“Courage doesn’t happen when you have all the answers. It happens when you are ready to face the questions you have been avoiding your whole life.” ― Shannon L. Alder
Many of us carry the cultural message that pushing down our feelings—especially painful ones—is the best way to function in life: shake it off; suck it up; carry on; one foot in front of the other, and so on. But this just isn’t true. Pushing down our hurt and pain doesn’t make it go away. It just delays dealing with it until another day. And if we delay for too long, not only do we continue to suffer emotionally, but our relationships, our health, our very being begin to pay the price.
And there’s another high price we pay. We can’t selectively avoid only certain feelings. When we avoid some feelings, we end up inhibiting them all. The defense that numbs our pain numbs us completely—no more joy, happiness, lightness, peace.
Calling a therapist is an incredibly courageous act. It means you’re ready to face the feelings, questions or pain that you may have been avoiding, perhaps for a very long time.
o Why is it so hard for me to get out of bed?
o Why am I exhausted by the effort of just trying to do the minimum required to keep my job?
o Why do I lie awake long into the night chasing my thoughts ‘round and ‘round on a seemingly never-ending merry-go-round?
o Why can’t I get over the loss of my spouse, or my child, or parent like everyone tells me I should?
o Why do I feel so alone?
o Why can’t I get along with my partner/child/parent?
o Why does everyone else seem to have life figured out except me?
Not everyone needs or wants a therapist. A good friend who listens and understands can be a special kind of healing balm. Or a partner who holds you close while you cry without asking questions or offering solutions. Or a fuzzy animal who sits next to you and offers you that unique kind of unconditional love.
But sometimes, we need more. A therapist offers a listening ear. Listening sounds simple enough, but is actually an art. A good therapist not only listens to you, but also helps you listen to yourself. We carry our own answers, but sometimes need help hearing them. Sometimes the answer is scary or painful or just confusing. A therapist can help.
- What questions have you been avoiding?
- Who listens to you?
- Could you benefit from seeing a therapist?