21/01/2018

Therapy & An Unexpected Result

Posted in Encouragement, Musings, Self-Awareness tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:22 am by The Water Bearer

One of my clients asked me the other day, “What was the most valuable thing you gained from going to therapy?”

For those of you who don’t know my story, let me just say that I never thought I needed therapy. I thought I could trust my instinctive reactions and emotions, I valued my knowledge and principles. It was only when I had the car accident that my lawyers suggested I go to therapy, to help me regain my confidence on the road as panic attacks had begun to consume my time in the car.

That initial, seemingly isolated prompt, unearthed a deep curiosity, which led to over a decade of therapy. I found so many different perspectives to myself that I had never considered previously, and gained something new from each of a few different therapists.

So when my client asked me this question, in an attempt to better understand her own journey of self-discovery, I didn’t want to be rash, taking a moment to ponder. I have gained so many valuable things from therapy, if you break it all down into each break-through and each level of growth. But the stand out for me personally was so surprising!

Over time, therapy gave me the ability to value my own truth, regardless of how others see it. It gave me sense of belonging to myself that I never expected.. Something Dr Brene Brown talks about often in her research.

Before therapy I had very little tolerance for my own flaws, or the flaws in others. I had developed a system of manipulating myself and my surroundings, to protect myself from a world I had deemed unsafe since childhood. This meant, I not only manipulated others, but I had also managed to deceived myself in the process. The dangers of the world that I wrestled to avoid, were grounded in criticisms and rejections of people who I thought loved each other. I somehow managed to become a chameleon, adapting myself to whoever I was hoping to impress, as a way to protect myself from all possible and painful rejection.

Fear, hidden fear, can pollute our behaviour in so many ways that we are often, completely unaware of. It can cause us to not even know ourselves at all. We’ve all heard that we ‘can not truly love others until we love ourselves’, but how can we love ourselves if we don’t even know ourselves?

I was completely unaware that all these toxic fears and behaviours were hiding inside myself.

Therapy helped me ask myself some tough but honest questions. I began to build a relationship with my true self.

Therapy helped me figure out what was most important to me, which turned out to be, the ability to depend upon the unpolluted Love of my Saviour.  Also, to give more value to how God sees me, than how the world sees me. If it wasn’t for this epiphany, I would not be able to handle the constant stream of misunderstanding and rejection that goes hand in hand with creating anything, presenting it to the world, and realising how little some people actually care about the things that matter most to me.

Sadly attending therapy still carries a stigma, perhaps in my former uneducated days I too thought only “crazy” people needed therapy. But thankfully my understanding has grown, actually so much to the point that I believe therapy should be mandatory for everyone. At least once or twice per year to check-in with yourself. It is far too easy to convince ourselves that we must remain where we are, that needing help of any kind is weakness. My friend, be assured there was nothing weak about my therapy sessions. They were ballsy, vulnerable, courageous, honest, challenging and above all healing! Doing nothing to change an unhealthy or unfulfilled life, looks far more like weakness to me. 

The painful criticisms and disappointments, that come from all human relationships, never lost their sting, but they certainly lost their ability to steer my life towards more dysfunction and self-condemnation. Best of all , when we understand our fears we can overcome them, so that they no longer hold us back from fulfilling our dreams!

 

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2 Comments »

  1. ‘I somehow managed to become a chameleon, adapting myself to whoever I was hoping to impress, as a way to protect myself from all possible and painful rejection.’ Oh my, I’ve written a version of this exact statement. Isn’t amazing what we can become when we aren’t paying attention. I only recently found the good in therapy. Prior to last year, I loathed it as my experiences always turned into sessions of whining and complaining about the things I cannot change. All the while someone just sitting and letting me ‘go off.’ Last year I met an amazing therapist that actively helped me with my Complex PTSD and so much more. In my short time with her I learned a lot; most importantly that I need to check in from time to time if only to check in with myself (as you mentioned). And I feel every ounce of this statement > ‘ be assured there was nothing weak about my therapy sessions. They were ballsy, vulnerable, courageous, honest, challenging and above all healing!’ Fantastic read!

    Liked by 1 person

    • How wonderfully comforting it is to have connected with you in such an honest and vulnerable way!! I write out of obedience, Ive written poems thoughts and stories out my entire life but never saw enough worth in myself to think my writing was of any value to others. God was very clear that He wanted me to WRITE! Once I obeyed, the shutters flew open and so much light filled my world! There are still days I wonder if anyone actually cares about the things I write about, somedays I care about that less than others. I love the connection when someone gets it but I love obeying more! Thank you so much for encouraging me with this amazing sense of being understood and worthwhile! Praise Be to God for His beautiful plan! 🙌🙌

      Liked by 1 person


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