Psychotherapy

Day 3202: You’re only as good as your last _______.

“You’re only as good as your last …” is a phrase I’ve heard completed many different ways. For example:

Personally, I don’t think we’re only as good as our last anything. I think our goodness outlasts and is not exclusively dependent on our most recent activity or accomplishment. As I tell people in my therapy groups, we’re human beings, not human doings. If our sense of worth is irrevocably tied to the last thing we’ve done, we’re never free from self doubt and we never get a respite from constant exertions until we die.

With that in mind, I tweeted this yesterday;

If I’m only as good as my last photo …

… I’m also in trouble, although it does match up quite nicely with the last and good Daily Bitch Calendar:

I’m not only as good as my last blog post, even if the words and images are good.

This is not from Shane Filan’s last album …

… and this is not David Sanborn’s last record

… but they’re still good.

You’re not only as good as your last comment, but please consider leaving one below.

I’m not only as good as my last expression of gratitude, but thanks to all who help me blog day after day after day, including YOU!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy, self esteem | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 3201: What can we achieve?

My late mother used to say to me, “Ann, if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.” I think she was exaggerating, as mothers do.

I’ve noticed, as I’ve aged, that there are certain things I can NOT achieve (e.g., liking calculus, reaching the highest shelves in the supermarket, diagnosing our cats’ ailments, athletic prowess, an understanding of how politics work, and perfection in anything). I’ve achieved acceptance about that.

I have achieved this: I’ve helped people disconnect their sense of self worth from achievements, so they can accept and love themselves without needing to constantly reestablish their worthiness based on their latest accomplishments. People can achieve more if they love themselves unconditionally.

Let’s see what The Daily Bitch has to say today about what we can achieve.

I’m not sure how we can achieve a world without assholes, so I guess we’ll have to do the best we can despite them.

At this point, we need to achieve a state of civilization where we are working together to save ourselves and the planet for the future, and I sometimes doubt whether that’s achievable any more. I expect I’ll achieve more hope about this, soon.

What can I achieve by sharing my other images with you today?

What can I achieve today? Well, I’ve got my eye on National Noodle Day.

Here’s what I find on YouTube when I search for “what can we achieve?”

What can you achieve if you leave a comment below? Let’s find out.

What can we achieve if we express gratitude to all those we appreciate? A lot, I believe.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Day 3200: Transformative experiences

We’ve all had transformative experiences — events that fundamentally change us.

Last month, I had a conversation about these transformative experiences with my son Aaron. He defined these experiences as demarcation points, where you know that you were different before and after they occurred. He could identify one transformative experience in his life so far and I could identify two in mine — one of which was his arrival on this earth 23 years ago. (The other was my first heart surgery at age 10 on November 22, 1963 — the day President Kennedy was assassinated.)

Apparently, I have provided a sort of transformative experience for some of my clients. My annual review, which I saw yesterday, quotes people saying that therapy with me has been “life changing.” That felt transformative to me.

I don’t expect that looking at the images in today’s blog will be a transformative experience, but who knows?

I think our new cat Joan’s arrival has been a transformative experience for Harley. Here’s Joan …

… still waiting for the transformative experience of being rid of that ?&&@!! cone!

Here’s something I find on YouTube when I search for “transformative experiences.”

Consider transforming this blog by leaving a comment about transformative experiences, below.

Gratitude always transforms my day into a better one, so thanks for sharing my experience, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 3104: Sit with it

Whatever it is, sit with it. Be in the moment with it, savor it, adjust to it, before you react.

Are you ready to sit with my images for the day?

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There’s a lot to sit with these days!

When I search YouTube for “sit with it,” I find this

… and this:

What helps you sit with it?

I look forward to sitting with your comments. Thanks for sitting with this blog, here and now.

If you have trouble accepting that you’re the best, sit with it!

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 3088: What emotion do you have the most trouble expressing?

Most people have trouble expressing at least one emotion, so I had no trouble asking today’s title question on Twitter.

Other people expressed trouble expressing affection, vulnerability, joy, disappointment, and other emotions. I had no trouble expressing that they were not alone.

I have no trouble expressing my belief that it is healing to own all your emotions and to learn effective ways to express them. I also have no trouble expressing my happiness about my son Aaron’s return from Scotland to Boston today!

Can you see the emotions expressed in the rest of today’s images?

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What emotion do you have the most trouble expressing?

Here’s what I find when I search YouTube for “what emotion do you have the most trouble expressing”:

I have no trouble expressing my hope that you’ll watch “Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Emotions,” the TED talk by Dr. Joan Rosenberg.

Finally, I have no trouble expressing this emotion: my gratitude for all who help me express my emotions in these daily posts, including YOU!

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

Day 3087: Sitting with the discomfort

Last week, when I was sitting at my laptop conducting an online therapy session, I gave somebody the assignment of sitting with the discomfort. When that person had some discomfort figuring out the details of the assignment, I said, “Sit for ten minutes every day, get in touch with the discomfort, and see what happens.” My belief was that it would not be difficult to get in touch with discomfort, because we are all feeling some discomfort these days.

Because I feel discomfort asking somebody to do something I am not willing to do, I committed to doing the same assignment of sitting with the discomfort daily for ten minutes until our next therapy session.

I have been sitting with the discomfort since then and, as I sit here with some discomfort (the aches and pains of early rising), I am comforted to tell you that I am finding that assignment helpful.

