Failure and rejection doesn’t have to mean that you have failed as a person

Failure doesn’t have to mean failure by Sarah Keeping- guest blogger.

Ever failed a driving test? Yep, I have. Twice. But I’m not talking about things you can easily re-take. I’m talking about things you invest a lot of time and effort in for it to come to nothing.

I started at university the first year tuition loans came in – so for anyone who went to university before this, my degree cost a lot of money. For any current students, my degree cost peanuts. But I was told in my second year that now ‘everyone’ has a degree, you should do a Masters to make sure you get a job over other candidates. I believed this to be the case and so in my final year I applied to do a Masters course and was accepted. I remember someone on my course saying how they were done with studying and couldn’t believe that I wanted to do more. But I did. I didn’t know what else to do so studying more would surely be the best thing?

I really enjoyed my Masters year, but when it came to doing my dissertation, I had lost all motivation for it. Maybe it was the topic, maybe it was because I still didn’t know what I was going to do after graduating.

One October morning, I was just about to leave for work (a retail job near my home) and my friend text me to say our grades had been released and were on the university system. I had a few minutes before I really had to leave so I thought I’d quickly check. Under the ‘dissertation’ column it said ‘F’. I thought, what does ‘F’ mean? It meant FAIL. I walked to work in a daze.

I’d never failed a subject in my life. I was so disappointed. I had the option to re-submit but I couldn’t face the prospect of re-doing a dissertation and not graduating with my friends. I decided to take the lower grade award and reassess.

For three years, I stayed in my retail job just wondering what I should do. At 18, I had naively thought that Psychology was all about the brain and therefore very science focused (I hated science at school) so I didn’t choose to study that at university. I got to 25 and thought, what have I got to lose? I applied to do a Psychology conversion course and was accepted. Two years later I was receiving my certificate at my graduation. Brilliant. What’s next? A Masters?

I applied to do a Masters course again and was accepted. For one year, if I wasn’t working I was reading for or writing an assignment. Then came the dissertation. I chose a subject that I was passionate about and really cared about. That was the difference. I was also extremely focused on history not repeating itself. In many ways, this course was also a righting a wrong. I don’t give up, I never fail (in the long run, anyway).

It’s easy to say this now, but I do think that it’s good to experience failure. Whatever you fail at, it spurs you on to try and never go through that feeling again. It definitely helped me – I was very happy walking across the stage as my name was read out at my graduation, having passed my Masters. With Distinction.

*Sarah Keeping is currently undertaking a Counselling Skills course in London and is looking to change her professional subject area to Counselling Psychology. Previous qualifications are in Investigative Psychology, Psychology, Applied Criminology, and Criminology and Sociology.

Follow Sarah on twitter at @SKeeping_Psych

Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.

skype: JessValentine
follow her on Twitter, FB and IG: @getwellbrighton

Letter for a girl.

Dear little girl:

I am writing to you because I have been thinking about you for a while. You know, things are not that good in the world, there are many things about it you should know, but probably because of your age you do not know them yet. Maybe your daily activities are going to the school, playing in the afternoons, or maybe other things. Regardless, today I would like to talk to you about violence against women. Maybe you have heard about it on TV; maybe you have a small idea about what it is; maybe you have witnessed it at home or on the street; or maybe you have never heard about it; that is way I am writing to you, because I need you to know what is happening regarding violence.

First of all, please, believe in yourself, always! It does not matter what people tell you, what they say about your behaviour, how you should act, what you should say, what is permitted and what not or how you have to behave “as a girl”. There are millions of people in the world, can you imagine it? Millions! And each person has their own way of thinking, thousands and thousands of different thoughts and believes. Can I tell you a secret? Nobody is right. Find your own way, the one that goes with your dreams, those that are faithful to you. The world is not an easy place, and it is worst when you are a woman. You are a child now, but in some years you will be a woman. Beautiful certainly, no matter what beauty standards say, do you remember what I told you before about believes? It does not matter what people say about beauty, you will be beautiful. And surely, you will have other qualities, now as a child you have them, I cannot imagine in a few years, when you have more experiences in your life. As I told you before, to be a woman is not easy, it doesn’t matter from which part of the world you are reading this, and for now, you have to deal with that. You have to deal with that, I hate myself for writing this, this is not something that women should have to deal with, and it is not something that women have to live, but of those millions of people in the world, some of them really believe they do. Above, I wrote “for now”, because at the same time, there are many women (and men) on a way to change this situation; this is encouraging, the world is changing, although sometimes it does not seem like that.

