September 29, 2011

"Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts."

"I've found that the very qualities we're most ashamed of, the ones we keep trying to reshape or hide, are in fact the key to finding real love. I call them core gifts."

52 comments:

edutcher said...

This is why The Blonde thinks I would make a good counselor.

She says I understand, "I can't get through this" .

Quayle said...

Best thing I've seen on this general topic is Brene Brown's TED lecture.

bagoh20 said...

Lemons = lemon-aide.

Psychotherapsits tend to mostly see these kind of people, but the rest of us already take his point to a fault, including myself. We tend to justify our faults as being our strength, reflexively and defensively.

rhhardin said...

A sense of humor is not mentioned, so it's probably written for women.

Richard Dolan said...

So Susan comes to "honor [her own] gift," as she pursues the lovely inner logic of Gift Therapy to turn her "deepest wound" into her "greatest giftt." Gift to whom?

Ann's next post asks about what makes 'manly men,' in a discussion centering on O and his troubles. Here's one thing: reading psycho-babble like "Gift theory" makes you want to throw up.

Paddy O said...

Hey! Pop Christianity find a non-religious version. Even the language stays the same.

Just because it's pop, doesn't mean it's wrong, though.

In Christian terms, we believe that the Holy Spirit gives people unique gifts which are to be used in the context of a community (both church and more broadly). No one has the exact same mix, but there are some basic elements that can be categorized. Sort of like color, with basic colors providing new and unique colors as they are mixed.

Discerning one's strengths and weaknesses for what they are, rather than how society insists you act, is vital to being content in life. An introvert who is comfortable with their introversion is much more happy than one trying to be the life of the party, even though society says that real fun involves going out all the time where people are plentiful.

At the same time, sometimes weaknesses really are weaknesses. Like Bagoh says, all sorts of dysfunctions can be justified, and we can find all sorts of people to justify our justifications, leading to a celebration of dysfunctions.

So, so many marriages break up because of this.

ricpic said...

I guess this guy never heard that you can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

Kit said...

Honesty, humility and acceptance. If you've got these, you've got true freedom.

Bender said...

Is it totally messed up people who go to psychotherapists?

Or is it people who go to psychotherapists like this fool who then become totally messed up?

He does a good job quacking about empowerment (which he confuses with "gift"), but has not a clue as to what passion, humility, grace, generousity, or gifts are.

Having a "passion so powerful" that you are a slave to passion, that passion controls you, rather than you controlling your passions, is not a good, much less a "gift" to be cherished. Likewise, being so weak that you are a slave to circumstance and external forces, powerless to control what happens to you, is not humility or that mystical power that we call grace. In both cases, the person is deprived of essential freedom, and the denial of freedom is anything but a gift.

A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. How many lives are made more difficult because of these people?

Pogo said...

Narcissists honor their gift, as do serial killers.

Therapists have a hard time coming to any other advice than self-congratulatory pablum.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Bender said...

Is it totally messed up people who go to psychotherapists?

Most people go because they need help somewhere.

And not all therapists talk in circles like this one.

ricpic said...

I'd go to T. Mink/Trey if I were in trouble but I've never been in trouble har har har.

Henry said...

@Paddy O -- I always appreciate your graceful theology.

Contra to Richard Dolan and Bender I think this particular idea does offer some substance. If someone is in therapy he or she already has something driving them there. The therapist isn't going to make that problem go away. The therapists needs to give the suffering person a turning point, a way to cut cross-country away from the highway of doom.

This seems like a useful way to give someone a turning point. I don't think the point is "celebrate being a jerk" or "hooray, I'm a coward" but rather it is to start with a given and direct it toward better ends.

E.M. Davis said...

Wait, where's Crack?

JohnJ said...

Much of psychotherapy is "reframing," but few of the better therapists dress up their guidance with these types of platitudes. Vulnerabilities can be relabeled, but one often remains vulnerable in the real sense of being inadequate to the demands of a given situation. (I've noted that laypersons seem to appreciate this fact more that therapists.) To avoid the self-inflicted wounds of life, one must either remedying personal deficiencies or avoid the situations that make these deficiencies so apparent.

(This looks darker than I intended, but you get the idea.)

Bender said...

Before all else, a psychotherapist must not make things worse by reinforcing and enabling the very problems that brought the patient to him. What this guy is promoting is feel-goodism, which doesn't help anyone or anything, except his bank account.

Paddy O said...

Thanks, Henry.

I like your point about finding that turning point. I might be wrong, but it seems like that was what Jesus was so good at. He was very incisive about people, but often would turn their faults around into a more productive, healing direction -- physically and emotionally and spiritually.

Sins very rarely come out of a desire to be evil, so often they are wrong expressions of a good desire or need, like being part of a community, or wanting to feel valued, or whatever. I think the trick, whether through therapy or spirituality, is to find this underlying issue and redirect it towards something that heightens a thriving internal and external healthiness.

I don't want to speak for him (like I could!), but it seems like this is Crack's mission too. He rages against false forms of justification as he seeks a very honest assertion of people being who they truly are, warts and all.

