William Glasser passed away a year ago today. His legacy includes a long and successful career in which he influenced countless people on how to be mentally healthy and happy in their relationships with others. As the creator of Reality Therapy, Glasser challenged the therapeutic status quo and began to melt the complexity of human psychology; as the creator of Choice Theory, he provided a model of human behavior that even a child can understand, a model that acknowledged basic human needs and wants.
Everybody needs one essential friend. William Glasser
Although anticipated, his passing left a void organizationally and more importantly, left a void personally within the hearts of those who were seeking and continue to seek to understand his ideas about motivation and behavior. Organizationally, people have stepped up to maintain and even grow the structure of Glasser, Inc. Time will tell regarding the extent to which the organization flourishes or not. For many of us personally, though, this same process is going on within our own hearts and minds. In what ways and to what extent are Glasser’s ideas flourishing within us as individuals? What do his ideas mean to us personally?
For me personally, the principles of Choice Theory continue to influence my thinking a great deal. Of course, it is one thing to think something and quite another thing to consistently apply that thinking in your life, but Choice Theory brings me back to a good starting point when I get off track. Before becoming acquainted with Choice Theory, I was very capable of choosing to depress and to withdraw in general. Now, after learning about Choice Theory, not so much. Glasser’s ideas have been a kind of psychological immunization against the common mental distressers for me.
It is almost impossible for anyone, even the most ineffective among us, to continue to choose misery after becoming aware that it is a choice. William Glasser
His explanation of the importance of the relationships in our lives has been very significant for me, especially the idea that our ability to influence a person is directly dependent on our level of connection with him/her. For parents and teachers this is the gold standard of advice. As long as we are connected to our kids we have influence with them. When that connection is severed, usually due to our anger or disgust or coercive approach, so, too, is the influence. It is crazy how flippant we can be with this kind of connection!
Glasser’s biography, Champion of Choice, became available less than four months after his death. So close. People that knew him and worked with him for many years have affirmed the book’s accuracy, which means a lot to me, and people that thought they knew him well have indicated they learned new things about his life from reading the biography. Of special importance to me, though, is the possibility that readers will learn about the principles of Reality Therapy, Choice Theory, mental health, and the whole idea of getting and staying happy.
If everyone could learn that what is right for me does not make it right for anyone else, the world would be a much happier place. William Glasser
Today (Saturday, Aug. 23) also happens to be my Sabbath, a day designed for rest and contemplation. Glasser’s ideas have certainly been a part of my spiritual journey and have strengthened and enlarged my concepts of total well-being, love, freedom, purpose, and joy. He has been a mentor to me and I will take solace in reflecting on our time together and the positive ways he influenced me – cognitively, emotionally, and even spiritually.
You are missed, Bill. You are missed.
I invite you to respond to this post and share what Glasser or his ideas have come to mean to you since his passing a year ago. I think you need to register on WordPress to submit comments, but the registration is super easy. No big deal. I encourage you to do it and share.