Too often, we deal with our discomfort with distraction, addictions, avoidance, and disconnection. It helps to just BE with the discomfort for ten minutes a day, noticing and observing without judgment.

Here are some images I captured yesterday when I was not sitting with the discomfort:

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There is some sitting, some discomfort, but mostly joy in “Good Morning” from Singin’ in the Rain.

I won’t be sitting with discomfort waiting for comments on this sitting-with-discomfort blog post.

I am grateful and comforted to be sitting, standing, walking, and blogging for you!

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Day 3079: Compliments

Many people I know — through therapy and elsewhere — are uncomfortable with compliments and often don’t believe or even recognize compliments when they receive them.

I hope wonderful blogger Mark Bialczak and his lovely wife Karen consider it a compliment that I always want to spend time with them when they are visiting Cape Cod. Yesterday, I drove many miles and minutes to spend a delightful few hours with them and their adorable, 10-year-old rescue dog Ellie B.

As we spent time together in beautiful Dennis Port, Mark and I gave each other compliments about our blogs — which both are experiencing dwindling readership. Also, Mark — who used to review music for many years at the big daily newspaper in Syracuse — gave me inspiring and almost- hard-for-me to-believe compliments about my original songs which, honestly, meant the world to me.

I hope everybody considers it a compliment that I wanted to capture all these images of a fabulous day and to share them with you, here and now:

If the noble and irresistible Ellie B read my blog, I assume she’d consider it a compliment that I took so many photos of her yesterday.

I wanted to specifically compliment Karen on her “diamond painting” ..

… which Mark called “my wife’s beading.”

Mark also complimented me yesterday on my Twitter interactions, so I feel more confident sharing these with you today:

It’s more difficult being nice when you’re uncomfortable and our central air conditioning is not working, just in time for a heat wave here. I have to compliment my husband, Michael, who still cooked for me last night …

… and who is going to try to fix our air conditioning system today by locating and replacing the air filter, which is probably somewhere here:

I’m sure our air conditioning system …

… doesn’t consider it a compliment that we’ve never replaced the filter in the FOUR years we’ve been here.

Here’s one of my original songs that I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, which Mark complimented me on yesterday:

I’ll consider it a great compliment if you comment on this blog post, below.

I’m grateful for all compliments, for great friendships, and, of course, for YOU!

Categories: friendship, life during the pandemic, original song, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Day 3052: Do you feel like people get you?

Yesterday, I asked this question on Twitter:

Apparently a lot of people got that, as you can see by all the retweets, quote tweets and likes I got, which I usually don’t get.

Very soon, a Lyft driver is going to get me and take me to the airport for my flight to Nashville, so I’m sure people will get me if I publish a short post today.

Do people get my activity on Twitter yesterday?

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People didn’t seem to get me there. Maybe more people will get my photos.

I get the Daily Bitch and sometimes I feel like the Daily Bitch gets me.

I wonder if friends, enemies, or anybody else will get me at the Open Mic tonight at the Tennessee Brew Works between 6 – 8 PM. I hope somebody who gets or doesn’t get me will record the performance, so I can share it tomorrow with people who get me here.

By the way, whenever I pack for a trip, I feel like I’m forgetting something important. Do you get that? It helps to remember that whatever I forget, I’ll be able to get it in Nashville.

When I search YouTube for “Do you feel like people get you?” I get this:

I get it now that I am NOT a highly sensitive person. But I feel like I get others who are.

Do you feel like I get you when I end each blog post with gratitude for YOU?

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 3044: Your thoughts

Your thoughts, I’m thinking, go everywhere. Your thoughts go into the future, sometimes with anxiety and fear. They go into the past, sometimes with regret. Your thoughts go all around the world.

Your thoughts, for whatever reason, have trouble staying in the here and now.

Your thoughts can keep you awake when you are trying to sleep.

Your thoughts can be unhelpful cognitive distortions, like personalization, catastrophizing, mind-reading, and blaming.

Your thoughts can be busy, serene, hopeless, hopeful, rigid, flexible, judgmental, open, quick, slow, mean, loving, painful, and reassuring.

Your thoughts affect your feelings and your behaviors.

Whatever your thoughts are, more thoughts are coming.

What are your thoughts about today’s images?

When I search YouTube for “your thoughts,” this is what I find:

Feel free to express your thoughts in a comment, below.

As always, at the end of every blog post, my thoughts turn to gratitude for everything, including YOU.

Categories: life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Day 3039: Personal growth

Every day, no matter what this blog is about, I categorize it as “Personal growth” in the settings (which appear at the end of each post).

Do you see personal growth in today’s images?

I don’t know if the Daily Bitch would agree with this, but I believe that personal growth is mutual — if we witness somebody else’s personal growth, we personally grow too.

Yesterday, in therapy with someone who struggles with confrontation (and dealing effectively with confrontation is part of everyone’s personal growth), I mentioned how David Letterman used to make difficult phone calls for studio audience members.

Do you see personal growth in this 1995 David Letterman segment I was able to find on YouTube?

Here’s something that Pat Metheny (who was sitting in with Dave’s band that night and who has helped me with my personal growth for decades) was playing with his group in 1995:

If you make a comment, that might help everybody’s personal growth.

Gratitude is part of personal growth, so thanks to everyone who accompanies me on this blogging journey, including YOU.

Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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