Are there specific labels you deeply fear could be applied to you? Labels that are so aversive to you that you might spend a lot of time or energy engaging in your life in ways to avoid being perceived as those things? Maybe “lazy” or “incompetent” or “stuck up,” for examples? That label, for me, is “selfish.” I don’t know exactly where this came from but I have an incredibly strong aversion to being, or being perceived as selfish. Maybe it’s from the culture I grew up in. Maybe it’s from my family of origin. Maybe it was simply in the Kool-aid I drank. But I don’t think I’m alone in this experience. (more…)
Most people I have met, want to do good in the world. They want to make a difference. They want to help people. (more…)
You are NOT a candle flame that is easily distinguished by wind. You are a FIRE and wind only serves to fuel your flames, propelling you to grow larger and taller and expand to places you’ve never been. You are powerful and resilient and adversity is not designed to extinguish you but to serve your growth.
This last month, while leading my psychotherapy group, the theme of labels came up and group members shared how they identify themselves with certain labels. Common labels in this context included, “Disciplined” “an Athlete,” and “the Small one.” We explored their attachment to these labels and how that very same attachment is what was getting in the way of their recovery and important flexibility in how they view themselves. I asked the group, “What if the very label you so highly value, is, at best, keeping you stuck, and at worst, hurting you?”
Somehow I missed reading, The Giver by Lois Lowry, in middle school, when most people read it for English class. But better late than never! I devoured The giver in two days over the holiday break. While I’m sure it makes for great YA reading, I am glad I read it, now, as an adult. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the book and it’s themes since. Some important themes stand out and relate to how I view the world and why I chose to be a therapist.