One of the things we help teach our clients is how to "reframe" something in their life from a negative to a positive. This could be a characteristic of them, their spouse, or a behavior they do. Most people become attracted to another person based on something specific, and end up in a marriage where that very characteristic ends up being something they complain about (for example, "He is so driven and successful" becomes "he is a workaholic... all he does is focus on being successful"!). It's important that we learn how to reframe how we see things, to get us back to a better place in our relationships. But, what about our relationship with ourself? How often do you say negative things to yourself, about yourself, for a certain characteristic you have?
When I was growing up, my parents would constantly say, "Joleen... do you have to analyze EVERYTHING??". This didn't just stay in my list of characteristics as a child. Throughout my entire life, I have needed to try and figure things out, to the point of it seeming to be either obsessive curiosity, or without the ability to let it go. About 10 years ago, I went to the zoo with one of my colleagues (I will leave her un-named to protect her privacy), and at one point (I believe it was after my 10th question about the elephants), she finally said "Joleen, you are going to have to start using the internet for these questions!!".
My relentless need to understand things can certainly feel obsessive to those around me, but it is also a curiosity that has fueled both my love of learning (I never stop), my passion for life, and my abilities as a therapist with my clients. My clients appreciate the depth of my questions, in helping them explore different areas of their lives, and helping them gain insight and understanding into why they are the way they are. This curiosity allows me to stay persistent to those things that might be uncomfortable to look at, but help my clients not shy away from difficult questions. It also helps me address difficult things in my own life, and to examine them fully, which helps me find direction (and passion) in my life.
Is there a characteristic that you need to see in a new way? We encourage you to look at yourself in a new way, and learn how to reframe that characteristic today!
Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.