I want you to know this now, you are a girl, and probably asking yourself why I am telling you these things, but I am doing this because I want you to keep it in mind, from this moment, while you are reading this, that to be a women is a good thing, although sometimes people make us feel the opposite.

I am writing to you from the future, a 30 years old woman, who, of course, has lived more experiences than you. From here, I want to tell you that you are strong, that we are not fighting against men, we are friends of women and men and, mainly, I would love for you to be your best friend, the one that you care the most about, the one that you worry for the most, the one that you respect the most, and the one that you love the most. Many people love you, I am sure that you love many people as well, but the most important one, the one that should love you the most is you. Love yourself very much, no matter the circumstances!

Another thing: Yes! You will fall in love, and you cannot imagine how amazing it is! Falling in love is a beautiful stage, everything is sweet and pretty. You will also have a broken heart, I would like it if you did not live that, but seriously, it is very necessary to do it. It makes you grow and it gives you great knowledge. Do you want to know another secret? You will learn to live with that experience as well, as tragic as it seems, trust me, you will survive. In the end, without revealing too much, everything is alright and things go back to normal; just with a plus: You will have a story to tell and it will have given you a huge knowledge about life, love and yourself. I also wish you know love, true love, because if falling in love and having a broken heart are amazing, to love, wooh! It is really wonderful! In this case I will not tell you more, trust me, you will know it when you feel and live it.

Although I do not want to give you more information about love, it is fundamental for me to tell you a very important thing, because I am pretty sure that you will hear about it through your life and probably you will grow up with this wrong belief. Please pay attention: Love does not hurt. No, love has many properties and many ways to prove it, but not one of them includes pain. Always keep it in mind.

I am sorry, dear girl, because I am telling you this so repeatedly, but I really want you to understand it, because I am sure that other women, old and young around the world, grew up with this idea, but it is a huge lie!, and then, what happens? With this idea women get confused about love, and think that is it when it is not. When they believe this, they stop taking care of themselves, because they are confused. I want you to keep it in mind always, and live your life with your head up, hugging yourself, trusting in you, and knowing who you are.

You have a universe full of opportunities and ways to live your life, just be coherent with yourself, with what you want and what you need. Be free, live your life as you want. Something that I want you to keep in mind as well and to apply as often as necessary, is to say NO. You can say NO whenever you want, and NO means NO. Do not believe that false idea that women have a different communication code and that we are hard to understand. When we want something, we say it, when we do not, we say it too. That easy. In this coherence with yourself, practice to say what you want and what do not, and always, in this exercise, make sure to respect your answer.

These are many ideas, I know, but do not be worried, take your time to assimilate the information, you can also doubt what I am writing, I am not right about everything and I may be wrong in some words. If you criticise me, you will be using your great ability to question and create your own points of view, it is very useful. This letter is a little gift for you, I would like you to take this message and keep it present.

Dear girl, you are a child yet, and you will be a great woman. I love you.

The woman from the future, 30 years old, to the girl, to all the girls.

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Carta a una niña.

Querida niña:

Aún eres pequeña y probablemente no te has dado cuenta de muchas de las cosas que pasan en el mundo, en ese que existe más allá de tu visión. Tal vez tu vida gire en torno a la escuela o al juego, si es que tienes la fortuna de tener esto, de lo contrario, tal vez tus padres trabajen todo el día, incluso tengas que hacerlo tú, porque ayer escuchaste decir a tu madre que no alcanza para la comida de esta semana. Hay muchos lados no tan felices en este mundo, pero hoy, te escribo para hablarte sobre la violencia que viven muchas mujeres. Tal vez en la televisión lo has escuchado, tal vez no tengas idea de qué es; me imagino que puedas ser testigo de algo parecido en casa o en la calle, y hoy, he venido a hablarte de ello.

