Yesterday I had a meeting with my spiritual counselor which was, honestly, quite difficult for me to sit through (and not because I had to wear a mask for over an hour). Often, my meetings with her are gentle and soothing. This one was almost painful. She was brutal in her honesty.
And as a result, quite helpful. Sometimes a bit of tough love is needed.
I prefer not to get into the specifics of what we discussed because I’m dealing with some extremely personal issues at the moment. That said, I’m comfortable sharing the basic bones of what I gleaned from the experience:
- Stop overthinking and just feel things. Let go of the need to know everything.
- It’s ok to ask for help. It is especially ok to ask God for help. Ask God for help, Aidan.
- Girl, there are big changes on the horizon, so I really need to get those first two things in order so I am open to accept the upcoming changes and move forward with my life.
She reiterated what my therapist often tells me (using different words): I need to balance the negativity in my life by focusing on pleasant, happy memories. Hence the gratitude journal. Yes, I have experienced deep trauma. Yes, it is very difficult and a lot of work to not get dragged down by that trauma. Still, my trauma itself cannot prevent me from growing. I have options for how I react to the trauma of my past–by focusing on it, or by focusing on the good things that have happened in my life.
Which sounds like an oversimplification, because counseling is not my area of expertise and my paraphrasing cannot possibly do justice to the advice I have received from my spiritual counselor and my therapist.
I’m going to step out of my comfort zone, more. I took fear from my trauma and that fear has dictated a lot of what I have–or rather, what I haven’t–done with my life. Facing that fear and doing things that make me uncomfortable is the only way I will achieve any significant progress. Just a little uncomfortable, though. Like they’ve both told me, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing; it’s ok to do things incrementally.
Normally, for my birthday, I write up a list of goals I’d like to achieve in the upcoming year of my life–kind of like New Year’s resolutions focused on making progressive changes in my life to become the type of person I want to be. During my birthday this year, I found myself in a state of flux (and aren’t we all in this current sociopolitical climate). My previously held beliefs are now in question. What I once valued is shifting. It’s difficult to make progress in a certain direction, towards a certain goal, when you’re in the middle of potentially changing that goal.
Instead, I wrote up two lists. The first is a list of traits I value in either myself or in others (things like honesty, compassion, etc). The second is a list of things I would like to try this year. Most of them are things I used to do, but fell out of practice when my big depression hit in my 20s, and which I’d like to start again to see if I still enjoy them. But more than a few of them are new things; things I haven’t tried before and have always been interested in, but my fear held me back with one excuse or another.
I’ll likely make a separate post for that journal entry, but I wanted to bring it up to illustrate that my visit told me things that, on some level, I already knew and had laid the groundwork for. To progress, I can’t keep doing the same things I’ve been doing; I’ve already proven that they don’t work.
It’s time to try something new.