There's a distinct form of grace in that sort of openness and honesty.

t-man said...

Whereas some see themselves as kleptomaniacs, I see them as delighting in the products of mankind, yet free from confining notions of "ownership".

Ken said...

The following epiphany is the type of insight "therapists" have?

"'I was right all along!' she said. 'Those things that bothered me about my boyfriends bothered me for a reason. I wasn't crazy. I just didn't honor my gift and I found men who were all too happy to agree with me.'"

So stoking the flames of feeling like you're always right is the road to happiness? That you're fine and the problem is everyone else?

I've always seen this lead to the road of sorrow and loneliness.

Regards,
Ken

MTN said...

A man's man will not read this article.

Ann Althouse said...

Speaking of the Bible, this reminds me of: "The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone..."

Psalm 118

Carol_Herman said...

You know, it's a toss up.

Some people who feel unhappy ... decide to drink. Or smoke.

Others look to fortune tellers ... because it must be written on your palm, when you're having streaks of bad luck.

Talking to a psycho-therapist-psychologist, is just a 2 year old searching for mommy. And, it's more mumbo jumbo than anything.

Heck, you could get lost in a good book!

By IF you're choosing the psycho-therapy option, remember this. When you grow older ... Or as Mort Sahl said when he was 55. And, he was asked if he had ever "tried" psycho-analysis back in the 1950's ... When it was really popular! He said, "No. But if I did I'd go back for a refund."

Now, if you want to know if you have "gifts." (Let's say, art, drawing, sculpting, or dance). And, your parents disapprove ... So, instead, you go into business. Or become a lawyer. You've been cheated.

You believed junk you were told by your parents ... as if when they told you santa claus and the tooth fairy were real ... And, you've never let these lies GO.

Want to feel better? Recognize BULLSHIT when you hear it. The fumes don't have to sail up your nose.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, blogging this quote, I wasn't advocating the theory. I just thought it would be interesting to talk about.

My own inclination is to use it to ask each of you to think of an example of a person with a wound that who would benefit from thinking of the wound as a gift and then a counterexample of a person that would go horribly wrong that way.

raf said...

So stoking the flames of feeling like you're always right is the road to happiness?

Maybe not, but it may be the road to repeat business and prosperity for the therapist.

Carol_Herman said...

Wonderful story from Richard Feynman. (Told by Freeman Dyson.)

Feynman took great pleasure in being a dad. He said he wouldn't pressure his kids at all. If they wanted to grow up doing something else (other than physics, he wouldn't care one iota.)

And, then came the quote: "Your kids always get ya. Take, for instance, my son Carl. Who is a sophmore at MIT. And, he tells me he wants to major in philosophy."

I love that observation. Simple. And, a bulls eye. Children are born to discover the meanings in life all on their own.

Loving them is unconditional.

t-man said...

Is this article about the "builders" rejecting the "cornerstone"? Or a therapist trying to convince a foam rock intended to cover up a gas vent in a suburban front yard that he is really a "cornerstone"?

deborah said...

"A sense of humor is not mentioned, so it's probably written for women."

Hardy har har har.

Bender said...

that was what Jesus was so good at . . . I think the trick, whether through therapy or spirituality, is to find this underlying issue and redirect it
________________

That is key. As Jesus said, "you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." Note these two extremely crucial things here -- truth and freedom. The human person is made for truth and freedom.

Blessed are the meek, but genuine meekness is a freely chosen act, not something that is imposed upon you by circumstance. Passion too can be a virtue (e.g. "blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness"), but only when it too is a freely chosen act, when you are the master of your passion, not when passion is the master of you.

Jesus, above all else, wants to free us to be the men and women that we were made to be. So long as we are not free, we will continue to be unhappy.

deborah said...

A la bago, 'reframing' is one of the hallmarks of a relatively happy existence. It's the people who have it all, yet focus on minor, passing troubles who are miserable.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bender said...

an example of a person with a wound that who would benefit from thinking of the wound as a gift
___________________

Well, the concept of "offer it up" has been around for quite a long time. The theologies of redemptive suffering, and of bringing good out of evil, is quite extensive.

Michael Haz said...

Best therapist. Ever.

Henry said...

@jamboree -- When I was in art school my dad used to clip out and mail me newspaper articles about how "any degree can set you up for a good job."

That was a different era, though.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

..think of ... a counterexample of a person that would go horribly wrong that way.

Charlie Sheen.

john said...

My own inclination is to use it to ask each of you to think of an example of a person with a wound that who would benefit from thinking of the wound as a gift and then a counterexample of a person that would go horribly wrong that way.

In other news, Jarod Loughner's psychologist testified in Tucson yesterday that he "may well remain depressed" because he now recognized he killed people and "he feels guilty".

The article doesn't go into whether she is attempting to help Jarod see his personal wound any differently.

Paddy O said...

"So long as we are not free, we will continue to be unhappy."