Por favor, siempre cree en ti. No importa qué es lo que te digan, cómo debes actuar, qué es lo que debes decir, qué está permitido y qué no. Hay millones de personas en el mundo, ¿te imaginas? ¡Millones!, cada una de ellas tiene una manera de pensar, miles y miles de pensamientos y creencias distintas. ¿Te digo un secreto? Nadie tiene la razón. Crea tu propia razón, esa que vaya de acuerdo a tus ideales, a tus valores, a tus expectativas, a tus deseos… esos que sean fieles a ti. El mundo no es un lugar tan fácil, y se complica más cuando eres mujer. Ahora eres una niña, pero en algunos años serás una mujer. Seguramente bellísima, independiente a los estándares de belleza, ¿recuerdas lo que te decía más arriba sobre las creencias?, entre ellas está la belleza, así que no importa qué opine la gente sobre la belleza, tú serás bellísima. Y seguramente, tendrás más cualidades, si ahora como niña las tienes, no puedo imaginar en unos años, cuando a tu vida se sumen las múltiples experiencias que tendrás. Como te decía, ser mujer no es fácil, no importan en dónde estés leyendo esto, y por ahora, tendrás que lidiar con esto. Tendrás que lidiar con esto, me caigo muy mal mientras escribo esto, porque no se supone que tengamos que lidiar con eso, no es algo que nos toque hacer como mujeres, pero de esas millones y millones de personas que hay en el mundo, unos millones eso creen. Allá arriba también puse “por ahora”, porque hay muchas mujeres (y hombres) en un camino para cambiar esto; esa es la parte motivante, que el mundo está cambiando, aunque haya veces que no parezca así.

Me gustaría que lo sepas, eres una niña, y seguramente te preguntas por qué te escribo esto, porque quiero que tengas presente, desde este momento en que me lees, que ser mujer es bueno, aunque por ratos nos hagan sentir lo contrario. Te escribo desde el futuro, una mujer de 30 años, que, claro está, ha vivido más cosas que tú. Desde aquí, quiero decirte que eres fuerte, que no estamos peleadas con los hombres, que somos amigas de los hombres y de las mujeres, y que, por sobre todas las cosas, me encantaría que antes de todos, siempre, siempre, siempre, seas amiga tuya. Que tú seas tu mejor amiga, a la que más cuides, a la que más consientas, a la que más respetes, a la que más quieras. Mucha gente te quiere, estoy segura que a mucha gente quieres, pero la principal, la que más me interesa que se quiera, eres tú. ¡Ámate mucho siempre! No importa cuáles sean las circunstancias.

¡Te enamorarás! ¡Siii! Y no sabes qué increíble es, el enamoramiento es una etapa hermosa, todo es dulce, bonito. Te romperán el corazón, no me gustaría que lo vivieras, pero te lo digo en serio, es muy necesario que lo vivas. Te hace crecer y te da un aprendizaje invaluable. ¿Te digo un secreto? También aprendes a vivir esa experiencia, por más trágica que parezca, créeme que resistes. Al final, sin afán de adelantarte la novela, todo sale bien y las cosas vuelven a la normalidad; sólo con un plus: que ya tienes una gran historia a tu libreta de anécdotas para contar y te ha dado un conocimiento magnífico sobre la vida, el amor y sobre ti misma. Deseo con el alma que conozcas el amor, si el enamoramiento y el que te rompan el corazón son cosas maravillosas, el amor ¡pufff! ¡Este sí qué es majestuoso! En este no me adelantaré, pues serás tú quien vaya descubriendo el camino a él, no te preocupes, cuando lo estés viviendo, lo sentirás muy bien.

