Why President Obama’s Farewell Speech Reminded Me of Advice From My Therapist


As many people watched President Obama’s farewell speech, I didn’t expect to be reminded of advice from counseling sessions from years ago. The moment he began to talk about his family is when I felt the most emotion. Why?

I was reminded of what positive healthy relationships should look like. While discussing past relationships, and potential new ones, I was advised, “Stop accepting crumbs instead of the whole cake.” Who doesn’t enjoy a visual metaphor using a dessert?

So how does this relate to a speech about democracy?

In one session, I was asked a simple question that instantly hit a nerve.

“Do you think you deserve love?

The logical response should have been, of course, I do. Instead, I started crying.

At that time I was still punishing myself for past mistakes surrounding feelings of guilt. I realized I was viewing myself in a negative light and allowing myself to be treated as someone who deserves to be reminded of their faults. In order to change that, my self-perception had to change. The hardest step was to remove the crumbs! It took time, but the result changed my life.

The people we allow into our space and to occupy our time can have an effect on our mental health. Being in toxic relationships can result in repeated cycles of negative self-talk, which can lead to darker thoughts. I am thankful that through counseling I was able to see the “why” of my actions and make a change.

My life has completely turned around. I have been in a healthy relationship for two years. The kind I’m reminded of when I watch the President talk about his wife. I’m supported, I’m acknowledged, I’m loved for who I am, and I am in love with my best friend.

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Photo source: New York Times video


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