Clinicians QuandaryThe Power of Humor Five Ways Therapists Put This “Best Medicine” to Use
Updated: Apr 26
Psychotherapy Networker article;
The Weight Bench
There’s a funny story I share with clients who second-guess themselves or have a lot of self-judgment. A few years ago, I went to the gym for the first time in months.
I walked over to the bench press machine and slapped a 10-pound weight plate on each side of the bar. As I lifted it off the rack, the bar came crashing down onto my chest. I’d forgotten that the bar alone weighs 45 pounds! With no spotter, I knew I’d need to get it off myself. So, slowly, I rolled it down the front of my body. One of the weight plates fell onto the floor, making a huge crash. Suddenly, everyone in the gym was watching me. Then, the other weight plate fell off because the bar was imbalanced. Bang! By this point, I felt like an idiot.
I could’ve gotten even more caught up in what the other gym-goers thought of me, but instead, I shook my head and laughed it off. I put the plates away and walked to a more secluded area where I could regain my composure and continue working out. Instead of leaving the gym feeling like an embarrassment, I decided to laugh at myself and bring some humility into the equation.
What my mind had wanted to say at the moment was that I could never go back to the bench press because I’d been so stupid but I caught myself and told myself that the other gym-goers looking at me had probably been in a situation like this at some point too—that this was a part of learning.
It can be hard to fight negative thoughts and feelings that come up, but when we’re able to laugh at ourselves and realize that others have been there too, it’s easier. Sometimes when we think others are judging us, they’re actually thinking, I’ve been there. You’ve got this!
I finish this story by asking my clients whether they’d think I was an idiot if they were at the gym and saw me struggling. They usually say no, that they’d feel for me maybe give a chuckle and a nod. I’ve found it really helps them put things in perspective.
Amanda Moule, RTC
Registered Therapeutic Counsellor/ Life and Trauma Recovery Coach Abbotsford, BC. Canada