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“How would you like to stop feeling this way?: The Power and Growth of the ‘Non-Negotiables!’”.

“How would you like to stop feeling this way?: The Power and Growth of the ‘Non-Negotiables!’”.


L.T. Force, Ph.D.


That is an interesting question: “How would you like to stop feeling this way?”. In fact, it’s a very interesting question. This is a question I often ask my clients. But full transparency - it’s a question I also ask myself. In fact, we all ask this question of ourselves.

Here we are on the ‘life-path’. There are days “we are in the zone”. There are other times when we are: “ distracted, distraught and disoriented (The 3 D’s)”. In fact, there could be parts of the same day that we have these same competing behaviors and feelings swirling in our life.

In my clinical practice, people sit across from me and share their life story. Typically what brings them: “to seek therapy - is a result driven by one of the 3 D’s - they are distracted, distraught or disoriented”. They are: “out of sorts by patterns of behaviors or thoughts that have absorbed them”. As the therapeutic relationship evolves…. there are: ”peeks of relief”. They begin to envision “strategies of change” . They begin to visualize and implement new behavior patterns that seem to be working. What’s the result? The person starts to begin to feel better, more insightful and more empowered. They begin to integrate “non-negotiables” (into their life)


Definition of a Non-Negotiable:




adjective: non-negotiable, not open to discussion or modification, "the essential features of the constitution",

Oxford Dictionary

* this is the formal definition of “non-negotiable”. However, the first time I was introduced to this term, in a therapeutic milieu, was by Vance Larson, CHt, Life Coach: ( I really liked what he said - and that is: “what in your life is non-negotiable?”. I think that is a powerful question - that I now ask my own clients….and as important - I ask myself.


Sounds like a win! And in many ways - it is. A person arrives at what is “non-negotiable” in their life (could be exercise, prayer, attending fellowship meetings, practicing mindfulness, better nutritional habits, reading, writing….and the list goes on). But here comes the overarching power of the “human-condition”. There is always a possibility of: “relapse in recovery”. People start to feel better - by incorporating these “non-negotiable patterns” in their life. In fact, they feel so good - they stop practicing them. Again, there is always a possibility of: “relapse in recovery”. But here comes the “bigger win” and that is when you re-incorporate these patterns back into your life - and you realize how powerful and instrumental they are….“in defending yourself from: the result of being driven by one of the 3 D’s - distracted, distraught or disoriented”.

How do I know this? Because, I see my clients rebound and reaffirm their commitment to change when they re-introduce their “non-negotiables” into their life. But I also speak to this issue from: “the landscape of the lived-experience”. I too, vacillate and am impacted by the “human-condition”. And you know what… we all are. My personal and professional opinion is: “if it looks too good….it probably isn’t”. “The struggle and vacillation in life….is part of the human condition…..and makes the “victory over self” stronger….it’s called growth!”.


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