If you're in therapy, congratulations. You are winning.
First of all, you can afford it, which means you're in a pretty great position just to start off.
Second, you're working on yourself, which makes you feel mentally superior to other people.
And as luck would have it, you're right: You really are beating everyone else you know at this game called life.
But before you give yourself a pat on the back, let's go over a few things.
For decades, many psychologists believed our personalities were unchanging. They argued that once we established our personalities as children, they would remain the same from first grade into adulthood.
Can you imagine?
When I was in early childhood, I pulled my underwear up into a thong out of the fear I hadn't wiped thoroughly enough, and I hid jars of Marshmallow Fluff under the bed to binge on alone.
A life trapped in that neurotic personality is a curse I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
Other psychological scientists have said that trying to measure personality changes isn't even worth it since the personality of an individual is so unstable.
(Yeah, tell that to my father, the man has eaten the same dinner every night for the past 45 years.)
More recently, they've seemed to meet in the middle, saying that if our personalities do change, they do so steadily over many years. These changes also appear to be pretty moderate.
But this month, Psychological Bulletin published a study that made a new discovery.
After a team of researchers analyzed 207 studies, they noted our personalities are ever-changing, and these changes happen pretty quickly, as long as a therapist is involved.
According to Bustle,
The review suggests that if you go to therapy for three months, you're likely to see a drop in your levels of neuroticism. That makes sense, right? But this study goes further: That drop in neuroticism you experience in therapy is up to half the amount you'd expect to see decrease if you waited 30 to 40 years to "fix" yourself on your own.
So, to review: If you spent 15 to 20 years trying to fix yourself, you would change about as much as you would in three months of ongoing work done with the help of a therapist.
To be honest, I haven't seen a stronger argument for therapy made in my entire span of going to therapy, which probably accumulates to half of my life.
If my car had a problem with its engine, why would I try to fix it on my own, knowing nothing about fixing cars? It would take me YEARS before I had the thing up and running again.
Naturally, the smart thing to do would be to take my car to a mechanic, a professional who knows and is trained in — you guessed it — fixing cars.
Somehow, people lose this detached perspective when it's regarding their mental health, and perhaps it's because we've been hearing the argument that our personalities are somehow fixed.
Thank goodness we've finally debunked that myth.
Now, get out there and get your personality fixed by a professional.