Pero, aunque no quiera adelantarte información sobre el amor, me es fundamental comentarte algo muy importante, porque seguramente lo escucharás a lo largo de tu vida y crecerás con esta creencia errónea. Léelo muy bien: El amor no duele. No, el amor tiene mil y un características y otras mil maneras de demostrarse, pero en ninguna de ellas está el dolor. Siempre tenlo presente. Discúlpame querida niña por ser tan enfática en esto, pero en verdad me interesa que quede muy claro, porque en lo personal, y estoy segura que en otras mujeres mayores y menores que yo por todo el mundo, crecieron con esta idea, pero ¡qué gran mentira es!, y pues, ¿qué pasa? Que con esta idea, vamos confundiendo al amor, y entonces, ya no es amor, pero creemos que sí. Y al creer que sí, pasamos por alto muchas cosas del comportamiento de los demás, y dejamos de cuidarnos, porque estamos confundidas. Por eso desde ahora, me gustaría que siempre recuerdes esto, y vayas con esta idea por el camino de tu vida, con la cara en alto, abrazándote, creyendo en ti y sabiendo siempre quién eres.

Tienes un universo de oportunidades y formas de vivir tu vida, únicamente sé congruente contigo misma, con lo que tú quieres y necesitas. Sé libre, vive tu vida como quieras hacerlo. Algo que también quiero que recuerdes y que apliques cuantas veces sea necesario, es decir “NO”. Siempre puedes decir NO cuando quieras, y NO, significa NO. No creas otra falsa idea errónea de que las mujeres tenemos un código de comunicación distinto y que no se nos entiende, cuando queremos algo lo decimos, cuando no, lo decimos también. Así de fácil. En esta congruencia contigo misma, practica expresar lo que quieres y lo que no, y siempre, en este ejercicio, haz respetar tu respuesta.

Son muchas ideas, lo sé, no te preocupes, tómate un tiempo para digerir la información, incluso puedes cuestionarte sobre lo que escribo, no tengo razón en todo y puedo estar equivocada en algunas palabras de aquí arriba. Si me criticas, estarás ejerciendo tu hermosa habilidad de cuestionarte y crear tu propio pensamiento, eso te servirá mucho también. Este es mi pequeño regalo en el día para celebrar la niñez, quiero que con tu corazón de niña, recibas este mensaje y no lo guardes, tenlo a la mano, que te acompañe siempre.

Querida niña, eres una niña aún, y serás una gran mujer. Te quiero.

La mujer del futuro, la de 30 años, a la niña, a las niñas.



Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Online psychotherapy, Why yes and why not?

Some years ago, I stared working as a psychotherapist. The first time I got into this wonderful world was trough online psychotherapy, I had not my own space to work and I had listened people were more interested in this kind of process, which is why I tried to work with the help of technology. Since I moved, I am still working with my patients back home and I can see the utility of technology in psychotherapy.

It is true that not all kind of psychotherapies are for everyone, maybe there are some people who feel more comfortable working with one way than another and at the same time there are others who prefer to move to the practice and to have the whole experience of it: take a seat, recognise the smell, the light and all the sensations that can appear in front of the therapist. On the other side, there are those who enjoy more having their therapy in their own home or by phone call.

Based in my experience, I had identified some advantages and disadvantages to give online psychotherapy. Today, I want to share these so that you can have a better and clearer idea of what it means to have therapy online, since people have asked me if it works at all. I will leave it to your own opinion, hoping to read some comments on the subject.

Why yes?

Online psychotherapy is easy to access, it needs only internet and a computer, a phone or a tablet.

It is possible to take it in almost any place, from the comfort of your own home, or at some free hour during the day. Many people feel more comfortable talking about themselves in a familiar place; also in big and populated cities, it can be easier to go online than taking the time to commute to where the therapy takes place.

People who live away from their country and live where their own language is not spoken find it convenient to have online therapy with someone from their own nationality, since they can express better and easier their emotions and experiences in their mother tongue.

