As some of you may know, a little while ago I went to therapy.
I could feel my mind reverting back to a negative space and decided that I was fed up with being insecure and needed help. So I called up my doctor’s office and asked if they could put me in touch with a therapist. Within a week or so I received a phone call from a woman named Stephanie (what a coincidence) who was offering to set up a meeting to discuss my concerns and see if we would be a good fit and to open up the possibility of setting up regular therapy appointments.
Going into that first appointment was terrifying, and quite nerve-wracking. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I was taking a step in the right direction. Luckily, Stephanie and I clicked, and I felt comfortable enough to spew out my thoughts for an entire hour (and bawl my eyes out for about 95% of it), and continued to see her every two weeks for a few months. Throughout those few months, I learned a few concepts, and made a lot of progress when it came to managing and coming to terms with my insecurities. And today, I’d like to tell you about a few of the things I’ve learned, in the hopes that I can A) possibly help someone and give some clarity/advice and/or B) maybe even push someone to finally take the leap and getting help.
1. You may go into therapy for one reason, only to realize that it was deeper rooted, and not at all what you thought it was.
I know that sounds confusing, and it totally is. But hear me out for a sec; I initially went into therapy because I was getting back into the habit of restricting my food intake, talking down about my body, feeling insecure about my appearance, etc. For about the 1/3 of the sessions, we discussed this, and tried to pinpoint my biggest physical insecurities and to delve deeper and try to figure out where they began.
This was fine at first, but I eventually found it to be a little…boring? At one point, Stephanie asked me to write a giant list of my insecurities. In doing so, I realized that I had no emotional reaction when writing down my physical insecurities, but when it came time to write things such as “people won’t like me”, or “people will no longer want to be my friend”, I cried. I was so overwhelmed with emotions, and came to realize that my physical insecurities were being driven by my lack of confidence in myself as a person.
I was always the shy girl who no boys liked, didn’t have a ton of friends, etc. And as you grow up, those things stick with you whether you realize it or not. And the moment I felt those emotions wash over me, I knew that I needed to tackle those insecurities in order to come to terms with my physical appearance, because if I couldn’t even accept myself as a person, no wonder I was struggling to accept my appearance!
2. Once you become more specific with your insecurities, you may realize how insignificant they are.
This one ties into me writing “people won’t like me”. When I vocalized the thought to my therapist, she immediately told me I was being too broad with my statement and that I needed to make it more specific. That turned into me saying “someone won’t like me”, which I instantly said “well that doesn’t matter…it’s just one person.” And I just sat there watching Stephanie nod her head and smirk. I guess I told her exactly what she wanted to hear, but damn it’s so true.
“People won’t like me” sounds awful doesn’t it? It’s as thought you’re saying “the entire world won’t like me”, “all of my friends hate me”, “no one thinks I’m pretty”, etc. But when you really close in on them, they are so insignificant! “One person won’t like me”, “someone hates me”, “someone doesn’t think I’m pretty”. If we are allowed to think these things, or feel these ways towards another person, that means that someone can feel that way about you too. It’s only fair, and once you’ve come to terms with it, it makes it a bit easier to deal with such internal and totally silly thoughts.
3. You probably can’t back up your insecurity with hard facts.
This was a simple concept that literally blew my mind. If I tell myself “oh I look overweight” (for lack of a better statement), I actually can’t back it up by facts. I am a healthy human being, and have a healthy amount of fat. I am definitely not overweight, and there are no facts that tell me otherwise.
Another example could be “everyone dislikes me” (totally not specific either but we’ll just go with it). Sure there are people out there who dislike me, but not everyone. I have great friends who love me, I have a great family that is always going to be there for me, I have quite a few healthy and loving relationships that prove to me that not everyone dislikes me.
And I understand that this type of thinking is easier said than done especially in the moment, but it can really help to switch your mindset while in a darker space.
I could definitely write out some more concepts and tips that I learned while in therapy, but I’ll leave it at three for now. I’d just like to wrap this up by saying that going to therapy should never make you feel ashamed, or bad about yourself. Anyone and everyone can benefit from therapy and talking to a professional, and even if you have the tiniest urge to talk to someone, do it. It’s not always an easy process, and you may not jive well with your first, second, third, etc., therapist, and that’s okay. You’ll get there one day, and once you’re there you can at least feel good knowing that you are taking a step in the right direction.
If you have gone to therapy, and have had your mind blown, feel free to share your experience in the comments below! And if you’d like more posts like this one, please tell me what you’d like to learn about!