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.ย  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. literalnut 03/03/2014 at 10:53 pm #

    “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.”

    I love this!! I am a therapist myself, and I plan to plagiarize this very concept tomorrow in session. This is a beautiful post ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. unfreepersonsunite 02/11/2014 at 1:28 am #

    your tonic is uplifting, and I needed that. I just pray I can use some of your ideas, when I get my daughter back,…. the State took her away when my husband became a paraphelegic, when they said I couldn’t care for both…..but Psychiatry has forced medications into the mix, for her, so I don’t really know what (or whom) I will be dealing with. We are still in a Legal Guardianship case, so it may be a while before I get to find out, though.

  3. lisermarie2013 01/06/2014 at 8:41 pm #

    I’m a huge fan of your blog as you always make me laugh and well I just freaking love how honest this particular blog post is! I will be showing this one to many friends because I think there is some amazing advice here.
    P.S. you just made the list of blogs I’m obsessed with on my blog because I want to make sure everyone reads the honesty and hilarity that is your writing!

    • Jen and Tonic 01/07/2014 at 6:24 pm #

      Thank you so much! I was really nervous to post this because I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m glad to hear that this is helping other people, and that others can relate to what I’m going through. It makes the world feel a little less lonely.

      Thanks for the compliments about my blog! I love hearing from my readers. I’ve followed you, and will be checking you out. Your blog, not you. Unless you want me to…

  4. drucatic 01/02/2014 at 3:43 am #

    Reblogged this on drucatic.

  5. akanioki 12/31/2013 at 7:12 am #

    Reblogged this on miracle.

  6. josh86755 12/28/2013 at 10:15 am #

    Reblogged this on RealTalkWithJosh and commented:
    I really enjoyed this blog.

  7. Abby 12/26/2013 at 9:03 pm #

    This is amazing and inspirational. thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. abbyv0676 12/26/2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Reblogged this on abbyvilleneuve and commented:
    I have never read anything quite as amazing

  9. whatuful 12/25/2013 at 11:39 am #

    Hello. I just read this post. Well…through your post I felt a lot and I still don’t know how to say these emotions in a word..but I learned a lot. Actually, sometimes I’m obsessed with the concept of time too and I get stressed out because of that. But from now on, I’ll try to change my mind and a positive way. Thank u. I’ll visit often ๐Ÿ˜€ Have a good day!

  10. Lindsey (Currie) Dubois 12/15/2013 at 11:45 am #

    Sounds like you got a great therapist! I see one when I can…. And honestly, I like talking to them so much more than friends or family. With a therapist, I am literally paying for their advice or feedback. I value their professional opinion….. With friends…. I feel their projections are too heavy…. Though they come from a place of love, I turn into a people pleaser when I listen to their opinions on my personal feelings. I’ve learned the hard way that I am in fact a people pleaser… And sometimes, without even realizing it, play down my true thoughts and pay lip service to those who think they know what’s best for me and before I know it, I’m living someone else’s reality. I cringe looking at what I wrote.

    Anyway, I LOVE the democracy line. It’s so perfect and I will carry that with me as I am currently breaking out of someone else’s reality and coming back home to my dreams!

    Thank you for your post!

    • dazzles012 12/15/2013 at 8:44 pm #

      Lindsey, thank you for sharing, as well. I find your situation and your perspective on it mirror mine. Glad to know I’m not alone in this habit. May we both be able to break free!

  11. thankyouforposting 12/10/2013 at 11:31 pm #

    This article is so good, I like this blog, Thank you very much for sharing

  12. Cassidy 12/10/2013 at 9:17 am #

    I too, have learned some of the same lessons through therapy. Doesn’t it make a world of difference when you start to open up and talk about these things? Thank you so much for sharing.

  13. spamnelson 12/02/2013 at 11:52 pm #

    Reblogged this on Catching Eudaimonia and commented:
    Loved this post as I was able to relate to it extremely well. Definitely worth a read!

  14. spamnelson 12/02/2013 at 11:51 pm #

    I absolutely love this post as I’ve experienced the same thing while I’ve been in therapy this last while. At first I didn’t really believe it would help me, but in very sneaky (and excellent) ways it has helped me enormously. I’m really happy to see that someone else has benefited from the same sort of help that I have. I think your writing is great, and you should keep it up!!

  15. zennnjen 12/02/2013 at 5:34 pm #

    Reblogged this on no signal.


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