It's New Year's Eve, 2019. Tomorrow it will be 2020. I am 49 years old. If I'm lucky I may live until I am 80 give or take a few years. Let's say 30 more years. I'll likely spend almost half that time sleeping. That means I have about 15 years left to live. This morning I took stock of how I want to spend that time.
I don't mean whether I want to travel, or what job I want to do, although those are useful exercises as well. I mean a more intimate assessment of how I want to use my mind, my speech, my actions, and my day to day moments.
If you are like me, you probably spend time judging yourself, criticizing yourself, comparing yourself to others. Perhaps you spend time being angry, or anxious, judging other people, in conflict, unhappiness, feeling jealous, envious, dissatisfied, unworthy, like you are not enough.
I want to learn to help myself more with these mind states which make me unhappy. Obviously, I realize there is more of a sense of urgency. I don't want to waste my fifteen years in these states. I don't have time to waste on them. My God, I only have 15 years left. Tomorrow is 2020.
Here's what I know. When I am kind to myself, and others, I feel better. When I can be compassionate, self-compassionate. forgiving, understanding, uncritical, patient, and tolerant I am more likely to experience joy and feel good. That's some good therapy, don't you agree? As a therapist, I don't talk enough about these things. I hear a lot about it though. My clients tell me all the time when I listen.
In my 25 years as a therapist, I have learned a lot of evidenced-based practice strategies. I know the research, I know the interventions. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy(ACT), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy(REBT), Person Centered Therapy (PCT), Prolonged Exposure(PE). I have a lot of experience and knowledge. You can see and learn a lot at my old website here. But my clients consistently get better when they learn how to be kind and compassionate towards themselves. Often this is what they come in asking for. How to be kinder, more patient, less critical, less reactive, less angry.
They don't necessarily ask to decrease their depressive symptoms but to learn how to #forgive themselves (and others). They may not specifically ask to decrease their phobic reactions but how to stop feeling so bad about their anxiety and change the way they are reacting to their thoughts and feelings.
I am going to fully devote all of my time to learning how to use #mindfulness and #selfcompassion to improve my life and also, to help my clients do the same. Also how to avoid the traps of bad habits such as #selfcriticism, anger, fear, #judgment, #comparison, and other bad habits of my mind.
Today is New Year's Eve. I've got 15 years left. How many do you have? Let's get started.