Things My Therapist Has Taught Me

7 Nov

bc425f09027fd13912ac10b6728e4ea3I don’t typically write serious subject matter on this blog, but a few months ago I wrote about my desire to seek therapy for a myriad of issues I’ve faced for years. A woman of my word, I began going almost immediately.

I don’t like talking to friends or family members about my problems so the idea of talking to a stranger about my innermost thoughts really put me off. Luckily, I found someone totally aces on the first try, and she has taught me some very valuable things in our time together so far.

How you feel about yourself is not a democracy.

I would never have described myself as a “people pleaser” until I started seeing her. Now I can’t believe I never saw it before. In every facet of my life I am living for someone else: at work, in relationships, with my family, among friends. No wonder I’ve spent half my life asleep at the wheel; trying to be everything to everyone is exhausting. Once, when I was expressing anxiety over Blogger Interactive, she said, “Who cares if people end up disliking you? How you feel about yourself is not a democracy. The only person who gets a vote in that is you.” All this time I’ve been basing my self-esteem on what I assume or know to be others’ judgements of me. I’m trying to see that I am good enough as-is, and if someone doesn’t like me, that doesn’t diminish my worth.

The “no fault” effect.

I’ve experienced a lot of anger and bitterness over the years due to what I perceived as people wronging me. If you date me and break my heart, you’re a scumbag. If you hurt my feelings and don’t apologize, you’re a dolt. She has helped me see that a “no fault” mentality can free me from my hostile feelings towards others. There aren’t always winners or losers, nor is there a right or wrong side. Sometimes it can simply be a matter of a bad fit between two individuals.

What would you tell your child?

I don’t have children, nor do I want them, but she has asked me to imagine having one someday. What advice would I give him/her? Would I tell my daughter to base her value as a person on how her relationships work out? Would I tell my son that being afraid of things is a sign of weakness? If it’s not good enough for my imaginary children, it’s not good enough for me. This has helped me see that a lot of my thought processes are dysfunctional, and not ones I’d want the next generation to adopt.

Letting go of expectations.

I am obsessed with the concept of time. I get annoyed when I think someone has wasted my time with their tomfoolery, and I hate when I invest a lot of time in something only for it to go to hell.Β  The Japanese have a form of repairing pottery called Kintsugi (or Kintsukuroi) wherein broken pottery is fixed using gold lacquer. They believe the pottery is now even more beautiful for having been broken. I think this applies to people as well. Instead of thinking that life is always giving me an unnecessary ass kicking, I should think that life is handing me an opportunity to become an even better person.

Going to therapy was a huge leap of faith on my part. I was completely out of touch with my emotions, and couldn’t imagine sitting there and talking about myself for an entire hour. As it turns out, I have a lot to say.

To anyone who is currently in therapy, congrats on taking the first step towards being a more healthy individual. To those who are thinking about it, you should absolutely do it if you have the means. It is worth its weight in gold.

390 Responses to “Things My Therapist Has Taught Me”

  1. lunix1583 11/18/2013 at 6:37 pm #

    “If it’s not good enough for my imaginary children, it’s not good enough for me.” Well put, and something I will carry with me to my own CBT sessions πŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/20/2013 at 9:21 pm #

      YAY! Glad you were able to take something from this, and apply it to your own life.

  2. emmx2013 11/18/2013 at 4:47 pm #

    Your comments are being linked on my website if I can figure out how!
    Here’s to Your Health!

  3. daniellavaldano 11/18/2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on daniellavaldano.

  4. sorryforthescribbles 11/18/2013 at 9:00 am #

    great post, especially liked the reference to Kintsugi, thank you for sharing!

  5. owlofknowledge 11/18/2013 at 7:45 am #

    Reblogged this on Getting Naked and commented:
    Great post. Thank you for sharing.

  6. julietaboutique 11/18/2013 at 2:38 am #

    true words

  7. dhanya0999 11/17/2013 at 11:12 pm #

    thank u πŸ™‚ it was indeed an eye opener πŸ™‚

  8. marketingwithoutboundaries 11/17/2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Reblogged this on marketingwithoutboundaries and commented:
    I like she thinks

  9. andiarabit 11/17/2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on Undeniably Andi and commented:
    I believe this is just what we need everyday. A reminder that we don’t have to be perfect because we weren’t created to be one. Celebrate you! πŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 1:36 pm #

      Thanks for the reblog!

      • undeniablyandi 11/18/2013 at 11:34 pm #

        No problem. πŸ™‚

  10. andiarabit 11/17/2013 at 3:27 pm #

    I believe this is just what we need everyday. A reminder that we don’t have to be perfect because we weren’t created to be one. Or maybe it all boils down to how a person defines ‘perfect’. I admi;re you for facing your uneasiness with talking to someone. Kudos! πŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 1:36 pm #

      “A reminder that we don’t have to be perfect because we weren’t created to be one.” Trying to be perfect is an exercise in futility. My therapist encourages me to embrace my “learning opportunities” and see that good can come of our imperfect moments.

  11. guidedfootsteps 11/17/2013 at 1:19 pm #

    letting go of expectations is really the key to peace.
    thank you!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Yes it is! I wish I hadn’t waited so long to learn that.

  12. rightingitwrong 11/17/2013 at 12:24 pm #

    A lot of this rings true for me as well. I started therapy about 3 years ago, after feeling like shit from a break up, and I have been amazed at what it has helped me realize about myself and about how I approach the world. I appreciate the insights from your own journey of life; I’m going to take a few and apply them to mine as well πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 1:35 pm #

      The greatest thing about writing this post is connecting with a lot of different people who had the same eye-opening experience with therapy. Seeing people chase happiness makes my day a little brighter.

