"People don't come to psychotherapy when the pain is too great. As human beings, we're actually really good at enduring pain. We come to therapy when we have exhausted all of our known options to remove the pain."
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Facebook is the only social media platform I regularly use. There was a time when I used Twitter. I use Viber to video chat with a close friend through her mobile phone in Ukraine. I have a Skype account, in case I need it (almost never). I used to have a LinkedIn account. I started using Facebook to keep in touch with our children and with friends, and it used to bring me joy.
Recently, with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the increasing tension around the upcoming elections in the US,, Facebook is more stress-inducing than enjoyable. I decided that something had to change.
I seriously thought about deleting my Facebook account. Right after I wrote those words two competing thoughts popped into my mind. The first, "Oh my goodness!" as if it was a major life-altering decision. The second, "Who cares? It's just Facebook." And here I am.
I started out by unfollowing people. Those I unfollowed would see my posts, they could contact me, we were still "friends," but I would not see their posts. I would cut down on the background noise of Facebook. I did this without prejudice. The question I asked was, "Does he, she, or it spark joy?" I also loosely applied the acrostic "THINK." Is it True, Helpful, Informative, Necessary, Kind? And not just for what I write, but what or who I read. I reminded myself I do not need to read everything everyone writes. If I chose to ignore a person or even "block" him or her it just means that: I chose not to listen to the person. I am establishing and enforcing boundaries for myself regarding how I spend my time and chose what I will allow into my brain. And I'm not doing this to suppress myself from hearing differing opinions. I hear plenty in my usual day-to-day intercourse.
Proverbs 26 verses 4 and 5 say, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." Can both be correct advice? Yes, in different instances with different people. I want to be discerning. Is a particular "debate" worth the effort. What is the probability I will sway the other's position? Does it really matter to me what he or she believes? Certainly, for many discourse on Facebook the answer is "no." Nothing personal.
After the "unfollowing" I felt much better. When I look at Facebook I see things from family, real friends, people I am connected to by years or close relationships. I may prune or purge more as time goes by. But I know what to do without losing the benefits I still get.
And the beat goes on.
Saturday, July 4, 2020
- The sky is falling! House fire! Tornado! Duck and cover (Cold War reference)!
Both agreed there are some situations in which they agreed to dispense with protocol.
- Longer question, answer required.
Sticky-note on desk or computer screen. Don't wait around for an answer.
- Quick question, "Yes" or "No" answer needed. Sticky-note on desk or computer screen. Wait for answer or a wave-off. Both agreed to tolerate a wave-off.
Your plan may vary, of course. Just plan and talk about it.
Friday, July 3, 2020
Everyone who receives this email has the option for telehealth, using a computer or smartphone to meet me for a counseling session. I regularly meet that way with 1/10 of my clients who chose that option, During the current COVID-19 disruption, I am reaching out to you to ask whether you would consider this over the next few weeks.
- Do a “heart check.” Ask, "What is going on inside of me to lead me to feel or react in the way I do?"
- Remember, “The person is more important than the problem." (Good PhD, Mark C., Real Talk: Creating Space for Hearts to Change . Deep River Books.)
- Remember, none of us is a mind-reader. “When I don't know, I will ask."
- Do not hyperbolize. It is almost never, “Never”; it's almost never, “always.” Even if it feels like that. Maybe it is “Rarely,” or “Sometimes,” or even “Often.”
- Do not just complain (“express dissatisfaction or annoyance about something”). Discuss (“talk about something with someone”).
- It should go without saying, but: no name calling, raging, yelling, cursing. Take a time-out.
- Do not blame-shift or make excuses. You are in this together.
- Do not defend yourself. Defense often becomes offense. You are not in a battle. The other is not your enemy. The same man who said, “Love your neighbor,” also said, “Love your enemies.”
- Admit when you are wrong. And seek forgiveness for your wrongs. More than just, "I'm sorry."
- Do not bring up already discussed past hurts or old arguments if they have been addressed and forgiven.
- Ask “what” questions rather than “why” questions. “What makes you say that?” Is often less challenging than, “Why did you say that?” Try it.
- Do not assume malicious intent.
- Do not take advantage of an exposed weakness in the other person. Even in prize-fighting, you cannot hit your opponent when down and there’s "no hitting below the belt.”
- “You may be right.” (Try it.)
- Communicate with words, not hand signals or “looks.” (See #3.)
- Do not be the other person's conscience. The job is taken.
- Do communicate any expectations you have. (See #3!)
- Take turns talking. It can be frustrating when one of you monopolizes the conversation. The goal is to communicate, not to win an argument.
- We tend to compare ourselves to other broken people, especially anyone who seems “worse than me.” You are worse than you think you are, but perhaps you are more loved than you ever dared hope.
- Do remember, we are all works in progress.