Filtering through the noise and recognizing your own voice.
The most effective therapy takes place when your therapist takes on the role of teammate, rather than expert. In my experience, telling a client which way to go is far less transformative than us working together to help them find their own way. For some, their voice is lurking just beneath the surface. Within a session or two, we've peeled back a layer of confusion and find a path. For others, the fog might be thicker. You may be like some of my clients, who cant remember the last time they felt like themselves. Life has only gotten more confusing and challenging with time, and you've simply been going through the motions.
There are a lot of variables that can add layers to the fog. As developing children and teens, it's only natural for us to internalize the messages we receive from the world around us. Our families, friends, teachers, coaches, therapists, churches, communities, and culture at large are constantly sending us messages about who we should be. Even the most well intended messages can become problematic if it frustrates our ability to trust ourselves. Maybe you grew up in an environment where it was too risky to be yourself. You may have learned that emotions were dangerous, or that to be accepted you had to behave a certain way. Maybe you've been through a trauma, or a lifetime of traumas, that have left you with a pain so big, it seems like there's no space for anything else.
I believe, and have found with my clients time and again, that there is a wisdom that resides within each one of us.
Here's an experiment for you. Just notice whatever comes up as you consider the points below:
1) Can you recall a moment in time, where you felt deeply alive, connected, perhaps even lost track of time? Maybe it hasn't happened since you were a child, regardless, what was it about that moment that fostered those feelings? Were you in community with others? engaged in play? Creating works of art? Being a goofball? Exploring nature?
2) As situations and values bubble up, notice any thoughts that come in tow: "you're too busy", "thats a waste of time", "its irresponsible" "its weak", " its weird", "I'm not good enough", "you're being selfish". Just make note of whatever arises.
3) When you get all wrapped up in those thoughts, what do you notice? Do you feel open and engaged with life? Or perhaps it leaves you feeling constricted and bogged down? How about when you focus on your values, what does that elicit? Compare. Contrast.
What brings you more joy?