Monday Notes: Therapy Every Day

“You want your friends to do therapy,” my goddaughter said. “And that’s too hard.”

            I had just shared the details of a failed friendship, and my goddaughter’s words made sense. You see, I’ve spent the last eight years in self-therapy. I allow my intuition to lead me to a new concept, then I research who the “leading authority” is on that idea, and then I read his or her work. For example, attempting to understand my oldest daughter and her choice of boyfriend(s), led me to the concept of codependence, which led me to Melody Beattie’s work, which led me to read The New Codependency. Consequently, I began to understand myself and how I’d embodied similar traits.

            This is normal for me. I not only read about concepts that reveal a deeper understanding of myself, but I also apply them. When I realized I’d lived much of my young adult and adult life sans boundaries, I read about and learned how to create and enforce them, so I could show up as a healthier version of myself. This is a part of how I live, so I can function in new ways.

            The problem is, as my goddaughter pointed out, everyone is not like this, and sometimes, it impacts how I relate. A lot of times, I’m having a conversation that is normal for me, but difficult for others. In essence, I’m asking others to dig deeper than they care to, than they usually do. I’ve asked friends to think about how they interact with me in relationship, and especially for those my age, it’s quite a challenge. I’ve had friends who’d rather end the relationship than to stop and figure out how to engage in a better way or to consider how I may have felt in situations. This is too hard, a friend recently told me. The this to which she referred was understanding that she never initiates a phone call with me.

            For a while, friends’ responses felt personal. Each situation seemed as if the person didn’t want to see my point of view, or as if they believed that what I was saying was ridiculous—as if I’d asked them to do drugs in the alley. They’d cross their eyes and fumble their words, until we were no longer communicating effectively. Now, I realize their reaction wasn’t personal. People are made up of their childhood and adolescent backgrounds and how they’ve learned to handle situations from those foundational times. Many people project, instead of reflect.

            And, as my goddaughter told me, “Most people don’t want to do what the therapist says, much less read something on their own and follow through with that.”

            “Hmmmph,” I said. “That’s interesting. I do therapy every day.” Therapy is not just for the therapist’s office. Just like yoga isn’t just for the mat, and practicing religions isn’t just for the church, synagogue, or mosque. It’s a daily practice and part of my life. Meaning, I will look at myself several times over in a situation, before I accuse someone else of being the problem. I’m always willing to take ownership, and subsequently, do better, if my doing better is a requirement for maintaining a bond.

            But again, everyone isn’t like this. Everyone isn’t interested in examining their life or taking steps to improve. My goddaughter reinforced something else the day we talked. “It’s okay if they don’t,” she said. “Everyone’s different.”

            You can only change you is an idea I consistently reiterate on this blog, and I stand by it. I will continue to do “therapy every day,” with a primary goal to improve myself. However, I also know from experience that changing me for the better also changes those around me, whether they consciously know it or not.  


Advertisement

85 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Therapy Every Day

  1. We cannot change how others perceive or respond to us. We can only choose our own actions and perceptions, and what we want to participate with. It is not about them, we just have to be authentic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Everyone’s different.” Yes! We had a class discussion about “What is normal?” One of my students said, “There’s no such thing as normal because every one is different.” I can’t stop thinking about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Monday Notes: Therapy Every Day – TOMS21
    1. It absolutely is easier to ignore, and once you become self aware (or just aware, in general), it’s hard not then go back to ignoring 😉

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      Like

    1. I agree! Yep, I think if we continue to believe that we have to GO to therapy every day, then it could be expensive, but we can all pick up a book or two 😉

      Thank you for reading and commenting ❤

      Like

  4. I love this. It’s always important to know that everyone is different. I’m currently learning this while going through the grieving process of losing my dad in mid October. My sister, my mom, and I are three very different people and are very different in the way that we are acknowledging the loss of my dad. Thank you for sharing this with us. You have gained a new follower 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This made me think about the expectations I have for other people. I wish that certain people in my life would do more therapy. The funny thing is that I know some of them already go to therapy – it’s just that the therapy doesn’t seem to have the effect that I would have hoped for! (eg. my sister goes to therapy, and she’s still a self-centered and unreasonable person; my husband started going to therapy, and that hasn’t yet done anything to make him less anxious and difficult to live with) In fairness though, I can’t say that I’m meeting my own expectations yet re: self-improvement, so there’s a limit to how much I can complain!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. See, that’s the part for me…I think some people use therapy like a good friend, who is by law, required not to reveal your secrets; however, it seems that therapy should actually show you how to be a better version of yourself, and over time, perhaps, end.

      I say complain all you want lol (well, at least here, you can).

