Bill Achor's Writings
Issue #3, 1984
Created in unified collaboration of William E. Achor, Philip Thomas, and Roberta Ann Wilson
and Our Heavenly Father !
October 12th, 2012
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-- William E. Achor
Science of Spirituality --
Hello, Dear Friend:
It is my pleasure to be reaching out to you again through the media of these messages. Thank you for being there.
Back in January, 1978; I began what I thought was to be a series of messages on Truths. But with the very next issue I was blocked, spiritually, from continuing that series and instead was led to share a particular meditation experience. Now, once more, as I have begun a "series", this time on reincarnation; I again find myself being led in a different direction. This time, however, it doesn't feel like a permanent block (I will be getting back into a continuation of the reincarnation writings); rather a temporary injunction so that I will complete an article that I started about three years ago on Burnout. It seems this has priority for the moment because someone out there is waiting for it at this time. Coincidently; I felt that this article was to be adapted (formatted) as the S.O.S. message for this mailing. So that's what I have done. Apparently it is also to benefit someone on the S.O.S. mailing list. Or, perhaps that is where the call for help, the S.O.S. has come from. The article may not even find its way to publication; and that's O.K., too.
The "article" is directed specifically at those in the helping professions, but many of those on the mailing list are in the helping professions, but many of those on the mailing list are in the helping professions, or do find themselves counseling and teaching in their daily living; and the principles presented in this article may be helpful to anyone.
God bless show in your life and in your daily affairs.
I love you.
William E. Achor
P. S. There has been some interesting responses to "? Reincarnation?" Mostly appreciative and flattering; and also some questions, like, "Why do I feel like I was once a cat?" I will address these questions at a later date.
BURNOUT IN THE HELPING PROFESSIONS: CAUSE AND CURE
W. E. Achor
BURNOUT: To burn out is to deplete ones self. To exhaust one's physical and mental resources. To wear one's self out by excessively striving to achieve some unrealistic expectation imposed by oneself, by associates, or by the values of society.
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". . . the potential burnout victim . . . needs to re-evaluate their goals, their motives and their responsibilities. And first of all they need to understand that their responsibility is NOT to change their clients life style and habits; but rather , to offer the opportunity and the rationale by which the client may choose to change himself."
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"In the context of this article: anyone who, in the process of their profession or their living, counsels with troubled people, is a HELPER; and anyone who is the subject of such counseling is the CLIENT ."
In my younger years, Our Division Manager told me I had the wrong basic objective. He Said,
"Your objective is to do the best job you can." I was amazed; because that was my objective; and I thought it was right. But then he continued, "The correct objective is to get results." He was right, again. In designing and developing products, there comes a time when you must curtail the development and get into production. Doing "the best job you can" can lead to an over - reach for a perfection which is not only unnecessary, expensive and time consuming, but probably impossible . . . and frustrating. Frustration is a key ingredient to burn out. In all occupations there is the potential for Burnout.
What is Burnout? In an article "That Drained - Out, Used - Up Feeling published in Psychology Today, January, 1981; Paul Chance quoted from the book, Burn Out: The High Cost of High Achievement, by Hervert Freudenberger and Geraldine Richelson: To burn out is "to deplete oneself. To exhaust one's physical and mental resources. To wear oneself out by excessively striving to reach some unrealistic expectation imposed by oneself or the values of society." There is an apt and concise definition; with both the surface recognitions and the deeper significances represented. I would change only the last line; to read: ".... expectation imposed by oneself, by associates, or by the values of society."
Since moving from Technical Management into the profession of Counseling and Teaching, as a Minister; that old advice "to get results" gave me some problems. I was elated by my "successes" and dejected with my many "failures" in my clients. I was identifying with the client as representing my results, or lack of results; as the product of my efforts. In time I came to understand how that old piece of advice could apply to my present profession. It CANNOT apply to the response of the people I would help; not directly anyway. Their personal "patterns of being" CANNOT be my product! People are always the product of their own choices - not something to be manipulated and shaped by my design for them; nor by anyone's design for them. ( God gave man "freedom of choice" and He does not manipulate man's choices... man's thoughts... and neither should we.)
