Connecting Anew

Are you one of “those” people who say sorry and move on?

In my work, I have noticed the different styles and when it comes to saying the words “I’m Sorry”, there are certainly types.  There’s even a love language version of apologies.

Apologies are complicated because it’s not just about you.  Many of us don’t even really care to hear the words “I’m sorry” unless the person can express why they are sorry and what they will do differently next time, and above all, how they can now right their wrong.  But then there are others who are literally only listening for those two words, because that is enough. 

NPR talks about six steps to a “great apology” in case you are still not feeling very skilled. I would even follow it up with a step 7, to curiously ask how the offended feels after your six steps.

A couple of nuggets that have crossed my radar the past few months that I thought might resonate with you too were about worry and about close friends and loneliness.

Marcel Schwantes, from Inc, was quoted in the Chicago Tribune as saying “Often worry is the direct result of trying to control people, things or situations that are beyond your control.  Understanding that you can’t and shouldn’t control everything and releasing your worry will help you manage your emotions better.” This simple reframe can lead you to self-reflect about what in fact you do have control over and what you might have to trust to work itself out on it’s own.

Regarding friends, some of you may have done the square on a paper activity with me to think about who, out of all the people you know, love and enjoy, who really matters.  The little statistic I read last month was that the average person’s number of close friends is 2.08.  Remember that the next time you are on social media or hear that all too common term “friend group”.  Again, the simple reframe of how you are feeling about certain relationships and how they make you feel vs. are you meeting expectations of some vague “right” number of friends to have.

You may have seen loneliness in the news again more frequently because the Surgeon General recently said that loneliness increases the risk of early death. Interestingly (not so surprising), the research also said that social media is driving this but specifically they reported that people who used social media for more than two hours a day were more than twice as likely to report feeling socially isolated than those who were on the apps less than 30 minutes.  Take a look at your screen time usage.  How are you ranking?  The report specifically talked about 15-24 year olds, but quite honestly I think many of us are lonelier than we might like to be.  And remember the above statistic.  The cure for loneliness is not tons of friends.  UCLA has a loneliness scale.  Ask me for it if you want to talk through where you fall on it. (Also, have you heard of the Forest app that can take you off your phone AND help plant trees at the same time?)

A close friend is so many things to each of us. They may not match us perfectly, but the unique complimenting traits and differing perspectives they offer make their relationships with us so valuable. In a way, your relationship with your therapist should be similar. A special connection, a unique intuitiveness that “gets you”, a curious listener, challenging, compassionate…(I spoke about this process of finding a therapist + more tips in this NBC article:). These are all things that many describe in a quality therapist. I have recently made changes in the practice, and we will continue to strive to unequivocally provide this quality therapy.


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Lynn Zakeri

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