      Like

  6. You might like this book: https://ppw.kuleuven.be/nieuws-en-agenda/2022/book-between-us. If you don’t have time to read it, this interview is pretty good: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyTBsgOU24E. Basically the theory / evidence discusses how emotions are created by culture + expectations + individual history + personal narratives + immediate experience + what one group may think of as social class+family history+ ++++and provides a model for analysis that is really interesting. It talks about how to analyse how you and others create/experience/understand emotions, and it made me feel…good, I guess. Like I can see what I earlier saw as conflict as just analytical mismatches that I can use to learn how to be less conflicted individually and as a group.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I agree with your goddaughter. Many people do not dig deep and reflect, and many people do not feel that they need to. It may be too scary or difficult for them. I love the idea of self-therapy. The work you are doing on yourself is inspiring, and I am very curious what I would find if I took it upon myself to do my own therapy. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh I totally agree with this! Self awareness and improvement is everything. Often times we look outward to place blame on everyone else but ourselves, but sometimes if we actually evaluate what role we had to play in a “situation” or put ourselves in the other person’s shoes we could see things more clearly and save ourselves and others so much stress. It’s not easy but it’s worth the effort and it makes you a better person. Good post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I so agree, Jan! You’re right about “it’s not easy.” It’s very hard to look in the mirror and consider you may be the problem. It’s much easier to point fingers at everyone else.

      Like

  9. I love therapy and am a huge supporter of those seeking help through therapy. Although I must say not all therapists are made the same… you kind of have to shop around but when you find a good one, it’s great to be able to unload to someone who can be objective and help guide you through your emotions…

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Wow, can I relate to this post! I don’t do as much research as you do, but I do consider myself to be my own therapist, and I actively pursue information that can help me better understand myself. That self-awareness helps me see clearly the areas where I need to change if I want to live a happier, more honest life.
    Just like you, I’ve run into problems with some friends who aren’t the least bit interested in being more honest, either with themselves or with me. For example, I once wrote a blog post about how every single person we know has hurt our feelings at some point, and the trick is to discern whether it’s deliberate (not a good relationship) or accidental (which is normal and needs to be forgiven.) A friend called me so upset after that because she “obviously had hurt my feelings at some point, and she didn’t know it, and could never forgive herself….and on and on. I finally had to lie to her and tell her she was the one person I knew who had never done a thing that hurt my feelings! It was bizarre, but I also realized that she was very invested in seeing herself as the perfect friend and our friendship as the perfect friendship. Not true, of course, but it’s where she is in life and I have to respect that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What in the world??? I literally laughed out loud at the thought of you having to comfort and reassure her that she is, indeed, the ONE person who’s never hurt her feelings. This example is exactly the type of thing I’m talking about. Like you said, her idea of perfectionism, etc. has her thoughts so foggy that she couldn’t even conceive of being hurtful. That’s an amazing example, Ann. Thanks for sharing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think that self-reflection, and being honest with ourselves even when it’s uncomfortable, is so important to keep growing! I enjoy podcasts and books about becoming a ‘better me’, I’m drawn to learning about the cognitive side of behaviour, and every so often, I get a lightbulb moment when I’ve read or heard something that really resonates with me. It’s like “aha! So there’s the explanation for why I’ve always felt that way in a certain situation”. And that insight from self-therapy means I can make different choices if I want to. Recently, I’ve been listening to the Self-Work podcast by Dr. Margaret Rutherford and have found many episodes to be insightful. Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Katherin.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That “lightbulb moment” is what I’m talking about, Grace! It was particularly flashy for me when I learned about highly sensitive nervous systems. It’s like my entire life came together all at once in one clear picture.

      I like podcasts, too, so I’ll be checking out the one you’ve mentioned.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My first thought reading your posts was, how fortunate you are to have a goddaughter who speaks her mind honestly with you. That is a gift!
    So often, I expect other people to behave in a way that fits my world view. I admire you so much, Katherin. The way you strive for self-improvement really inspires me.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am very fortunate, Judy! This is one of the best things about our relationship—the honesty part (said with respect going both ways).

      It’s so hard to not try to fit everyone into how you think they should behave. I mean, life would be super easy if everyone would just do what we say, right lol

      Thank you for that compliment at the end. I appreciate it ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I always enjoy dropping by your blog. 🙂 Self-therapy is what I’ve been doing for the past 4 years, most acutely in the past 6 months.

    This is pretty much how I self-diagnosed (or finally officially and unashamedly accepted) myself as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). I’m reading a book, I research online, and my god, if only I had communicated this with other people earlier (or understood it more tangibly myself, earlier). I must have inherited some of those traits from my father, too, although he had more, and more difficult challenges than I did (for one thing, he was neglected and abused as a child, something I never experienced).

