I have to admit I have been a little out of sorts lately. Between suffering from allergies, keeping very busy, and not having somethings work out quite the way I want them to…. I am off balance. Keeping in line with my own advice I have tried all the comforting tricks and devices that usually, and easily, put me back in focus. But, at last, the gym does not seem to work. The four cup of green tea is not able to sooth me entirely, nor does listening to music I love. For those of you who can relate to my minor set back I forgot one important key thing. At times we stumble depending on where we are at and what life has tossed our way. As I have said many times, this is a lifelong process that we commit to engage in until the day we die, but we never do it perfectly and sometimes we just need to be and give it time. Sometimes all the “doing” stuff is just not going to work because our bodies and mind just want to “be”. No pressure. No pushing. Just time to be. To be with ourselves. To just breath.
The work of counselling does require patience and compassion from my clients” commitment to the work and to themselves. At times this can be frustrating for some of them when they walk into my office and slump down and declare; “I really can be here and feel in sessions, but I just cannot seem sometimes to maintain it throughout the week!” I remind them that this does take patience in that the trauma some of them have have experienced took years to accumulate so it is going to take time to re-experience what it means to be there for one”s self with complete commitment and compassion on a day-to-day basis. That through the therapeutic relationship we practice over and over this commitment to truly be with one”s self and know that in time it will naturally evolve into an automatic process. Process! Even the best of us who have this process down at times can fumble, stumble, and waiver, so this really is a process that is not meant to be perfected but experienced for a lifetime. Depending where we are at. Depending on the context of the situation we are in. Depending on our mood, our triggers, our recent and past experiences we can at times waiver from this process. The trick is to recognize this and commit to coming back to ourselves and really feel and be with ourselves. This is the process and in the long run it is so worth it!’, ‘It is so worth it…. But it does take compassion and patience.
The legendary pop singer Tina Turner”s 1984 hit song “What”s love got to do with it” was playing on the radio the other day and as I listened to the lyrics I clued into that the song is all about defending, protecting, not wanting to be hurt. Most of us can understand why Turner would find this song appealing with regards to her abusive marriage of many years and her quest to better her life. Many of us can relate to the song in our own lives if we have been hurt, if we have experienced loss, if we have felt great pain from the ”hands” of others. The urge for our being to shut down and protect the heart. We want to pretend that love does not matter and fool ourselves that if it does not matter we will not be hurt again. There is an enormous cost, unfortunately, in that it takes a lot of time and effort to defend and to always have one”s guard up. We miss out on what safe and healthy people have to offer us. We sacrifice our true self at the expense of defending against others. We throw out opportunities to grow within all because others have hurt us in the past and we hold tight to that as we continue in the world. I tell clients that this is again another consequence of trauma and painful experiences. I cannot in good faith guarantee for my clients (or myself for that matter) that there will not be loss, hurt, pain in the future; as there mostly likely will. I can however guarantee that through the therapeutic relationship we will cultivate an inner relationship with one”s self that will allow and promote a place where one is willing to reap the rewards and benefits of relations with others and be willing to risk some amount of pain that inevitably will come along with the relationship. But there comes a willingness to risk as the rewards out number the costs. This is called living. This is called being human.