Before I begin I want to share a quote that I heard in Luvvie Ajayi and Yvonne Orji’s podcast called Jesus and Jollof. In episode 3 of season 2, they shared that we had to “make therapy normal.” In other words, therapy needs to be normalized and not seen as something necessary for crazy people. If you didn’t know, therapy is just for ordinary people that can benefit from it for different mental-health purposes. When we hear mental health, we think about mental disorders. But that’s not what it is. Mental health is like a continuum. It’s not a white or black thing, between the white and black, there are many shades of gray. So we can have a more or less healthy mental health. We don’t need to wait until we get to the extreme end of the ‘’not so well“ pole before we get some help. In fact, I choose to be proactive by preventing getting there. If I don’t, I can find myself in psychological distress. I believe it can be prevented. That’s the reason why I go to therapy. Now your reasons can differ from mine. Whether they do or not, I think it’s important to try it at least once. To encourage you to do so, I’m sharing three lessons I learned through therapy. It’s proof that therapy can walk you through a process of healing and change.

Lesson 1: My emotions are as valid as others’ emotions

During my first set of therapy (I had 3 in total), I was explaining to my therapist that I was afraid to tell people when I was mad or sad. I had a hard time sharing negative emotions by fear or hurting people. I know it sounds crazy, but that was my thought process at the time. At one point, my therapist simply asked: ‘’ So if I understand well, people’s emotions are more important than yours?“. I froze in shock. It had never occurred to me that I was dismissing my own feelings and putting others’ feelings on a pedestal. In other words, I didn’t make room for the way I felt, but I was making a lot of room for others. Now, I understand that I should value my emotions and feelings as much as I value others’ emotions and feelings. I’m learning to express myself in a respectful way. After that set of therapy sessions, I moved to another city. So I started therapy with another person. That’s where I got lesson # 2.

Lesson 2: Not every therapist is a good fit so don’t be afraid to change as soon as you realize

I don’t want to go in-depth about the sessions I had with this second therapist. The thing to know is that the chemistry was off. She was writing every single thing I said. I don’t think it was a bad thing. However, I think that by doing so, she wasn’t totally paying attention to what I said. It seems like she wasn’t good at doing both: listen and write. She misunderstood one information, and from there, she made an interpretation that wasn’t accurate. Being open-minded as I am, I assessed myself according to her comment. After a good reflection and discussion with loved ones, I came to the conclusion that she wasn’t getting it. During one session, she started talking about her life and her family. It was weird. It felt like I was the therapist. I did understand why she shared what she shared. That’s one of many reasons why I stopped the process. Looking back, I could have stopped earlier. But that’s fine; now I know! That leads me to look for another therapist in the same city. The following one was good and compassionate. Here’s what I learned.

Lesson 3: I’m able. 

With this therapist, I talked about stuff I didn’t know I needed to talk about. Someway somehow, we found ourselves talking about one of my love languages: words of affirmation. I must say that I’m a retired people-pleaser (as I call it). One of the aftermaths of this attitude is that I feed off people’s affirming words about me. And when I didn’t get them, well, you can guess. I questioned myself and doubted myself. For the first time in therapy, I was given homework to do. She asked me to write one thing for which I was proud of every day. Since the end of January, I’ve been doing this exercise. I’m so glad she told me to do so! Writing my wins, big or small, made me aware of all my skills. I’m conscious of all the different things I do well. This has built my confidence and self-esteem in ways I can’t begin to explain. When I face something new, I look over my shoulder to all the things I’ve accomplished, and I tell myself that I got this. I got this because I’m able. 

I’m grateful for these three lessons. I’m looking forward to all the other things I get to learn and unlearn through therapy. Also, I hope you apply those lessons to your life. Moreover, I hope you discover your own lessons as you go through therapy. If you were thinking about it, just do it. If you’re still doubting, feel free to reach out to me with your questions. 

As I always say on my blog, asunshinesworld.com: Until next time, shine your light!

Hi, my name is Abigail. It’s a Hebrew name that means the joy of the father or the source of Joy. The day I discovered that was life-changing because I got so much insight into myself. Yes, because I am a joyful person. I LUUUUV to laugh. I laugh about any and everything, but first I laugh at myself. I’ also a crazy, full of energy millennial. Consistency and organization are my strengths. I like to meet new people and getting to know them. My curiosity brings me to ever-learning experiences, contexts and environments. What else can I say about myself? Well, I love words. That’s why I love to read, I love to speak. And it’s also the reason why I started blogging. ☀Abigail ☀ @sunshinequ33n 

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