If the resultant pattern in the people we would help is not the product of our labors; then what is our product? The OUTER PRODUCT of the Helper is "the opportunity given; which is the helping manner and the helping process itself; the caring and sharing. It is our manner and our processes that we are to shape and form and develop. These may never be perfected, but they can always be improved. As we put them into practice and observe the reactions, we can develop deeper understandings and more effective patterns.
The burnout victim, and the potential burnout victim, needs to re - evaluate their goals, their motives and their responsibilities. And first of all; they need to understand that their responsibility is NOT to change their client's life style and habits, but rather, to offer the opportunity and the rationale by which the client may choose to change himself. The Helper is responsible for TRYING - in whatever manner is best suited - to bring a new basis of understanding and a resultant opportunity for harmony to the consciousness of the client. The Helper is not responsible for whether or not the client is receptive.
( This article does not deal with the Helper's techniques of motivation nor the methods by which the client might best learn a more harmonious way of thinking and living; but deals most specifically with misunderstandings in the concepts of the Helper himself. In the context of this article; anyone who: in the process of their profession or their living, counsels with troubled people, is a HELPER; and anyone who is the subject of such counseling is the CLIENT.)
In the field of education, the responsibility of a teacher is to teach . This does not presuppose that every student shall learn; or that any student shall learn more than a fraction of that which we would teach. It only means that the opportunity for learning is presented. Learning, or rejecting learning, is within the province of the student, not the teacher; no matter how much freedom, coercion or duress is placed on the student to learn. Of coarse the teacher's enthusiasm, teaching manner and ability - and a true caring for the students - show greatly affect the teacher's effectiveness in motivating students to learn. Even the student's choice for motivation, however, is not the responsibility of the teacher; but the attempt to motivate IS. The teacher needs to orient his, or her, perspective to realize that their basic rewards are to be found in the giving, the sharing, the interplay of the teaching process; the process of encouraging motivation and learning. The teacher should identify success of failure relative to their own awareness of the sincerity and appropriateness of their trying, and in desiring and striving to improve that; the process. When the teacher finds satisfaction in this way, the true motivation to teach is sustained, and the basis for personal fulfillment is established.
It is paradoxical, that the teacher who is more fulfilled by the process then by the quantity of the learning response; is usually the one who continues to truly care for their students and is the teacher who motivates the greatest quality (and quantity) of learning response in their students. The same is true in all of the helping professions. The Helper who is truly fulfilled in their process of "offering" and "sharing" continues to care about those they would help, receives the most respect, and motivates more clients to learn a better consciousness and to subsequently experience more harmony in their lives.
When a client does not accept the well - intended guidance of the Helper; when each chooses to retain his pattern of confusion, belligerence, drugs, violence, or whatever; the Helper who has "adopted responsibility for the outcome" will feel that he has failed. It doesn't take many such "failures in his responsibilities" before the Helper may start identifying himself (or herself) as "a failure" and burnout is on the way. No matter how hard the Helper tries, or does not try, at this point; he will continue to justify his concept of himself as "a failure"; and is likely to alienate even those he might have helped.
The Helper needs to realize that only a few shall respond to any substantial degree and that these are enough to confirm his purpose and justify his efforts. As for those who reject the
profferred help; the Helper needs to be satisfied with the fact that he tried and that he has at least planted a seed of understanding that may find growth later. In consciousness no kindness, no message of love, no brief gain is several lost. It may be rejected, Set aside, buried in a client's relapse into old patterns, but it is there... an ember in consciousness, that may come to life again in a renewed effort, on the part of the client, should he later choose to essay a change of his patterns. The Helper must willingly and kindly release those who will not respond. They, not the Helper, have abdicated the opportunity for change.
Can you imagine the dilemma that doctors would be in if they started sharing the consciousness of sickness and pain with every patient. If they were to take on a sense of responsibility for every person who refuse to get well, who continue to have pain, or who seem to have recovered the health only to come back with a new form of illness? Such a doctor would soon destroy his own health and his effectiveness as a doctor. This does sometimes happen. Fortunately, the doctor receives some preparation for this in his years of training. You might say he is trained to relate to the healthy potential of his patience and to the process of their treatments, rather than focusing directly on the patient. Often, the Helpers, other than doctors, do not have the benefit of such preparation. This does not mean that the Helper should be, nor need be, coldly indifferent or indignantly condemning. They should, rather, practice unconditional acceptance and considerate patience.
