Online therapy isn’t as satisfying as in-person therapy.
But cognitive therapy from a practical focus is amazingly effective for me.
One of the things I loved about in-person therapy was having the things I’d said or written repeated back to me.
It’s a stunning thing to SEE my own rationalizations exposed and repeated. It’s part of the reason I softened toward my dad. To recognize a small part of him inside of me was not a welcome realization. This kind of insight takes a while to accept, much less deal with.
There’s a huge difference when you’re talking or writing to someone who has dealt with hundreds of people and has heard every rationalization under the sun. Unlike friends and family, they experience your version of truth for what it is.
I can recap and summarize the difference quickly: I know an awful lot about human psychology and have learned a book of insights and lessons, yet, my biggest failing is not applying them to my life.
If you focus on behavior and set aside your thoughts and words, everything gets distilled to its essence.
It reminds me of one of my favorite examples. If a person never tells anyone that he or she is Christian yet lives a love-and-compassion-filled life, observers can see that your worldview is in action through your behavior. Because lovingkindness is the essence of what Jesus taught. One of my biggest problems with evangelicals is their certainty and rigidity – and focus on dogma and judgment. Live the example. That applies to me, too, in case you think my hypocrisy is something I don’t see in myself.
Likewise, if you are a loving and insightful human being, people over time should easily find that behavior consistently and clearly evidenced in your life. The things you do will be reflected in your daily life and mirror what’s in your head and heart.
When these things are not reflected? That disparity signals a problem with either your self-perception or a significant failure of behavior. If you know your motivations and what you value, the best practical approach is to examine your behavior critically.
If you are what you do, then when you don’t, you aren’t.
If you want to be satisfied or happy, you must work to remove behaviors that interfere. Happiness isn’t a realization; it’s a constant process of doing the hard work of choosing to spend your time and life finding a way to live the way that you know you want to be.
When you are closer to the sunset than the sunrise as you age, everything just looks different.
Otherwise, it is all talk, smoke without fire, and pretense.
But also, yeah!