Thanks, Dr. Greenberg. These are only some of them, probably the ones that make me sound the least crazy.
  1. Life is not a movie.
    I'm sure this will surprise no one who reads my lists, but I derive a great deal of my understanding of the world and of life from movies. My expectations are fucked because of this, and the way I think about and process time is totally out of whack too. The unedited linearity of life can be a constant disappointment for anyone conditioned to seeing things montaged and consolidated. I also really wish I could pause sometimes, but life is happening at every moment.
  2. I am constantly auditioning.
    My father's unhappiness and restlessness -- we moved 5 or so times when I was growing up, and I spent a lot of energy trying to find new movies & new music that he'd like, mostly to no avail -- have resulted in my over-reliance on positive reinforcement: I need the other person in pretty much any situation to approve of me, instead of having the confidence to decide how I feel about them myself. This has manifested itself with girls, with friends, and especially in meetings.
  3. "Have faith in the feedback."
    Apropos of my need for positive reinforcement, I've also learned how important it is to trust your own feelings about a situation, instead of measuring it by the insecurity metric of what other people think or how other people feel like something went. If a date or a meeting felt like it went well, I now try my best to trust that, where historically I would've combed for any external information I could find. Anything to avoid knowing what to feel about the thing that was right in front of me.
  4. I'm scared of the "black box" of feelings.
    I'm fascinated by & observant of feelings, both in my life & for the things I write about, but only to a point. There's a "black box" at the center of most emotional situations that I'm always afraid to permeate. I'm horrified by the prospect of what happens when you go as deep as you can. It's a paradoxical push & pull, and I'm probably only interested in feelings on a surface level. My dad also hates emotional movies, because he's afraid of feelings too, so I'm guessing that is my rebellion.
  5. I probably wouldn't even be that good of a boyfriend right now.
    I have gotten better about this, but historically I have given far too much importance to the idea of being romantically fulfilled. Most people aren't for a long time, and then they meet the right person and they never have to worry about it ever again. It ended up being as simple as me lamenting my love life only for my therapist to look at me point blank and say, "Would you even be that good of a boyfriend right now?" That resonated with me immediately and I just looked at him and said, "No."
  6. "May everyone here get everything they want, and still want it when they get it."
    This is a toast my therapist told me that I just think rings so fucking true and is hilarious. I am trying really hard these days not let the pursuit of the thing warp my expectations of the thing itself, if and when it comes. I will never be happy and always be searching, unfulfilled, unless I figure out how to overcome this. I don't want to be disappointed by everything anymore.