Psychotherapy

Day 2336: The difference between worry and helping

As I described in last week’s post — Day 2328: A Year of No Worry — I have pledged to not worry for a year, which has been helping!  As also described in that post, I told an employee at Home Depot — who said, “It’s my job to worry” — that there was a huge difference between worry and helping.

Yesterday, in a therapy session, the difference between worry and helping came up again.

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As you can see from those lists, worry entails many negative experiences and helping includes much more positive experiences.  In some cases, the experiences are almost opposite (“frozen” vs. “warmth” and “future” vs. “in the moment”). And yet, people often intertwine worry with helping, believing that unless they worry about others, they will focus too much attention on themselves — becoming selfish jerks rather than helpers.  As usual, black and white thinking (one of the cognitive distortions found here) causes us to think it’s all or nothing — either we are selfish jerks or worrying helpers.

What I’m discovering, in my year of no worries, is that letting go of worry is helping me become a better helper to others.  Worry saps my energy and gets in the way of my being as much as possible in the moment with others and therefore more sensitive to their needs.

I’m not going to worry about whether my writing in today’s post or my other photos from yesterday are helping.

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If you need help interpreting any of those photos, don’t worry.  Ask for help and I’ll give it, worry-free.

Here‘s what comes up on YouTube when I search for “The difference between worry and helping”:

I think that video about differences between humans and animals is very helpful.

The  human band Golden Earring has at least two songs about worry:  “No Need to Worry”

.. and “Don’t Worry.”

 

No need to worry and don’t worry about leaving a comment, below.

Worry-free and helping thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Day 2330: Many faces

Face it, I’ve written many blog posts about faces during these many year(s) of living non-judgmentally. I think and write so much about faces because our experiences of faces are vitally important to human beings as we develop and grow.

Yesterday, I was facing more thoughts about faces as I faced another day at work, where I  face a variety of expressive faces in individual and group therapy. I thought about faces I saw when I was young — loving faces, anxious faces, and angry faces — and how I tried to make sense of all the faces of human interaction.  I know that the loving faces helped me feel safe and secure, the anxious faces taught me to be cautious and careful, and the angry faces  eventually invited me to realize that people have a wide range of feelings.

As I thought about faces throughout the day, I noticed many faces around me.  What do you see in the faces in my photos?

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What we see in faces is often influenced by what we saw in the faces of our childhood.  However, we can learn to see faces in new, more expansive, and less restrictive ways.

Here‘s “Ooh La La” from a Faces reunion concert:

 

As those Faces sing:  “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.”

I look forward to seeing all the faces in the comments section, below.

Thanks to the great faces who helped me face and create today’s blog post and — of course! — thanks to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 2327: Why? Why?

Why oh why am I writing a fourth blog post about Why?  Why am I linking to the previous three posts (here, here, and here)?

Why did I write “Why?” on two different white boards at work yesterday?

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Why do white boards consistently get more difficult to erase?

Why were people in therapy yesterday asking so many WHY? questions, including:

Why is there so much traffic?

Why did it take me four times as long as usual to get here today?

Why do people back their cars into spaces in parking lots?

Why do people do what they do?

Why do I deliberately act like a mischievous child?

Why am I in so much pain?

Why am I in therapy?

Why aren’t other people in therapy?

Why did I take the rest of these pictures?

 

Why is it taking so much longer for me to access and transfer my photos? Why does that happen periodically?  Why does it bother me less each time it happens?

Why am I still having trouble writing that letter from the President for my professional organization’s newsletter?  Why did I start fresh yesterday with a new topic?  Why did Michael say he thought my first, abandoned topic  (the rejuvenation of Spring) was better? Why am I going to finish the second topic and then write another letter with the first topic if I have time? Why am I using the quote “If you want something to get done, give it to the busiest person” in my letter?

Why did I ask all the questions I did in this podcast (starting at 19 minutes and again at 28:34)?

 

Why did Michael not want to listen to that podcast last night? Probably for the same reason he doesn’t usually read this blog.   Why did I think I could find the post that explains that by searching on “Why Michael doesn’t read this blog”?

Why would you leave a comment today?

Why would I thank all those who help me write these posts and also YOU?  Why do you think?

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Categories: health care, heart condition, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2308: Anger and The Skill of Doing Nothing

Yesterday, in group and individual therapy, several people talked about anger. Those discussions included:

  • wishing there were some good role models for dealing with anger,
  • acknowledgement that the current U.S. President unprecedentedly expresses anger every day through Twitter or a microphone,
  • brainstorming better ways to deal with anger (like walking away, owning the anger, respectfully expressing the anger, or writing angry letters, emails, text, or tweets that one does NOT send),
  • recognizing that anger is just another feeling that should not be judged or repressed,
  • defining anger as the human response to one’s needs not being met,
  • realizing that judging or repressing anger blocks it from being discharged in a healthier way,
  • role-playing healthier expressions of anger,
  • deciding to deal with the “wish to break something” by going to a dollar store and buying an inexpensive breakable item, and
  • considering the skill of doing nothing.