Let me digress for a bit now with a short story (an excerpt from "Illusions of Reality", 1979, issue #3, Science of Spirituality message) :
"Three people walked along a busy street, the same street, on the same day, and at the same time of the day. The first person was in an angry and hostile mood. He saw dirty streets, the confusion of the traffic, broken dirty sidewalks and pushy unhappy people. He saw cracked and peeling paint on the buildings. He felt the oppressive heat of the sun. He saw petty conflicts everywhere. He resented the crowds of people and felt their resentment of him. If someone jostled him, he bumped back in retaliation. A child trying to run through the crowd of people bumped into him and fell. His impulse was to kick the boy, but he simply glowered, released an abusive epithet and marched on. The whole thing was a miserable experience for him and it confirmed his feeling about the negative nature of his fellow man. HIS EXPERIENCING OF THE HOSTILITY OF HIS FELLOW MAN JUSTIFIED HIS HOSTILE ATTITUDE.
"The second person was light of heart and spirit. This person sensed harmony and purpose in the flow of the traffic and the people. He saw beauty in the colorful window displays and in the apparel of those about him. He saw joy and mutual considerateness amongst the people along the way. He enjoyed the bright radiance of the sun. He acknowledged the warm smiles and acceptance of the people he encountered as he moved along. A child dashing through the crowd ran into him and fell. He immediately stooped down and lifted the boy up, brushed him off, spoke reassuringly to him, then sent him on his way. This second person in our story had a pleasant experience that day. HIS EXPERIENCE JUSTIFIED HIS BELIEF IN THE INNATE GOODNESS AND FRIENDLINESS OF HIS FELLOW MAN.
"The third person walked this street as though in a trance. He was totally immersed in self concern, he was in a deep rut of worry; thinking about the unfairness of the world toward him. He thought many dire sentences and conjured up many images; about the disasters he had experienced and the disasters that lay before him; thoughts that had been repeated and embellished so many times that he hid worn them into a deep circular mental rut that went nowhere. Very little of his being projected over the walls of his got and little could reach him there. He had virtually no experience, no awareness of those about him or of their activities. The dashing child ran into him and fell, he stepped around the boy and proceeded, just barely aware of this brief disruption to his movement. He felt very much alone. In retrospect he felt that he he was shunned, shut out by his fellow man. He thought it was no wonder he felt so alone; no one liked him. HIS EXPERIENCE JUSTIFIED HIS SENSE OF ISOLATION.
"Where is the actual reality? Each of these people and counted the same time/space environment and each experienced a different reality. To each, that which he experienced is real, and it is not likely that they would be convinced it was not real. 'They should know, they were there!'
"From our more expanded point of view we have encompassed the whole scene. We recognize the "role" of each person on the street and witness the interplay, the balance of harmonies and disharmonies and are aware of the attitudes in the "actors" which select and generate the varied experiences. Yet we, too, in our broader viewpoint, are being aware of one small segment of time and space; one local place; one short stretch of time, and, WE EACH PERCEIVE REALITY THROUGH OUR OWN THOUGHTS AND AWARENESS, OUR OWN PATTERNS FOR PERCEPTIVITY." (This is our "working reality", the biofeedback of our attitudes and beliefs.)
The point I wish to make here pertains to the Helper for whom this article is written. Just like those people in the story, and just like your clients; YOU, AND SUBSEQUENTLY THAT WHICH YOU EXPERIENCE, ARE THE PRODUCT OF YOUR OWN GOALS, MOTIVES, CONCEPT AND THOUGHTS. If you are experiencing frustration and failures or a resultant burnout, you have created them, and only you can change the pattern. This is your most important product: YOU. This is a product that most influences your effectiveness as a Helper. This is also your primary responsibility - this is your INNER PRODUCT... SELF, not selfish self, but whole harmonious self. (And you, too, may be wise to seek a Helper to give you the opportunity to review your own premises and understandings.) Your personal patterns of being, what you are, has more effect in others; in those you would help, than any words, actions or processes you might practice. What you are is "the helping manner" of your counseling. What you are is the one "end product" that is totally within your jurisdiction. You do have the freedom of choice to be what you are and to change what you are.
