For approximately two years, I saw a clinical psychologist for individual therapy. She was a strong advocate for Buddhist principles and mindfulness. Coupled with her psychoanalytic training, she challenged my traditional manner in seeing the basic connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It was what I needed. I needed someone to offer me a fresh perspective.

In session, I often deflected questions or avoided them altogether. I would nervously laugh or crack a joke. It was a defense mechanism. This way I did not have to confront the dark abyss of my psyche. My psychologist saw right through it and wore me down over the course of six months. She drilled right down to the core, and a plethora of unresolved issues came to the surface. One of the most shocking revelations that I had was a core belief that I did not deserve to be happy. I had become so accustomed to negativity in my life. I always expected it around the next corner, eagerly waiting for it to pounce. Even if my life was going great, I would self-sabotage to ensure something went wrong (i.e. spending money I did not have).

That session opened up my eyes to the foreign concept of self-compassion. My psychologist pointed out that it is okay to allow myself to be happy. It is part of life’s balance. Life cannot be negative all the time. I would like to share with you a message she would say to me at the end of every session thereafter, “Be nice to yourself.”

-The Caring Counselor

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