When you look at yourself, you wonder are you really that broken? Or you think, Counselling? That’s way too self-indulgent. You can sort yourself out. You should be able to get through this (whatever this is) without help.
I mean, only people with ‘serious’ problems go to counselling. Anyhow, what would your family think? It’s kind of shameful. Desperate even. And there are so many other things you could spend money on like going out, music, clothes, holidays, other therapies.
It’s easy to get into these spirals of self-doubt, making lists as long as your arm for why not. Let’s face it, counselling doesn’t strike you as the most fun way to spend an hour. Talking about stuff that no one else knows; absolutely wouldn’t want to know. You’re not the only one. Most people who come to counselling with me have some of that going on.
Questions to ask yourself
So let’s talk about you now and I’m speaking both to your head and your heart here. If you pause for a moment, where are you in your life right now? Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get a reality check:
- Are you living the life you really want?
- Do you find yourself worrying a lot of time about the next thing that might happen?
- Do you find it hard to feel excited about life at the moment?
- Do you find yourself swept up in distractions, like Facebook, TV, shopping, booze?
- Do you find yourself in a relationship ground hog day, swept off your feet one minute and then wondering why it’s all falling apart?
If you know in your gut that the answer is yes to any or all of these, there’s a good chance counselling can help.
‘It’s for broken people and any way it’s too much to spend on myself’
When Sarah* came to see me for her first counselling appointment, her body language was all ‘get me out of here’. Part of her was desperate to feel less angry at work, snapping at everything and everyone. She worried it was holding her back. But she was also really angry with herself for being in the room with me. She called herself a loser. Questioned openly whether this was the right thing for her. Whether she could afford it. Whether it would work or was just a complete waste of time.
It doesn’t phase me when I hear this kind of response. It helps me understand that there is a real struggle going on. The part of you that is desperate for something to change is in competition with the part of you that has learnt it’s really unsafe to show any vulnerability in life because it comes back to bite you on the arse, big time.
Feeling torn in this way, having a bit of a go at yourself for when life goes wrong or you show a bit of a tender side is really common. Counselling is a place where that can be safely talked about, with the possibility of it healing and changing.
This week’s Lifeline
Whether you’re ready for counselling or not, there’s a lot you can do for yourself, by yourself. So here’s a Wellbeing Lifeline to get you started. It’s the ‘Letter to me’ exercise and it can really help get to the heart of what might hold you back:
Find a quiet space and take about 30 minutes for this. Get yourself a pen and paper and comfortable so you can feel relaxed.
Focus on your breathing gently and then take your attention inside to a quiet still place.
Imagine yourself as a young child, around 8 to 10 years old. Picture how you were, what you were wearing, what the world was like for you then.
Now write a letter to yourself at that age, remembering what it felt like then.
What would you say to this young self about your life and how it has turned out?
What have been the highs and lows?
What would you have changed if you could.
What would you like your young self to know about you now?
When you’ve finished the letter put it aside for a few minutes and take a few moments to reflect on that experience? What came up that surprised you or didn’t? How did you feel towards this younger self?
Finally decide whether to keep the letter safe or to destroy it.
Want to find your way out of a difficult place?
If you looked at the five questions and thought, yep, your life isn’t where you’d like it to be right now, you can book an initial counselling session here to start the journey of reconnecting with the real you.
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*Sarah is not a real client but is a representation of what clients often say. Counselling is a completely confidential experience and I would never divulge real client experiences. Just wanted to be clear about that!