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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12/05/2017

Mindful Love

Posted in Encouragement, Finding Faith, Self-Awareness, Teen Trials tagged , , , , , , , at 11:17 am by The Water Bearer

Do you struggle to Believe you are Loveable?

Whispers of shame that bully our thoughts, are as old as Fig leaf skirts….. Nothing New to See Here!

Knowing we fail, knowing we aren’t perfect leaves us feeling….. well……

Ashamed!

We then believe this equation –  “Flaws + Shame = Not Worthy of Love”

LIES! LIES! LIES!

These lies cause us to focus on inconsistencies of love from others, and then to doubt the love from God.

Plus it eats away at our love for ourselves!

This is not just my battle, but yours as well….if you’re really honest.

Why do we battle with shame?

Because our purpose is growth & upward motion towards our Best Self! And every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Shame pushes us down, preventing the growth and potential we were designed for.

We have simply met our opposition…

Because We Are Human

A fun fact of human life is that we all have our Inner Enemies. Lets look at the Inner Enemy of autopilot, and automatic thoughts.

The more time we spend mind-wandering and mind-less, the more permission we give to these automatic thoughts.

Autopilot has a lot to answer for….

But all is not lost, we do have other options!

When we make mistakes, autopilot begins to steer the ship towards shame.

OR

We can steer our thoughts towards repentance and

accept the abundant Grace of God!

When people fail to love us properly, autopilot absorbs their lack of love, turn that lovelessness in our direction, and

we withdraw from love…. all in an attempt at self-protection.

Or

we can side step their lack of love, and move on

focused on God’s love for us!

WILL WE LET AUTOPILOT DECIDE OUR WORTH?

All the evidence in scripture, science and life experience tells us that we are able to rewire our autopilot, to transform our minds, to be set free. Be Reborn!

So, who else will stand with me battling hard against autopilot!

Standing at war with shame!

Silencing the whispers that tell you not to love yourself!

Ignoring the lies that we aren’t worthy of God’s love!

It will be tough, and our autopilot won’t let go of the steering-wheel easily. It has allowed these whispers to dictate our negative self-talk for so many generations…

Yet in the moment we can  Stop, Breathe and Be!

We can Remember the Cross

And Begin to feel that Unwavering Grace-filled Love

Mindfulness meditation slows our autopilot, giving us back some control.

By practicing mindful love we learn to not only be present in the moment, but to turn that moment into our sanctuary where we soak up God’s love, and allow it to trigger bouts of self-compassion.

Instead of allowing autopilot to drive us to seek our worth and approval from others, let’s start accepting it from God!

Practice building that into SELF-LOVE! Seeing yourself as God sees you… WITH LOVE! 

SELF-LOVING DEFEATS SHAME!

Right Now, stop and feel the breath in your lungs, hear the sounds around you, feel the ground beneath you, feel gravity holding you here in this place, try to be so still that you can feel your heartbeat, picture your Saviour’s Love smothering you and now give yourself a loving warm hug from your Saviour and from yourself……

You may automatically feel silly and as if you may not deserve it, but if you don’t try to accept it and appreciate it, the incredible Cross loses its value, and the war that should already be won, fights on.

The trick is that we must take back control, and the more time we spend practicing mindful love the more chance we can actually reprogram our autopilot!

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