I have this decorative piece in my office. I’m pretty sure I found it on a clearance shelf somewhere, but it happens to be my favorite piece of my office. It says, “Mindset is Everything”. I love it because it encompasses the weight of all the work my clients put into changing their lives in this cozy little space of mine. You see, therapy isn’t me waving a magic wand to make my client’s problems go away. It isn’t just talking about what’s bothering you on a given day. It’s shifting your mindset to have better understanding and control over your feelings. It’s learning better ways to cope with the tough days by learning to quiet unhelpful thoughts and replace them with healthy and empowering thoughts. It’s also learning to see things for what they are instead of what your emotions tell you they are.
Let me give you an example. You’re having a rough time lately. You’re giving all you can at work, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. It’s causing you to not be as present at home. Now you feel like a horrible wife/husband/partner/parent because you think you’re failing in every domain. You’re stressed, sad, frustrated, angry, and just plain miserable. No one seems to understand. So, they tell you, “Aww, don’t be sad” (By the way, don’t you just HATE when people tell you that?). Here’s the thing, if it was that easy to just “not be sad”, I’m sure you would’ve done it by now.
Here's where mindset (and therapy) comes in. You find all those those unhelpful thoughts of not being enough, failure, and any other thoughts that are causing those uncomfortable feelings. Once you find them, it may be necessary for you to challenge them. This may look like telling yourself, “Having more on my plate right now doesn’t make me a bad partner” or “Everything I’ve done has been for my family. That makes me a good parent”. Basically, you’re lifting the gray cloud that’s keeping you from seeing your situation clearly.
Once you can see it clearly, you can create a plan to get through the situation. In the example given, it may be that you ask for help at work or communicate the potentially unrealistic expectations to your supervisor.
Now, what I’ve described is a very simple concept, but don’t be misunderstood. Simple does NOT mean easy. This requires undoing years of unhelpful thought patterns. It takes time, support, and work! As a therapist, I can teach you to identify these unhelpful thought patterns and guide you through shifting to a healthier and more empowered mindset. If you think your mindset is getting in the way of your mental or emotional well being
, give me a call. I’d be happy to speak with you.