10 Things I learned In Therapy

10 important tips I learned from professional therapists to not just survive in life but to THRIVE!

I am a proponent of therapy. I believe a qualified therapist can help us manage the simple roadblocks in life or guide us through life altering conditions, such as grief, trauma, betrayal, and addiction. It is essential to work with a therapist you connect with and who is not only a great listener, but possesses the language, tools, and resources to facilitate your healing. Over the years, I have embraced therapy for circumstances both small and monumental. Being a lifelong learner, I tend to convert every conversation and interaction with professional therapists into bite size lessons for daily inspiration. Below is a list of the top 10 things I learned in therapy.

As a disclaimer, these are not my original ideas. I have expanded on how they are true for me personally. For privacy purposes, I will not be sharing the exact reference points of therapeutic sessions.

  1. Two things can be true at the same time. In other words, we can be utterly devastated over a circumstance of life and also experience a moment of joy and celebration. Many people in the midst of suffering think they should feel dysregulated at all times and are very hard on themselves when they laugh or smile. Emotions can co-exist with one another. In fact, I pray you have these glimmers of joy if you are healing from a difficult situation.
  2. Living in truth is worth the journey of personal growth and healing. We spend a great deal of time goal setting and seeking success, yet we often fail to attend to a very key area that may be stunting our growth. The truth of our current circumstances or an historical occurrence that plagues us may need to be addressed before we can grow. We often compartmentalize and justify our behavior, or someone else’s behavior, but our mind-body connection pays the price. Seek a life of truth. You may need to reveal it to heal it. This will likely require professional therapy. Remember, you are not alone.
  3. Someone else’s beauty does not diminish your beauty. You are beautiful too! Celebrate exactly who you are and how incredibly beautiful God made you! Celebrate other people’s beauty as well. Tell them they are beautiful and own that this does not negate your beauty.
  4. Someone else’s talent, success, and value does not diminish your talent, success, or value. We suffer from the curse of comparison. We have a mindset that tells us if someone else has a certain talent or has reached success, we missed the boat and cannot achieve our own goals. Call yourself out on this. You are worthy and have gifts the world needs. Avoid selling yourself short because you are comparing your value to somebody else.
  5. Time does not heal all wounds. You must do the work to fully heal. I cringe when people say, “time heals all wounds.” It’s a lie. We have to show up and put in the work. We must be our own advocates for knowledge, empathy, self-care, and safety. Being in a safe environment is critical or healing remains just a concept. Arming yourself with the knowledge of how, why, and what you are enduring can empower you to take the necessary steps of growth and healing. Again, this will likely require professional therapy or experts in the area of your emotional wounding, (such as a trauma specialist).
  6. Trust your intuition. This one is tricky, because we live in a world where other people may try to alter your truth. It is also tricky if you are weaponizing your own intuition and in fact denying what you really know. When I say, trust your intuition, I mean you really do know what the truth is for you. Calling it true is the key. What does intuition feel like? It may be different for each of us, but I have often referred to it as a ‘nudge.’ A thought, feeling…aka instinct, that won’t go away. Trust it.
  7. Anger is a secondary emotion. This is a powerful one. Anger is not the first emotion. Anger is protecting something else. It may take a while to open your heart enough to connect with what your anger is representing, but it is worth the exploration. The question that best opens this line of curiosity is, “What is your anger protecting?” Why are you angry? Then keep going with this line of thinking until you fully connect with its’ root. It might be buried even deeper than you thought. Come back to this if it’s overwhelming triggering. Consider working on this with a professional therapist as well.
  8. People in this world will always fall short, but God will never disappoint us. This simple statement was made to my daughter during a family counseling session when she was young and extremely disappointed in a parenting decision we made. Our Christian therapist said these words to her when she noted that “we promised” something and then changed our mind. It may have been a fairly innocent circumstance, but she was genuinely upset with us. This comment has stayed with me for over 8 years and I re-state it often to remind myself and others that we will never quite be enough or receive enough from earthly relationships. As a Christian, Jesus is my foundation for stability and eternity.
  9. You are not responsible for another person’s behavior, but you are responsible for your own healing. Wow! This is so unfair right? I know. The rage you can feel thatsomeone/something has the potential to rock your world so deeply that you can barely put one foot in front of the other, and yet YOU are responsible for your own healing work! Here is the truth. Others will help. Others will show up for you. Perhaps even the offender may be part of your healing journey. However, you are responsible to call it true, establish boundaries with consequences, and take the steps to heal. What they did is not your fault, and it is not your responsibility to fix them. It is your responsibility to ask for help and dig deep to overcome. You are not alone. Seek support, both professionally and interpersonally. Seek good people. You deserve this.
  10. You are the mountain! This was one of the most profound realizations I have had recently. It began with a prayer and meditation experience, using the mindfulness® app. The instructor Chris Johnson led “Mountain Meditation” (2022). She spoke profound statements that reminded me to consider myself; mind, body, self as a mountain. It aligns so perfectly if you consider the head, shoulders, and core of our bodies, standing firm and rooted to the earth. You are the mountain. The weather can be brutal. One moment you may be surrounded by howling winds, rain, and snow, the storms of life. Darkness hovers, clouds cover so thick you can’t see and you feel like you are suffocating from the pain and confusion of life. But, “You are the mountain, not the weather” (2022). The storm will pass, and the sun will shine. You are strong at your base, which I see as your soul. The weather will come and go, and you will stand firm in who you are and what you were made for. You are the mountain!

Resources:

Johnson C. (2022). Mindfulness App (Version:5.26.5 (483)) [Mobile app]. Apple. https://www.themindfulnessapp.com/