I fought the "shrink" and the "shrink" won.

Group Therapy Lunch Break Vibes.

Have you ever been in a situation where you hear someone present an idea and you know it's valid, but you simply want them to be wrong? You want them to be wrong so badly that before they even start talking, you have a list of rebuttals so long you could be a member of a world class debate team? That was me on last Tuesday in Week 1 of Group Therapy. What was the session entitled you ask?

"Cognitive Behavioral Therapy."

And yes. If you were wondering, even as I wrote this, I said it with an exaggerated eye-roll; not, because I don't believe in it, simply because I believe that in my therapy experience and in the media, the idea is a bit played out and never quite actually used in play.

Nevertheless, we were asked to do an exercise. 

The exercise was this;

1. Draw a triangle.

2. At the top of the triangle write a persistent problematic thought you have.

3. At the bottom right corner of the triangle write persistent feelings caused by that thought.

4. At the bottom left corner of the triangle write persistent behaviors caused by those feelings.

5. In the middle of the triangle describe the pattern that exists as you draw arrows connecting each corner in each direction.

6. Share your triangle with the group.

7. Receive oral feedback from members of the group.

8. Challenge your thought by doing the following;

       a. Identifying one thought to replace it with

       b. One action to do the next day to put that thought in motion

I honestly, didn't think that exercise was going to make any single bit of difference but when I sat there sharing my triangle, I had to stop to breathe. My mask was wet. My mask was wet for a simple reason. 

I was crying. 

Here is my triangle.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy: Triangle Exercise

Strangers were telling me that my persistent thought was untrue, that if I didn't challenge it- I would never change, that if I didn't change my behaviors my thought would never change. 

A complete stranger looked at my face, holding back tears and said;

"I assaulted a man so badly he nearly died. I attempted murder for no reason but that I was angry at the world. Do you think I am worthy of love?"

I vigorously shook my head yes.

He replied, "Okay then, then why not you? Everyone deserves love."

I realized after sharing and listening that day that I have certainly made a lot of mistakes in the last 14 months, for a lot of reasons but a lot of them do come down to this thought that "I'm not worthy of love" and every mistake I make, makes me even less worthy because I have a deep core belief that if I make a mistake it means there is something inherently wrong with me. What I didn't realize is that, carrying this thought and carrying this core belief allows me to perpetuate it. If I believe it is inevitable, I allow it to become true. If I feel I an incapable of being loved, I will always allow myself to make the mistakes that I believe will make me this to others and most importantly to myself. 

I am only going to stop doing the things that make me feel unworthy when I start believing that at my very core, I just simply AM worthy.

The action I chose was a visual affirmation-one that I can't avoid. It's pictured below, here, for good measure and as a reminder for all of us, that we are all worthy of love. 

Positive Affirmation: "You are worthy of love"


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