We as a society have spent far more time nurturing our physical health than our mental wellness. For decades, even whispering the words “anxiety journal” could earn a person a bunch of raised eyebrows and an un-invitation to Vicki’s gender reveal party. But times have changed! Mental healthcare is not only embraced and encouraged, it’s a downright trend. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve dabbled in it myself. My therapist tried to teach me how to cope with rejection, my deep-seated parental issues, and Brandon calling me a butt nugget in fifth grade. That’s all well and good, but the most useful tool I’ve picked up from my bi-weekly sessions was a complete accident. Here’s how I learned to use therapy speak to haggle down the price of almost anything.
Set Clear Boundaries (And Don’t Be Afraid To Throw Your Therapist Under The Bus)
People often end up in therapy because they put the needs of others ahead of their own health and safety. Therapists often suggest determining your comfort levels and redrawing boundaries with those around you. This tactic also works on the ladies at Banana Republic. Tell them you’re willing to pay $45 for their Devon Legging-Fit Houndstooth Ankle Pants and not a dollar more. They will try to argue. Blame your therapist. Say she told you that you needed to start respecting yourself and their refusal to listen to your needs is making you feel very unsafe. This will, in turn, make them feel unsafe, making them more receptive to your demands.
Make It About You, Not Them
Relationships thrive with open, healthy communication that involves taking both sides into account and striving to protect the best interests of all parties. Accusations are harmful and often misguided. This is why therapists recommended avoiding phrases such as “You always overcook the quinoa!” Instead, use “I” statements. Express the way your partner’s shitty cooking makes you feel, and allow room for the rare occasion they actually do something right. “I feel like you frequently overcook the quinoa.” Therapists will tell you this is to allow room for conversation, something ultimatums and absolutes don’t do.
It is also an excellent tactic for taking away their ability to deny your claims. Say, for example, you march up to Dillon behind the Sharper Image counter and insist his tabletop fireplace is overpriced. He will yammer something about GDP and suggested retail price, but I’ve found that a simple “Dillon, I feel this ultrasonic eyeglass cleaner should be at least $30 cheaper” while dropping large, silent tears works every time. Dillon may be able to refute your claim that Sharper Image is a rip-off, but he can never tell you how you feel.
Live Your Best Life
Envisioning the reality you want for yourself has long been a no-fail strategy of the successful. Fake it until you make it, dress for the job you want, read Oprah’s book club recommendations, and your wishes will come true. What this means in practice is that if you believe the price of an item to be a certain number, that price will become your reality. Again, some well-intentioned clerk will try to tell you that you are wrong. Reassure them that you understand their point of view but insist that they acknowledge yours as well. “I hear you saying the price of these Jimmy Choos is $700, but I feel like you’re not respecting my personal truth that these shoes are actually $400.”
If that doesn’t work, you can always forge a prescription for those Glittered Leather Slingback Pumps you’ve had your eye on.