This book summary by Sam Thomas Davies isn’t directly about abuse or mental health. It is, however, about something vital to the way we view healing, and I want to take a moment to talk about that.
The book’s core is the idea between Gap thinking and Gain thinking.
Gap thinking is the more common way we view ourselves regarding self-improvement or healing:
Hardy explains that when we’re in the GAP, we’re not in the “here” and “now.” Instead, we’re trying to get “there,” a destination where the success criteria are constantly moving and are never attainable.
Gap thinking is what we do when we define the ideal version of ourselves and measure our current selves against that ideal. It can keep us focused on a goal, but it can also lead to a lifetime of chasing something that isn’t realistic. I see this in survivors too often. They have a version of themselves that they define as “healed,” and anything short of that is a failure. Those of us who were abused or suffered another kind of trauma early in childhood had no concept of what a non-traumatized version of us would look like. Trying to create one and assuming that until we get there, we are broken is a fool’s game.
I think many of us would be better off with Gain thinking:
GAIN thinking involves measuring our progress by comparing ourselves against all that we’ve already accomplished. You make yourself your reference point. You make the final call on what “success” means to you.
Here’s why this made me pay attention. I see so many survivors who have come so far and overcome so much, and instead of looking back at the amazing amount of growth, they only see the gap between where they want to go and where they are now. If this gap feeling describes where you are in your healing, turn your gaze around from looking at the goal and how far it may be to how much further along you are on that path than you were 1, 3, or 5 years ago.
You might be surprised by how far you’ve come in that time. You might even take a moment to feel proud of yourself.