Yes! That's the core of <a href="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=romans%208&version=CEB>Romans 8</a>.

traditionalguy said...

The Braves are looking for their core gift this morning. Maybe being losers is a core gift.

So what are the core gifts chosen for us?

The Myers_Briggs personality types are hard to prove but are still good to learn if only because they do see the value in each different type.

This psychologist does that for his patients. He makes them see value in what they were told to believe were shortcomings.

Paddy O said...

Psalm 118 Great example, at the core of Christian beliefs.

There's also 1 Corinthian chapter one:

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.

30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Carol_Herman said...

It was a compliment that was paid to Richard Feynman. He was called "A teacher's teacher."

And, I think this decription, Ann, fits you, too.

A teacher's teacher is ENTHUSED about the subject! When they talk about what they teach ... they light up. And, they become animated.

(Feynman said something about teaching high school kids physics. When the state of california was trying to decide IF this should be taught in every single classroom.)

Feynman said that was about the worst thing you could do. It would bring in teachers who didn't understand physics. And, this would lead kids to hating the subject.

Here, at this blog, (just as in your classrooms, where students choose the courses they take). You're animated in getting across to people ideas about how law which are adapted as the engines to make systems run) ... really applies in our American SPECIAL CASE.

Opinions aren't shared in what this means.

But ideas are TAUGHT similar to the way a baby gets born ... by the task of getting something OUT. And, into the open. Into the oxygen supply.

I'm sure there are even gifted psycho-analysts who feel the same about driving away the cobwebs of the mind. So, while I wouldn't do it, it has its benefits. It's like midwifing ...

A good pair of hands can make all the difference in terms of living outcomes.

A teacher's teacher ... teaches others how to simplify the complicated ... to make it easier for a layman to understand and ENJOY! (There's lots of enjoyment that comes to people for figuring things out.)

Carol_Herman said...

I have a wooden plaque that I hung above my large bay window. It reads:

"Being happy doesn't mean everything's perfect. It means you decide to see beyond the imperfections."

And, as a parent I found the best attribute to be unconditional love. What's nice is that kids give this back to you.

And, unconditional love means NO GUILT TRIPS! Nada. Did you know some Jewish Mothers were naturals at unconditional love? When some religious bullshit came along, they told the truth.

My kid was told "no santa claus." "No tooth fairy." He got gifts. And, for a tooth he saw me go into my wallet, and trade him some dollars for his tooth. (Enough cash always meant he could go to Toys R Us ... and back then ... it meant picking out a Nintendo Game. Which ALL the neighborhood kids came over ... because they wanted to play. So he had to learn about "sharing." Knowing when his friends went home, he could play as long as he wanted, "exclusively.")

Einstein said "Time is relative." It's also relative to children.

You don't get much "time" ... because their growing up process is on SPEED.

traditionalguy said...

Calvinism uses total depravity as a precaution against not totally repenting and trusting God alone for salvation.

That is a backhanded way to get people to see that they are free of both core gifts and core sin all by the same miracle.

That taught the counter-reformation Catholics a lesson in reason.

But it makes all supernatural encounters unnecessary. That is not meeting the needs of man for spiritual experiences anymore, and the Reformed Church is shrinking faster than the arctic ice.

Fred4Pres said...

And you wonder my new ageism fills Crack with disgust?

Here is an inspirational speech. One of the best in film.

Now I agree that our faults are often our biggest strenghts. Okay. That observation has been made for thousands of years. Nothing original there. It has also been the subject to tragedies for about 3000 years.

But there is also right and wrong. And we generally know it when we face it. But we often choose the wrong path because doing right is "too damn hard." If you want to jump ahead start at 5:00.

Fred4Pres said...

And you wonder why newagism fill Crack with digust...

I share his disgust.

traditionalguy said...

Thanks for the wisdom in your 12:06 comment, Carol.

Perfection is a form of cruelty.

Joe said...

@Henry, When I was about to go to film school the first time my dad and older siblings used to clip out and mail me newspaper articles about what a complete waste of time it was.

Which does raise the question; is an MfA in Art more or less useless than a BA in Cinema?

Freeman Hunt said...

This is how you can make big, easy money as a therapist.

You take someone who has a problem bad enough that it is pathological. You do not fix the problem, but you do consistently feed the person affirmation.

The person becomes a forever patient: he loves coming to you and never gets better.

Steady money.

David said...

Q: "What is your greatest weakness?"

A: "I just care too much."

David said...

Carol sez: And, as a parent I found the best attribute to be unconditional love.

Were you clear on the difference between unconditional love and unconditional approval? A lot of parents (and kids) can't seem to tell the difference.

ricpic said...

Q: " What is your greatest weakness?"

A: "I just care too much."



Wicked funny, David.

Strelnikov said...

What a load of crap. And I say that as someone married (30+ years)to a clinical psychologist.

BimBim said...

@Henry, When I was about to go to film school the first time my dad and older siblings used to clip out and mail me newspaper articles about what a complete waste of time it was.
Paid Forum Posting Job