Recognizing Progress During the Process

It can be difficult to realize the growth and progress you have had when you don’t perceive yourself as having “arrived” at the destination. While I’d argue that growth and development are lifelong processes, many people begin therapy with specific changes they would like to make; they have an end goal in mind, and it can get easy to dismiss or overlook the progress and changes that occur on the way to this end goal. So what are some things to look for?

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Perfectionism

The problem with perfectionism is that [newsflash] perfection is unattainable. When you are bound to perfectionism as a means of coping with shame, you might find yourself avoiding enjoyable activities because of the fear that you will perform imperfectly and then be subject to the pain of shame. You may find yourself confined to the space of what is comfortable, familiar, or “easy”. Growth and change come from discomfort or trying something new. Feeling “stuck” can be a product of perfectionism keeping you from growth and change.

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Coping with Disappointment

Disappointment can be a tough beast to battle. I personally tend to be a planner, a bit of a perfectionist. I like to have a clear idea of how events will transpire, and have known well the rigidity that can come with this sort of tunnel vision. With this can come feelings of frustration and disappointment when things inevitably veer off course; it is easy to get wrapped up in ideas of what should have been, and then to cope with this disappointment in ways that are, actually, not that helpful. Here are a few things to keep in mind when disappointment sneaks up on you.

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Be Supported by Those Around You

“I just hate asking for help.” I hear this all the time- in my personal life, in my office from clients. And very often I am hearing this from people who really pride themselves in the support that they are able to provide to others; from people who would likely be the first ones to drop what they are doing if a loved one asks for help. They might know on an intellectual level that the support is there, but feel challenged in experiencing this support.

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