• Sonia Neale

Five Things to Quit Right Now

I have this sign in my therapy room. Every so often I read it and reflect. I also ask clients to read it and tell me about what it means for them. But this sign is really for me because I resonate with it so much.


Pleasing everyone

Cancelling an event because your headspace isn’t there is self-care. It’s not selfish to say no to people who want to borrow your books. It’s not being greedy or miserly to not lend money to people who never pay you back. It is not your problem when other people get upset because you have set a boundary. Saying no or setting a boundary is looking after yourself. Stop people-pleasing. These many small daily micro-decisions help build a healthy self-esteem. If you can’t set boundaries, therapy can help you become aware of where this people pleasing comes from. Were you taught as a child that you always had to put others first before your own needs? Did you grow up thinking that your needs were not important? Pleasing everyone is exhausting, and leaves you unable to meet your own needs. It can lead to despair and depression.


Fearing change

Yes, but if I change and set limits, maybe people won’t like me anymore? Yes, they will. This is where people can gain much respect from other people, when they see you are politely taking care of yourself. Change involves who you think you are, what are the traits you would like to change about yourself? Or change your emotional reactions to some people. Not let others dictate what your headspace should feel like. Learn how to be indifferent to people who grind your gears. Wish them well. Wish them health. Then move on and practice indifference. Value the ones that you do love. Value yourself, even in the face of what your life has looked like so far, which brings me to the next point.


Living in the past

Every decade brings a new wisdom. When you have more time behind you than in front of you, you start to view the world differently. You only have so much time left on earth. Where do you want to spend your personal finite energy? Ruminating about things you cannot change? Then change the things that you can. And have the wisdom to know the difference. You can change how you perceive the world and its joys, its losses and its current global problems. As you get older and towards retirement, you can approach the question, what do I want to be when I grow up, with different eyes. Maybe you want to foster bunny rabbits, dogs and puppies, cats and kittens or become a wildlife carer. This is hopefully the age when you settle into the best version of yourself.


Putting yourself down

This is guaranteed to take you on a trip down memory lane at 3am. We think we are what other people tell us we are, but we are not.

We are three people.

Who other people tell us who we are.

Who we tell ourselves who we are.

And who we actually are.

We are stardust, light and consciousness operating and driving a corporeal body. Who we are is a construct based on what we choose to remember and what we choose to forget. When you find a solid sense of identity, with values, beliefs and passions, self-talk starts to change.


Overthinking

It depends where overthinking takes you. Being a psychotherapist, people’s behaviour and motivations, including my own, fascinate me. I especially love helping clients connect current behaviour to past experiences when growing up. There are many patterns and links we play out over a lifetime. Until we become aware of our pattern, we are doomed to repeat it. So, underthinking is the problem here.

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