I worded the title of this blog to capture the attention of people who do believe their mistakes are failures, but in all honesty, I don't believe mistakes are failures. And I'd like to explain to you my reasoning for that plus in a future blog give you some tips on coping with perceptions of failure. For now I just want to convince you that using the word failure, for any reason, is a mistake. I think the key to changing ones perception of how to think about failure is to first look at the literal description: Failure: The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends. Okay, well I can't argue with that definition. If you set out to be a multi-millionaire and fall short of that, then by the literal definition, you have failed. But wait, doesn't that just mean that failure is not achieving a goal? Well, wouldn't the answer then be to set your expectations lower? By that tactic, you would never fail. If your idea of success is to wake up every morning and be alive, then everyday is a success. It means that success is technically in your control as you define the parameters of that success. It would be nice if it worked like that wouldn't it? But certainly, lowering our expectations can be difficult when we are so convinced they should be of a certain standard. When thinking about failure I don't think human beings are literal about the definition of the word. I actually think failure has an extremely heavy emotional weighting. So like a good scientist I double checked my gut feeling on this by looking up a study of the affective value of certain words. I found that the valence, or 'mood' of the word failure trended towards the negative. To put it simply, it just means that we interpret the word 'failure' as 'bad'. As for the arousal value of the word (or way it affects peoples sympathetic nervous system -- the system involved with panic and anxiety), it was 2.81 standard deviations across a normal sample mean. For those non-statistic geeks. It just means in a large sample of words, the word 'failure' tends to affect us more than the other 99% of words. Amazing, huh? So while it may be correct to call a mistake a failure, it certainly is not helpful to call a mistake a failure. Why?
You know, I imagine that anyone reading this blog questions whether they love their life. If you love your life then why read a blog on reasons to love it, right? I mean you already have the answers. I'm not talking about a lust for life. And by lust I mean getting caught up in short bursts of excitement and adrenaline. I'm not talking about the feeling of love that ebbs and flows (although, the feeling of love for your life will come as a result of what I'm about to say). I'm talking about the act of love (no, not lovemaking either, that would be a little odd). By the act of love I mean practical love. Practical love is the best way to approach your life. When you love your life, by love I mean demonstrate the behaviors of acting in love, your life will reward you. I promise. You might ask, 'well, what do you mean by practical love, how do I practically love my life?' Simple. There are two parts, the first is the most important: You take care of the source of your life.
I don’t know about you but I’m an over-thinker. I like to think. I like to ponder. I'm an intellectual, and intellectuals think the answer to every problem lies in how they think about that problem. As I've grown older, a double-edged sword, I've realized this is not true. But even so, old habits are hard to break and when there’s a problem in my life sometimes I can’t stop my brain ruminating.This is usually because: A) There is no immediate solution, Or B) For some reason I’m too ‘close’ (feeling too strongly, can’t think outside the box) and thus can’t get the perspective I need. Mostly, I can learn to let go of the things I don’t have any immediate control over, but boy when I need to figure something out and I can’t, I turn into a frazzled mess. The problem is that overthinkers like me, or maybe you, keep using the same technique over and over until the technique no longer works. There’s a saying that repeating a behavior expecting different results is a sign of stupidity. Well, perhaps not stupidity, but I do think it is an indication you need to step back from the problem. But what if you’re so upset, so emotional, you simply can’t step back. You need an answer right now. You sit there thinking and thinking, certain that if you only thought about it in the right way everything would fall into place. What do you do then? It’s very simple, and I think you’ll find it enjoyable.