  13. victorialittle 11/17/2013 at 3:28 am #

    Reblogged this on victorialittle and commented:

  14. aKnowItAll 11/16/2013 at 10:55 pm #

    Optimism is beautiful. And so is this post. Thank you.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 1:33 pm #

      Thank you! And agreed about optimism. It helps make the world go ’round.

  15. omtatjuan 11/16/2013 at 4:24 pm #

    My Monday Therapy meeting is my editor in chief review of my past weeks posts. I love talking to my therapist.. He listens and then comments… Who needs an editor? I have someone who can help me when I get rejected…

    • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 1:32 pm #

      Rejection is the worst, and something I’m still struggling. I’d love to be the kind of person who lets it roll off of her shoulders.

      • omtatjuan 11/18/2013 at 1:37 pm #

        Your stories alone are great… Just look at how any visits you get. Way more people your blog than buy someone book. Yeah rejection sucks. I see my therapist most every Monday and wow I am a better human for it.

        • Jen and Tonic 11/18/2013 at 1:49 pm #

          This blog will soften the blow when a publisher tells me I suck balls.

          • omtatjuan 11/18/2013 at 1:56 pm #

            You got the “It” when it comes to writing… Believe in yourself!

  16. imissmallory 11/16/2013 at 11:53 am #

    ❀ Love this.

  17. Ridz 11/16/2013 at 11:25 am #

    Excellent post Jen !!
    When it comes to Expectations..Just a quick say that i read somewhere “Expectation is the root cause to all disappointment”..
    Lot to take back from the “no fault effect”..Thank you !!

    Blogging from Bangalore, India… Ridz

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2013 at 3:14 pm #

      How funny, I just saw that same quote on Pinterest! And it’s so true. I’ve recently let go of a lot of expectations (and their subsequent disappointments) and it’s amazing how much better I feel already.

  18. ninasusan 11/16/2013 at 10:27 am #

    Worth it’s weight in gold!!

  19. jgarciarn 11/16/2013 at 8:17 am #

    Therapy got me through my senior year of nursing school/college. I was a full-time nursing student with 17-18 units, work study, and then come home to a part time job. Needless to say, I was wearing myself thin and making wrong choices… I needed someone to keep me sane. And my therapist opened my eyes to a lot of things I wasn’t aware of about myself… I plan on continuing this once I become more settled in this new job because I do plan on going back to grad school and undertaking a family sometime in the near future. Every session felt like a huge weight off of my shoulders. Kudos to you!!!!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2013 at 3:09 pm #

      Wow! Sounds like you had a lot on your plate. Good for you for taking care of yourself.

      “Every session felt like a huge weight off of my shoulders.” Exactly how I’ve felt!

  20. janeisi 11/16/2013 at 7:33 am #

    Reblogged this on janeisi.

  21. The Vintage Spruce 11/15/2013 at 9:48 am #

    Great post and well written.

  22. Nancy Power 11/15/2013 at 7:41 am #

    Great post! I put off the ‘therapy thing’ for years until finally took the plunge – why did I wait so long??!!! Everyone should do it! Everything you have said is so spot on.
    I just love the broken crockery bit – what a wonderful image that put in my head! I will now mend things with gold laquer.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2013 at 3:07 pm #

      I do thing everyone would benefit from a few sessions! If nothing else, it’s great to have such “selfish” time to explore your own feelings. We don’t really do that anymore.

  23. schneids81 11/15/2013 at 7:07 am #

    Great piece! My sentiment on talking to a professional was very similar to yours. Ick, you want me to talk about myself, the workings of my soul, for an hour? I’ll pass. And I did for years. Finally, took the plunge 6 months ago and it has been very eye opening.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2013 at 3:05 pm #

      Right? Isn’t it amazing how it seems impossible to talk about feelings for that long, but when you go, an hour almost doesn’t seem like enough!

      So happy you’ve gotten something out of it.

  24. MamaMickTerry 11/15/2013 at 5:59 am #

    Great article! I’m a reformed “therapy snob” and have delighted in the whole process of what my hubby calls, ‘getting fixed.’ I also appreciated one of your first sentences when you shared how you don’t typically write serious topics for your blog. Humor, spunk and celebrating stupid mistakes are the goals with my blog….but you know, sometimes, a “little serious” strikes a relevant chord and you just HAVE to share. So glad I found you on Freshly Pressed–I look forward to reading more!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/16/2013 at 3:04 pm #

      So glad you “saw the light” as they say. It is true what they say about a mind being like a parachute, and being best when it’s open.

      Before I ever wrote my first serious piece on this blog, I really struggled with the idea of throwing something like that into a mostly humor blog. In the end, I decided that this blog is a piece of myself, and sometimes things aren’t always easy. And by opening myself up, I’ve connected with wonderful people like yourself who I might not have found otherwise.

      • MamaMickTerry 11/16/2013 at 5:54 pm #

        So true! Connecting has been the best part. So glad our paths crossed–can’t wait to read more.


  1. Ideas for next time | Avoidant Antelope - 11/16/2013

    […] What her therapist has taught her. I was searching around ‘da interwebs’ earlier for inspiration on what to name this blog – after finding that ‘avoidant’ and ‘theavoidant’ had been taken (by people who appear to have forgotten all about them. I can’t judge: I’ve done the same myself), and stumbled upon this post by ‘Jen and Tonic’ (cool name) which struck a few chords with me. […]

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