When I started reading about psychology, I was ravenous to “figure everything out”. I could not get enough of learning about our patterns, how to deal with emotions, and to find out how normal I was. I read voraciously for years, believing that if only I had a sense of mastery over my struggles and how to communicate with others effectively, that I would resolve my sense of internal shame.
I will let you in on something. A small percentage of the things I have learned and read about have helped – self compassion, understanding myself better, normalizing my experiences, and gaining perspective.
But the thing that has helped the most? Allowing myself to have my experience and be witnessed by another. I believe that is the healing, and it is also long term work. For myself as someone with relational childhood trauma, the healing has been and continues to be in safe, warm, and receptive relationships.
The thing that hasn’t helped? Rushing to figure out what the next thing might be and actually avoid what I’m feeling through seemingly very productive means. When I devoured self help works the message I was sending to myself was that I’m not okay as I am.
I can completely understand the desire to have someone else give you the answers. I had hoped that too for a long while, that maybe this one book, or that podcast, or this one therapist and it will all change. Therapists are not God. We cannot fix or change you. Even if we were fully healed humans, whatever that means, we still couldn’t give you the answers because that is your work. Believe me, its not because we don’t want to. If we could we absolutely would love to relieve the suffering of our clients.
What we can do is sit with you in your pain. Remind you of your goodness. Allow you to have your humanness. Talk with you about how our minds work and how they are always talking to us and sometimes sharing things we don’t want to hear. Help you practice presence. Bring your awareness to your own patterns. Guide you to take better care of yourself and your mind.
So I remind you lovingly as I once needed to know too, that in my eyes, there is no quick fix and there needs to be a willingness to explore to move forward. To befriend yourself. To unlearn some mean things you’ve been carrying about yourself. To strengthen your voice. To feel your emotions. To stop missing your life.