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I remember when...

One of the things my counselor does to get me to think about how my past has helped shaped me, is to ask, "Brad, when was the first time you remember..."

Lately I've been spending too much time remembering the bad things. I'm not saying that's wrong. He pointed out that we remember the bad things because they often don't fit with how we think things should be, or want to be. The bad things throw us off balance, give us a shock, make us scared or angry or disapointed.

In my last session he pulled a fast one on me. Something I wasn't expecting. And even though it wasn't one of the "bad things" I just mentioned, it still threw me off balance.

We were talking about my self-esteem and my self-confidence and how both those things are a lot lower than I want. He asked me, "What are some of your first memories of good things that have happened to you that helped you feel better about yourself?"

Pretty simple question, huh? Usually when he asks me questions about something, I can come up with a quick answer without too much trouble. I didn't have a ready answer for him on this question.

I both hate and love these kind of questions. Questions I don't have a ready answer for.

I hate them because I think they makes me look stupid. Like I don't take life seriously. Like I'm not on top of things. I start thinking maybe he's asking a trick question that his other clients answer without any problem. And I'm only going to come out of this looking immature and stupid.

Then I also love these kind of questions because they makes me think about things I don't usually think about. Once I get over feeling stupid and immature, I can usually come up with something interesting. Something that sheds light on why I am the way I am. Something that points me in a good direction.

My counselor gave me this as a "homework" assignment: Try to remember at least 10 good things that have happened to me and write a little about those times. Even though he calls this "homework" (which is something you get graded on), I've been having some fun with this.

I'm suppose to picture myself in those situations and remember what was happening, what I was thinking, what I was feeling.

I'm bringing this assignment with me when I meet with him on Friday. Ten good things that have happened to me. I thought I'd share the first one with you:

I remember when my mom would read books to me when I was little. I don't know how old I was the very first time she started this, but I remember sitting in her lap or snuggled up next to her with this really big picture book and she would start telling me a story about what was happening.

I remember thinking she was very smart because she could come up with a story that always matched the pictures! I must have been really little because I honestly don't remember seeing the words she was reading.

There are probably many reasons why this memory has stayed with me. When I think about it now, I feel warm inside because those were times my mom would take me to another world filled with people I had never met before, but felt like I had known forever, or wanted to know forever.

And they were always doing fun and exciting things. Or they were in situations that were scary and unfamiliar and I could hear my mom tell me how they got to their happy ending.

This is one of the reasons I always felt safe with my mom. She was always there with me in these worlds she would take me to. I knew nothing bad would happen to me with her snuggling beside me. I also knew she would return me back to my familiar world all safe and sound.

I know my counselor is going to ask me how this memory has shaped me (I'm on to his methods and techniques by this time!).

I think I learned that I can go to unfamiliar places, sometimes happy ones and sometimes scary ones, and come out unscathed. But it's always better to have someone with you (either real or in your memory) in case you are scathed. Someone who can help you understand the story you're in when you get stuck or scared or unsure what to do. Someone you can trust.

I honestly don't know what I'd be like without this memory of my mom reading to me. I'm so glad I don't have to know that.

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