My therapist has zero chill

2019-04-17

Want a better life? Try changing your values and beliefs. When you say it it just sounds trite. How are you supposed to use that to actually improve yourself?

I recently went to see a therapist. It’s been an eye-opening experience and I recommend it. One thing she does really stands out. I’ll be talking about something totally normal, and she will abruptly stop me. “That’s not a very generous thing to say about yourself,” she’ll say.

Every time this happens I have to mentally back up. Then I realize I’ve casually made a very harsh comment about myself. The kind of thing I’d never say about anyone else.

I justify this to myself as not being serious. So I make occasional little self-deprecating jokes about myself. So what? It keeps me from taking myself so seriously.

She has zero chill about this habit. She points it out every time. And I’m glad she does, because it turns out I do it unconsciously. If that’s the sort of thing I say out loud about myself, what kind of terrible things must I be thinking?

Is that my default state? It’s a sobering thought.

I think that’s why it feels so useless to talk about changing your values and beliefs. A lot of values and beliefs are expressed under the surface, below our level of awareness. It’s hard to even notice that something is wrong because it feels perfectly normal when it’s happening. It’s just the way things are.

That’s why it’s good to work with someone else. I’m only fully recognizing the importance of having someone else’s perspective now that I’ve seen it in action. Find someone you can be honest with, and who you trust to be honest with you. Ask what they think your values and beliefs are. Their answer will surprise you.