Are you a square watermelon?

Why do people come for therapy?

A square watermelon?

There is a farmer in Japan who discovered that if you take a baby watermelon and grow it inside a perspex cube it will grow to fit the available shape of the box. When the watermelon is ready the perspex box is removed and you have a square watermelon. People think this is great and will pay well over the odds for such an amazing product. After all, it won’t roll off a shelf, you can fit more into a packing crate and it’s a great talking point.

Happy days!

Except……. no-one has asked the watermelon whether it’s happy not being its true shape. OK, you may say, it’s just a watermelon, it doesn’t know. Maybe that’s true, but what about humans?

How this concept affects humans

A baby human grows inside the psychological shape provided by its care givers and society. All the characteristics and behaviours that are acceptable are given space, while those that are unwelcome or misunderstood are not given space to express themselves. This can be more or less out of awareness of all concerned (unless the restrictions are extreme). Nevertheless, most of us can think of activities we were interested to pursue which were discouraged, or actvities that were encouraged that we had little interst in. (I’m not talking about matters of safety and wellbeing here).

So we are square watermelons!

What happens is that we grow into a shape that we intuited was acceptable and that may not have been our true shape. So we are like square watermelons!

There is good news

The good news is that unlike square watermelons, we are just waiting to grow back into our true shape, and it’s never too late. Some people say to me “But how do I know what my true shape is?”

My view is that the information is stored, and under the right conditions of safety and acceptance it will emerge. Often the clues are to be found in the aspects of our lives that are not working, or a strange sense that something indefinable is wrong.

One definition of happiness

I think that the deepest definition of being happy is when we are living out our lives in our true shape. Note that this is independent from our external circumstances. To paraphrase Marcus Aurelius – you can even be happy living in a palace.

And by the way, you don't need to wait for a crisis.

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