Recently I had a conversation with my therapist about a particular item on the list that makes up my Manifesto. It reads:
“Let go of the things from the past or present that I can’t change, and stop worrying about things that don’t really matter.”
I asked her, “How do I know what really matters?”
I sometimes find myself trying to draw the line for this one and not knowing where to put it. Is this something that I should be worried / angry about or is it something I should let go of? Am I saying it’s nothing because I want to avoid what could turn into a difficult conversation or even an argument?
We spent some time talking about it and we came up with (mostly she came up with) questions I could be asking myself that would help me make a better judgement about a situation or incident that I currently rely on “how does this make me feel” for, which doesn’t work because how I (and you) feel about something in a moment is influenced by other things going on for me at that time.
So here are some of the questions she said I should consider:
- Why do I think this is a big deal (or little deal)?
- If it’s a little deal and I’m thinking of letting go of it, is it actually part of a pattern that is a big deal?
- Is the thing real or just my perception?
- Is it something that consistently makes me feel upset in some way?
- What’s my context for it right now?
- Can I do anything about this that might change anything?
- Do I have the capacity to do anything about it (including the emotional capacity) at this time?
- Am I likely to feel the same way about this thing tomorrow?
- What might an outside party say about it?
- What would I say if my daughter was dealing with this?
- How does this thing align with my values?
- Is self-doubt causing me to question my instincts about this.
I always find our sessions useful, I hadn’t expected to come out of this appointment with such a useful tool to address the question I came in with. You may also find some usefulness in this list or come up with your own ideas, but I found this too valuable not to share.
Once again, I am so grateful for finding some a good therapist who has been a key part of caring for my mental health. If you are looking for this kind of help or you have a therapist who doesn’t make you feel grateful for having them in your corner, seek out one who does.