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Therapy is a tool, a resource that can impart strategies that lead to a better way of life. It’s a tool that can especially help men who have been socialized not to talk about their feelings, work through issues, or examine moments where they feel angry or vulnerable. The benefits of therapy are wide-ranging, and while the lessons learned from it differ from person to person, the takeaways gained in a therapy session can be valuable to all. There is great evidence of this in a viral Reddit thread that is a true goldmine of game-changing advice Redditors learned from their therapists.

In a viral thread, a Redditor asked the popular r/AskReddit community “What is a little bombshell your therapist dropped in one of your sessions that completely changed your outlook?” The more than 8,800 responses are thought-provoking, practical, and tremendously helpful. There’s a good mix of advice with three main categories standing out: regulating emotions, navigating relationships, and learning more about ourselves. Here are some of the nuggets of advice shared.

Anger isn’t one-dimensional

The folks on Reddit unsurprisingly focused quite a bit on anger, a feeling so many experts say is one of the more misunderstood and difficult emotions (see expert advice from Dr. Ryan Martin, who Fatherly talked to earlier this year).

“Most men only know two emotions happy and angry because we’re told that’s all we can feel. That sometimes your body and mind are reacting with anger, but that’s not what you’re feeling,” u/Luviticus88 shared they learned from their therapist.For u/bmblbe2007, they learned: “Anger is a blocked wish,” meaning that when you feel anger, “try to find the wish that you can’t reach and then try to come up with a plan to reach it.” And u/Tptman learned that anger is “the brain reacting to fear.” They explained that when you feel fear, “take a quick pause to ask what you’re afraid of.”Redditor u/Notapeacock learned from their therapist that when it comes to emotions, they’re not inherently bad. “Emotions are not bad, even the unpleasant ones,” they shared. “They all have an appropriate place.”

Boundaries matter

Relationships were also top of mind for the responders and the focus on both self-improvement and cutting ties with toxic relationships were especially prevalent.

For u/SmokedPears, the biggest thing they learned from their therapist lifted a massive weight off their shoulders. “You are not responsible for your parents’ emotional well-being,” they shared in the Reddit thread. “They are independent adults who have been on this earth for many more years than you.” This thread echoes a podcast Fatherly covered about how to navigate a strained relationship with your parents — by figuring out your own boundaries, and reminding yourself that the only thing you can control is you, you give yourself a world of peace.u/maggiebear understood so much more about conflict in their relationships when they looked at the picture from a new angle. “If you don’t have these problems with any other person in your life, why do you think you’re the problematic person in this one?” their therapist asked them one session.As for recovering people-pleasers? “Stop trying to get everyone to agree,” was the advice that hit u/Freef hard when their therapist said it to them. “When you need everyone to agree, the least agreeable person has all the power.” The Redditor explained that their therapist’s perspective “really changed [their] outlook on planning family events.” It makes sense — so many of us take on the role of planner and mediator in our families, and a lot of times, it gives you a lot of grief that is just not necessary.Meanwhile, u/robot_redfort was told by their therapist that boundaries are set and held for a reason. “If people get upset with you for setting boundaries, that’s their problem, not yours,” they recalled.

Give yourself a break

Another common theme had to do with being so damn hard on ourselves. How to give yourself a break? Here’s some insight.

“Therapist told me that I’m incredibly hard on myself and that I need to be nicer to myself,” u/Cosmopii shared. As for the actionable part of that wisdom? “If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.”u/ BlueBabyCat666 learned that they don’t have to pretend everything is fine and that doing so won’t send life into a spiral. “It’s okay to not be okay all the time,” they shared with their therapist. “Sometimes you will have a bad day, and that’s okay. Tomorrow can still be a good day even if today sucks.”“You’re a perfectionist, and no one is perfect,” u/sjenno78 learned from their therapist, who also was told that their perfectionism is “unreasonable for you and others to expect perfect from you.” This Redditor admitted they struggled to agree with their therapists’ take at first. “Completely disagreed in session and spent the remaining time arguing how I literally didn’t care about things. “I basically lived a don’t-try-can’t-fail attitude,” they explained. It may have taken a while to set in, but by the time it did… “Bus journey home, a bit of reflection, mind blown!”u/skodawgs_learned that they can feel multitudes, and experience multitudes, all at once. “You can be happy and sad. You can be an individual while still being a part of a community. You can feel grateful and displeased.” And for them, this advice was eye-opening. “We categorize and separate ourselves so much that we forget we can be more than one thing,” they explain. “It helped me feel less confused about who I am and my feelings. I felt way less guilty about feeling two contradicting emotions at the same time.”

To read the full thread of advice, check out the Reddit community’s post.