Newton and Relationships


Emerging from my near suicide, I had one simple but very clear insight: I should never make long-term decisions based on short-term pain. It was frighteningly apparent that the pain or emotional misery felt in a specific moment could and did distort my decision-making abilities. Beyond that, all I had in the beginning was questions. Could I really use engineering methods to find solutions for emotional problems? Could scientific principles help identify solutions for feelings and relationships? I had a gut feeling that I was sitting on something important, but I could not yet see the answers. 

If there is anything positive to be said about reaching such a low point, it’s that you truly have nothing to lose. That may be what allowed me to honestly open my eyes to my situation. When I did so, my first realization was that, for better or worse, my emotional responses and relationships were classic examples of Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion, giving me the first concrete clue that scientific principles might well apply to these parts of my life that had seemed mysterious and unknowable until then.

Newton’s First Law:  A body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.


Considering this natural law in terms of my feelings and relationships told me that if I kept doing what I’d been doing, I’d keep getting what I’d been getting. If I kept heading in the same direction, I’d stay on the same path and keep feeling the same way I was feeling. Or, “If nothing changes, NOTHING changes.” If I wanted to change my life, I had to do something different. In other words, this first attempt to relate a scientific principle to my emotional life told me that I was stuck in a rut, so it’s funny now to remember just how excited it made me. I had found a logical principle that applied to my emotions!

This was the first of many physical laws that I was able to apply to feelings and relationships. The end result has given me a life beyond anything I could have imagined.

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