Jason Headley recently released a short video entitled “It’s Not About the Nail.” Headley’s short video is a powerful way of communicating that individuals who incessantly want other people to listen to their problems as a means of getting some kind of cathartic relief will always come up disappointed, no matter how good the listener is, because they are ignoring the root cause of their problem.
That is, if you have a proverbial nail in your head, “you must get it out” before you can get permanent relief. This is also true with irrational stories (stories that aren’t true, don’t help us solve our problems, and/or achieve our goals) that we tell ourselves to make sense of any part of our life experience. This is because any story you repeat in your head that is not going to help you get what you want in your life must be “taken out” before you can start moving in a direction of recovery. For example, I once had an obese client who wanted me to help him lose a significant amount of weight.
As is always the case, I began to listen to the stories he has told himself over time to justify eating himself into a state of obesity. As I listened during the first few minutes of our session I said, “I’ve got it, you tell yourself that you must eat whatever you want in order to be happy.” He replied “yes, and why not?” I then asked, “Do you eat whatever you want?” He said, “yes.” I followed with another simply question when I asked, “Are you happy?” I could almost see the light bulbs flash in his head when he said “no.” He then said something like “Wow, that sounds crazy, I have been telling myself a lie and I didn’t realize it until this moment!” In addition to this example making a strong case for telling a professional about what you are thinking that is troubling you, it also makes the point that you must “pull the irrational stories you tell yourself out of your head (get the nail out)” before you can start moving forward. My book, “True Psychology: A Scientific Approach to a Better Life” http://tinyurl.com/n6zjk28 teaches this process in a way that any person at any age in any culture can understand.
I call the process Life Script Restructuring because I based it on my work in Hollywood where I have consulted on TV program scripts that the writers often edit based on my professional insights around a particular scenario. Again, this is all to say that finding someone to listen to our troubles and insisting that they listen until we “get it all out,” will not help resolve your emotional pain if you have a nail (irrational story) in your head. To fully recover, you must pull out the nail because frankly, “it is about the nail.”