I’m wondering if there will be any anger about the amount and quality of my photos today. If so, please consider expressing that anger in a healthy way.

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Harley is contentedly demonstrating the skill of doing nothing.

Here‘s Johnny Duke covering James Taylor’s “Angry Blues:

If I were Johnny Duke, I might be angry about that having only 458 views and nine likes on YouTube. Maybe not, though, because he seems like a very cool cat.

Feel free to express yourself in the comments section, below, or to practice the skill of doing nothing.

I shall now practice the skill of expressing my thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2212: What’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you?

Yesterday, on Facebook, I posted and posed the question: “What’s the worst thing that anybody ever called you?”

Was that called for, to invite people to remember the worst thing they had ever been called?  I believe that if we expose and share the worst thing we have ever been called, we can

Now, somebody may call me out and ask, “Ann, what if the worst thing that anybody ever called me IS true?”  If  there is truth in it, you can decide what you want to do about it. However, in all my years of asking this question, and people answering

  • stupid,
  • lazy,
  • worthless,
  • crazy,
  • selfish,
  • fat,
  • ugly,
  • incapable, and
  • other harsh, hurtful,  and over-generalized judgments,

I have seen no helpful truth there.

We could do worse than examine today’s photos for worst things we’ve been called.

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Has anyone ever called you despicable, including yourself?

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Has anybody ever called you gross? Artificial?

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Has anybody ever called you out for  hanging on for too long?

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Has anybody ever called you weird-looking?  Scary?  Too starey?  Too expressive?   Too transparent?

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Has anybody ever called you an ass? Too distant?

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Has anybody ever called you too spacy?

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Has anybody ever called you foolish?  Greedy?  Not knowing what’s good for you?

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Has anybody ever called you vain?  Up-tight?

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Has anybody ever called you pushy?  Has anybody ever told you you’re not doing enough with your life?

 

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Has anybody called you thoughtless?  A doormat? Catty?  A baby?

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Has anybody ever called you a psychopath?

I’m working on a song called “Don’t Call Me” (and I’ve called out the lyrics here). Before I can call that song finished, here’s “Call Me” by Blondie.

Also, I found “The Worst Thing You’ve Been Called” on YouTube, which shows the same exercise I’ve done in my therapy groups.

I call that effective.

Now’s the time I call for comments.

I’ve never been called ungrateful (at least to my face). Thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 2210: The exception that proves the rule

I wonder if this post will be the exception that proves the rule.  In order to know that, we need to know what “the exception that proves the rule” means.

“The exception proves the rule” is a saying whose meaning has been interpreted or misinterpreted in various ways. Its true definition, or at least original meaning, is that the presence of an exception applying to a specific case establishes (“proves”) that a general rule exists. For example, a sign that says “parking prohibited on Sundays” (the exception) “proves” that parking is allowed on the other six days of the week (the rule). A more explicit phrasing might be “the exception that proves the existence of the rule.”

An alternative explanation often encountered is that the word “prove” is used in the archaic sense of “test”.[1] Thus, the saying does not mean that an exception demonstrates a rule to be true or to exist, but that it tests the rule. In this sense, it is usually used when an exception to a rule has been identified:[clarification needed] for example, Mutillidae are wasps without wings which cannot fly, and therefore are an exception that proves (tests) the rule that wasps fly. The explanation that “proves” really means “tests” is, however, considered false by some sources.

Does that exceptional definition, from Wikipedia, prove anything?  Maybe we need to know what the rule is, here, before we prove any exception.

One of my rules here is providing some clarity and explanation about why I’m writing each of my daily posts.  Maybe this post will be an exception to that.

Or maybe not.   In narrative therapy, it’s important to identify exceptions to people’s unhelpful, generalized, negative rules about themselves and their lives.  For example, if somebody sees themselves as a loser or a failure, the narrative therapist helps them identify and talk more about the exceptions to that self-defeating rule.

When I hear exceptions outside my therapy office, I sometimes say, “That’s the exception that proves the rule.  Whatever that means.” I’m realizing now that I do know what it means.

Let’s see if any of my photos today illustrate “the exception that proves the rule.”

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Usually we don’t have balloons of woodland creatures in the cafeteria at work.  Yesterday, there was a holiday celebration called “Wintery Woodlands,” where employees received hot chocolate, chocolate-covered pretzels, a calendar, and a lunchbox.  Because I’m exceptionally distracted these days, I left my calendar and lunchbox in the cafeteria. The rule is only one calendar and lunchbox for everyone, so I guess I’m out of luck.

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That’s my new and exceptional co-worker, Alice.  She’s also taking a picture of the wintry woodlands in that photo.  I have a rule, in this blog, of not identifying where I work. I don’t think this photo is an exception to that. (Although I have slipped, one or two times, during the two thousand, two hundred, and ten days of blogging, so I guess those posts are exceptions that prove the rule.)

