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. Jason Leslie Rogers 11/27/2013 at 8:43 pm #

    Hello, Jen.

    The most influential maxim shared with me in therapy that I have come to embrace as truth goes something like this: “You are not responsible for other people’s thoughts, emotions, or behaviors.” What they do or say or feel is not because of you. It is because of who they are. You are only responsible for yourself.

    The first thing on your list, “How you feel about yourself is not a democracy,” this is golden. I think some people would accuse others of being “selfish” for thinking this way, but it is a healthy kind of selfishness, a way of protecting yourself and nurturing yourself because you know you deserve it, because you know that no one else is going to do it for you.

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.


  2. viajes101 11/26/2013 at 8:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on Viajes101.

  3. neenasethi 11/25/2013 at 6:38 pm #

    Reblogged this on A Second Time Around.

  4. neenasethi 11/25/2013 at 6:37 pm #

    I completely agree – therapy is worth its weight in gold.

  5. gustyadek 11/25/2013 at 4:47 am #

    Reblogged this on gustyadek.

  6. laureen1961 11/24/2013 at 9:42 pm #

    Yes, I am like you doing the therapy thing. Learning by keeping my mouth shut and listening. Also, I am doing what is necessary for healing. The democracy and other people making judgements on you thing is a great idea. I guess for me is how much I judge myself the way others judge me. Essentially I have to agree with that garbage. So nowadays, I take out this garbage every day so I can get rid of this negativity. I wish you well in your journey.

  7. GloShivWeb 11/24/2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Perfection adds too much stress to ones Life. Strive for OK!

  8. bonzie91 11/24/2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Wow i love this post! You have really grasped the whole purpose of therapy really well. I love how you’ve worded this and made us really understand your point of view. Awesome πŸ˜€ BTW, it’s not always so bad talking about your problems with those closest to you. As you said – we are not a democracy – we don’t have the ability to consult with ourselves on our matters because we are biased in the sense. Love this πŸ™‚ I will definitely be following πŸ˜€

  9. dazzles012 11/24/2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. The tidbits you mentioned are all things people should know in the back of their minds, but unfortunately, many people seem to forget it. The jaded and disillusioned part of me totally understands how people fall into these thoughts, and it is vital to refresh our minds with your therapists advice to remember that we are more than what we often think we are.

  10. akositayex 11/23/2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on TayexSoyHermoso and commented:
    I was scrolling through Freshly Pressed after failing myself and this post just made my day. ^^

  11. ghostlydaisies 11/23/2013 at 3:41 am #

    I remember my therapist saying to me “you should write down how you feel, have you tried blogging?” one thing that did make me smile is when he said “there is NO joking in therapy” πŸ˜€

  12. actuaria 11/23/2013 at 2:31 am #

    Reblogged this on Actuaria's Blog and commented:
    Wise words indeed πŸ™‚

  13. franklag 11/22/2013 at 2:52 pm #

    Reblogged this on The Hollow Man.

  14. dbsanwgaconsumernetwork 11/22/2013 at 6:52 am #

    Reblogged this on DBSA NW Georgia Consumer Network.

  15. hattrick94 11/22/2013 at 4:22 am #

    It is commendable that you took the initiative to get a bird’s eye view of your overall from someone in an abstract position as well as qualified to do so. Iron sharpens iron.

  16. oddgirlnextdoor 11/21/2013 at 11:12 pm #

    I’ve never considered Kintsugi in that the concept could apply to me in where I feel broken. I know I’m not, I just feel like it at the moment. Your blog couldn’t have come at a better time for me. So thank you. I’ll be keeping all of the above in mind, I have a long road ahead, and it will be difficult, but I don’t have to defeat myself along the way. Thanks for the reminder!

  17. Smaktakula 11/21/2013 at 12:01 pm #

    This is an awesome post. I wish more people would be open about therapy. I view therapy in much the same way I view regular preventative maintenance for my car.

  18. iloveron0516 11/20/2013 at 11:49 pm #

    Reblogged this on livelifelikethereisnotomorrow.

  19. danapaslowski 11/20/2013 at 4:59 pm #

    this should be everyones motto. people nead to learn to just be happy and live their life

  20. lectorixblog 11/20/2013 at 4:16 am #

    Reblogged this on lectorixblog.

  21. Eve Livingston 11/20/2013 at 1:49 am #

    Thank you for your encouraging words to those whose lives would indeed change by taking that leap of faith and landing in the arms of someone who really is able to help them!


    • Jen and Tonic 11/20/2013 at 9:23 pm #

      It is a leap, isn’t it? But when someone is there to catch you it feel amazing.

  22. susankocsis 11/19/2013 at 7:19 pm #

    Reblogged this on susankocsis and commented:
    attempting to learn to blog, anybody getting this?

  23. thesabbathpress 11/19/2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Make change in the mind before the body. Great post!
    Share that peace, love and knowledge

    • Jen and Tonic 11/20/2013 at 9:22 pm #

      “Make change in the mind before the body.” I’m using that sometime!

  24. jessejames23 11/19/2013 at 6:29 am #

    Great post. Feel free to stop by and check out my posts as well and spread the word!

    • beckysaysthings 11/19/2013 at 10:37 am #

      I’m almost as pleased that this got Freshly Pressed as I am that you’ve found a worthwhile therapist and are making some worthwhile changes. You rule, Jen πŸ™‚

      • Jen and Tonic 11/20/2013 at 9:22 pm #

        You’ve got a good one too? What is it with funny people all needing therapists? Our humor is an outlet for our pain? I think I read that in a Jim Belushi bio.

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

      I definitely will, thanks!

  25. brigduong 11/19/2013 at 4:58 am #

    Thank you for sharing this! It was actually really helpful and very well written.

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