The frustrations, the burnout, are never a consequence of external circumstances or environment. Neither are they caused by the pressures of associates or of society's values. Even an overload of work occurs only because YOU accept it; or choose to interpret it that way. You are pressured by the work load, or by the demands of associates, or by society's values only because you believe that you have to be ... because you have created - or accepted - a sense of responsibility that is unreasonable, irrational ... and unnecessary. You do have a choice! It is not anything in our circumstances, not anything that someone says or does that adversely affects us. It is what WE THINK about the words, deeds or circumstances that affects us. If particular words, tone of voice, or expression, were the true cause of a particular
reaction; then everyone exposed to that same word, tone or expression would have to react in the same way and to the same degree. This is obviously not true. It is never the external action that is the cause of our stress; but rather, the internal thought re - action. No, neither society nor circumstances are responsible for your frustrations, except as YOU have permitted them to influence your belief system. The cause of burnout is always to be found in the person who burns out, not in any externalized rationalizations ( rational lies) .
The present day circumstances of society and environment may provide more opportunities for the burnout phenomenon to manifests simply because there are more people slipping into chaotic states and subsequently more Helper's trying to help. The problem of burnout, however, lies in the individual Helper's own lack of understanding; regarding his own goals, motives and his responsibilities; to himself and to his fellow humans. ( As a human; our responsibility to our fellow man is - "to provide the atmosphere in which he has the opportunity to grow." That is the whole sum and substance of being "our brother's keeper.") We need to develop, and present, a demeanor of poise and balance; and an attitude of non-judgment, respect, and friendliness, a true caring. Whether we intend it or not; the state of our inner factors are communicated to those whom we would counsel. How can a Helper who is frustrated with his failures or his circumstances effectively serve a client who is there due to his own frustrations? The sense of frustration is communicated, shared, and therefore multiplied. "WE MULTIPLY THAT WHICH WE SHARE - WHETHER IN GIVING OR IN RECEIVING."
If we share another's weakness, as in sympathy, as in trading frustrations, we do not remove any of his weakness; we may enhance it; and we now have taken it into ourselves as well ... we have multiplied it. Empathy, caring, compassion, can perceive the weakness without sharing it; and, instead of sharing the weakness, offers to share strength, love and understanding ( caring). If the offer is rejected; nothing is lost - unless we identify with the rejection; in which case we were not truly "offering". True offering denotes a freedom of choice to the potential receiver and there would not then be a sense of rejection when he makes his choice to reject that which was offered. If he does accept the strength, love and understanding, however, that does not deplete our supply; but may enhance it; and at the same time he now embodies some of that consciousness. Strength, love and understanding have been multiplied.
The goal, the motivations and their responsibility of the Helper, in summary, is to: (1) TRY to motivate the client toward opening the new and better patterns of behavior. (2) To offer the client the understanding, the alternatives, the rationale and the courage by which he may change himself. To encourage; nothing more. (3) To find satisfaction and fulfillment in the process; the giving, the sharing, the interplay. Be eager to expand and improve your techniques. (4) To relate to the healthy potential of the client - not to be appearance of difficulty. (5) Be enhanced - fulfilled - additionally in those few that do choose to improve their patterns. Identify with those "successes" for confirmation of the effort, the work and the process. (6) Fully release those who reject the opportunity you gave them. You can only OFFER. They must make their own choice and you need not feel any responsibility for that. Release them from your consciousness, willingly. Release them to experience the consequences of their own choices, no matter how dire those consequences might be. AND, honestly wish them well ! (7) To not prolong a bad situation. If you can't help a certain client; say so; don't beat your head against a brick wall. They may relate better to another personality (so what's wrong with that). Or they may simply not be ready or willing to change for anyone. (8) Keep yourself on track, whole, balance. And do keep a sense of humor. If you're running into frustration, overload, apathy; consult a Helper for your self. (9) Share strength, not weakness; with those you contact. (10) Accept that which you cannot change in the circumstances of your work situation; with equanimity and balance. Make a dynamic effort to change what you may be able to change; but if it can't be done, release it from consciousness ... either accept it or leave it - without rancor.
ALL THESE THINGS YOU CAN DO!
William E. Achor