Free therapy that really works

Life is largely a matter of what gets thrown at you and how you respond to it. My best advice is to learn how to duck. If you’re anything like me, you tend to take what life throws at you directly on the chin.

Mr. Miyagi said it in Karate Kid II, “Best defense: when punch come, no be there.”

The Keep It Simple System (K.I.S.S.) contains the keys to learning how to duck:

  • People will guilt trip you. Decline the invitation.
  • People will try to make their problems your problems. Name that and move on.
  • People will lie to you and manipulate you – trust your intuition and act upon it.
  • People will blame you, yet the only adult whose emotions you’re responsible for is you.

These approaches will serve you well, unless you’re a misfit like me. If you’re like me, you will likely find that life is not only about what is thrown at you, but also what you put yourself through.

  • Like the moment when you recognize the view from under the bus and know it’s you who threw you there.
  • Like the times when your back is against the wall and it’s your bullshit procrastination (fear and avoidance) that got you there.
  • Like the abusive conversation you have with yourself after you were too uncomfortable saying “no”, setting boundaries, or being assertive.
  • Like when you make excuses for the people who hurt you.
  • Like when you pretend to be things you’re not – like okay.

For all of my training and education, I spend most of my time as a therapist saying things that any compassionate and empathic person would say:

  • Be fair to you. Treat yourself as you do others.
  • Notice how you speak to you and consider who you sound like?
  • Please stop judging yourself and decide what you want to change/
  • Cut out the self-deprecating remarks and have some dignity.
  • Stop trying to change how you feel without first changing how you act

It’s kind of infuriating how simple the keys to changing our lives are. It would be so much nicer if “figuring it out” was something that actually worked. Then life would be like Sudoku: getting everything to line up would be a matter of being clever instead of having to change.

I’ve learned that how I relate to myself and to a Higher Power are foundational to how absolutely everything in my life does or doesn’t work. I spent a long time being my own worst enemy and being endlessly productive and self-critical.

Free advice from someone who is usually well paid to dispense it: Use the Golden Rule in reverse. Being real and honest with yourself ensures fairness. Fairness leads to self-respect. Self-respect leads to dignity. Dignity yields self-esteem.

Six years of college so I can tell people to stop being mean to themselves = jumping through hoops

But you know, it was worth it. We live in a world where hearing truths about kindness and common sense are better received from people who have initials after their names.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.