I often get messages from readers who have questions. Sometimes it’s from someone struggling with a specific issue, other times it’s more general. Over the past months I’ve had a conversation with a reader who articulated so well the struggles we all face when it comes to wanting others to realize their full potential. 

To make it easier to read, I’ve put this readers comments in quotations and edited for clarity. 

It goes as follows…

Dear Susan,

Thank you so much… (for sharing the story about the 3 Principles. This) …is a source of hope to people diagnosed with “mental illness”: to know what the 3 Principles teach us – that we are already whole and that they can expect relief from their terrible symptoms if they can gain insight to how they are using thought.

I came across your site just this week when I googled bipolar and innate health. I have been involved in the 3 Principles for 2 years and have found it very helpful. My neighbor, who is diagnosed bipolar, has had a turn for the worse and has been in the hospital for a few months now. I wanted to point them in this direction but during such a terrible time for them I was afraid to give them false hope even though I’ve heard so much from Dr. Pettit about this subject.

Someone I know mentioned to them that I might have some direction for them and they said they would be willing to talk to me. If they call me I will direct them to your site. If you have any suggestions to me what to tell them so that I don’t mislead them I would appreciate that greatly as they are suffering so much with their current thinking. I don’t want to send them just any site on 3 Principles yet. Do you have any suggestions of any sites or articles like your own that discuss severe mental ‘illness’? Besides Dr. Pettit and your own? Please would you be in touch with me.

Thank you,


P.S. just curious I looked in your resources and noticed this one: Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin, MD –how does that fit into the 3 Principles way of thinking or are you open to many ways?

Dear Ella,

… (edited for brevity)

To answer your last question – yes. I lean towards many lines of thought but they all come back to one thing: that we are complete as we are and fully capable to create the life we want. The 3 Principles (3P), I believe, provides a sort of framework to accomplish that.

Thank you for taking the time to write and again – I apologize for not being able to respond in a timely manner. Technology is great – except for when it isn’t.



Dear Susan,

Your timing is very G-d sent as my daughter who deals with all the big issues like eating disorders, depression/anxiety, suicidal ideation. And as usual I am wishing that she would be willing to learn the principles because she is without hope now but even so she still can’t bear to try to the principles for emotional reasons. (like I suggested it, maybe (she) feels invalidated all the (other) stuff that she does like dbt…she knows it’s (3 Principles) about ‘just’ thought and I think she has a terror of it being ridiculous the way she has been living in her thinking all this time for ‘nothing’.

I get it but I believe so strongly from what I have seen over the years that she would be able to realize that all this big stuff is feeling her thinking. That this understanding is truely powerful enough to help people big time. She thinks it’s hopeless. That she will have trauma and more forever and would need YEARS of therapy to get better.

I just spoke to her now and didn’t do my usual way and I was lovingly pressuring or or begging to please try it out, to please speak to a 3P practitioner. She finally said she would try it one time. I don’t know if what I’m doing is right because I know that it won’t help if she is not on board..

I know you are a stranger but you sound kind and I thought I would tell you this and hear your take. Also your story is such an inspiration also that I thought maybe you would have something to add to this.

Thanks for ‘listening’.

Good luck to you in whatever you are doing!




Good morning, Ella! I’m glad my note was timely for you!

I’m not sure what you are asking so will simply share what comes to mind….

The 3 Principles article on my website is here: http://susankingsleysmith.com/mental-wellness-accessible-anyone-three-principles/ in case you want to reference it again.

As far as “helping” others to find the 3P’s or any other way of taking control of their thinking?

The thing I have learned, and seen in many other resources as I’ve studied this, is this:

We cannot wish for another what they have not yet wished for themselves. 

Also – the peace that comes to us from recognizing our thoughts are causing us pain?

Is also found in our wanting and wishing for others to “do what we tell them to do”.

This need to “help” others who have not asked for our help causes us pain in ourselves and further pain for those who are not yet ready to take ownership of their thoughts or the experiences these thoughts cause for them.

It is the most difficult thing to let our loved ones find their own way.

And how do they do that? By watching us find peace and happiness NOT by us telling them what they need to do to find peace and happiness themselves.

I found that by being a living example of peace instead of trying to get others to follow my path – others are more willing to be with me, spend time with me and let me love them as they are.

Before I learned this? My relationships were fraught with tension and conflict; my children would avoid me and get angry that I was trying to push my ways on them.

Now? By letting them find their own way, I’m finding they are more open to hearing what I have to say about things in general but they are also more apt to ask for my advice or how I have dealt with something.

So – thats what comes to mind as I read your note.

I know it is so difficult to step back and love them as they are and where they are but – by letting them find their own way, they are more likely to invite me to share at least part of their journey with them instead of the tension that was present when I was trying to convince them to “do it my way”.

One last note – in my learnings – I found it very difficult to stifle my desire to help and fix others. I finally figured it out when I understood that I can change MY thoughts and feelings but when I tried to convince others to change theirs? I was not helping – I was butting in.

One strategy that works well for me is when someone is complaining about how awful things are?

I don’t try to offer advice. I offer empathy and compassion with statements like “I’m sorry this is so difficult for you” or perhaps “I know you’ll figure this out”.

And – very often – because no one can be around complaining without wanting to fix….I would change the subject to something not related to their pain or even simply offer my support then distance myself if they felt the need to continue to complain. Always doing this with love, not irritation or fear.

I found my way and didn’t appreciate all of those who were telling me what to do and how to do it.

It can be helpful to keep in mind that those involved in “therapies” and “treatment” cannot listen to others telling them to do it differently because they feel the need to be compliant to the “professionals”.

We are each complete as we are, sometimes with issues we need to address by strategies, such as the 3P’s, but it takes time to learn to change our thinking and sometimes the first thing that we changes is recognizing the thoughts that bring us pain are at first constant and many. We are each fully capable to create the life we want for ourselves. The challenge is the first belief that says that we need someone else to help us or fix us.

Believe in your daughter and that she is complete as she is and capable to do this. Then speak this out loud when you think of her and talk about her to others.

Because we are each a creator, too. And while we can’t change others? We can change what we are putting out about them and indirectly affect how they feel about themselves because of how we feel and project how we feel about them.

I wish you and your family the best, Ella. I’m so sorry your daughter is struggling. Please trust that with loving her where she is she is more likely to find a new way, when her path isn’t working for her the way she wants.

My best to you and those you love,


Dear Susan,

What a beautiful gift you just gave me in such a detailed loving email filled with wisdom which is so true delivered in a non judgemental caring way. That part is the icing on the cake. I’ve been told messages like this though not as clear but I felt the judgement in them being turned off in that I was unwittingly going about this in the ‘wrong’ way.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will continue to try to go in this direction.

Thanks for caring and wishing you continued blessing and success in your journey.



p.s. I plan to check out your site some more to see more of what you have to offer.

p.p.s. My daughter did make one small attempt to hear something from a 3P teacher. I don’t know why or how it happened or what will come from it and I am planning a>not to ask her about it b>to try to let go as best as I can and have faith that she will get to where she needs to get to in the way God wants her to get there.


Dear Ella,

You are quite welcome! I am honored to share the journey with you!

And I’m very glad to hear that this message was validating to you and your journey.

My best to you – trusting your daughter will find her way….

Be well, Ella. This is an amazing journey!


Related reading:

Mental Wellness is Accessible to Anyone through these 3 Principles

How is Helping Harmful? 

Conscious Living

Boundaries: NOT What We Allow Others To Do

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