When I decided to return to college for my master’s degree, I chose a small, hidden gem of a grad school. Not because of its stellar reputation or affordable tuition, but because it worked with my schedule. At the time, I was a busy homeschooling mother of four kids and needed a school within driving distance that held classes during the evenings and weekends.
One day, I did a Google search for graduate schools near Minneapolis offering psychology degrees. Voila! There it was…Adler Graduate School. I’ll spare the boring details of applying and starting the program. As is always true in life, there is no such thing as a coincidence. I quickly discovered was that this man, Alfred Adler, and I had many commonly held beliefs. Life suddenly began to make sense to me. Throughout my education, I would read quotations by him and think, “This is exactly what I’ve always believed but could never put into words”.
The most influential Adlerian quote that I still find myself utilizing is:
Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.
Merriam-Webster defines movement as a series of organized activities working toward an objective. An appropriate synonym could be action. Everything we do involves movement toward something. Even in-action, is a form of movement. There is purpose behind everything we do and say; or choose not to do.
Why is this so important to understand and embrace?
Once you begin looking at others through this lens, life will become less complicated. It may not immediately get easier; in fact, it may be more difficult to accept the truths that you discover. Yet, situations (and people) that may have been perplexing will suddenly make sense. You may find incongruencies between the words and actions of those in your life who have been causing bewilderment, hurt or frustration.
Words are cheap. They can also be meaningless at times. Perhaps, a friend tells you how much she misses getting together yet always has excuses when you attempt to make plans. Maybe it’s your significant other telling you how much she loves you and is there for you, but is nowhere to be found when you really need her. You may also begin to notice that those with the most incongruencies, talk the most. Have you ever caught someone in a lie and painfully watched as they attempted to talk their way out of it?
Simply put, trust your intuition. Observe movement, apart from the accompanying words. If you find that they are aligned with one another, great! If you find yourself feeling uneasy and are attempting to make excuses for why the other’s words and movement don’t match-up, trust your gut. You can even ask yourself if your own words and actions are congruent. Perhaps, you’ll find that you are trying to convince yourself to buy into is something that you know you cannot.