How to Set Your Life Straight

You can set your life straight but this means doing two painful things.  You must be honest where you are and clearly define what you want.  This is no easy task. If clinical psychology has taught us anything, it’s we’re not objective about our strengths and weaknesses. One problem is we cast all that is ugly about us into the shadow. In which case, the pain of the present is coming to terms with the demons swept under the rug. Another problem is the regret we accumulate over time. Some of these regrets are natural. Others are the world cutting you a raw deal. Maybe you’re even taking too much responsibility for what isn’t in your hands. The pain here is the unnecessary guilt. Another angle is holding onto your personal failings too tightly. Especially in Western cultures, we are far too hard on ourselves. It’s bad enough life is a struggle. Do we have to be our worst and most unfair critic as well? Making matters worse, we process pain more profoundly than positive emotions at a ratio of 4 to 1. How we feel out real success isn’t even balanced.

Setting your sights on the future is no picnic either. Once you set a goal for yourself, a judge automatically appears. The deeper the value we raise up, the deeper the potential pain we establish if we fail to achieve it. Who loves taking tests?  It is much easier to hide behind, “it depends” or to allow others to set the terms of life for you.  While easier, you cease being the master of your own life course – from what you want for dinner (the small indignities) to what you want to do, professionally.  Mom always wanted a doctor. 

In either the present or the future, the task of life is being able to fully embrace the paradox of our being. We are shockingly great and noble and equally dreadful and a danger to ourselves and others. Each of us has the potential to develop a deep and meaningful vision. Yet, that vision may be a tar pit we pour our hopes into.

However, there is one other thing every branch of clinical psychology has taught us. Willingly and courageously facing this paradox is an extremely powerful way forward. By being fully in tune with reality – every part of it – we cease being at odds with it. Reality becomes an ally that helps us transform into something much greater and beautiful: compassionately fair.

Yonasan Bender, SW graduated from Hebrew University’s School of Social Work. He has his psychotherapy practice at The Place: The Jerusalem Centre for Emotional Wellbeing. To share your thoughts, experiences, questions, or a different perspective, you can reach Yonasan Bender at 053-808-0435 or email him by clicking HERE. To learn more about him and his work, click HERE.

About The Place

The Place is where therapists, individuals and the community connect to create safety, strength and success. At The Place, men and women discover the freedom and safety to move past those issues which are preventing them from living life to its fullest. Our goal is to help each of our clients discover his or her own strengths as powerful tools in the healing process.

The Place is a multi-faceted clinic offering both individual and group therapy, support groups, interactive evenings and lectures, educational classes, and drop-in hours. Our comfortable, confidential, relaxed environment allows clients and their families to explore sensitive issues and create positive change. We believe that the key to mental health and emotional well-being is inside you.

At The Place, male and female therapists work independently or as a team to explore sensitive issues and facilitate positive change for individuals, couples and families from all sectors of the community. Some of our specialties include emotional eating, grief counseling, internet addiction, phobias, anxiety & OCD, childhood challenges, premarital counseling, couples therapy and intimacy issues, postpartum support, personality disorders, psychiatric care, and more. Connect with a caring professional in person at our comfortable Jerusalem offices, or by video, phone, and text. We’re here for you.

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