Stuck? Start here.
You're stuck, but don’t want to be. You're tired of the struggle. You're done with feeling the way you’ve been feeling. You know that much. THIS is the point where most of my clients come in for counseling. They have a clear idea of what they don’t want their life to be about. Their pain feels too big, and they just want it gone.
Our journey together as clinician and client almost always begins with the question: “what DO you want your life to be about?” What sort of husband/wife/partner do you want to be? What kind of mother/father/daughter/son do you aspire to? How do you want to express yourself? What interests/hobbies do you want to explore? We begin to shift our focus from reducing pain, to expanding your life.
Here's the hard part about being a human; we will all struggle. You will be faced with (and my guess is, already have been) disappointments, failures, tragedies, and death. It's a guarantee, and what we often refer to as primary pain. When that primary pain feels like it gets in the way of what you want your life to be about, that’s when suffering, or secondary pain, builds. Secondary pain is what happens when your anxiety, self-doubt, unhealthy habits, or heavy feelings are experienced as a roadblock to being the type of person you want to be. This is the stuck-ness I see in my office. This stuck-ness is a gap between your values and your actions.
Values are informed by your answers to the questions I posited above. You may have thought things like “I want to be a loving and supportive partner” or “I want to spend my time being more adventurous, or engaged in creative expression”. When values serve as a compass both inside the counseling office and outside in your daily life- you have the sense of direction you need to begin making the changes you want. Regardless of what you are faced with, your values are there to fall back on. They are your flashlight in the dark.
So that begs the question, what in this life makes the pain worth it for you?