Revealing your Authentic Image

Bill Benson’s August Tip:

Do you receive a lot of wall calendars in the mail, too?

I guess the marketing teams of charitable organizations have determined it’s hard to leave pictures of people and animals unopened – and I do find myself tearing through the tops of envelopes to review the coming year’s selected faces and places.

I believe the enduring nature of paper calendars (despite this digital age) has something to do with how these images cheer us on as the numbered squares printed below them note the passages of our lives.

I am a big fan of the photographic process because of the moments this discipline captures. Skillful photography (the kind usually found in calendars) transcends the mere documenting of an image: These pictures look past the subject’s eyes and step behind the landscapes to expose some deeper emotional truth – elevating the snapshot into something impactful.

Exposing our lives

Most of us can sense when others “try too hard:” These people tend to come off as needy, cocky, or manipulative. In their quest to be valued and admired, they adopt a popular trend, mimic public opinion, or play a version of themselves they believe will be applauded.

Ironically, these actions often create the opposite of the desired effect: Our need for inclusion discourages any form of authentic expression for others to actually endorse. Genuine acknowledgement becomes impossible and, like bad photography, the viewer is forced to look at, not share in, the subject’s life.

We usually present manufactured images out of sheer mistrust. Concerned that others self-generated opinions may hurt us, we begin the complicated task of controlling our environments: We advertise and campaign in attempts to stay emotionally safe. Sadly, in doing so, we cordon-off the ability for others to truly know and love us.

Developing a Keener Eye

In session, my professional pursuit is not to change my clients, rather, my goal is to help them unveil the truths that are often hidden behind their manufactured defenses and judgments.

Psychotherapy helps to reveal of one’s essence, establish esteem around this,
and then guide this truth into being.

This month, take a snapshot of your life and review it. Challenge yourself to lengthen your lens: Notice any areas where you are not representing what truly lies behind any image you may be conjuring: Then refocus and re-shoot.

Like good photography, empowered people notice the internal beauty in themselves and others and express it. Living life as an art-form requires that we train our eyes to recognize our unique abilities and contribute these strengths to the bigger picture.

The Mental Gym is founded with the understanding that professional psychological perspectives can help those looking to achieve important goals or work through life challenges.

Similar to building physical strength at a gym with the help of a personal trainer, our clients work to increase their emotional growth through the guidance provided by our clinicians.

PPO insurance plans accepted – Credit cards welcomed
All newsletter material © 2014 The Mental Gym.

The Mental Gym Get Emotionally Fit
August 2014

Bill Benson

Do you ever find yourself musing: Why did I just say that?

Usually we insert ourselves into conversations or make statements out of a need to be noticed or a desire to feel included.

This month’s tip explores the why’s of this potentially non-productive habit and how to handle it. Allowing our lives to unfold without forcing our hands usually leads to a more authentic and pleasurable experience.

Here’s to imagining your life in real-time.


Bill Benson, LMFT, LPCC

To schedule an appointment, call 310-849-9399 or visit


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