This is a continuation of Things We Learned in Therapy. If you missed part 1, please click here.
1) Change Your Thought Process
"You’re not responsible for your first thought, but how you respond to it. Say your first thought is “ew I look awful”, you can let that build and fester or you can say “no I look great”. Changing your thought process takes practice."
2) It's Okay To Grieve Things You've Lost, Including Relationships
"It's okay to grieve friendships or familial bonds that ended with arguments. It's okay to grieve the loss of toxic people in your life. If the loss of it causes grief, then it was a bond that mattered to you. You are allowed to grieve for what you leave behind. Grieving doesn't have to mean you want it back. It doesn't mean you SHOULD go back, either. It just means that something that mattered to you has ceased to be something you can carry forward. Allow yourself to grieve even when you know it was the best outcome."
3) Don't Keep Things Inside. Let It Out.
"All emotions you don’t let out are inside of you in a glass, and each time something upsets you the glass fills more, and more, until it overflows & you breakdown. Always empty the glass so you don’t overflow, feel things as they come & work through the feeling instead of pushing them down."
4) Not Everything Done To You Was Intentional
"Just because someone does something to piss you off doesn't mean it was done intentionally to piss you off. The rest of the world isn’t out to get you."
5) Be Aware of Your Thoughts
"Write things down. Write down your negative thoughts, and then write down positive thoughts that could counter them. Write down small, achievable goals for the satisfaction of crossing them off, and write down every little accomplishment. Being aware of your thoughts is key."
6) The Pros of Vulnerability Far Out-Weighs It's Cons
"The best thing my therapist ever taught me was that the benefit of being emotionally open and vulnerable with someone will always outweigh the risk of their rejection. You can guard yourself forever, but you’re missing out on the best parts of being alive and connected."
7) Be Kind To Yourself
"Be kind to your former self who faced trauma. You can't know another person's intentions so blaming your former self for not knowing only hurts you more now. Forgive yourself. You are not responsible for another person's actions."
8) Shift Your Perspective About How Your Loved Ones Perceive Your Struggle
"I struggle with feeling like a burden. My therapist asked me, "Do you feel good when you help your friends when they're struggling?" And obviously I said yes so he asked me, "Do you want to deny your friends the chance to feel good by helping you?" That shifted my perspective."
9) Friendship Shouldn't Be Hard
"Friendships shouldn’t be hard. You shouldn’t be constantly bending over backwards and fundamentally change who you are as a person just to please someone enough to be called a friend. There are people who will love and appreciate you for exactly who you are."
10) It's Okay To Spend Time With Yourself
"You’re never spending time by yourself. You’re spending time WITH yourself. You are good enough to spend time with, even if it’s just you."
11) Feeling Your Emotions Is Different Than Acting On Them
Feeling your emotions is different than acting on them. You are not responsible for every feeling you have, but you are responsible for the actions you take regarding those feelings."
12) Break The Cycle of Trauma
"There are 2 ways people react to trauma: 1) They never want anyone to feel as bad as they did ever again, 2) they want everyone to feel as bad as they did because it’s unfair that they went through it and others didn’t. Be the first person and be wary of the second."
13) Don't Only Keep Track of Your Failures. Keep Track of Your Successes Too.
“It’s easy for us to tear ourselves down because we are aware of every mistake we’ve ever made. You’re the only person who knows all of your failures. But you’re also the only person who has seen every success, so keep track of those, too. And when people commend you for doing a great job, know that they mean that. Just because they only saw you succeed and didn’t see how many times you failed before you won, doesn’t make that success any less worthy of their praise. You kept going despite the failure and that is also worth celebrating.”
14) Inspect Your Thoughts
"Your mind is a machine that makes thoughts. You can inspect those thoughts for quality assurance. But you don't necessarily have to live within the stream of consciousness. Try to objectify your thoughts."
15) Adults Can Take Care of Themselves
"Adults take care of themselves. It is not my job to know what others are feeling and need all the time. It is their job to tell me. And vise versa. It is my job to tell others my feelings and needs."
16) You Can't Rush Time
"You can’t rush time, and things don’t always progress at the rate you want them to. So, do your best to understand what is/isn’t under your control and appreciate any/all of the positives in the present."
17) Don't Say It To Yourself If You Wouldn't Say It To Someone Else
"If you wouldn’t say or think it about someone else then you shouldn’t say or think it about yourself. I struggled heavily with negative self talk and that really helped me to be more kind when talking and thinking about myself."
18) Stay In The Present
"Our brains like to "time travel" and get stuck in years past or years to come. So when you catch yourself time traveling, come back to the present. If you make it a habit, it'll start to get easier to live presently, and not dwell so much on past regrets or future anxieties."
19) Differentiate Between Your Thoughts and What You've Been Programmed To Think
"I’ve heard that your first thought is what you were taught to think and your second thought is what you actually think. Helps to separate from bad patterns you learned growing up or from an abuser."
20) Give Yourself Grace
"When learning and practicing to give yourself grace, imagine if your friend did the thing you’re being hard on yourself for. What would you tell them? Now say that to yourself and practice giving yourself the same grace you give to your loved ones."
Feel free to share in the comments section some of the things you learned from therapy that changed your life for the better.