I mentioned this blog post to a client today “It’s Normal to Take A While Before Your Work Is as Good as Your Ambitions”. It’s from Melanie Pinola at a blog called Lifehacker.
In summarizing comments from an well known American Public Radio Host named Ira Glass, Melanie writes “When you’re just starting out making stuff, your work may disappoint you. It can be years before it ever catches up to your taste and has that killer special thing you want it to have. This is normal. Work through it.”
I think this applies to creative pursuits defined in a very broad way (e.g. going to university and starting creating work for assignments). I also think it applies to when people start therapy and are working on their life, thoughts, emotions, and behaviours in a creative way (which is what therapy is).
When you start as a client in therapy, you’re unlikely to be as “good at it” as you’d like to be. The concepts can be tricky and its difficult work (from the client perspective – since the concepts, models, tools, and techniques are much newer to you than they are to me!).
The Lifehacker post has a picture above it that says that, when you experience disappointment at not living up to your own expectations, “You just gotta fight your way through”. I don’t agree with that part.
People who are trying to make something happen have typically been doing a lot of internal “fighting” already, so that’s not usually the answer to making progress. Usually people find it more helpful to develop a softer, gentler, relationship with whatever feelings and thoughts arrive in response to trying new behaviours. This involves learning to not see strong feelings as a threat to achieving your dreams and being willing to move forward WITH any strong feelings rather than trying to banish the feelings before taking steps forward in the direction of goals. This can be achieved in a soft, gentle way rather than doing more fighting and struggling.
* Note that I’m not saying people tend to be in therapy for years before they get good at it! (usually takes a few months)