Day 612: Not the only one

This is not the only year I’ve been writing this once-a-day, letting-go-of-judgment blog.  I started this 1.6 years ago (but who’s counting?).

This is not the only post I’ve written about my passion — doing group therapy at a major Boston hospital’s Primary Care Practice.

Yesterday, my therapy group was the largest it’s ever been.  As usual, the people there had many  differences — age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, size, personality, life experience, class, country of origin, economic situation, diagnosis, and reason for being in the group. And yet, they all shared something — the wish to feel and do better in their lives.

That was not the only thing they had in common,  as we all discovered. Yesterday, somebody — who had never attended a  therapy group before — suggested we work on shame.

I’ve written, many times, about the experience of shame, in posts  here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here,  here, here, here, here, here, here, here,  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here , here, here, here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here (and those are not the only ones, believe me).

As I’ve often expressed, Shame says:

There is something wrong with me.

I am broken.

I am abnormal.

I am weird.

I am the only one.

What’s one cure for shame?  Finding out that all those things …

… are NOT true.

Shame on shame, for lying, so shamefully.

At the end of yesterday’s group — after people shared thoughts, feelings, experiences, and  images of  shame — I heard something, voiced again and again:

I’m grateful to know I’m not the only one.

Yesterday’s group was not the only one where I’ve heard that sentiment expressed.

That’s what therapy groups are for, I believe  — to reduce shame. To connect people, in a vulnerable, safe, and authentic way. To give people room to realize they’re

Not the only one.

At this point, if you suspect I’m about to share a song I love, I’ll bet you’re not the only one.

(YouTube video of Bonnie Raitt‘s “Not the Only One” found here)

At this point, if you know  I’ll be sharing some photos I took yesterday,  you’re not the only one there, either.



IMG_8636 IMG_8637 IMG_8650

The images, thoughts, feelings, and experiences I’ve shown you here, today, are not the only ones I could have shared. I could write a lot more about “Not the Only One.”

However, yesterday’s group is not the only one I’m doing  this week. I have more group work to do, very soon.

Many thanks to Bonnie Raitt, to Paul Brady (for the lyrics to “Not the Only One”),  to all those who share in groups of any kind, and to you — of course! — for being not the only one reading this post, here and now.

Categories: inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

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27 thoughts on “Day 612: Not the only one

  1. What a great post! I’ll bet you do such excellent work and help so many people. You’ve even helped me by changing the song in my head this morning! “Not the Only One” replaced a horrible pop song that my daughter was listening to before I went to bed last night. 🙂 Have a great day!

  2. You inspire me. You lift me up and remind me, change is possible. In fact, change is necessary for life to keep getting better. Hugs

  3. That is often one of the most wonderful aspects of blogging, I think. I tell a story, thinking “I am ridiculous” and then people leave all these possibly-more-ridiculous comments and I’m like “auh, yessss I am not the only one.”

  4. It’s always good to find out we aren’t the only ones! With today’s technology, I think the human contact gets set aside frequently and we don’t always connect with each other, and we don’t get to talk and discuss and find out organically that we aren’t the only ones! Heaven’s knows that most Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of only the good, and it can be a very isolating experience. I’m glad you had a big group session and that there are safe places for people to reconnect with each other and not feel shame

  5. There no shame in feeling wrong. Or feeling right about feeling badly about something you didn’t handle exactly the way you should have when you think back on it. But as my friend Ann writes about about about about about about here here here here here and here, don’t feel bad about that and don’t feel alone about that and work your way through that! And feel better again. I think I’m learning, Ann. And I do not think I’m the only one! Thank you thank you. Thank you.

    • Your comments always get me right here, here, here, here, and here, Mark. Thank you thank you thank and you’re welcome welcome welcome, too.

  6. findingmyinnercourage

    I would have given anything to be in this group. Thank you for the reminder that change is possible and necessary. You inspire me.

    • Have you ever considered joining any kind of group? I bet that you would be a very inspiring member. Thanks so much!

      • findingmyinnercourage

        Ann, I actually started a group for those suffering with chronic illnesses. It grew rapidly – 68 members in less than three months. It’s going quite well. It helps me tremendously. Thank you for the kind comment. You always inspire me. Dawn

      • The inspiration is mutual, Dawn. Wow! That’s so great that you started such a valuable group that’s helping so many people.

      • findingmyinnercourage

        Wishing you could be a guest speaker!

  7. I have written poetry and story for 40 plus years. Words are peace and release. Last year I wrote 300 new poems and this year I will write more. Old age make me think too much.
    “There is something wrong with me.
    I am broken.
    I am abnormal.
    I am weird.
    I am the only one.”
    You are not the only one. Good music and photos. Good to had met you.

  8. Pingback: Day 613: I don’t know what I look like | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  9. I love this bespectacled tiger that is your profile pic and I’m sure there is a story there. Can you either lead me to it with a link or tell it now? Always enjoy your blog and love seeing that strange little tiger face on mine. Judy

    • Great to see your face too, every time, Judy.

      The tiger is a stuffed animal in my son Aaron’s room, a long-ago gift from some beloved friends. The first year of blogging I had the camel from my blog banner as my profile pic, but — with my policy of generally not showing my face — I would show new accessories, like glasses or hats, by posing them on that tiger.

      Originally, I only committed to blogging for one year. As the end of that approached, in December 2013, I had several decisions to make. Should I extend my blogging adventure to another year? Should I still blog daily? Should I change my profile pic to a real photo of myself?

      I write a lot about “shoulds” here. For many things, there are no right or wrong answers, only choices. I made those choices, and continue to write daily, with that fierce profile pic.

  10. This post has made me think (well, what’s new). The novel I am in the process of publishing is about eleven people who think/feel they no longer want to live (though it is also an upbeat love story). Inevitably there are echoes of group therapy. I have just checked the MS for the word ‘shame’ – it appears only once in its true meaning (the other instance is part of a joke). The word ‘ashamed’ appears three times (one of them non-relevant). It may be a cultural thing – the word guilt appears 40 times. It may be that the thrust of the story is away from shame, or that these particular characters have reasons, other than shame, for feeling bad about themselves. I don’t know, but I very much hope you will give me an opinion when it comes out in December. I’d be happy to send you a free review copy (print or eBook) later in the year, though I feel rather anxious about your reaction to a piece of fiction lumbering about with flat feet in your home territory.

    • I am so glad you shared these thoughts here, Hilary. And I would be honored to read your book. You’re not the only one who has anxiety about a reader’s reactions … I feel that way when I press the “publish” button here, almost every time. And I have flat feet (I discussed them with my doctor last week), but based on what I’ve read of your writings, I doubt that your fiction does.

  11. You are very kind and I hope you are right, but although this is only fiction, the subject matter has given me some ethical dilemmas. We shall see. I will contact you later in the year and if you want print, I can send a copy to your place of work.

    • I understand your concerns — that is, I often wonder about ethical dilemmas in my work and in my writing. I greatly look forward to reading your book!

  12. Pingback: Day 719: Mean girls | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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