02/01/2023

This session was mostly about values and how you can have a more fulfilled life if you are living your values. We talked about how focusing on goals and reaching goals is not great for focusing on and enjoying the now. Not to say that goals are bad -they are good- they help you to improve yourself and work toward something. When you are living your values while you are working towards your goals, you experience more happiness and fulfillment.

We talked about ways to identify values, for example think of a time when you were really upset about something and try to think of what about that situation made you upset and why. Lots of times, we get upset when we feel like one of our values is being violated. We also talked about how sometimes your values clash with each other. To help with this, it is good to know which of your values are more important to you. So that when your values clash, you can follow the one that you have decided is more important to you.

Not living your values causes internal dissonance with yourself and makes you not feel good about who you are and what you are doing. The more you live your values the more whole and complete you will feel. We also talked about the word integrity and how when someone has integrity that means that they are living their values. My therapist recommended I watch this TED talk: Core Values – Your Inner Compass by Larisa Halilović. She also gave me some worksheets to do to help me identify my values.

We also talked about how when I get frustrated I should try to think about or feel what the underlying problem might be. while discussing this, I found out that I have a belief that life should be perfect. We talked more about this and I made the following realizations:

Life is messy and I can’t expect it to be perfect or problem free.

I need to stop trying to fix my issues/problems and to accept that I have them.

I came to these realizations because we were talking about why I get frustrated when Sheralyn and I are having a misunderstanding. We dug in and found out that I expect our communication to be perfect and for us never to misunderstand each other. So when we do not live up to that expectation, it makes me frustrated. This was a very useful exercise because I did not realize that unmet expectations is what leads to me getting frustrated in those situations.

We also talked about how those realizations apply to all areas of my life. I expect my mental health to be perfect, so I am frustrated that I have to work through things to better my mental state. Again, this was a new realization to me. So one thing I am going to try to work on is thinking about what my anger is trying to tell me, is there a value being violated? Do I have an unrealistic expectation of the situation that I need to adjust? We also talked about how sometimes we are angry because we feel powerless in a situation, so it will be good to recognize if that is happening.

We also talked briefly about how I was raised. I explained that growing up, it would scare me when my dad would get angry. I quickly learned to do what he said so I would not make him angry and avoid feeling scared. This taught me to fear anger and that someone who is angry is out of control and scary. We did not have time to dig into this more but I am expecting we will next time. The realization I got from this is:

Anger is not bad, it means something is wrong or needs to be addressed.

I also noticed at the end of our discussion that there were a couple times that I would start to feel an emotion while we were talking and I would resist it. I brought this up and my therapist said to just make note of it when it happens next time and we can talk about why that might be happening.

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