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Buying Bob A Coffee

Not so long ago, I was on a course with someone. I can’t remember his real name, but for the sake of argument, I will call him Angus. (If his name really was Angus, well that’s just plain unlucky.)


As we did our introductions, Angus started by telling us his name, and that we were not to be confused by the name written in bold marker pen on the Starbucks cup in front of him. That name was Bob.


He explained that he had been having some mental health difficulties recently and had been to see a psychotherapist, who had given him the tip of identifying and naming his inner nemesis, the darker side to his personality.


Bob was the part of Angus who made him depressed, whose thoughts cropped up from nowhere to bring him down. The therapist’s advice was to give this part of himself a name, a label, which made him easier to see and understand.


We all have a Bob in varying degrees. The part of us that we would rather not bring out in public. The one we try to suppress and keep down. Pretend that they don’t exist. However, Bob is part of Angus whether he likes him or not, and rather than try to block him out, this process of giving a name means that Angus can accept him.


Adopting that attitude reduces the impact of whatever it is that troubles us. It is like facing the ghost, only to realise that the fear of the ghost is worse than the reality of being with it.


The idea was that Angus buys Bob a coffee from Starbucks now and again. To bring him into the fold. To accept him and start to understand him a little. Bob exists whether Angus likes it or not, and by treating him to a beverage, he is playing the bigger man.


The more he gets to know him, then the more he can befriend him and reduce Bob's power. Then as he realises that Bob's traits are a part of his own human personality after all, then what inevitably comes is self acceptance and compassion.





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