CoupleDumb is the Relationship Blog so it is only fitting that we share how we felt about reading the book “ Re-Right your Life: An Introduction to Reology” by Jake Eagle. First and foremost we need to share why we decided to review the book. The answer is quite simple. Before we can relate to others, we relate to ourselves. Our understanding of how we operate is imperative in any relationship. How are you going to enter into a commitment with someone if you don’t even like the person you are? This problem puts a lot of pressure on your partner to not only love you but to convince you that you are worth loving. Reology is a way to jumpstart a new way of thinking and feeling about yourself that puts the onus on you to create a meaningful life.
Reology employs very real and tested theories of cognition and emotions in an easy to understand narrative. It teaches you to rethink how you have always reacted to things and allows you to rewrite how and who you will be. In technical terms, Reology is based on reappraisal theories which tell us that we have the ability to choose how to react to certain stimuli in our environment that elicit an emotional reaction. This form of emotional regulation gives us the power to react the way we want – in a responsible manner that will not cause potentially negative consequences. It comes from a place of “I make me feel and therefore I can choose what feeling to feel”. For example, we can be responsible and make I statements of feelings like , “When you say those things I feel _______(fill in the blank)”. However, Reology takes it to the next level and adds “I make me feel _________(fill in the blank)”. Because of reappraisal, we need to be responsible for all the negative feelings we have because we chose them!
The book presents the rules and guidelines of Reology in a conversation between Jake and his brother Tom. Reology focuses on growth rather than change. I found it very poignant that this point was made especially since it was taking place between Jake, the writer, and Tom, his older brother who had an inoperable brain tumor. The metaphor was not lost on me.
Reology is a new way of thinking and puts the control of having a happy life right in your lap. The book is the first step on your journey of taking on your life in a very different way. It asks you to revisit what you think you know and rethink it. It asks you to change how you speak and respeak it. Reology is a path to happiness and we are always happy to promote anything that gives the world clear steps to a better life.
I even got a chance to ask Jake a few questions:
You were already practicing and training therapists on Reology prior to your brother’s illness. How did his illness change your work?
Yes, I’d been a practicing psychotherapist for fifteen years before my brother died. The first ten years of my practice I was mostly specializing in brief therapy—helping clients resolve their issues in a relatively short amount of time. But then my practice shifted—before my brother died—and I started working with people at a much deeper level. I focused more on helping clients develop their character and their maturity. This kind of approach takes longer, but the problems that are resolved are resolved for good, they don’t return in a different form, which sometimes happens in brief therapy.
My brother’s death really rocked my world. Then a year later, my father died. As a result of these losses I deeply re-evaluated my life, my values, and my relationships. I realized that I had not been fully experiencing the richness of my life, even though my life was wonderful, and I decided to stop wasting my time and energy on things that weren’t important. I realized that both my father and brother were discontented when they died. I vowed I would live my life to create a different result.
After my brother died the nature of my work shifted. I began to focus more on existential issues—the meaning of life, our purpose, our aloneness, fear of death, and how to live in such a way that these deep issues don’t create too much anxiety in our lives. I think this “existential angst” is behind most of our superficial, dysfunctional behaviors. And I think our anxiety drives us to distract ourselves. When we deal with these deeper underlying issues, a powerful shift occurs that ripples throughout every area of our lives. That is now the focus of how I work with people.
As a therapist, I truly appreciate the work you have done. My understanding of your work is that it is the application of the cognitive behavioral understanding of reappraisal and the cognitive appraisal of emotions. Where do you see the most resistance when people are learning about Reology?
Thank you. I think of the work that I do, along with my wife and partner, Hannah, as incorporating aspects of cognitive behavioral methods, but not solely. We teach people a new way to use language that allows them to re-center themselves every time they speak. This has a cognitive element to it in that they start thinking about the world in a different way. They stop thinking that other people are doing something to them, or that other people are responsible for how they feel. This is a huge paradigm shift.
But, in addition, our work involves a large psychodynamic element, in that we invite people to look back at their childhood and figure out how and when they learned certain behaviors and beliefs. We then engage in experiences that allow them to grow themselves up, to individuate and to learn to have what I call adult/adult conversations. As people do this work, their early childhood experiences become less influential in their lives.
Beyond that, we incorporate movement and sensory awareness in our work. The movement is done to help people integrate the learning, so it becomes more than just an idea to hold onto. We want people to feel the shift in their bodies, to become familiar with how different they feel when they are in the past or future versus being in the present. And the way we teach people to use language strongly encourages them to live in the present.
To answer your final question about when people are most resistant—I would say that people tend to hold on very tightly to the idea that other people do in fact do things to them. “She made me mad.” “He hurt me.” “She abandoned me.” We invite people to let go of this way of seeing the world, which means that they end up having to take a much greater level of personal responsibility. That’s what people seem to resist. They want someone to blame. But . . . if they do make the shift, they alter the trajectory of their lives forever, and in a very healthy way.
We received a copy of the book for review but all opinions are our own.