When Your Counselor Calls You Intense

The Session

I’ve seen a counselor on and off for years and every once in a while something really hits home. My last session was one of those times. My counselor asked, “Have you ever thought about how you come across as intense?” I nervously laughed for a minute, but inside my head it was like the world stopped and my life flashed before my eyes.

I was thinking, “OH NO! My counselor thinks I’m intense!” What does it mean when the dude people pay to listen to their intense thoughts for a living, thinks you’re intense?! And what does it even mean to come across as intense anyways? I’m not intense……right?!! It was somewhere around this thought I ceased my nervous laughter and tried to dismiss his accusation- unsuccessfully. Before I left he also asked what it might be like for my wife or others to be around me. In the counselor world, I think it was one of those, BOOM, mic drop, walk off the stage questions where I was left thinking about some deep stuff as I walked to my car.

In My Head

As I drove home that day, I couldn’t get those thoughts out of my head. Ok, I admit I can sometimes be intense. But, my intensity has a lot of strength. It often stems from passion and fuels my desire to make things better. Although it does have a downside. I’ve always taken life a little too seriously and it’s easy for me to focus (obsess) on accomplishing goals while forgetting everything else.

As soon as I got home I told my wife what happened and asked if she thought I was intense. I’m sure she felt the question was a trap, kind of like when a woman asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?” its a trap But, she gracefully confirmed that I can sometimes be intense which led to some really healthy discussions. I was surprised how helpful insight into this part of my personality could be. It was actually freeing, kind of like having constant pain in your foot, only to find there’s a rock in your shoe.   Once you know, you can do something about it.

What About You?

  • Have you ever thought about how you come across to others? (angry, anxious, prideful, happy, shy, sad?)
  • What is the dominant characteristic people you work and live with would use to describe you?
  • What’s it like to live with you? For your spouse? Your kids?

Living With Ourselves

As we increase the insights we have about who we are and what we’re like, we increase our capacity for emotional and spiritual health. We can’t change and God can’t heal what we don’t acknowledge is even there.

I love that God fully knows what we’re like, even if we don’t, and He loves us anyways. Admitting these things to ourselves, to God, and even to others, helps us in numerous ways:

  • Your personality reveals many God-given strengths you can develop.
  • Insights about ourselves remind us that we’re not perfect and protect us from pride.
  • Understanding that we need grace from others helps us more easily forgive others.
  • You’re probably only admitting what everyone around you already knows and sees.
  • Weaknesses don’t have to stay weak forever. Once you know it, you can grow it. 

The Takeaway

Take some time this week and think about what it’s like to live with you. How would people describe you? How does your personality affect your spouse, kids, and coworkers? Your answers could hold the key to unlocking the happier you everyone knows you can be. 

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