    Honestly self-therapy is the way to go for myself for right now (and writing about it sometimes). I understand things so much better, including how things like co-dependency develop (and why) among other things (overwhelm, anger and lashing out, defensiveness), that it’s a small miracle I made it to here and now in one piece. 🙂

    I will share my essays on that journey soon. I’ve started a platform and I’m actively preparing to release my work. Thank you for sharing your stories here, always a pleasure dropping by.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Claudette ❤

      Same about the HSP. I found that out this past summer and it really was the missing link for all of the things I've experienced. What you've said about you and your father is accurate, too. They say that HSP can be much worse depending on the person's upbringing, and of course, trauma.

      Anywho, thank you for adding this comment! It's fascinating how in synch our writing has been of late. Looking forward to reading this as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, once the minds storehouse cleaning has begun, it is no stopping! Just this morning I had a thought on a similar subject, the older I grow, the less I can have a meaningful conversation with very few of my friends. Their inability to abandon the delusion of “wanting to be”, instead of becoming what they are is most irritating. It appears, at their age, any further conscious development is somewhat unlikely. So I stopped judging them, the handful I have left as most of them have been scared off a long time ago.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. It’s so true, the only person we can change is ourselves! I have found that as I change the way other people respond to me changes too. It’s an interesting phenomenon!

    I have a LOT of visitors who read different posts of mine, who come to get supported, uplifted and encouraged, but they may not have the bandwidth to commit to following, for when we follow, our name is made known to many people. There are those who need those positive inputs but aren’t ready to become part of a bigger community, and I’m cognizant of that and respect their boundaries.

    It’s amazing that there are probably many, many people who are seeking to feel better about themselves, seeking to learn better life skills, who don’t wish to announce themselves.

    That said, there are probably many in your friend group who are likewise seeking this kind of knowledge, but don’t feel comfortable yet to reveal that to you, for you appear to them to be so much further ahead on the road than they are, and that can feel intimidating!

    Not everyone wants to tell others they are working on themselves, for there is a fear that people may snidely comment behind their backs how much they need it!

    Continue to learn and by all means, continue to accept your friends exactly where they are right now!

    Liked by 5 people

  16. It took me quite a long time to realize what you wrote here—that I can’t and don’t need to change others for my life to improve. As you said, it’s much easier and healthier to start with ourselves and let others see our growth hoping they might be inspired by us one day. No matter how tiny hope is, it still creates changes in our lives like a pebble in the lake.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. It’s very difficult to get people to think, much less think deeply, much less to actually think about how steps work, and what begets what…but I’m going to keep tryng

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Goosebumps! I was thinking the other day what my intention was for writing psychology articles and blog posts and I thought.. it’s what people need ‘in between’ therapy visits. Because what I know FOR SURE is therapy is like Valentine’s Day. Not enough. It’s what you do every day in between that matters most. I have had therapy on three separate occasions over my 52 years and it taught me more about what was missing — and my responsibility in filling this gap — than anything. “Doctor Heal Thyself” DAILY

    I so appreciate this post and you Dr. G. You get it 🔥

    Liked by 4 people

      1. This piece seals the deal for me. A familiar comment that escapes my mouth, I don’t have a wand to wave and an abracadabra chant nor do I have a magic pill. You have to do the work both inside the therapeutic space and outside the therapeutic space. Daily life is happening whether that’s bliss, joy, triggers, engagements, solitude, etc. Therefore you should be looking and listening within as well as observing the daily exhibitions. This reflects the inner-outward dialogue that is critical to understanding thyself and welcoming the healing of thyself.

        This is such a great topic to have some conversation around. Grateful for this platform and discussion!

        Liked by 2 people

  19. Katherin, the idea at the very end “changing me for the better also changes those around me”……..I like that, a lot. At the same time, I feel like I had to reflexively remind myself that I don’t have control over what kind of changes take place in others. Good changes sometimes create new challenges….. challenges that can seem like a step backward. Hope this finds you well. Happy Monday.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s hard, Jason. We think we can change other people, and that’s never the case. We may be able to inspire or nudge them toward something, but ultimately, it’s just you and your choices that effect change 😉

      Hope you’re having a happy beginning to a new week, too! And happy belated thanksgiving.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I love your daily practice to learn and grow. And your last sentence conclusion that it not only changes you but those around you, whether they are aware of it or not.

    I agree that not everyone wants to do this or even look deeply at life. But I think it’s such a rich and inspirational trait that is full of great insight! Great post!

    Liked by 5 people

  21. I admire your commitment to learning and growing Kathy. I grew tired of continually working on myself, which in turn fed a feeling of being broken. Now, I mostly focus on day-to-day living and loving myself as best I can. And yes, not everyone wants to dig into their psyche and share that with others.

    Liked by 6 people

  22. On any morning when I see a new post from you, it’s the first thing I read! Thanks for everything. I love, in this post, how you own your hard work and the abilities it gives you – you’re not bragging or acting lofty – you know what you have had to do to evolve and you are able to describe it.
    Also, it’s great to see how others start to change when we change.

    Liked by 3 people

Comments are welcomed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s