5 Therapy Thoughts

As I sit back to catch a breath after the undeniable ~chaos~ that the beginning of the holiday season brings (and the holiday hustle from Cyber Week), I realize it’s been a hot sec since we’ve just shared thoughts here. And really, just sharing musings on everyday life and tidbits of inspiration in the hopes of giving you something good to chew on for the week was always a cornerstone of CUR, and personally, I’ve missed it. A few weeks ago, I started a lil’ series on Instagram Stories called “Therapy Thoughts,” where I share any particularly shareworthy sentiments from my therapist for anyone who might benefit from her words of wisdom. And it was a hit – so although I do have those videos saved to a highlight on my profile for you to refer back to anytime (look for the little brain emoji!), I wanted to give them a permanent place here for anyone who, like me, loveloveloves to read (and re-read) to process + digest information.

The therapist I’ve gone to on and off for a few years is Christian (specifically, Catholic) like me, so much of what we talk about does have that faith-based element to it. If that’s not your cuppa joe, no problemo – just giving the heads up since we’ve got a healthy mix of spiritual + scientifically-backed advice below. 🙂

ALSO, a few of the below points aren’t directly derived from therapy, but from good conversations with girlfriends or other self-help-ish stuff I’ve discovered lately. Sharing regardless because that’s what friends are for, right?

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  • God will give us the desires of our heart – when they’re in alignment with His.

Psalm 37:4 is one of the most often quote (and maybe MIS-quoted?) Bible verses. (it reads: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”) Sometimes I think modern society has turned it into “God will give us anything we want if we pray hard enough,” and that’s simply not true. God is our Father – not a magic genie in a lamp. Maybe we’ve all been there – wanting something so freaking badly – but hearing no. And no again. And still no – and maybe starting to question if God really DOES have our best interests at heart or if we can trust His word, because HE SAID we get the desires of our heart, right?!?! While He will give us the desires of our heart, they still have to be in alignment with HIS heart and HIS plan for our lives, which is always far greater than our own understanding. And just like any good father, sometimes the answer is no – and it might not make sense or feel fair, but our job isn’t to make full sense of it. Our job is to lean into trusting surrender, developing discernment for His will in our lives and saying yes to being blindly led forward by Grace, no matter how dang difficult that may be in a moment. 

  • Control the outPUT – not the outCOME.

I fought Karen on this one, folks. 😉 As an overachieving Enneagram 3, this was admittedly not what I wanted to hear – but she’s right. For context, we were talking about goal-setting and how the world views it, versus how GOD intends it and how complicated it can be in today’s world of “manifesting” (which, in and of itself, does not always – or maybe ever – align with Christianity…but that’s a conversation for another day. 😉 ). I’ve fallen victim to it myself – the idea that we can totally do the dang thing and hit all the goals and dream all the dreams and just MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN OURSELVES! But…what happens if/when it doesn’t happen? Are you goal setting wrong? Are you “manifesting” incorrectly? Are you just not meant to do XYZ? It can get confusing and complicated REAL quick if your brain runs on overthinking overdrive like mine. 😉 The advice: Control the outPUT, not the outCOME. At some point, we have to acknowledge that the only thing we can fully control in any moment are our choices in that moment. And what we put IN is what’s most closely correlated to what is gotten OUT. So instead of obsessing over outcomes that can (and are) undoubtedly, undeniably influenced by outside variables and external factors, do what you can with what you’ve got – and give the rest to God.

  • Set goals based on a process – not the outcome.

Which brings us to the HOW. Because when Karen first said the above to me, I just said BUT HOW KAREN. HOW. If I’m not setting goals based on outcomes…how the heck do I set goals?! It honestly felt like over a decade of goal setting was gone out the window since most goals are inherently end results. Goal: make $10,000. Goal: lose 10 pounds. Goal: get promoted to manager. …all specific outcomes and endpoints. They’re crystal clear and defined, which most goal-setting experts recommend, but they also don’t allow for much wiggle room if/when God’s got a different (read: better) plan. Instead, setting goals based on a PROCESS still works you *towards* an outcome – they just don’t lock you into one set endpoint. Example: goal to work out five days this week (versus losing 10 pounds). You are in full control of moving your body five days this week – maybe you’ll lose 10 pounds, maybe you’ll lose 20 pounds, maybe you’ll lose zero pounds but you’ll create a new lifelong good habit or discover a new love of pilates or have your newfound commitment to consistency carry over to another important area in your life.

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  • Allow God to do greater things than your plan.

Shoutout to my friend Beth for this nugget that I think she shared somewhere on Instagram? But I read it and was like WHOA, YES. Sometimes we get so locked in with laser focus on what WE plan for our lives, that we forget to be curious along the way. Curiosity is something my therapist has shared a lot about – about the beauty, value, and importance in remaining curious of God’s plan instead of totally controlling our own. As humans, we tend to think we know ourselves best. And on Earth, that may ring true. But there is One who knows us even better than we know ourselves, and if we lean into trusting that His plan supercedes ours (and give it the space to trump it), that’s where the magic happens.

  • Tell your brain what to do instead of allowing it to take over.

This one’s for the “triggered” folks. 😉 Have you met people where EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE is “triggering” to them in some way/shape/form?? I saw/shared the best quote on Stories last week that said “An unhealed person can find offense in pretty much anything someone does. A healed person understands that the actions of others has absolutely nothing to do with them. Each day you get to decide which one you will be.” Now, this is not at all to invalidate anyone’s feelings – of course, if you have unresolved trauma in your life, just “deciding” to be healed isn’t necessarily possible (or healthy). But remember what we just said about setting process-based goals? What are you doing TODAY to feel and be better tomorrow? Healing takes time, and it also takes a degree of ownership; another knockout quote I’ve heard is “trauma is not your fault, but healing is your responsibility.” One tip Karen shared with me is part of re-programming your brain if/when it is “triggered” (total transparency, I’ve done a LOT of work around resolving trauma in my life, from stuff in my childhood to Liv’s birth, etc). When triggered, our brain’s gut reaction may often be fight or flight – we sortof black out and go into autopilot, and our trauma response kicks in (fun fact: trauma is stored in your amygdala in your brain but not as a story like other memories – it stores it as experienced by the five senses). Oftentimes, that initial trauma response is very emotional and possibly physical and not necessarily “rational,” because it’s more of a REACTION than an intentional response. So, part of the “work” in helping yourself heal revolves around re-programming your brain’s response, which involves TELLING your brain what to do when “triggered” instead of allowing it to take over. This process may look different for everyone based on what you specifically experienced, of course, but I’ll share a personal example in case it helps. 🙂

I was diagnosed with PTSD years ago from being bullied as a kid. As a then-grown-up-in-therapy, I had no idea that I was still having an actual trauma response in certain situations – I just knew that my emotional and physical reactions in some circumstances weren’t really matching up to what my logical brain was telling me. So in working through it, we identified some triggers (which, as an adult, were seeing groups of girls doing things together where I was excluded or feeling like someone was gossiping about me behind my back). We noted the spiral my brain was heading down (which was often assigning meaning to it, as if it were personal and intentional, and internalizing that as an attack against myself), and we re-wrote the script in my head so that if/when the situation arose again in the future (which it often will/does!), my brain can go do a more truthful path instead of operating from a place of past hurt. 


So. Lots of nuggets there – hopefully helpful – to consider as we kickoff another week. 🙂 

If you find any of the above valuable, pleasepleaseplease feel free to share this with a friend who may also benefit from reading – I know we can’t all get to therapy ourselves or have as many resources at our disposal, so if it helps, spread the lovelovelove!