Dr. Joan Rosenberg – Psychologist
I’m 19 years old. I’m a camp counselor to northern Minnesota summer camp, and I’m on a hayride. It’s a beautiful night, and I’m listening in to the conversation next to me, trying to figure out how to break in, just keeping kind of to myself, not sure where it was going, how I could break in.
And just as we’re about to turn into the girls camp to the boys camp, which is where we were headed, one of the counselors turns to me, looks at me and elbows me in the ribs and says, “Hey, Joan, you know what? You’re boring.”
“Whoa! Boring? What?”
It felt like she took a fork, stabbed it in my gut and just spun it around. Now, most of us have our own versions of those gut-punch moments. I’m not sure what it is for you, but that was a big moment for me.
And that moment and a few other key life experiences really sparked my interest to become a psychologist and to understand what it was that really helps someone develop self-esteem and self-confidence. Across 35 years of research, tens of thousands of hours of counseling other individuals and teaching and supervising, there was one element that I remained captivated by and still am to this day, and it’s unpleasant feelings.
Unpleasant feelings. More than anything else, what I found is what holds people back is their inability or their challenges with dealing with unpleasant feelings. Yet, nobody really teaches us what to do or how to handle them.