Notes & Quotes: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

The following are my favorite quotes from Lori Gottlieb's Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed.

  1. Change and loss travel together. We can't have change without loss, which is why so often people say they want change but nonetheless stay exactly the same.
  2. One of the most important steps in therapy is helping people take responsibility for their current predicaments, because once they realize that they can (and must) construct their own lives, they're free to generate change.
  3. Doing something prompts you to do something else, replacing a vicious cycle with a virtuous one. Most big transformations come about form the hundreds of tiny, almost imperceptible, steps we take along the way.
  4. Idiot compassion--you avoid rocking the boat to spare people's feelings, even though the boat needs rocking and your compassion ends up being more harmful than your honesty. People do this with teenagers, spouses, addicts, even themselves. Its opposite is wise compassion, which means caring about the person but also giving him or her a loving truth bomb when needed.
  5. The things we protest against the most are often the very things we need to look at.
  6. We sprinkle seeds of curiosity, because therapy can't help people who aren't curious about themselves.
  7. Whenever one person in a family system starts to make changes, even if the changes are healthy and positive, it's not unusual for other members in this system to do everything they can to maintain the status quo and bring things back to homeostasis.
  8. Most of us come to therapy feeling trapped--imprisoned by our thoughts, behaviors, marriages, jobs, fears, or past. Sometimes we imprison ourselves with a narrative of self-punishment. If we have a choice between believing one of two things, both of which we have evidence for--I'm unlovable, I'm lovable--often we choose the one that makes us feel bad.
  9. There is a way out--as long as we're willing to see it.
  10. Therapists tell their patients: Follow your envy--it shows you what you want.
  11. Regret can go one of two ways: it can either shackle you to the past or serve as an engine for change.
  12. One of the things that surprised me as a therapist was how often people wanted to be told what to do, as if I had the right answer or as if right and wrong answers existed for the bulk of choices people make in their daily lives.
  13. Sharing difficult truths might come with a cost--the need to face them--but there's also a reward: freedom. The truth releases us from shame.
  14. We may want others' forgiveness, but that comes from a place of self-gratification; we are asking forgiveness of others to avoid the harder work of forgiving ourselves.
  15. At some point, being a fulfilled adult means taking responsibility for the course of your own life and accepting the fact that now you're in charge of your choices.
  16. Research shows that people tend to remember experiences based on how they end, and termination is a powerful phrase in therapy because it gives them the experience of a positive conclusion in what might have been a lifetime of negative, unresolved, or empty endings.
  17. Even in the best possible relationship, you're going to get hurt sometimes, and no matter how much you love somebody, you will at times hurt that person, not because you want to, but because you're human. You will inevitably hurt your partner, your parents, your children, your closest friend--and they will hurt you--because if you sign up for intimacy, getting hurt is part of the deal.