Reply To: PPVE Grads – Share your updates & stay connected

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Kristen Walker

Hey Molly — I’m so glad you came back to update us!

It’s awesome that you’ve been going to marriage counseling and loving all of the insights you’ve been getting in your therapy sessions. Sounds like your therapist is one of the good ones who “gets it” — she’s all about connecting to your values and enjoying the process and not putting pressure on yourself to figure it all out RIGHT NOW.

But when it comes to her reaction to the things that bring Shaun joy, I have to massively disagree with her. Where did this idea come from that certain things that bring you joy “count” (ie. “active” things) and other, more passive things don’t?? If the end point is joy, who freaking cares whether the route to get there included baking or video games? That’s like telling someone they can’t have a certain CDF because it’s not “productive” enough. What?? (Can you tell I’m getting riled up? lol) The point, in the end, is the FEELING. If baking makes you feel joy, and TV makes Shaun feel joy, the end result is two joyful people, and I don’t think there’s a thing in the world wrong with that.

If you ask me, this “active” vs “passive” idea is rooted in a deep cultural limiting belief that if something isn’t “productive,” it’s a waste of time or somehow less valid. This is not such a pervasive limiting belief in ALL cultures — in France and Italy and Denmark (to name just a few!), there’s much more of an emphasis on slowing down, living in the moment, and enjoying the simple joys, regardless of whether they’re “productive” or not. But in America, we’re obsessed with creation and progress and productivity, and it’s stealing our ability to sink into the passive joys of life, which are especially crucial for Thrivers most of all.

That long rant was just to say, if Shaun gets his CDFs met by watching TV and playing video games (along with a lot of the other activities you mentioned, like hiking and walking shelter dogs and podcasts, etc.), then not only is it OK for him to incorporate those things into his life, but I’d argue it’s crucial! It’s a big part of what makes him who he is, and he’s more than allowed to pursue those things. There’s no need for him to find new, different interests/hobbies just because someone made him feel like his aren’t “good enough.”

One more note about therapy and, in particular, Shaun’s feeling that he’s “more broken” for needing additional 1-on-1 sessions with your counselor. Therapy can be extremely helpful for shining a spotlight on your default patterns and ways of thinking/being that you might not yet be aware of. It’s a hugely powerful self-awareness tool, like we talked about with Sara in our recent podcast about coaching vs. therapy. There comes a point for some people, though, when awareness alone starts to get frustrating and might even make them feel more broken than they did before. At that point, it’s crucial to FIRST tell the therapist exactly how it’s making you feel. (So for Shaun, I’d encourage him to tell your counselor about feeling like “the more broken one,” so she’s fully aware and can address that head-on.) And THEN, if nothing changes, check in with yourself to see if this modality is still the right one. It might be that Shaun has gotten as much out of therapy as he can for now. Maybe he’ll realize he needs a break from therapy for a bit (it can be exhausting to keep looking at your “issues” over and over again), or maybe he’s ready to move into something like coaching that’s more focused on what to DO with his newfound self-awareness. Either way, it’s important to do semi-regular check-ins to see if it’s still serving its purpose.

Thanks again for sharing your updates and asking such a great question! Hope this helps you (and Shaun) live even more fully into your Thriver lives! 😉