People who have already a therapeutic process but they or their psychotherapist move to another place, they use online psychotherapy to continue working with their psychotherapist. Generally, this happens when they have been working together for some time or the relationship between them is very strong and changing could potentially influence the therapeutic process.

Finally, those with a physical limitation that complicates them from commuting to the practice can also have online therapy, with easy access and in a more comfortable way.

Accompaniment and closeness are two important aspects to think about when considering the advantages of having online psychotherapy. Even when there are kilometres between them, the patient can always feel close to the psychotherapist, thanks to technology.

Why not?

The main disadvantage that I have identified is concerning technical problems such as internet or computer failure, low battery, updates, loss of signal or sound interferences, all of which can twist or distort the message and make it not understandable.

The place where the session happens is very important, sometimes it is small or open to other people, and when it is the case, the patient cannot express himself freely, since sometimes he could pay more attention to people around him and not being overheard. For this reason, it is very important that the patience knows the basic conditions of having online psychotherapy, which include the certainty of having a proper space for the sessions.

Closely related to the previous point, while being accessible and easy to be in a familiar space, this can also compromise the patient’s commitment, because he can get distracted by an external factor such as a noise in the house or a phone call, as well as delay for the sessions, just to mention a few examples. To avoid misunderstandings, it is very important that before starting the session, the rules of commitment are well defined from both parts: the therapist and the patient. In this way, they will both know their responsibility during the therapeutic process.

In general, online therapy is a very useful tool to people that are comfortable using technology and that because of their own particular situations, it is easier to have it. Even though online therapy does no substitute presence therapy, because the latter has a certain richness while working with it, it can definitely be a great alternative to work with emotions in an easy an accessible manner. Whether online or in presence, psychotherapy will depend on the commitment and disposition of both the patient and the therapist, because psychotherapy is more than nothing a team effort.

After reading this article, what do you think of online therapy? Here at the Brighton Wellness Centre we have online and presence therapy options. If you are interested, you can send us a message to receive more information.

See you next week!

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Terapia en línea ¿Por qué sí y por qué no?

Hace unos años que me dedico a la psicoterapia, la primera vez que me lancé a este maravilloso mundo fue a través de la terapia en línea. No tenía un consultorio y había escuchado que la gente estaba cada vez más interesada en este tipo de terapia, así que decidí empezar por este medio. Desde que me mudé he continuado trabajando en línea con mis pacientes de mi país y me he dado cuenta del beneficio que nos da el uso de la tecnología.

Es cierto que no todas las terapias son para toda la gente, habrá personas que se sientan más cómodas trabajando con un enfoque que con otro y de igual manera, habrá quienes prefieran trasladarse al consultorio y tener la experiencia de ir a terapia presencial: tomar su asiento, reconocer los olores, la luz y todo el cúmulo de sensaciones que pueden aparecer al tener al terapeuta de frente. Por el contrario, habrá otros que disfruten más tomar su terapia desde la comodidad de su casa o con la practicidad de una llamada telefónica.

Con base en mi experiencia, he identificado algunas ventajas y desventajas de tomar terapia en línea. Hoy se las comparto para que puedan tener una idea más clara de lo que implica, pues mucha gente me ha preguntado si en realidad funciona. Se los dejo a su criterio, esperando que me compartan sus opiniones.

¿Por qué si?

La terapia en línea es de fácil acceso, para llevarla a cabo se necesita estar conectado a internet, tener una computadora o algún otro medio electrónico como un celular o una Tablet.

Se puede tomar en cualquier lugar, desde la comodidad de la casa o en una hora libre que se tenga en el trabajo. Muchas personas se sienten más seguras al hablar de sí mismas en un lugar conocido para ellas, además en ciudades muy grandes, es más fácil porque se evita el traslado al lugar de la terapia.

Las personas que viven lejos de su país y se encuentren en uno donde no hablan su mismo idioma encuentran más atractivo tomar terapia en línea con una persona de su país, pues expresar las emociones y experiencias les resulta más sencillo en su lengua madre. Esto sirve mucho porque en la opinión de las personas, consideran que aunque hablen muy bien el idioma, no se transmiten de la misma manera las emociones, por esta razón buscan terapia con alguien de su país.

