I haven’t written a personal blog in a long time. These days, in my career as a counselor, I’ve been gearing my energies toward holding a space for others and helping them shine a light in areas where a bit more illumination and self-awareness is needed. And yet, as a human being who is continually growing and changing, I too am sometimes in need of that illumination.
Last night when re-connecting with a friend, I found myself repeating an old story that I have repeated many times, and thought adequately reflected my life journey. However, this morning, I am filled with this undeniable realization that I no longer relate to that story and need to let it go.
This is a repeat of a situation that happened to me years ago with another friend. The same nagging feeling, the same deeper awareness of somehow carrying baggage that no longer belongs to me. You can read that blog here.
I suppose this brought on two personal realizations that I need to put to active use in my daily life. The first is that we are continually growing and evolving and we can only truly do so when we allow ourselves to let go of what was – so that we can begin to move into what will be. Sometimes the feelings associated with struggle or unfortunate past incidents can be so strong that we over-identify with them. Letting them set up shop and stay the focus of mental fixation for the rest of our lives would truly be a mistake. Time keeps moving on, change is inevitable, but if we can have the courage and insight to let go of what no longer serves us, then we can embrace that change, see it as a friend, and let it begin to heal us on the deepest of levels. This old story feels like wearing a suit that no longer fits me and I need to rip it off and embrace the freedom that comes with that.
The second realization, and I think it’s an important one, is to allow my feelings to guide me without harsh judgement of them. I routinely teach this in my counseling sessions – that all feelings are neutral – even presumably negative feelings such as regret, anger or sadness. Their purpose is not to torture us but instead to inform us of how to move closer to what we want, and farther away from what we don’t want. Our feelings serve as our inner GPS.
And yet, this morning, along with the realization that what I was saying last night is no longer true for me, there was an undeniable “ick-factor” associated with it. (Obviously not a technical term.) On some level, it feels as if I’m beating myself up for experiencing this emotional sensation – maybe like a guilt association. In reality, having this reaction to my feelings is not only unnecessary – but also counterproductive. If our feelings are actually our inner GPS (and I believe that that are) then the intensity of this feeling simply exists because it is screaming out to be noticed and heeded. It’s helping me to avoid just sweeping it away, like we do so many of our other emotional impressions. In essence, it’s telling me, loud and clear, that this is the next important step in my own personal growth and development – and for that, I should be thankful.
I suppose, in the end, our task is really quite simple – be gentle with ourselves, listen to what our interior landscape is trying to tell us, and allow ourselves second chances to do it better this time. When we can see our feelings and intuitions as an ally, rather than an enemy, there’s this emerging sense that we aren’t rudderless and adrift on a chaotic sea. We just have to tune into our inner GPS, instead of ignore it or chastise it, and let it steer us to safety.
Maybe we are like snakes who need to periodically shed their old skins. Or perhaps a better analogy is that of a tree that loses it leaves and becomes bare in order to sprout again – refreshed and vibrant.
While I’m really just writing this mostly as a reminder to myself of what feels like a powerful lesson – I’m keenly aware that we all share the commonalities of human experience. I now feel more determined to be intentional about the words coming out of my mouth – and have a renewed devotion to allowing myself to create anew.
What are your thoughts about this? Can you relate?
Wise Counseling, Inc. offers both individual and couples counseling aimed at empowering you to create your greatest quality of life. We also specialize in EMDR Therapy to help you address past trauma – and break free from unhealthy life patterns. Offices in both Fort Myers and Naples. Please allow us to be your partner in wellness.