“All talk, no action.” Does that sound or look familiar to you?
In therapy and counseling, it’s senseless to complain about the worsening of one’s problems, feelings, or relationships that stem from inaction. When a client comes because of depression, marital or family breakdown, I rejoice in the opportunity to be of help. A lot of times, clients initially express positive words to do recovery work. Then, a few steps out of range, they get caught up with life’s worries. Entangled again in their wounds, they stop taking the needed healing steps even before they begin.
The relationship between Roberto and Minda in one of my counseling sessions demonstrated urgency. It was already getting so verbally and physically abusive between them. And they realized they needed to change or they’ll destroy each other. What could they do? They needed to seek help, both of them — Roberto for his alcoholism, infidelity, and sex addiction, and Minda for her uncontrollable anger outbursts, depression, and violence. So I laid down an emergency daily action plan and temporary weekly therapy schedule for them. Their response was, “Thanks, we’ll do that.” Weeks passed, and I never heard from them. Then one day, Roberto dropped me a note reporting that his wife had held a knife and was about to kill herself. Roberto and Minda failed to back up their words with action.
I once read what Matthew Henry wrote: “Buds and blossoms are not fruit.” Words we say are mere “buds and blossoms.” Our action is the fruit. Words are empty without the fruit of follow-through. A main application in therapy and counseling can be to clients or counselees who speak words of willingness to change and heal their lives and relationships. Yet they stop or refuse to follow through with appropriate, consistent actions so they can get to the “other side.”
Words and actions, they need to go together. This piece of truth applies to life in general and to us all as well. Life becomes whole when we follow with actions and in truth — not in making empty promises or words that we might say to try to appear good.