‘I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then.’ Lewis Carroll – Alice In Wonderland.
We’re living in an era where we are becoming acutely aware of how our surroundings and particularly our own attitudes affect our health and well-being – which, as a therapist, is a great thing to witness. However, this awareness brings with it – I feel – pressure sometimes to present this ‘positive’ side of yourself all the time – which a lot of people find difficult.
We’re told ‘worrying is bad for you. Getting mad is bad you. Feeling sad is bad for you.’ And whilst this is true, it shouldn’t be something we feel guilty about. Emotions are human. It’s natural to feel anger, to feel sadness, to feel scared, if we weren’t supposed to feel these things, they wouldn’t exist in the first place. What you don’t want to end up doing is worrying about being worried! That makes it even worse – you end up feeling anxious about being anxious because you know it’s unhealthy – or you feel guilty about being bothered about something! Don’t!
It’s important to remember that first of all – it’s ok to not be ok sometimes. We go through positive and negative stages, that is the push and pull of the universe, there has to be opposites. We have to experience pain and sadness to know joy and happiness.
The second thing to remember is that you don’t have to rush things! It takes time to work on each part of yourself, to become slowly but surely the best possible version of yourself. You do this by living your life, by experiencing as much as you can, by learning and by listening. You do this from taking on board other people’s opinions, whilst not necessarily acting on them, by being willing to admit when you might be wrong, willing to question possibly everything you’ve ever been told about anything – whilst also having faith in whatever it is that you believe and find true comfort in. You do this by seeking help when you need it – in whatever area.
Sometimes people are afraid to seek treatment or therapies because they think they don’t ‘fit in’ to that kind of social category, or they’re not sure that they believe in alternative therapies or worried that if they start something they won’t be able to commit to it. Or they feel so bogged down by everything that they wouldn’t even know where to start trying to heal or help themselves.
That is totally ok! It’s fine! You don’t have to ‘fit in’ to anything and you definitely don’t have to decide anything or stick to any one point of view! The world is full of people who appear to ‘have it all sorted’ when in fact they are actually working very hard on themselves every day to try to be better and to live up to the life choices they have made! And some therapies may not be your cup of tea, for whatever reason – and that’s fine too – not all things are meant for us.
But – try things! Look around you and see what’s on offer because there’s so much! There’s someone waiting around every corner with the capability of helping you achieve something great.
We are a million different people from one day to the next (yes I just stole that line from the Verve but it’s true!) We are evolving with every new sunrise, we are products of our own experiences and it’s ok to keep changing your mind as you continue to learn and grow.
What is important, is that;
… you don’t give up on yourself – ever.
… you don’t categorise yourself –you don’t need to. And you don’t need to explain. Do you ever find yourself waffling when someone asks you a question because you’re trying to explain yourself? Don’t. It’s not your job to convince other people that the choices you’ve made are right. They were right for you at the time you made them and that is that.
… that in controlling your emotions (which is good practice, don’t get me wrong) you don’t supress them. Don’t just say ‘I’m not bothered’ when you are. Allow yourself to feel things, acknowledge them. Ask yourself why it makes you feel like this and what you want to do about it. Then tell yourself what you intend to do about it…and if you need help to get there – seek it.
Therapies are there to help you empower yourself! They are there to help you discover all the great things that you are, not make you feel guilty about what you are not.