It amazes me how something that is so fundamentally good and healing for us, has been perceived as something truly bad and terrible by many -different- people.
It’s true that to our previous generation, therapy wasn’t as easily accessible as it is today, but even now there is this stigma about going to therapy or even talking about it. How dare we talk about how we truly feel? How dare we open ourselves up to another person? How dare we feel our feelings?
My question is “How can you ask yourself these questions and still be surprised by how shitty you feel or crappy your life is when you’re an adult and can’t figure out how to get your life together?
Do you always feel the need to be busy? Do you smoke? Do you drink more often than you should? Do you (think about) self-harm? Do you purposefully avoid certain people or situations because they make you feel like sh*t? Do you have all kinds of physical ailments that no doctor can find an explanation for? Do you catch yourself endlessly scrolling through social media without a true purpose? Do you find it difficult to find or maintain authentic friendships?
Go to therapy.
We tend to believe that we only need therapy when something bad has happened. When we’re in the middle of trauma, like grief, and don’t know how to cope and build our lives around that. But it’s not about “going back to normal”, or learning how to move on, but affectively learning how to deal with the Right Here, Right Now. And yes that’s a heartwrenching thing to do, another thing that makes therapy (seem) so scary. If it were easy, everyone would do it, right?
But feeling our feelings and expressing and communicating them in a healthy way is -luckily!- something that tends to come natural to us. As babies we of course know only one way of communicating, which is crying. Crying when we’re hungry, or sleepy, or need a diaper change or a comforting hug and loving words spoken to us. Unfortunately a lot of us never had those needs properly met when we were babies ourselves. Parents that implement the CIO (Crying It Out) method are the perfect example, by letting their children cry themselves to sleep at night to try and reduce their cries for help. We might not be able to consciously remember those events (if you went through this trauma) but our ‘being’ remembers. Something inside of us remembers how it felt to be helpless, powerless, and to not be heard, seen or understood. So as adults, lots of things can happen as a result of this. We can become very loud and expressive to make sure we are always seen and heard. We can become healers to try and make sure others don’t have to feel this way. Or by then we’ve started to believe that we have no voice, so we live an obliterated and sheltered life. Too scared of again having to come to the realization that no matter how hard you try, no one will ever hear you.
These are just examples of the daily struggles many of us actually go through, today. For a lot of days. And maybe you do too. But we’ve somehow forgot that that’s what we are doing when we are not making conscious and healthy decisions everyday. We permit and tolerate a lot of stuff we are not supposed to. I believe that emotions and communicating them are two important elements of our Earthly Experience. It’s like when in every story, movie or book when someone is granted a wish or Godlike powers, the common catch is that the one thing we cannot force or manipulate, is Love. Love carries the highest vibration and allows us to expand, learn and grow to make Life a unique and personal experience. It is the one thing we can’t cheat our way through and therefore carries lots of lifelessons, as long as we stay brave enough to give and receive love. And all of that starts with – as usual- ourselves. Self-Love, Self Compassion, Self-Reflection, Self-Care. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
So even if you’re convinced that there is no trauma in your life, no matter how small, or you can’t think of any areas in your life where you might need improvement: Go to therapy anyway. There’s always something new to learn about yourself, or your surroundings. To be able to glimpse at your life through someone else’s glasses and be surprised by what you see. It literally can only do you good, so why not try it?
Why not become your best self, whatever that might look like? Why not learn something about yourself today, that your future self will be grateful for?
Therapy is not the end; it is the beginning.
Zoë van Mourik | Equine Trauma & Behavior Specialist
www.zoevanmourik.com & www.houseofhorsemanship.nl