Today I’d like to share with you a therapy that I am obsessed with. I know this is by no means the typical content I would bring you. BUT I have recently done a lot of reflecting as I began a new segment of my career journey and it’s really got me gushing about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT for short).
The thing I love the most about ACT is that it doesn’t have us try to push away or avoid pain. It acknowledges and understands pain as a natural and inevitable part of human life. Isn’t that beautiful? Because it’s true. So rather than trying to replace scary, uncomfortable thoughts with new thoughts, we look at how we can create space for the discomfort without letting it impact our movement in valued directions. It’s the difference between saying “I’m going to wait for this anxiety to pass before I leave the house” and “I”m anxious right now, but I’m going to leave the house anyway.” Which, yes, I totally recognize this is easier said (or written in this case) than done. This is why therapy is a process, not a one-stop shop.
ACT looks at the power of human language to create suffering, particularly in the context of our emotions. For example, if I listed out the following emotions -jealousy, anger, shame, grief, fear, sadness -was your first thought something like “oh those are bad emotions”? And what about if I wrote -joy, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, gratitude, serenity -was your thought something closer to “oh those are good emotions?” This is an exercise used to demonstrate the power of language. And we don’t have to walk much further to see the suffering it can cause when we start telling ourselves that we’re bad for experiencing a normal range of human emotions. Isn’t that wild!? I’m rambling a bit, but I just genuinely find this so fascinating -and frankly my new work schedule has given me a lot of free time with the sole company of my cat, who sadly, doesn’t want to hear about this.
Just checked with my cat again -she’s still a hard pass on the therapy talk. She said she’s 100% open to belly rubs though.
Anyways, let me conclude this by saying that this was in no way meant to be a comprehensive look at ACT nor am I trying to help anyone in anyway by writing this nor am I trying to impose my beliefs. I simply wanted to share my thoughts on something that brings meaningfulness to my life.
After all, I am just an Orchid, doing my best to bloom away.