Las personas que ya llevan un proceso terapéutico pero ellas o su terapeuta cambian de residencia, también hacen uso de la terapia en línea para continuar con su proceso. Generalmente esto pasa cuando ya llevan algún tiempo trabajando juntos y la relación con el terapeuta es muy sólida, pues si cambia puede influir en su trabajo terapéutico.

Personas con alguna limitación física que no pueda trasladarse fácilmente al consultorio pueden tomar terapia en línea, de esta manera podrá tener acceso a su tratamiento de una manera más cómoda.

Acompañamiento y cercanía son dos aspectos importantes para tomar en cuenta en las ventajas de tomar terapia en línea, a pesar de que los puedan separar varios kilómetros de distancia, el paciente a través de los diferentes medios electrónicos, como videollamada o llamada de voz, podrá sentirse cercano al terapeuta.

 ¿Por qué no?

La principal desventaja que he identificado es cuando hay fallas en el Internet o en el medio electrónico que se usa para dar la terapia, por ejemplo actualizaciones en el dispositivo, falta de batería, pérdida de señal o interferencias, esto puede ocasionar que el mensaje se distorsione y no pueda comprenderse claramente.

El espacio con el que cuenta el paciente para llevar a cabo la terapia es importante, algunas veces se encuentra en un lugar reducido o no cerrado, esto dificulta que el paciente pueda expresarse libremente ya que puede preocuparse más por que las personas a su alrededor no lo escuchen. Por esta razón, parte del encuadre que se da al paciente al iniciar una terapia en línea, es lo fundamental de contar con un espacio apropiado para las sesiones.

Relacionado con lo anterior, al ser de fácil acceso y tener la oportunidad de estar en un lugar conocido, esto puede dificultar el compromiso del paciente, es decir, puede distraerse con algún factor externo, como un ruido en su casa o una llamada telefónica, o bien, impuntualidad en la hora de terapia, por dar algunos ejemplos. Para evitar malentendidos en este sentido, es muy importante que antes de iniciar la terapia, se tenga un encuadre claro en el que se establezcan los compromisos de ambas partes de la relación: terapeuta y paciente; de esta manera ambos estarán informados sobre su responsabilidad en el proceso terapéutico.

En general, la terapia en línea es una herramienta muy útil para personas que se sientan cómodas usando la tecnología y por sus situaciones contextuales sea mejor para ellas. La terapia en línea no suple a la terapia presencial, pues esta última tiene una riqueza en la forma de trabajar, sin embargo, es una alternativa para trabajar las emociones, de una manera sencilla y accesible. Ya sea en línea o de manera presencial, la terapia psicológica depende en gran medida del compromiso y la disposición tanto del paciente como del terapeuta, ya que es un trabajo en equipo.

Después de leer lo anterior, ¿qué opinas sobre la terapia en línea? Si estás interesado, puedes ponerte en contacto para mayor información.

¡Hasta la próxima semana!


Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Emociones positivas y negativas.

Antes de empezar a leer, te invito a reflexionar sobre las siguientes preguntas: para ti, ¿qué es una emoción positiva? ¿cómo se siente? ¿es agradable? Ahora, trae a tu mente una emoción negativa, ¿Qué es lo que aparece? ¿Cómo se siente una emoción mala? Después de hacer este breve ejercicio, probablemente te des cuenta que algunas emociones fueron muy fáciles de identificar. Algunas personas creen que hay emociones positivas y negativas, por ejemplo, la felicidad y la tristeza, el negro y el blanco. La mejor y más buscada emoción es la felicidad, todos la queremos, y del otro lado, está la mala y cruel tristeza, ¡claro! Nadie quiere estar triste, esta es una muy, muy mala emoción. Esto es lo que aprendimos, y así es la manera en que movemos nuestras piezas en la vida, tratando en todo momento de ser felices y huyendo de la tristeza. La realidad es que las emociones no son buenas ni malas, sólo son emociones. La principal diferencia entre ellas es la manera en que las sentimos y en que las vivimos.

