Was the name of a drink I had on Saturday night. After a long week, I was wishy-washy about what to order, so I left it up to the waiter. It’s not surprising he brought me a vodka concoction which by name was designed to numb. Because last week I started therapy, and when you dive into that deep sea, you inevitably find a few sharp edges. There is a lot to recommend about seeing a therapist, but revealing my thoughts to a complete stranger had left me weary. So yeah, drinks with girlfriends is just what I needed.
My therapist had whiteboarded a tally of my self-sabotaging thoughts. Talk about peeling off an old Band-Aid – slowly – until the raw truth is exposed. I had hoped by now – half way through my life – I would feel less flawed, more evolved, cooler with myself. But the mind has a sneaky way of tricking us into thinking we are our thoughts, even the wacky distorted ones. Cognitive Behavior Therapy steps in to rewire the mind, one thought at a time. We confront the habitual thinking that creates drag on our progress – we talk back at it. Just like we do when we coach a sister or friend in crisis. We tell it like it is. And we tell it like it isn’t.
Which brings me back to last weekend.
I love how my friends enjoy the lighter side of life – surfing, sleepovers, a game of I Never (um, now that’s real exposure). But we also talk deeply about our lives, and help one another work out our stuff. And when life feels muddled we talk to one another with honesty, sure, but with a whole lot of kindness too. And that's the beauty of friends – they bring the power of kindness, humor and perception to bare on our negative-mind-loops and help liberate us from our own mental traps.
If we have the power to do that for a friend, then we have the power to do that for ourselves. Imagine how it would feel to talk to yourself the way you talk to a friend. There would be less pain to numb. There would be more desire to feel.