Take One

Volume 2000, Number 1

Edition: 6/19/2000

Glasser's Laws 2000

by SCRVPLVS, revised 6/19/2000

  conventional wisdom Glasser's Law
The Law of Motivation I behave (act, think, feel, function bodily) as I do in response to what happens to me. Situations and other people are in control of me. I cannot help being depressed about this.

Example: my job is depressing me and giving me an ulcer.

I behave as I do by choice. Situations and other people provide information I use to make choices. I decide what to think and do, and can thereby even change what I feel and how my body functions.

Example: I will stop depressing and ulcerating by choosing to change jobs.

The Law of Communication I can make other people do what I want them to do even if they do not want to do it. It is my right, even my moral obligation, to criticize, ridicule, threaten, or punish those who don't do what I tell them to do or to reward them if it will get them to do what I want.

Example: if you do not have sex with me I will get drunk.

The only person whose behavior I can control is me. Mmanipulating other people isolate me by driving them away. The relationship takes precedence over always being right. I can ask myself: if I say or do this right now, will it bring us closer together or will we end up further apart? I can bring others closer by sharing my reality with them.

Example: when you do not have sex with me I feel unattractive and sad.

The Law of Joy I should sacrifice for others what is important to me. Those who I love will love me and respect me for making this sacrifice for them.

Example: it is important to give up my friends and hobbies if they interfere with my responsibility as breadwinner.

I am driven by five genetic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. Only I can decide when they are satisfied. The most joy I ever experience is when I am able to satisfy them. My needs have to be satisfied, or I will resent myself and those around me.

Example: I will make some time for freedom and fun with my friends and hobbies.

The Law of Helping I am responsible for meeting the needs of my family and friends. If they are unhappy, I am to blame. When there is distance between us, it is because I have failed to meet their needs.

Example: my child acts out because I did not provide enough discipline.

I can help others, but I can never satisfy anyone else's needs. To get along better than I do now with another person, I can learn what is important in that person's reality and then try to support it.

Example: I will find out what my child's needs are and help satisfy them.

The Law of the Present My relationship problems arise from a painful past. Hence, to solve them, I must revisit and analyze the past in order to free myself from it. Only then can I feel and act differently now.

Example: My family disintegrated when I was 7. I need to recall and analyze those painful memories to save my own marriage.

All long-lasting psychological problems are relationship problems. The problem relationship is part of my present life. What happened in the past has a great deal to do with what I am today, but revisiting this painful past can contribute little or nothing to what I need to do now: improve an important, present relationship.

Example: I will make my marriage work by expressing my reality to her, meeting my needs, and helping my wife to meet her needs.

I have called these Glasser's Laws to honor Dr. William Glasser. They are extracted and adapted from his publications, especially Choice Theory: a new psychology of personal freedom (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998). I call them "Glasser's Laws 2000" because they reflect my current understanding, and I admit the likelihood that I will need to refine them as my understanding grows.

Once I believed right and wrong could be captured in a Book. I tried to think and do what the Book said was right. Then I believed right and wrong were determined by the amount of pleasure or pain resulting from a decision. I tried to think and do what seemed to make others happy. Now I believe right and wrong are another way of saying that my choices ennoble or diminish me. I try to think and do what will, by my own reckoning, transform me into a nobler person. And I believe that is the true message of the Book after all.


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