Our mental health is paramount. However, this message can get lost in the storm of noise that surrounds our daily routines. Before we know it, we’ve put the things that should matter to us most on the backburner and we might feel like we’re overwhelmed by work, school, life. Everything.
Even though we’re living in 2021, there’s still a certain stigma surrounding going to see a therapist. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s far smaller than it was decades ago (and a lot depends on where you live and the cultural context), but there are still far too many people who think that seeing a psychotherapist is something ‘shameful’ or amounts to ‘giving up.’
Fortunately, the friendly folks over on Twitter are here to help. Twitter user Drivingmemadi, aka Madimoiselle, created a viral thread, asking everyone to share at least one thing that they learned in therapy. Her mission—to help everyone get a little bit more insight into mental health, relationships, and the reasons why we do what we do. The bit about perfectionism and insecurity being linked was particularly enlightening for me.
Have a read through the therapy tips below, let us know which ones you found the most helpful, and if you’ve got any of your own to share, you’ll find the comment section particularly welcoming, dear Pandas.
Psychotherapist Silva Neves was kind enough to go into detail with Bored Panda about the stigma of seeking professional help. "I think it is getting better and there is less stigma seeing a therapist now. It depends on your location though, there are still some parts of the world where therapy is still a taboo. Some people think that seeing a therapist means that you're 'crazy,' but this is not actually what therapy is about," he said. You'll find the full interview below, dear Readers.
"Therapy is a confidential and private space where you can get help from a professional with anything that bothers you, from your work problems, relationship issues, or other psychological problems such as post-trauma stress, depression, and anxiety," therapist Silva outlined to Bored Panda what the essence of therapy is.
"Those things are actually very common and many people struggle with these things, it doesn't mean they're crazy. Seeing a therapist when you have emotional struggles should be as normal as seeing your doctor when you have a physical problem. But at the moment, our society hasn't normalized therapy yet. It is changing with famous people talking about the benefits of therapy such as Lady Gaga and Prince Harry."
Psychotherapist Silva, from the UK, told me earlier all about the insecurities we face and how they can make some people behave in wildly different ways, some of which are harmful to others. In an earlier interview, he said that self-compassion can help someone who is insecure and who has an ‘I’m not enough’ mentality become someone who’s secure and knows in their heart: ‘I’m enough.’
How insecurity manifests itself depends on the person in question. Two insecure people can behave and express this lack of confidence in themselves very differently.
“Insecurity can manifest either by making themselves invisible (If I'm not seen, nobody will notice my flaws), or the opposite, by what we call 'bragging': shouting at everybody about how wonderful they are. This is usually to try to persuade to themselves that they are good enough,” therapist Silva explained to Bored Panda earlier.
Unfortunately, some people choose to express their insecurity by putting others down to make themselves appear better.
"Another way to counter the 'I'm not enough' is by pushing others down, sabotaging other people's success, or attacking people as a way to feel powerful so that they can control their inner pain of 'I'm not enough'. All of these strategies don't work because what they do is either internalizing or externalizing the belief 'I'm not enough' rather than changing it," the expert told Bored Panda that we must change this behavior instead of finding ways to cope that can lead to some lashing out at the people around us.
"The key to becoming more secure is to change the underlying belief 'I'm not enough' to 'I'm enough,'" he said that self-compassion is the way to do this.
"Perhaps parents didn't praise children enough, or they paid more attention to the mistakes rather than the successes. As an adult now, people can give themselves a hug once in a while and tell themselves, gently: 'you're doing good,' 'well done,' 'congratulations.' Eventually, the brain will listen and slowly change the message 'I'm not enough' to 'I'm enough,'" the expert said.
"Rather than shouting your praise at other people, it is about speaking to yourself in a loving way. When people are genuinely aware of their successes, they can become genuinely more confident without the need to impose their power onto others."