The Best New Advice for 2011!!!


I haven’t written since October, a realization which is a little numbing considering how many ideas for posts I have jotted down on napkins in coffee shops and on the back of receipts. It seems that some of my best “thoughts from the couch” actually occur in the aisles of grocery stores or, like this morning, listening to talk radio shows on National Public Radio.

Five months is a long time though and my shoebox of writing ideas is filled to the brim with scraps of paper. I had wanted to write about Halloween and the notion of irrational fears versus rational fears. During November, I wanted to write about my mother’s birthday, Thanksgiving and several other small ideas such as how the smallest details in my life, such as the finest cup of coffee or a cheese sample at the grocery store can turn my day to the positive. In December, I had outlined posts for my sobriety date, December 17th, to talk about the week that led up to my entering treatment as well as a few chapters from my memoir I am writing about me and my mother’s recovery’s as family members and how to set boundaries while still supportive of one another. And of course I wanted to write about Christmas. Every year it is important for me to write a piece about some lesson I’ve learned at Christmas with hopes of it being a small gift to my clients. This past year, I was going to write about the last Christmas Eve I spent with my mom on the mountainside in Tennessee, stuck in the middle of the night, while we tried to find ourselves off of the slippery road.

January brought the new year and with every new beginning comes a time for renewal. This year is my year to be my most authentic self, creative and loud, colorful and positive, thoughtful, challenging and risk taking. I had an entire post ready to print and then was criticized for something I had written so I withdrew, which is no excuse, and waited once again.

I’ve asked my readers for tons of suggestions and they have compliantly given me months full of ideas so I really have no reason not to write, but until today, I didn’t really feel it in my soul. Several times when I have been down, Alex has suggested I write, stating that I seem happiest when I am creative and writing, which is probably true. So today I decided to write. I sat here in front of my computer, unsure of what to write, and almost closed the computer with the notion that I would just put it off until later. And then I smiled realizing I definitely had something to write.

There are certain things we know as truths in our lives. I am also a believer that knowing your weaknesses and being willing to change them to strengths can be one of our greatest learning experiences. If you don’t know by now, I believe that everything that happens to us happens for a reason and that life is full of translations and lessons waiting to be revealed.

Recently during a session, a client and I were talking about strengths and weaknesses and he stated, “don’t ever give anyone a reason not to like you.” I smiled and listened as he shared something, which I considered small, which had bothered him. “You are an amazing therapist and I love the insight you have, and being that I have been to several therapists, I know your worth in my life. But not everyone is like me and people look for reasons to not like others. So never, ever, give anyone a reason not to like you.”

Later that day, I thought about what he had said and that day, put into place a policy which would change some of my procedures because he felt it would make my practice better. And then I began looking at the weaknesses in myself that would keep, not only my clients, by my friends, family members, boyfriend, whoever, away from me if they were to focus on those weaknesses.

Earlier this week I made a list of those weaknesses and changed them to positive statements and wrote them on a Post-It Note above my desk which, as I read every day, reminds me of how to turn my weaknesses into strengths and how to grow as a person and be even better than I am already.

My client was so right on with his statement. It was really the best advice I’ve been given in a very, long time. “Don’t give anyone a reason not to like you.” We all want to be liked. We all want to do good work, have close friends and make a positive impact on the world. So, if there is anything that is standing in your way, turn it around, make is a strength and become the person you always wanted to be. Because we’re on borrowed time as it is!

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2 thoughts on “The Best New Advice for 2011!!!

  1. Pete, I usually feel your insights are right on point. However, I gotta say, I can’t agree with you on this one. I may go to the other extreme, turning people off and offending people a little too much. But if you’re being you and staying focused on your path, whatever that may be, there will be people who don’t like you for it. You will eventually insult somebody else’s ideology. And, sometimes people find the truth offensive. And there are some assholes who you might not want to like you, when you’re faced with a choice between them not liking you or not being true to your principles. I don’t want people like that to have anything to do with me, but some people are in your life whether you like it or not.

    Intentionally offending people may be bad (but at times effective), but in the end, fuck em if they don’t like who you are.

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