counseling

Counseling & Coaching

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A counselor’s job is to offer guidance and help his or her clients live their very best lives. They appear to be the wisest of the wise, all-knowing, and at times pretty perfect—but the truth is that they struggle just like us. And they have to work at this crazy thing called life too. Below are some of their favorite mottos, which prove to help both them and their clients live better lives:

    1) “Practice makes progress.”

    Therapist and Director at the Baltimore Therapy Center Raffi Bilek’s favorite life motto is a spin on the classic “practice makes perfect” phrase. “People usually go with practice makes perfect, but guess what? It’s not true! Nobody is perfect, and nobody will ever get to perfect. It is much more important to measure ourselves by whether we are growing in the right direction, not whether we have gotten there. Folks who try to be perfect tend to get anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed when they can’t make it. People who recognize that life is about the journey tend to be much more satisfied with their accomplishments and their lives.”

    2) “There is only one success; to be able to live your life in your own way.”

    This quote by Christopher Morley is a favorite of John McGrail, PhD, clinical hypnotherapist and self-improvement expert. “The reason I love this is that if one embraces the concept, one can eliminate the horrible fear and specter or failure!” he says. “Life can be what it’s supposed to be, a marvelous learning experience. You make a choice, you get a result; if it’s one you like you successfully learned something that works for you. If not, you successfully learned something that doesn’t work for you. Bye-bye failure! Then you can focus on living your life in your own way.”

    3) “First, put on your own oxygen mask.”

    “A motto that I believe we all need to live by is, ‘first, put on your own oxygen mask,’” says Ann Dillard, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. “Self-care is of uttermost important. As mental health therapists or any other caregiver, we cannot give what we do not have. By taking care of our own need, we will be equipped to work for and support others to optimal health. This is also the best way to model to others how to take care of themselves.”

    4) “One day at a time.”

    Dr. Sal Raichbach, PsyD, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, says the motto “one day at a time” is a great one to live by. “This phrase is synonymous with the 12-step recovery movement, but it’s something we can all relate to. One day at a time helps people bring themselves back to the present,” he explains. “The reality of life is that we cannot predict tomorrow, and wasting energy worrying about it just keeps us from enjoying today. Breaking life down into manageable pieces makes the future much less overwhelming and keeps us at ease in the present moment.”

    5) “Don’t expect others to give to you what you aren’t giving yourself.”

    LaShasta Bell, Licensed Professional Counselor, says this motto shines light on the importance of self-care. “We often seek support, validation, admiration, etc. from others, yet we don’t take the time to first give it to ourselves. We become disappointed when others fail to meet our expectations, not realizing we teach others how to treat us and in order to do so, we have to treat ourselves well first!”

    6) “Without perseverance, talent is a barren bed.”

    This quote by Welsh is Clinical Psychologist Forrest Talley’s chosen motto, which he says everyone could benefit from. “In today’s ‘hurry-up’ world with instant pleasures and quickly passing fades, it is difficult for many to appreciate the power of persistence over time. The value of persistence, however, is similar to that of compound interest, something Einstein jested was the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World,’ and ‘the most powerful force in the universe.’ A focused, persistent effort, wisely applied throughout one’s life, leads to great success and fulfillment,” he explains. “This is true, whether it is applied to financial matters, scholarly learning, the acquisition of musical skills, the building of friendships, what have you.”

    7) “Slow down to speed up.”

    Naphtali Roberts, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, chooses this motto because it reminds you to refocus your mind and take a breather. “In a world that won’t stop moving, it is easy to believe that the most productive individuals are the individuals that never stop moving. This belief is a fallacy,” she says. “The most effective individuals are those who have figured out how to slow their pace so they are mindfully making choices and not feeling the pressure to react to the busyness of life.”

    8) “To be outstanding, get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

    Rachel Gersten, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, believes the above motto could help us all live our best lives. “So much of what I work on with all clients, regardless of why they are seeing me, is being okay with being uncomfortable. Regardless of what area of their lives people want to work on, all growth requires some discomfort, and too often people shy away from that,” she says. “If people believe they can handle stepping outside of their comfort zone, there isn’t much they aren’t able to accomplish in their lives.”

    9) “As within, so without.”

    “This is a universal law, and I think a critical life motto for our times,” says Life and Business Coach Prue Blennerhassett. “We are inundated with external stimulus, with choice, with distractions. We seek validation from outside of ourselves, we measure success with material objects. We’re disappointed when the outside world continues to dissatisfy, yet it is simply a reflection of what’s going on inside of us. When we recognize this, our focus naturally shifts to our internal world and to cultivating a positive relationship with ourselves.”

    10) “Choose love.”

    Dr. Leesha, a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist, says it’s easy to focus on all the bad in the world, but that we should instead choose love and live by love. “When we view relationships and circumstances through a warped lens, it negatively impacts our expectations of others. We expect hostility and dole out bitterness and anger in return. Instead, I challenge myself, my loved ones, and my patients to choose love. Choose to see the goodness in others, consider that those who hurt you might be in a place of deep pain or anguish, repay hate with kindness. A smile for the one who scowled at you might touch their heart and ignite the beginning of a transformation.”

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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