4 Ways Therapy Has Changed My Life
posted on September 18, 2018 | by Amanda Holstein
It’s one thing to try and convince you that therapy works by telling you how much I love it. But it’s another to actually prove it to you. Therapy has changed my life in so many ways — some that are clear from the outside and some that only I can see. So I thought I’d show you some tangible ways that therapy has truly changed my life in hopes that it will encourage you to give it a try!
Before Therapy: I was indecisive about everything.
I used to describe myself as indecisive. Making any sort of decision, big or small, felt nearly impossible. My brain would freeze, I’d waver between two options forever, and in the end, someone else would often decide for me. The amount of anxiety every decision brought on was debilitating.
Now: Important decisions are so much easier to make.
I never went into therapy with the intention of becoming more decisive. In fact, it wasn’t really a topic of discussion. But what I did learn was how to listen to my inner voice, and that is the key to making any sort of decision. I realized that before other people’s opinions or my fears of others’ judgments were getting in the way. Now, I’m able to look past all that noise and listen to what my heart really wants.
Before Therapy: I cried every time I spoke about my parents’ divorce.
Literally, though. I would tear up every time I had to say the word divorce or mention that my parents lived in different cities. I couldn’t get through a conversation without crying — even with complete strangers! Things got awkward, for sure.
Now: I can talk about it with a new perspective.
One of the main reasons I started therapy 8 years ago was to process my parents’ divorce. In fact, I remember the exact moment that my perspective changed. My therapist told me that to “accept” their divorce did not mean I didn’t want things to change or wish they were a different way. I thought “accepting” their divorce meant that I had to approve of it, understand it, and be for it. But now I know that I can accept a situation without necessarily liking it at all. I’m not fighting it anymore. I’m letting it be what it is and I’m okay with the fact that I wish it were different. I think it’s the “not fighting it” that has helped me move past the tears.
Before Therapy: I was in a relationship where I wasn’t completely fulfilled.
I had been dating my college boyfriend for years when I finally started going to therapy. I didn’t even talk about him in the first few years of therapy because I didn’t think (or didn’t want to think) anything was wrong with us. And nothing was really “wrong”. But as I learned more and more about myself, I was able to realize and admit some faults in that relationship. Because nothing was glaringly wrong, I would have just stayed put if it wasn’t for therapy. But therapy helped me realize where my unhappiness was stemming from, that I was craving more, and it gave me the courage to end that relationship.
Now: I’m in the best relationship of my life.
Going through a major breakup in therapy was beyond helpful. I not only got the support I needed to get through it, but I learned so much about myself during the process. I learned what I was missing in my previous relationship and what I so badly craved in my next: a man with a high EQ (emotional intelligence). My friends told me it was impossible, but I was on a mission. Being so clear about what I wanted made dating so much easier, and even fun! I knew what I was looking for, and if I didn’t find it, I was able to enjoy that experience for what it was. Being so clear on what I wanted made things a heck of a lot easier when I found it in my now fiancé!
Before Therapy: I was so incredibly hard on myself.
Take a minute to think about how you speak to yourself. Are you constantly putting yourself down? Pushing yourself too hard? Telling yourself how you “should” be or what you “should” be doing? First of all, you’re normal for thinking this way. I thought this way for years, and still do from time to time. It’s amazing how hard we are on ourselves. It prevents us from being our best selves!
Now: Self-compassion is part of my inner dialogue.
Therapy taught me to replace that negative voice with self-compassion. Now, I give myself a break. I speak to myself the way I’d speak to my best friend. I’m my own cheerleader, I’m my own shoulder to cry on. And it’s amazing what a difference it makes to be your own support system. This definitely isn’t something that happened overnight. It took many therapy sessions (years, if I’m being totally honest), but it’s probably the best change I’ve seen so far.
If you’re in therapy, I’d love to know how it has affected you! And if not, don’t be afraid to ask questions in the comments below!