Las emociones nos ayudan a percibir el mundo y a relacionarnos con otras personas; nos  recuerdan que estamos vivos y somos capaces de sentir cualquier cosa. Hay algunas emociones que no conocemos y como toda experiencia desconocida, nos pueden asustar, sin embargo, eso no significa que sean negativas.

Cambiar la manera en que vemos las emociones, puede servirnos para afrontarlas, y aprender de ellas al mismo tiempo. ¿Cómo podemos hacer esto? En el ejemplo que presenté líneas arriba, la felicidad es vista como una emoción positiva y la tristeza como una negativa, pero eso es lo que creemos sobre ellas, es una creencia. Cuando nos damos el tiempo para cuestionarnos por qué una emoción es buena o mala, puede que encontremos nuevas respuestas. “Aprendí que llorar no es bueno, te hace débil”, “Cuando era niño, mis papás me dijeron que no puedo expresar mi enojo”, “La gente dice que sonreír todo el tiempo es bueno para la salud”, estas son algunas frases que muestran que la manera en como percibimos una emoción tiene que ver con lo que aprendimos sobre ella.

¿Por qué una emoción es positiva y negativa? Primero, decir que algo es bueno o malo es hablar de una creencia, es subjetivo, por lo tanto puede ser diferente a lo que piensan otras personas; en segundo lugar, las creencias vienen de lo que aprendemos: el niño que escuchó que llorar es igual a ser débil, cuando sea adulto va a creer que para ser un hombre fuerte no tiene que llorar, y probablemente, para él la tristeza o vulnerabilidad serán emociones negativas; tratará todo el tiempo de esquivarlas. Y en tercer lugar, la manera en que vivimos las emociones también depende de las herramientas que tengamos, pero como mencioné antes, si no conozco algo, tal vez me dé miedo y no lo viva, pero si no lo vivo, ¿cómo tendré las herramientas y el aprendizaje para poder afrontarlo en un futuro?

Aquellas emociones que la gente llama negativas nos ayudan a conocernos y a crecer. Si un día estamos felices, nos sentimos orgullosos de nosotros mismos y estamos muy motivados, ¡Qué bueno! Si otro día nos sentimos tristes, decepcionados o enojados, ¡Qué bueno también! Somos humanos, estamos vivos y estamos aprendiendo cómo vivir una vida llena de emociones, sólo emociones.

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Positive and negative emotions.

Before starting this article, I would like to invite you to think about this: for you, what is a positive emotion? How does it feel? Do you enjoy it? Now, bring to your mind a negative emotion, what do you see? How do you feel a bad emotion? After doing this exercise, maybe some emotions were very easy to identify. Some people believe that there are positive and negative emotions, for example, happiness and sadness, the black and white. The best and most wanted emotion is happiness, everyone wants it, and on the other side, the bad and cruel sadness of course! Nobody wants to be sad, this is a very, very negative emotion. That is what we learned, and this is how we move all our pieces in life, trying everytime to be happy and running away from sadness. The reality is that emotions are not good or bad, they are just emotions. The main difference is the way we feel and live them.

Emotions help us to perceive the world we live in, and through them we can connect with other people; emotions remind us that we are alive and we are able to feel anything. There are some emotions that we do not know, and as any unknown experience, they scare us, but it does not mean that they are negative.

To change the way we look at emotions, it can be very useful to face them, and to learn from them as well. How can we do this? In the example I gave before, happiness is seen as a positive emotion and sadness as a negative one, but that is what we believe about these emotions, it is a belief. When we take the time to question why an emotion is good or bad, we can find some new answers. “I learned that crying is not good, it makes me weak”, “When I was child, my parents told me that I couldn’t express my anger”, “People say smiling all the time is good for the health”,  these are some phrases that show that the way we perceive an emotion depends on what we learned about it.

