Pebble in the ShoeBy Dr. Richard Boyum
Recently, I had a client come in to talk about a problem that was consistently troublesome to her. She reported feeling uncomfortable each time she was around her boyfriend because of his behavior (for a reoccurring problem you could substitute just about anything). She said she just didn't know what to do about the problem. After listening to her and reflecting for a bit, I asked her to remove her shoe and I handed her a pebble from my office. This particular pebble happened to come from the Great Wall of China, but any old pebble will do. I then asked her to put it in her shoe, put the shoe back on, and then walk around my office.
I asked her how it felt. She said "uncomfortable." I asked her to solve the problem of the pebble. She started to say "you mean like. .." I cut her off and said "I don't want to hear your answer, I just want you to show me what you are going to do." There upon, she sat down, took off her shoe, removed the pebble and put her shoe back on. I asked her to walk around the room and asked her how it felt. She said it felt fine. I then said to her, "I am impressed with your ability to solve this problem of what is clearly a very uncomfortable irritation. You identified the problem and were able to quickly and concisely come to a solution by removing the pebble from your shoe.
Now I want you to think for a moment, if the way your boyfriend is behaving and treating you is not like that same uncomfortable pebble. If you want to feel comfortable and whole again, I would ask you to think about what you need to do to solve this problem as elegantly as the one involving the pebble. In this area of your life, you have a right to feel as balanced and as comfortable as you do when you walk around without a pebble in your shoe."
See if this counseling exercise does not work as well for you.