Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Therapy Thursday: Process heat and suffering like a coffee bean

pocket therapist front cover small.jpg

I have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.

There’s a story that goes like this: One day a young woman was whining to her father about how hard life was. She was tired of fighting and struggling. Sounds familiar, right?


He was a chef, so he set out three pots and boiled water in each of them. In the first he placed a carrot, in the second an egg, and in the third some ground coffee beans. After 20 minutes he turned off the burners. Then he explained how all three reacted differently to the heat. The carrot went in firm, but softened in the boiling water. The egg hardened on the inside. And the coffee beans, well, they actually changed the water.
“When you confront adversity, which one will you be?” he asked his daughter. “The carrot that starts out strong but wilts under pressure? The egg that becomes callous and bitter? Or the coffee bean, which makes something useful, tasty, even beautiful from the boiling water?”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Robin

    This invalidating, unempathyzing dreck is supposed to be helpful, but in reality makes me want to punch the dad in the face.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Robert from Virginia

    We all need to be like the coffee bean! I have experienced the changes that life, health and pain medication abuse can do to my mother. She has become caustic, mean and says a lot of hurtful things to me, her son and grandchildren. Some things have to be said in personal defense, but in a calm, Christlike manor. But if a difference cannot be made, work with others that can. There are a lot of other mothers that want loving kindness from others, if not from your own.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Maria

    I want so bad to be the coffee bean, but how to get there is what is stumping me. Thank you so much for this post–it does give me hope!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment A,

    I thought this was a great illustration on how to turn adversity into something positive. I have had a big disappointment in my life recently and have been dealing with a lot of negative emotions. I get a lot of hope and great advice from your posts each day. Thank you!

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