Do you often look at your own lived experiences and say ‘something seems to be missing?’

A person who is not so comfortable with an environment they’re in tends to look at others and think, ‘I’ll never figure it out!’, or, ‘Why can they figure it out, but I can’t? Is there something wrong with me?’ ┬áBalancing effort and leisure is often pretty hard, and we know that its quite difficult to keep a watch on the precarious weighing scale that determines how burnt out we get. When we get home from work, we often feel that the day has been overwhelmingly tedious, even if the intensity of work remains the same. Why is this?

Our Beliefs, Our Tiny Impediments:

We always tend to make comparisons and weigh ourselves against the people around us. If it’s a project at work we can’t figure it out, we tend to shame ourselves about our own abilities. We start to think that we’ll never be able to do it. Maybe understanding that failure isn’t the end of the world would help us be a little more level-headed as we try to complete it. All or nothing thinking, which either makes us feel at the top of our game, or as if we have lost everything, is what leads to the extremely harsh evaluations we often make of ourselves.

Image: Kimberly Skelton

Image: Kimberly Skelton

As frameworks such as Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy posit, our beliefs and evaluations about things can often lead us to be disturbed about them. These attributions and thoughts often lead us to fear the worst; whereas the headspace required to perform any important task is one of calm composure. It’s really hard to pinpoint the things we think about that may not necessarily be true.

Thus, it is important to understand that developing our own evaluations of things based on our opinions is human tendency. It is quite difficult to always rationally evaluate any situation, because our own mental frameworks and thought patterns always rub off on the things that occur around us. This definitely doesn’t mean that we’re all al little crazy! It just means that we may be distracted from the path we cut out for ourselves by the very thoughts that spring up in our minds, which we take for granted as true.

Therapy: Overcoming Minor Impediments and Major Disorders

When we find ourselves in a fix with our beliefs, we often don’t realize it, because we think our beliefs are a consequence of the events that occur around us. However, events don’t really do much except unfold they way they do. What we think of them often dictates the consequences that we face arising from the event.┬áThe objective presence of someone willing to hear you out is imperative in these cases.

Image: The Odyssey

Image: The Odyssey

For example, if a boy is severely distressed by the fact that his TV time has been cut down, it would be wise to ask what he feels as a consequences of it, and whether it has grave effects on his living. He will first be inclined to say that less TV time causes him boredom. When asked if the boredom is unbearable, and about why the TV time has been curtailed, he will be propelled to say, ‘no, I can bear it!‘ and might substantiate the cutting down TV time with a statement about the health of one’s eyes, or exposure to certain TV shows.

Thus, merely by talking to someone who helps him check his inner thoughts out for himself, the boy comes to realize that having less time to watch television probably gives him more free time to do other things, and that it might not be the best for his eyes.

Image: Lars Leetaru

Image: Lars Leetaru

It’s not that the boy has a pathological problem. He’s just bringing the little impediments he faces to someone who will listen without forming any judgments. Having a grasp over the scope that these impediments cover in his lived experience will help him get the better of them, and move on from having them!

That is what therapy truly focuses on. In the Indian context, therapy has always been associated with ‘healing mental wounds’ or ‘assisting those with severe psychopathology’. However, this is only a ‘belief’ that people have about what therapy entails. Understanding that therapy is something we all can opt for as human beings who go through individual, distinct lived experiences, is something that will probably help us come to terms with what we’re really thinking.