!



Don't Shoot the Messenger: Understanding the Purpose of Symptoms

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