Give me the bad news first


There was a line in one of the Godfather Series movies that went something like “give me the bad news first.” I think that it may have been spoken at the wedding scene when various supplicators approached the Godfather for favors but he first had to be briefed by his attorney of what was going on that would affect his “family.”
I believe that universally, people just don’t want to hear bad news. They would rather hear the “good things” that make them feel good – the kinds of things that they want to hear – not the things that might upset them or that represent the reality of their situations. Hiding one’s head in the sand does in fact provide comfort but not on a regular diet basis. Whether in the sand or above it, the beat still goes on regardless. And most especially in the present state that our society finds itself, it seems that the “bad news” outweighs the good. But maybe we shouldn’t label it “good or bad” but simply “reality.” Reality is what it is but our perception of it can change it drastically. It can be changed for good reasons which enable us to deal with it more effectively and formidably or it the perception can alter it to the point where it becomes unrecognizable to the extent that it seems that it doesn’t really exist anymore. Then we have a REAL PROBLEM!
Granted, there are some things in life that we need to use the practice of avoidance in order to cope or even survive. But there is a saying that I’ve adopted which goes “too much of a good thing is not good for you.” As an example, for those people who are undergoing a tremendous amount of stress, their ability to distract themselves (or practice avoidance) in order to gain a respite is a vital necessity since no one can deal with drastic circumstances 24/7 and not be grossly affected in a negative manner.
While practicing psychotherapy in Amherst, NY I somehow attained a reputation — not by my choosing – of being “the last resort” for people seeking help with their life adjustment problems. Many of them had sought help from other professionals with whom they were not satisfied with regard to their progress or they were placed on medication without any kind of psychotherapeutic involvement and weren’t satisfied being “medicated” but wanted to change the patterns which were creating the problems in the first place. What was my secret?
I really didn’t have a secret. What I did possess was the ability to create a relationship with the client that allowed them to trust the process of my rendering help so that, in turn, they could begin to trust themselves in order to change whatever the pattern or patterns were that needed changing. The underlying obstacle that prevented them from doing so was their tendency to avoid their reality. They had formed such a barrier to recognizing what was going on that they were blinded. Of course, you can’t change something that you can’t (or won’t) see.
The main method of my helping people to change patterns is to help them begin to re-perceive what it is that is going on in their lives so that it becomes less threatening thus allowing a greater incentive to change it along with a greater success rate in the outcome. Also, my experience with helping people would indicate that once they begin to “taste” a newfound way of dealing with their lives instead of avoiding circumstances, etc., they begin to “get on a roll” and find themselves much more able to practice those methods on a regular basis.
And so, maybe it’s not so bad for you to hear the bad news first.

Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at

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