Talk Therapy Session 1

It’s been several weeks since I’ve sat down with my thoughts to write. Since then I’ve been across the country a couple times, taken an exam for a professional designation and began studying for another and played mom/wife/chef/maid on rinse-repeat. The hustle gave me time to put some things into action. And once I did, I wanted to talk about them with Janet. (That is the name of my wonderful life guide—a more accurate title than ‘therapist’.)

I don’t enjoy talk therapy because with such a persuasive profession I find myself naturally saying things to please the other person when I run out of concrete things to talk about. I realized this a couple years ago with a different therapist and instantly became too cheap to continue paying them to listen to my bullshit. But I wanted to tell someone about my observations and external changes that was more than a friend, and I already had an appointment scheduled with Janet. So hours after my last plane landed in to her office I went.

Lately I’ve been toying with what I’ll dub ‘the third law of feelings’: how I react has an equal reaction. Feelings are different from the physics of relativity so rather than an opposite reaction occurring, the reaction of feelings typically mirror each other. If you approach something with anger, you get defensiveness or greater anger. If you’re kind, you get gentleness or understanding in return. Again, this isn’t a brilliant revelation on my part. Most people reading this probably already incorporate the law of feelings into their daily lives.

But what I’ve found interesting about my application of the law is how far I’ve been able to take it. The level of self-control I’ve been able to achieve has been something I’ve been working on for years. I don’t know if it is the EMDR, the food, the supplements, a combination of all the lifestyle changes. But what started off as a slow drip has become an intense focus on my own feelings and reactions.

For a while now, I’ve been trying to implement the successes of my job into daily life hoping that there’s a greater connection. My reactions in my career are calculated. Not in a negative way but in a way that is purposeful. Each expression is gauged to achieve a certain outcome. Once I realized I wasn’t applying that to other aspects of my life, I got really serious about the result I was trying to attain when I expressed my feelings. I slowed things way down, sifted through the possible outcomes and weighed any reactive emotions that could follow. Crazy things started happening. First, I got what I wanted a lot more. My voice was larger even at a softer decibel. Second, I had more energy because I wasn’t spending all of it spinning my wheels trying to be heard. Third, I became really comfortable with not agreeing. This one has changed my life the most.

For the first time, I am completely content conveying my perspective and that being that. I don’t need to persuade anyone to agree with me or to make any point in general. I can say my peace, shrug my shoulders and go about my day. And magically, everything is still fine. This level of communication in my day to day life has encouraged me to re-visit meditation. Despite wanting to badly, I have never been able to still my mind on the level it takes to meditate. But I think I am really, really close.

The calm still feels weird sometimes, and I get the urge to destroy it out of fear. But now I can see that coming and predict how it will end to avoid throwing myself a curve ball in what has been a game of perfect pitches lately. EMDR session #4 is in a couple weeks, and I am optimistic that with a few more sessions I will have washed myself free of the barriers I’ve longed to flush.