As an expert therapist and at the zenith of my personal evolution I thought I might share with you a few tips for those of you still milling around base camp.
You are welcome!
Eat chocolate in bed, late at night, and alone. Make sure you get crumbs on the sheets so you can feel them in the middle of the night. Leave the wrapper on your bedside table. Whatever you do, make sure to harass yourself relentlessly for the indulgence.
Pick a fight with your spouse. Start by saying, “Do you love me?” When he answers affirmatively, demand he say the full sentence: “I. love. you.” When he complies, point out the flat tone. Insist he say it with FEELING. If he shudders a bit, get really REALLY angry. Do this out of the blue. Make sure, above all else, that he doesn’t see it coming. Deny any role in the fight.
Watch trash TV. Make sure whatever moments of self-care you’ve managed to carve out you squander on meaningless television. Binge watch into the middle of night because you have to know what happens to Neil Caffrey. You must know. Wake up exhausted and with a short fuse the next day. Blame all, including self.
Spend money you don’t have. Online shop late at night and pay extra for overnight shipping. You need a new couch, a fancy handbag, fake diamond earring and decide fanny packs are coming back and you need one, just in case. Tell yourself with every click to purchase, “I deserve this.” Remind yourself it’s a heroic act.
Be a permissive parent. High on nurturing, low on expectations. Feed them sugar and let them watch TV, periodically threaten them with a consequence but don’t follow through. When chaos ensues, hide in your room for as long as it takes for the mayhem die down.
Actually, I have no advice; only support. I’ve made ALL the mistakes.
Here is my message to you: You are worthy of love no matter how catastrophic your recent decisions. You have Buddha nature, whether or not you prioritized immediate gratification over long term satisfaction and meaning. You are forgiven for all mistakes. You are enough. You are not alone.
This is EFT. Right here. As therapists, we are not at the top of the mountain with a bullhorn giving expert advice. We are with our clients at base camp and together we hunt around for the path forward and upward. As the guide, we know the lay of land; we recognize poisonous berries, dead ends, and most importantly we have the map of secure attachment to lead us.
* Lillian, the co-creator of the EFT Lab and good friend advised me—just in case—to clarify that I’M JOKING about the tips. These are not actual tips. They are errors, normal everyday errors that happen in various forms to all of us. My joke is funny (I know explaining my joke is a rather sad state of affairs) because advice and lists of tips are often not helpful. We tend to screw up our lives not because of information gaps but because we feel alone and vulnerable and are just trying to get through the day. This is true of me and you, and your therapist and your clients. The reason, number 5,483, why I love Emotionally Focused Therapy is because it acknowledges that we are all in the turkey soup together. There is NO absolute expert. The solution to pain is not more information or advice; the solution is connection.