For some time I have wanted to catalogue some of the lessons I have learned in therapy, the epiphanies. So, I am starting this one off with a discussion on weaknesses.

This was with my final therapist; the one who, after I spent 13 years working with various therapists, finally said the magic words “I think we are done here. I think you have things under control, let’s not schedule any more sessions. You can always call me if you start to struggle and need help”. THAT was a good day (an all caps day). But, back to the post…weaknesses.

This was maybe…5 years ago…and my weekly therapy sessions had been focused on recognising my weaknesses for about 4 months (those of you who are bipolar will probably understand why I needed 4 months of weekly therapy to be ‘taught’ how to recognise my weaknesses). So, my therapist determined that I had learned the lesson and my next session would focus on how to deal with the weaknesses I now knew how to acknowledge. Fast forward to the next weekly session.

I walk in her office and see a white board with two columns drawn on it. The two columns are labelled ‘weaknesses I am willing to fix’ and ‘weaknesses I am willing to live with’. I can still remember the moment I saw it. We all do this, without thinking about it. But to see it in writing, to realise that I had control, that I could choose…was…a moment.

I remember her saying something brilliantly obvious like, your life is short. We all have a limited time in each day to enjoy life, we all have limited energy. How much time do you want to spend doing the work needed to change your weaknesses? It’s hard work, painful work. Which weaknesses are worth it? You can’t reasonably expect to fix them all; and, if you tried, you would be in constant misery – so, don’t.

Pick the ones that are worth the suffering involved in changing them and let the rest go. And she really meant “let them go” as in do not beat yourself up when you display them. Do not try to fix them in any way. When the weakness appears say something like “oh well, this is just me and it’s not something I am willing to fix” and move on. I think this was the key, I had to be able to let them go. I had to realise that they did not make me less…anything.

I still have this running two column table in my head, it changes. I might fix a weakness and decide to move one of the weaknesses in the ‘not fix’ column over to the ‘fix column’ or I might just leave things as they are.

It was one of the most empowering lessons I have ever learned.

It’s the simple things in life we forget. Why do you make something so easy so complicated?


~ by aikaterine on May 11, 2008.

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