I thought I had my shit together.
I mean honestly... I had stopped dating assholes, I was a generally pretty happy person, I had a thriving business, and a good family.
So why the hell did I need to see a therapist?
Because somewhere along the way I realized fear was running almost every part of my life.
Sure on the outside everything seemed fine, even to me!
But upon closer inspection (which let's face it, the pandemic kind of forced us into such reflection), I realized that I worked tirelessly at my business because I was terrified of losing it.
I avoided confrontation in every single one of my relationships because I was so scared of people abandoning me if I let my shadow-self come out.
I was driven to be as perfect as possible in as many ways as possible because if I could be perfect, then I would be worthy. Worthy of success, worthy of love, worthy of admiration, worthy of friendships, worthy of rest.
But the thing about striving for perfection is it's a losing battle. And somewhere along the way I realized if I stayed in that battle, I would destroy myself in the process.
So I decided to go on a journey. One where I could embrace the messy parts of me, where I could not only let my shadow-self come out, but I could actually get to know and maybe even like her. One where I could feel worthy simply for existing, instead of for constantly achieving.
And ya'll... I got more than I bargained for.
Over the past year I've felt more broken, raw, and real than I ever have in my life. I also have felt more free, more authentic, more connected, and more joyful than I have in my entire life.
And while I know one episode and a handful of tips might not be as impactful as a year of therapy, I'm hoping these tools I've learned will help you at least begin your journey...
I always thought 'processing emotions' meant thinking through them, talking through them, understanding them. But something I've learned from my therapist is processing emotions doesn't happen in the brain, it happens in the body. We can't think our feelings, we actually have to feel our feelings. Here's how she taught me to do it...
One of the most powerful things I've learned from my therapist is to think about myself in parts. It's given me a different language to relate to myself and to others when I realized the parts of me I didn't like were not all of me (just like the parts I didn't like about other people were not all of them). And when I could separate the parts, and observe them without judgement, I could begin to understand and heal the parts that were hurting.
This was an activity my therapist had me do recently and it's a beautiful exercise to tap into our 'rest and digest' state.
To give you a little background, we exist in one of 2 nervous system states: rest and digest or fight/flight/freeze/faint. When we're in the former, we have a more positive outlook on life, we feel we have agency over ourselves, we feel safe, we're more creative and connected, and we're better able to heal.
In the latter state, we're stressed, it's easier to look at the world through shit-colored glasses, we feel isolate and helpless, and it's difficult for our body to heal.
So when you're feeling stuck, depressed, unmotivated, or like you have low energy, this is a really good practice to implement for yourself.
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