“Remember the old Chinese handcuffs thing,” a friend reminds me when I get stuck doing the same thing over and over, even though whatever I’m doing doesn’t work.
A Chinese handcuff is a toy, a small bamboo tube, about four inches long. You stick an index finger in each end. Then when you pull, you’re trapped. The harder you pull, the more stuck you get.
Your instinctive reaction—not the handcuffs—keeps you trapped. To set yourself free you have to take certain steps.
Letting go isn’t enough.
You have to relax, then gently push in before you can pull yourself loose.
When my friend tells me to remember the Chinese handcuffs thing, he’s reminding me that sometimes taking action means relaxing and doing the opposite of what our instincts tell us to do.
Application: If we have tried to do something a hundred times, and the way we’re doing it hasn’t worked, it probably still won’t the next time. It may be time to take action and do something else.
From the desk of Melody Beattie
Originally posted November 27, 2014
Note: As much as Melody would love to respond to all comments, this sometimes isn't feasible with her busy schedule. Please feel free to leave a comment but do so knowing she will only be able to respond when she has some time away from writing. She does receive your comments and deeply cares about what you have to say so please do leave a comment if you are compelled to do so.
CAUTION: This is a public website and any comments made are visible to the public. To preserve your privacy, I highly recommend you post as an anonymous name. You can update your DISQUS settings by following these instructions.