Psychotherapy

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: , , , , , , , | 11 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: , , , , , , , | 25 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: personal growth, photojournalism, gratitude, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 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

Day 2041: life-changing magic

Have you heard about this book by Marie Kondo:  “the life-changing magic of tidying up”?

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Today, I want to give equal time to the life-changing magic of other things, including NOT tidying up.

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No matter how much we wish to tidy up, there are always new messes to deal with!

Would you agree that there’s life-changing magic in music?

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I look forward to the life-changing magic of your comments.

There’s life-changing magic in gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to YOU.

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Categories: gratitude, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Day 1991: Untold stories

I’ve told many stories in this blog over the years, but many remain untold.

We all have untold stories, including Boston’s Public Garden.

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In my profession as a group and individual therapist, I hear many previously untold stories.  Because of patient confidentiality, those stories remain  untold outside the room (unless the story is mine).

Every picture tells a story, I’m told, but there are many untold stories in my pictures today.

 

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I know there are untold stories in the news these days, but hope, respect, joy, peace, kindness, patience, healing, inspiration, comfort, and love seem to be missing in the stories that are being told.

Here‘s “Untold Stories” told by Sinead O’Connor:

 

I look forward to reading some untold stories in the comments, below.

My gratitude — for all who help me create these posts and for all who read them — is not untold.

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Categories: personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Day 1978: Resentment

I hope there’s no resentment about today’s topic, which is discussed by Robert Enright, Ph.D. in a Psychology Today online article “Why Resentment Lasts — and How to Defeat it.”

I hope there’s no resentment about my choosing these particular quotes over others from that article:

To psychologists, resentment over a long period of time can be an unhealthy response to injustice.

This kind of resentment can lead to unhappiness, continual irritability, and psychological compromise including excessive anxiety and depression.

I know of one person who, upon having his morning cup of coffee, would replay the injustice and feel the inner strength as a way of getting ready for the day. He did this until he realized that over the long-term, such a routine was leaving him drained before he even left for work

How do I turn off the resentment?  What path do I take to have some inner quiet?  Taking up jogging might do it……but once you have recovered your energy from the run, the anger returns.  How about relaxation training?  Same issue: once the muscle relaxation is over, there is the resentment with its perverse smile looking back at you.  “I just don’t know how to rid myself of the resentment!” is a cry I hear too often.

Try to see the inner world of the one causing the disturbance.

Commit to doing no harm to the one who is harming you.

Stand in the pain so that you do not pass that pain to innocent others.

To forgive is a way of offering goodness to the one who gave you the unwanted present of resentment.

Which is the better identity: a life lived with an unwanted inner guest or a life free to be a conduit of good toward others and yourself?

Is there any resentment about these photos?

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What is your personal experience of resentment?  What makes resentment more difficult for you? What helps you deal with resentment?

There will be no resentment about any comments you send my way.

Here‘s “Resentment” by Beyonce.

Another great antidote for resentment is gratitude.  Thanks to all who helped me create this “resentment” post and — of course! — to YOU.

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

Day 1952: We Are One.

On Friday, when I was one of  many patients seeing a doctor at Tufts Medical Center, this was one of the photos I took:

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This morning, when I was researching the concept of Hungry Ghosts, I  became one with these words by Rumi, who believes we are one.

This is how a human being can change:
There’s a worm addicted to eating grape leaves.
Suddenly, he wakes up…
Call it grace, whatever,
something wakes him,
and he’s no longer a worm.
He’s the entire vineyard,
And the orchard too,
The fruit, the trunks, a
Growing wisdom and joy
That doesn’t need to devour.

With growing wisdom and joy, I  believe we are one.  Do any of these photos show that we are one?

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One of those photos reminds me of this one joke:

What did the Zen master say to the hot dog vendor?  “Make me one with everything.”

There are more than one “We Are One” songs (which are currently one with YouTube here, here, and here).

 

In the end, we are one with gratitude.

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

Day 1937: What could go right?

In therapy lately, several people have decided to ask themselves “What could go right?” instead of consistently focusing on what could go wrong.

I’m pulling for everyone to have success in this valiant effort to change habitually negative thinking.  Would you like to follow us and redirect your thoughts from what could go wrong to what could go right?

What could go right, here and now?

These photos could go right.

 

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For those of us who think about what could go wrong when we can’t fall asleep, it’s a relief to focus on what could go right.

There are endless YouTube videos about what could go wrong and this one about what could go right:

 

Gratitude for those who help me create these daily blog posts and  for you — of course! — always goes right.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism, Psychotherapy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

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