There are some circumstances where a client should find a new therapist. And by therapist I mean a mental health therapist. I understand how difficult it is being a client in a new therapeutic relationship. There’s all that talking; bringing up the past, bringing up the present, talking about fears for the future. It’s hard. It’s tiring. And when you think you’ve shared it all… your therapist wants clarification. They ask you questions because in order to understand you properly, in order to tailor a treatment approach to you specifically, they need to know you as an individual. Each person has strengths, weaknesses, and quirks. And your therapist should be very sensitive to those. Every therapeutic relationship is different. Some clients like a direct, confronting approach; others prefer a casual talk-therapy approach. It all depends on the client. But some therapists make outright mistakes in sessions. Sometimes they’re aware of it, sometimes they’re not. Mostly, therapists stick to their ethical guidelines, seek supervision in difficult cases and keep up-to-date with industry standards. This is a good thing. Regardless, each therapist has their own approach to providing therapy and for you, the client, sometimes you need to make a decision about what kind of therapy or therapist, is right for you. So to avoid investing all that time into the wrong therapist. Here are some warning signs your therapist is not a good fit for you. Some of these are fun, and I hope you’ll take them as such:
Therapists aren’t allowed to have favorite clients. Nope. All therapists must remain objective and give the same basic types of attitudes to every single client, such as: Unconditional Positive Regard Empathic Listening Warmth Compassion Genuineness In fact if your goal is to impress your therapist, you might want to rethink why you’re in therapy in the first place. Therapists have flaws, and are just as human as the rest of the population…unless you’re an academic psychologist, those guys are just weird. I’m joking. So, here are three things that impress me as a counselor. And I’m sure they’d impress other therapists too. Now, before I give you this list, I want to make sure that you know that I accept that all my clients have strengths and weaknesses. I accept that they have good days and bad days. I accept that it takes time, dedication and patience for a client to learn and develop new skills and new ways of thinking. It’s a process, and that process is delicate. But despite those facts, there are still things clients can do to help the therapeutic process. Here’s my list:
By Papalars Let's start with a story, it goes like this... Once upon a time there was an overworked, stressed out modern day person, and that person was you! And that person became a victim of a spiral. The Spiral! You know what I mean, right? Oh, yes you do. The Spiral is that downward plummet towards depression/anxiety. It's that sneaky feeling that slowly creeps into your life. It makes you think irrational thoughts that seem reasonable...at the start it's trying to be subtle: ‘I should have listened more.’ ‘I always mess that up.’ ‘Life is hard.’ ‘Other people can do this, why can't I?' Usually, you recognize these types of thoughts are unhelpful and let them slide, but not today, today you listen to them.
My personal stance on taking medication for illnesses like depression and anxiety tends to change from client to client. For some clients I suggest they might find medication useful. For instance, a client that is debilitated by depression and anxiety to the point where they don’t even want to try therapeutic techniques, needs pharmaceutical help. A client that seems to be functioning well intellectually and shows motivation to change and has the internal and external ability to do so, would probably be more likely to benefit from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach. Oversleeping (Teenagers may disregard this section)Sometimes, clients come to me with symptoms that they don’t think are serious, but are. One of those is oversleeping. We live in a fast paced society that encourages our attention to flicker from one thing to another. In order to adapt, we process small, but numerous chunks of information at any one time. With a brain that is constantly engaged, it makes sense that when bedtime comes around, our brains have problems shutting off.
I hope you’re snuggled up on a couch somewhere, or maybe still in bed with a cup of steaming coffee (I’m a tea girl myself). This is my third post with Psych Central and I hope to get your neurons firing and thoughts buzzing, I’ve decided to post on one of my favourite topics. Goal Achievement. Does that make me boring? Probably. However, when I start seeing a client the first thing I do is gauge how likely they are to commit to the goals they set in therapy. Why? Because therapy is not a passive activity, it’s an active one that takes work, dedication and commitment. There’s a common saying that anything worth having, takes work, and boy do I believe it! Think of a time in the past when you had a goal set, you were working towards it and then it seemed to become less important and before long it faded into the background behind all the other things in life. One day you realize that you failed to achieve the goal you set and you berate yourself for not being more dedicated. You begin to make conclusions about yourself and have thoughts such as: ‘I don’t’ have what it takes.’ ‘I can’t do this.’ ‘I’m a failure.’ ‘I’m hopeless at sticking with a goal.’ You might even look at the people around you who were succeeding in their goal setting and you wondered why you didn’t have that secret formula. It’s true that some people are more motivated, ambitious and conscientious, but that doesn’t mean that they use some magic formula to achieve their goals, it just means they have traits that are more conducive to achieving them. And trust me, if they don’t plan to achieve their goals, they won’t achieve them either. Luckily, I can give you the formula that those magically gifted people are most likely using. Learn The Formula Here
Believe it or not, men tend to feel responsible for a lot, and until you probe the depths of their minds (good luck), you’re probably unaware of it. The topics that guys don’t want to talk about are usually the topics that need discussion. And once again, I’m not trying to say all men, just a vast majority. When a woman brings up ‘the talk’, which usually means going into an in-depth discussion about feelings and relationship processes, guys seem to cower. I mean literally; you can see them squirming in their seats sometimes. Or, if you’ve got something to complain about, depending on the type of man you’re with, they may become defensive, yell at you and try to turn the conversation back on you. Or you’ll get the nod-and-apologize response. Both ways aren’t helpful and leave the women thinking, “Did they really understand what I just said?” Read More Here
My female clients often complain to me that their husband/boyfriend doesn’t understand their needs. And to be honest, I’ve experienced similar things in my own past relationships. In order to address that though, I would sit my partner down and explain to them what it is I needed from them. Sometimes this was met with understanding and receptivity, thank goodness, and sometimes it wasn’t (those ones probably didn’t last long). Regardless of how your man responds, ladies, you’ve got to make it clear to him what it is that you want. See a therapist. If he doesn't know what you need and then you get upset when your man doesn't make you happy, it’s hardly his fault then, is it?