Often I ask my clients "are you doing your "homework"? The homework is exercises to facilitate change in their lives. The ones who do the homework find that they are gaining new ways of meeting their difficult moments. They tell me that being compassionate and kind towards self and others is helping. They are taking a pause before reacting and it really works. Others report they forgot or didn't find the time to practice the homework assignments.
When I heard the phrase “are you admiring the teapot or drinking the tea”, I thought of how the homework assignments are like that. If you don't drink the tea (practice the homework assignments) nothing much happens. I can tell you how great the tea taste, but you will never know what it tastes like until you try it yourself. Here is one powerful simple tool that can transform your behavior: The homework practice of "taking a pause" begins to unhook the unskillful automatic reactions you are trying to stop. Let's say you came to therapy because you find that you and your spouse get into frequent arguments about who is cleaning the house or paying the bills. You feel that it is always your responsibility and you want your spouse to step up and do their part. If you think of the analogy of tasting the tea as learning to take a pause, you may find that their response is somehow different even if they have not fully committed to change.
Learning to communicate with kindness, less judgment or demands can change the usual destructive argument into a positive situation. If you think this sounds like a good idea drink the tea and stop admiring the teapot!