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🫂 Letter 61: Mental Health, Unknowing Oneself, Therapy, Understanding...

8 min

What book(s) could you give away and who would it serve best in your life?

Hello fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from Chicago 👋

I moseyed over to the North Pond the other day to think some thoughts.

The area  has little nooks where I feel like I am not in the city if I close my eyes. It's smells different. Fresh. It sounds less noisy. More still. Apart the plop of a disturbed turtle as a dog leaped in after a duck. There's minimal people and the ones that are there are paparazzi of the birds with binoculars rest around their neck. They tune their ears to what they hear to figure out which bird is migrating threw from South America. The bird watchers are so passionate. I envy their passion. I want to find it myself.

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Now, what's in store for this issue?

  1. A quote from the first woman to win a Nobel Prize
  2. An essay dedicated to being mental health awareness month
  3. Some lessons from a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author
  4. Three ponderings on wellness checks, the paradox of success, and elimination
  5. A word that originated in 1846
  6. Insights on journey and destination learning groups
  7. Takeaways crypto experiments and decentralized finance
  8. A question to get you thinking about your bookcase
  9. A landscape of the beautiful city I live in from afar
  10. Some shoutouts to books and some silly and provoking tweets

Now, let’s dive into letter 61 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

Some things I’ve learned through…

🌟 Quote to inspire

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less." –Marie Curie

🖊 Writing

Mind over matter.

Rub some dirt on it.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

These mantras are what I used to tell myself growing up. They didn’t help me understand the importance of feeling. There wasn’t an Emotions 101 elective to take. Ever since I can remember, I have always struggled with understanding emotions.

I didn't choose to be a sensitive person. It chose me. I wanted to be the person with the thick skin that didn’t get hurt. That's complete and total rubbish though. Words do hurt. Pain is an emotion and it gets felt.

🎧 Listening

I listened to Tim Ferriss interview psychotherapist and writer Lori Gottlieb. She's had many different chapters along her life from being in entertainment to medical school to journalism to clinical psychology.

My favorite part was Lori sharing about the door that opens to self-reflection when you feel understood. When someone has empathy and understands your perspective then we are more open to reveal and be open to questioning.

Below are five of my favorite quotes with takeaways:

On how the ordinary can be extraordinary:

As a therapist, I can tell you that the most extraordinary stories come out of people that are grounded in the ordinary... I also think that sharing our stories, we realize that we are all so similar that we all have, even if the content of the story is completely foreign to somebody, that the emotions, the feelings, the questions, those air universally.

On why you need to unknow yourself:

That's part of getting to know yourself is also getting to unknow yourself. That refers to the old clothing, that part of getting to know yourself is to let go of these ideas that you've been carrying around about yourself that just aren't accurate.

On the stories that we tell ourselves:

So many of us are walking around living some story that we're telling ourselves about our lives that doesn't reflect reality at all… in some ways, even if our stories are not stories we want to live, we somehow orchestrate our lives to to keep the storyline going. So someone might have that story of, you know, I'm a victim and they don't want to be a victim. But what happens is they orchestrate things so that they will be a victim in those stories. Why don't you do that? Why don't wise I agree with you that that happens? Why does that happen? It happens because because we cling to the familiar so that feels like home. So even if home was unpleasant or miserable.

On why self-compassion is more important the criticizing yourself:

Self flagellation never leads to long term change. So flagellation might sort of make you do something in the moment. But it won't last the way that you make long term changes by having self compassion. And people are really afraid to allow themselves to feel compassion for themselves because they think that then they won't be accountable. They think that if I am kind to myself, I will not make these changes. I won't be motivated.

On why we need to be the man or woman in the arena and model our own experiences rather than be know-it-alls:

I will disclose things because I don't want to be the expert up high. I want to use my expertise to help people. But I always say that my greatest credential is that I'm a card carrying member of the human race. And if I can't model for people what it's like to make a mistake, what it's like to be kind to yourself when you make a mistake, what it's like when people are attacking you and how not to get into like that negative space with them.

🔎 Word to define

Therapy: a space in which counselors are able to promote, encourage and support patients in achieving wellness.

Another definition: a form of treatment aimed at relieving emotional distress and mental health problems. I’m not sure I’m in alignment with the reactionary approach of waiting for emotional distress, but nevertheless I wanted to share what Psychology Today had to share.

Etymology: In 1846, it meant a "medical treatment of disease," from Modern Latin therapia, from Greek therapeia "curing, healing, service done to the sick; a waiting on, service," from therapeuein "to cure, treat medically," literally "attend, do service, take care of". I found the usage of this word (in Google books) to be interesting as there haven’t been any dips with a constant upward trend with more people talking about it to normalize it.

Example: Therapy is something that used to mean that a crisis was occurring, and I am grateful today to live in a society that understands its importance to be proactive. Therapy means many different things to everyone.

💭 Pondering

  1. We go to the doctors to check out our physical well-being but why don't we for our mental state or emotions? They govern most of life so they are nearly as important as physical well-being.

  2. About the era that we live in…

  3. The Paradox of Success is that the more options we have, the more we feel distracted from what would otherwise be our highest level of contribution. Optionality can become a trap. Sometimes we need to eliminate to aid our enjoyment. Less is more. (Tweet)

On Deck Creator Course Fellowship

Here are some takeaways from Andrew Barry on destination and journey groups

Pomp's Crypto Course

Here are three takeaways from this last week's classes on crypto experiments and decentralized finance:

📷 Photo of the Week

This past weekend I flocked away from the crowds 30 minutes north to Evanston for my long run. It didn’t end up being all too long, but it was some great views and people watching. The heat is finally here in Chicago!

🙏 Shoutouts

❓ Question to think about

What book(s) could you give away and who would it serve best in your life?

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you want to learn more about who I am, I welcome you to visit my online home, a quick ding-dong ditch works too.

Never stop learning 😁

Until next week,


P.S. I have been thinking of my favorite journaling exercises for my capstone project. Would love your input :)

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