We all have our own brand of weird.
Yes, you are weird. And you know what? So am I. We all are. People ask me all the time if they are normal. After almost two decades in the mental health field I can tell you that I have no idea what normal means. More importantly I tell my clients to ask themselves whether or not their “weird” is interfering with their functioning or hurting anybody else. Some of our quirks are not nearly as weird as we fear they are, and others are the serious problem kind of weird. Part of my job is to help people to view the minor stuff less seriously and even have a little fun with it. If our “weird” doesn’t negatively impact our lives or anyone else’s, I’m not so sure we should label it a problem.
We have a tremendous capacity for change.
It is truly amazing the changes that people can make when they put their minds to it. Mountainous, life-altering changes. Remarkably the catalyst is sometimes seemingly quite small, it doesn’t always require a crisis or major life event. A slight change in behavior or adoption of a new skill, a minor altering of perception, a redefining of our problem and openness to a different solution. All of these things can motivate and catapult us towards meaningful and positive changes that we never thought possible.
We will fight that change tooth and nail.
Unfortunately we can be incredibly stubborn. In spite of our ability to change we still have a tendency to avoid it. We are creatures of habit and consciously or unconsciously we often resist change because it frightens us. Even when we are deeply unhappy and logically know that changing something will most likely improve our situation we tend to choose the misery we know over a future which cannot be completely assured. Change often requires a tremendous leap of faith.
Our childhoods really can screw us up, but thankfully we can fix it.
We are largely products of our environment. Our early life experiences significantly impact who we are today and how we view and interact with the world. Many of our dysfunctional behaviors are learned early on and childhood scars tend to run deep. The good news is that as adults we have a choice in how we live our lives. We can choose to to use our difficult childhood as an excuse and allow it to be our legacy. Or we can choose to embrace a very different present and future. Dr. Phil McGraw said that people can choose to stand up and walk out of their history. I believe that to be true, and witness people do it every day.
Humor and empathy are two keys to happiness.
Empathy allows us to genuinely connect with and care for others. It makes forgiveness a natural part of our lives, which frees us from the anger and resentment that can so easily hold us back. Humor is a powerful antidote against stress, conflict, and unhappiness. Ensuring that our lives are rich with these two things can help us to withstand even the strongest storms. I use humor a lot with my clients, and I take it as a huge compliment when they tell me that sometimes therapy is even fun. It lightens the mood, breaks the tension (particularly between couples), and helps people to take themselves a bit less seriously. Laughter truly is some of the best medicine on earth.
The resilience and grace of the human spirit is breathtaking.
I watch people climb over seemingly insurmountable obstacles every day. I never fail to be astonished by what I see them accomplish, and I have learned that even us “ordinary” people are quite capable of extraordinary things. We have an exceptional ability to endure and thrive despite all odds.