I spent more than 20 hours this weekend learning how to do this in a more practical way – we are so used to experiencing emotions as something passive: feeling/thinking what if/crying/letting it overcome you. Everyone thinks that it just “takes time”, but it’s beyond that. All I can say is that respecting the emotion and acting on it (that isn’t oppressive or impulsive) is the most important thing you can do to find a way to heal. A part of me wants to let everyone know that there is this awesome way to do it – to achieve happiness. It’s a daily working progress. You have to be open to it. (It’s okay too if you’re not, yet. It will be possible by encouraging yourself, slowly but surely. Especially if you already are connected with yourself via therapy). Here are some thoughts on the weekend & my whole life since therapy (which I did sparingly in 2004/2005, then in 2010, and now since 2012):
– It change my whole perspective about anything I might encounter in life, the difficult parts (and how connected they are with the good ones too). I realized how nothing good that happened didn’t have some kind of struggle that came before it. And I don’t mean this in the obvious “work first, play later” rule. I really mean: the awkward interactions and over-thinking monologues that came before I could consider that my company is not bad, to finally call someone a friend and be able to tell them pretty much anything (and how nowadays I don’t feel like I need another friend – they would be welcome, sure, but the ones I have are perfect); how much I learned about myself/how to value who I am through therapy before diving into a relationship; how many times I had to look in the mirror hating everything I saw until I started noticing good things to finally just accept that how good I feel about myself has nothing to do with other people (there are bad days, and they are often still); the shitty negotiations I did before I learned to calm myself first instead of just closing an unfair deal because I couldn’t stand talking on the phone or couldn’t think of my own worth; the amount of insecure texts I sent people when feeling lonely/needy and couldn’t bear resolving my own problems before I stopped; dealt with my own things and ended up getting sincere “how are you?” texts (I still do some venting, though).
– All of this behavior that I told myself it’s just “who I am” or even “I hate the way I am/nobody understands me” (both accomplish nothing: the first is about conforming I can’t change; the second is related to not wanting to do said thing, but also playing the blame game). When I decided to start therapy, a shift happened. I was reflecting every day about my actions: who am I doing this for? is it worth it? how much effort will it be? what will change in my life? Perhaps the most important lesson since 2010 came with the “put myself first” motto. It was difficult to learn that this isn’t selfish. It was hell to hear it from other people and still go through with it. I am still learning.
– But I wrote all of this to also recognize what I accomplished so far: getting in touch with what causes my anxiety (when talking to other people; when being the center of attention; when talking to someone about something that needs to change), learning how to see things from other people’s perspective (and how it doesn’t always mean that I should change mine, especially if they don’t even try to see it from my perspective), trying to deal with guilt, what triggers it and how to be conscious of it without letting it control me (the most difficult one for me), how to have an open dialogue with my parents (and how to distance myself from them so that the relationship is healthy), discovering what do I look for in a relationship, empowering my relationship with myself (self-care; body positivity; embracing my inner artist; enjoying alone time).
– The instincts after this weekend are a little more polished (can one polish their instincts? I think so). I guess that if I could define, it would be something like this: I am more in touch with the inner feeling that anything is possible; I am more in touch with my will to make anything possible; I am more in touch with my knowledge to filter what is within my reach (anything is possible, but not everything is convenient); I am more in touch with my patience to realize that all possibilities take time and the reassurance that it will be worth it. There is so much to accomplish, but I am very excited about the ride too.