“You can stay in therapy your whole life, but you’ve got to live life and not talk about life.” – Tracey Gold
I’ve been to over 200 hours of therapy. These are the some of the things I’ve learned from all that time and money spent.
Dun. Dun. Dun.
I wanted to replicate the beginning of Law and Order, but I probably failed. That’s okay and that failure leads me to the first thing I learned.
It Is Okay To Be Who You Are
I tell some really dorky jokes. Jokes that are unfunny to most people.
I use to not do this because I was ashamed of being me. I was afraid of others judging me so I hid parts of my personality that I thought were unworthy. This in turn made me miserable and reinforced my low self-esteem.
I became more confident with myself through therapy. I started to tell jokes more freely and just be the huge dork that I am. My closest friends embrace me for it rather than abandoning me. I now happily make fun of myself now, which is something I was not capable of doing before.
My baseline happiness level rose significantly when I learned to be comfortable in my skin. Don’t be ashamed of who you are.
It Is Okay To Cut People Out Of Your Life
I found that part of the reason I kept being ashamed of myself was because of negative people in my life. These people had a constant negative attitude and judged others mercilessly, which made me feel uncomfortable about being myself. They also put me down to my face in a cruel way.
One of the things I started to do after starting therapy was limiting my time with these people. I didn’t completely cut them out of my life, but I made sure I only saw them every few months and when I did, I made sure to keep strong boundaries.
I did this without guilt and shame because I found that my self-esteem rose after doing it.
The positive energy and negative of others affects you in ways that you don’t even know.
Your Personal Growth Touches Others
“You need to take care of yourself first. If you don’t care for yourself, you can’t take care of someone else.” –Kathleen O’Brien
I found that my relationships with others blossomed after I started working on myself. It also helped them open up and be more comfortable around me.
My father and I never use to say, “I love you to each other.”
This changed after starting therapy. We are now at a place where we say I love you to each other on a semi-frequent basis.
My relationships with my friends have never been stronger. My relationship with my mom is rock solid.
None of this would have happened without going to therapy and working on myself. I use to be so scared of being open and vulnerable with others. I still am in some ways, but it is a continual progress.
When you work on developing yourself in a positive way, you also help others grow in a positive way. Every interaction you have with someone else changes them in some way, so make sure it is in a positive way.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou
Personal Growth Takes Time
Movies like to make you think that you will have an epiphany and things suddenly change. You are now cured of all your issues.
This might be true for some, but is has never been true for me. All of my growth has been a struggle.
The old cliché of two steps forward, one back, three forward, etc., is true. You won’t magically change your old habits in a day.
Your negative habits have often been there for years. They are engrained in you. It takes time to change your negative habits into positive ones. It sometimes takes a lot of time.
Don’t give up when things get tough and you feel like you are a lost cause because you aren’t. As the other old cliché goes, it is the darkest before dawn.
Your Emotions Won’t Kill You
I use to be terrified of my emotions. I would do anything not to feel any of the negative ones. This inability to cope with one’s emotions is the reason for most addictions.
I eventually learned to sit with my emotions. It dawned on me that all of them pass. I am now usually able to cope with them in more effective ways.
When you face something scary, it tends to go away a lot quicker. Your emotions won’t kill you even if it may feel like it at times. Learn this lesson because emotional intelligence is crucial for having successful relationships.
It Is A Continual Process
I usually learn something new everyday. I have learned that a person’s personal development is not a one time thing, but a lifelong journey to make yourself and the world a better place one small step at a time.
Now I send it over to you. What is a major lesson that you have learned while working on developing yourself?
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Author: Sebastian Aiden
Blogger at Personal Growth 4 Life http://www.pg4life.com
Author of the Memoir Please Save Me From Myself : A Memoir of #MentalIllness. Available on all online retailers.