I’ve been gone for a while, deep in a world of self-exploration. I mean this in the greatest sense of the word, focusing on my mental, emotional, and physical wellness and trying to get to the root of WHY I’ve been feeling so unlike the self I’ve always thought I’ve been.
I realized one day that I even felt lost here, in this space that I made a safe haven for everyone who visits, and I shut down. So I put this aside and tried to go deep. But doing the work alone is hard. Not impossible, but difficult, and one change I wanted to make was knowing when to ask for help and then, you know, actually ask for help.
My moment arrived on New Year’s Eve of 2021. Some may find it clichè, but I look forward to this day every year as an opportunity to symbolically welcome a fresh start. I take down the Christmas decorations, clean my house, dress up and celebrate with some wine and a blank cork board that will bear my vision for the upcoming twelve months by the time the clock strikes midnight.
But this year was different. I took down the decorations, but it felt heavy, like my body was drowning in quicksand. The rest of the day and night quickly went downhill, and by the end of the evening, I had done nothing more than lay on the couch staring blankly at whatever happened to be on the TV. I felt numb. My excitement for my annual ritual had never even presented itself.
At some point during that day, I recognized my mind’s silent plea. Something was so wrong and I wasn’t going to be able to fix it by myself.
I started counseling in January of 2022.
If you’ve read the post where I talk about counseling, you know that I’m a huge advocate. The last time helped me remove myself from a dangerous situation, and I had no doubt that this time would do the same.
Here’s what I love about counseling:
It’s a safe space for me to cry and feel through my emotions.
No one is fixing me, I’m only fixing myself through someone else’s different perspective.
It gives me an opportunity to look back and figure out some of my baggage on my own time, because where focus goes, energy flows, and once I’m in, I’m all in.
When I walk out of my session, I feel light and free and healing doesn’t seem so far off.
There are so many benefits to therapy, I could never list them all. But I urge you to keep an open mind if you know you need to work through some of your own demons. Therapy is magic.
During one session, my counselor asked me if she could tell me what she ‘heard’ while I was talking through one of my blocks. I told her she absolutely could, because what else was I here for? She handed me a pen and some paper and told me to write down the words she was going to say.
So I did. Here’s what they were, in no particular order:
Fear of failure
Fear of the future
Not good enough
Fear of rejection and abandonment
Lack of self respect
Lack of confidence
Allowing manipulation and control
Don’t like to ask for help
Once she finished, I read over the words and, of course, I cried. Since 2009, I had been working on my own self-love. I was preaching about it to anyone who would listen, and to a lot who wouldn’t. I believed in doing the work SO DEEPLY and knew without a doubt that my purpose in life is to teach others how to love themselves.
Not one of those observations was wrong. Not a single one. So what had I been working on all this time?
She had me cut out these individual words and place them all in a tiny box. She instructed me to remove them once I had worked through whatever the block was. I haven’t removed any of them yet, but I know that having these words in front of me is helping me work through them.
I may not have made THE decision, but I am making micro-decisions that are leading me where I need to go.
I don’t ask for help all the time, but I’m showing up for counseling, and I’m recognizing my limits which is half the battle.
I am realizing that my fear of failure has little to do with actual success and much more to do with others not agreeing with what I feel in my soul I am good at, which would ultimately lead to me disappointing only myself.
And if I’m going to be completely honest, I would still do the things I feel in my soul I’m good at, with or without external approval, so really, there is no possibility of failure.
This realization filters down into so many of those other words, a liquid filling the crevices around that nasty term ‘self-doubt’ and lifting it up.
And so I will continue to show up. For myself and for YOU, dear soul.
I will be forever grateful for that one hour of counseling that opened my eyes to what the rest of my life could look like if, for once, I don’t give up on myself.
Today, I encourage you to step outside of your box and recognize where you have room to grow into the person you imagine yourself to be and, for once, go all in.
Please share with me what these steps look like for you, and remember: Love yourself and live your soul.