Why an emotion is positive or negative? First, saying something is good or bad is a belief, and it is subjective, so it is different to other people; second, believes come up from our learning: the child that heard that crying is similar to weakness, as an adult will believe that to be a strong man he should not cry, and probably, for him, sadness or vulnerability are negative emotions; he will try every time to dodge them. And third, the way we take an emotion depends on the tools we have to experience them. But as I said before, if I do not know something, maybe it scares me and I won’t live it, but if I do not live it, how can I have the tools and the knowledge for the next time?  

Those emotions that some people call negative help us know ourselves and grow. If one day we are happy, we feel proud of ourselves and very motivated, great! If another day we feel sad, disappointed or angry, it is great! We are humans! We are alive! And we are learning everytime how to live this life full of emotions, just emotions.

Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist. She works with adults and couples. Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is a psychotherapist to Spanish people.

Citlalli Degollado es Psicoterapeuta Gestalt. Trabaja con adultos y parejas. Actualmente vive en Brighton y brinda terapia a hispanohablantes.

Moving to another country is an experience to enjoy the present.

Moving to another country: an experience to enjoy the present.
By Citlalli Degollado*.

The first time I moved to another country was 8 years ago, I was 22 years old with a lot of emotions and expectations for the new adventure. Everything was new for me, I was decided to say goodbye to all my life back home: security, family, friends, comfort zone, everything that I knew was gone, and it was just me, my baggage, my flight ticket and all my dreams to live in France. I was there for 10 months, and although I can say today that it was one of the most exciting experiences that I have ever had, the path I had to walk was not always that easy. At the beginning I felt scared and nervous, I didn’t speak French and it was the first time I lived far from my family. The months passed and little by little I learned to speak French, the culture and the way of life. I still missed my country and all my life there, but at the same time I was enjoying the scenery, the weather and why not? All the uncertainty, not knowing anything about what was going to happen. Now, 8 years later, I am 30 years old and I left my country for the second time, in another situation but with the same dreams. After new experiences, there is a moment when you understand that change is inevitable and sometimes necessary, when the fear moves you instead of blocking you, like a spring that pushes you up and helps you to continue.

So, what happens when somebody moves to another country? First, it is important to know that it is a change, and as every change we live, there are many emotions present in this process: fear, nervousness, uncertainty, euphoria, happiness and hope, among others. Psychologically, this change is like a grief, because we say goodbye to life as we know it and we go through different stages, such as excitement, sadness, fear, one emotion after the other. When we move to another country, at the beginning it is the honeymoon, in this moment everything is perfect, we are excited about the new life, what moves us is the novelty and the desire to discover. After some weeks, the cultural shock shows up, the new way of life is not exciting, we have to learn some new rules and habits, and things like the food, the language and the weather start to have some influence in our physical and emotional body. But life continues and we keep going, after some months, we start to adjust ourselves to this new life and that includes trying to insert ourselves to activities and to meet new people. Maybe they won’t be as special as our friends back home, or maybe they will, but they will definitely help us feel accompanied, with someone to share time, feelings, thoughts, and to learn from the other. Finally, we arrive to the last stage, the adaptation is done, when we understand that even if we are not at our place, our identity is still with us, we can learn and change some things but the essential stays, it is an integration between who we are and all the things that we have lived.

Although the adaptation process is something everyone will live, each person will experience it differently and according to their situation, context and emotional and personal resources. For example, it will not be the same for someone who moves away with her family because of a job opportunity, with certain economic security, than to someone who is fleeing her country due to a social conflict. In any case, it is important to have in mind that adapting to a new socio-cultural context implies walking through different moments that require emotional work. Understanding that it is a process, a path and not the destiny, helps to enjoy it more and take advantage of the moment.

“Since we just have the present, let’s live it as best as we can.”

*Citlalli Degollado is Gestalt Psychotherapist.
She works with adults and couples.
Currently she lives in Brighton, and she is giving psychotherapy to Spanish people.

Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.

skype: JessValentine
follow her on Twitter, FB and IG: @getwellbrighton

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Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.

skype: JessValentine
follow her on Twitter, FB and IG: @getwellbrighton