We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our trust. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals human spirit.
We’ve all had our fair share of challenges in our lives. I believe our strength arises from overcoming difficult times through the experience of healthy relationships. Therapy provides an opportunity to explore our inner thoughts and feelings and how we interact with others in the world. In therapy, we have a chance to form a trusting relationship that honors our inherent dignity and worth. It allows us to experience the true vulnerability we feel when we become emotionally intimate with another.
Therapy has been a tool for me since early adulthood. I have had good, bad, and mediocre therapists. My first therapist was the one who inspired and encouraged me to face my fears and go for what I love. My second good therapist came to me at a time when I really needed to work on the next level of change for myself. I was unhappy and didn’t know why. I knew I was repeating unhealthy patterns, but couldn’t figure it out. Therapy helped me see clearly what was going on and where it was coming from. I had an eye opening moment when I realized why I was repeating the same pattern over and over again all those years. I had not been ready for real change in my life until I recognized and worked on healing wounds from the past. Therapy helped me face the pain so I could work through it and heal. I was then ready for the next stage of my life, finding my life partner and having a child.
Marriage and motherhood have changed me. It’s changed the way I view my place in the world and how I perceive others. It’s forced me to examine how I interact with my community, extended family and the world at large. The experience of motherhood has helped reshape my beliefs and discover what values truly matter. When I was childless I only had to focus on myself. My only task was to do what was best for me. Since having my son I’m now looking at every experience through a different lens. When making important decisions, I automatically ask what is in the best interest of my son. I’ve learned that sometimes what is in his best interest is for me to practice self-care, which is an act of self-love. By allowing myself to take care of my needs, I’m teaching him one of life’s most important and valuable lessons: we need to know how to love and care for ourselves, before we can unconditionally love another.
The process of self-discovery to learn what’s most important to me, and prioritize my decisions has not been easy. I’ve been working closely with my current therapist for several months now. Marilyn Brine Gilmour is teaching me how to work through difficult thoughts and feelings that arise from a painful past, a stressful present and an uncertain future. She’s teaching me to trust my inner wisdom and to use it consciously, so that I can heal, grow and live the life my heart and soul desire. In this relationship, I can be honest, speak my truth, and feel cared about. I don’t have to hide any parts of myself and it feels so liberating!
Therapy is one of the most useful tools we can use to heal past wounds and make informed decisions in the present. We learn we don’t have power over our past, but can choose behaviors consciously and wisely now, to create a new future.
Through therapy, I am healing. Through healing, I am helping myself. Through helping myself, I am helping others.