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I’ve taken a lot of photos of this hotel marquee, but none of them have ever said, “12 Days of Music.”   I am predicting that this photo won’t be the last one that says that. I’ve also included a lot of music in this daily blog, but I don’t remember ever including any punk.  If so, today will be the exception that proves the rule.

Here’s a punk rock cover of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

 

If you usually don’t comment, why not make today the exception that proves the rule?

I’m considering not thanking people at the end of this post (which definitely is a rule at this blog), but some rules I do not want there to be an exception to.  So, exceptional thanks to all those who helped me create today’s blog and — of course! —  to YOU.

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Categories: definition, personal growth, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 2208: I hate myself for _______.

I used to hate myself for this and that, but no more.  Now, I hate it when I hear people say “I hate myself” for anything.

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Yesterday, in my office, somebody said they hated themselves for not being what they used to be.

Have you ever said, “I hate myself” for anything?  I won’t hate you if you share that, below.

I’d hate it if my other photos had any hate in them.

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Hate disrupts the immune system. How can we boost it?  Let’s start with kind words towards ourselves and others.

During this season, I do not hate myself for

Joan Jett hates herself for loving you:

I might hate myself if I forgot to thank all those who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — YOU, but I doubt it.

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

Day 2194: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

If  my post title today irritates you or leads you to an understanding of yourself or others, let’s give the credit to Carl Jung.

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

… is displayed on the front of the packaging for the Carl Jung action figure in my office.

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Whenever I share that quote with others, they seem to understand.

How do you understand that quote from Carl Jung, my understanding readers?

These days, several things are irritating me about others, which means I have an unprecedented opportunity to understand myself!  I’m going to celebrate that by sharing some other recent photos (which may be an irritating habit of mine, which I hope you understand).

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It’s not how old you are, it’s how you keep learning to understand yourself and others.

Here are 10 additional quotes from Carl Jung, which can lead to more understanding.

I hope you understand my gratitude for all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — for YOU.

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P.S. After I published this post, I realized it was irritatingly similar to this one, from August 2017. I hope you understand!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy, quotes | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2189: I’m a ______, not a __________.

I’m a Star Trek fan, not a collector, and I recognized Dr. Leonard McCoy’s trademark phrase on a glass at a Thanksgiving celebration yesterday.

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I’m a psychotherapist, not a doctor, and I recognize that it’s important how we define ourselves by what we are and what we are not.

I’m a blogger, not a bricklayer, and here are the other photos I took yesterday:

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I’m an amateur photographer, not a graphic designer, so click on any of the above photos if you want to see them better.

I’m a questioner, not an answerer (for now), so can you identify what people were and weren’t at that Thanksgiving celebration yesterday, just by looking at those pictures?

I’m a music fan, not a professional musician and I’m sharing Elvis Presley singing two things he is (here and here) and one thing he is not (here).

I’m a curious person, not a pushy one, so might you please share something you are and something you are not in a comment, below?

I’m a grateful human being, not an ungrateful one, so thanks to Michael’s siblings who hosted Thanksgiving celebrations, Elvis Presley, Star Trek, everyone else who helped me create today’s blog post and — of course! —  YOU.

 

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Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Day 2066: What I’m not saying

What I’m not saying, here and now, includes many things, because I still have laryngitis.

However, I’m returning to work today, where I will do my best to encourage people to share in therapy what they’re not saying elsewhere in their lives.

Here’s a partial list of what I’m not saying:

  • Some people scare me.
  • I sometimes fear other people’s anger as well as my own anger.
  • I miss my son (who is attending University in Edinburgh) and my late friend Michelle.
  • I’m glad to be home.
  • When I’m away from work for vacation, I fear  I’ve forgotten what I need to know to be a good therapist.
  • When I name my fears, they seem more manageable.
  • If I’m confused, I can take a breath and some time to choose the next right thing to do.
  • I used to have recurring dreams of not being able to speak.
  • Communicating effectively is very important to me.
  • I will do my best to say things non-verbally today.

Whenever I put what I’m not saying into words, I feel better. See how it works?

Let’s see what I’m saying and not saying in my photos from yesterday.

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What I’m not saying about that last picture includes this:

  1. I’ve had that little book since I attended Berklee in the summer when I was in high school.
  2. Those notations include the melody line and some chords for my fourth original song, “Shameless Appeals for Applause.”
  3. When I was on a boat in Iceland recently, the man standing next to me was saying that he was proud of his son, who had recently graduated from Berklee.

What I’m not saying includes the fact that in the 1990s, I helped create Berklee College of Music’s recruitment video.  What I’m not saying is that I haven’t figured out a way to share that video here.

I’m not saying which of these “I’m Not Sayin'” performances I like best.

I’m not saying that those are three different songs but I am saying that I found all three on YouTube here, here, and here.

I’m not saying who wrote that song but you can find that out here.

What I’m not saying, until now, includes saying thanks to Gordon Lightfoot, The Replacements, Nico, Oscar, Harley, Berklee, Iceland, all those who are healing the best they can, and — of course! — YOU.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

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