Are You Stagnant In Life? Learn How To Help Yourself

Love, Self

A therapist’s journey to self discovery, love, and fulfillment.

Being a therapist of the millennial generation, I know I have an interesting persona in comparison to other therapists. I am well aware of the stereotype, I myself, had created of what a therapist should look and act like before I became one ... and I struggled for a long time with self love and how to "play the part."

The obvious, I am seemingly young. Yes, it is true. I do not have any children of my own and I don’t know if I ever intend to. I have never been married and I am still on my parent’s cell phone family plan.

It’s ok if you find yourself asking, what could you possibly know about life experiences or do you even know how to be happy with yourself?

Well, I will tell you … a whole hell of a lot.

I have parents, I have stepparents, I was an only child, but then became the oldest to half-siblings later in life. I struggled with my own identity, suffered through depression, alcoholism and endless failed attempts at finding love. I traveled across the world in search of myself, only to face the deepest reality of loneliness. I struggled with independence, co-dependence, trust, communication, emotional processing and expression. I battled feelings of extreme abandonment, recreated my own self-esteem and I am still working on enhancing my relationships with people I am now allowing myself to trust.

I hadn’t been aware of the pain I was suppressing for years. Pain, in which I did not fully understand until I started graduate school. I took my experience in grad school to deepen the connection within myself. Not only did I want to help others, I truly wanted the skills to learn how to help myself. I took full advantage of soaking up everything that I was learning and applied it to my own feelings and struggles. I went to my own therapy and worked through past issues that were extremely difficult to face. I dug deep within myself, while learning how to expose my vulnerabilities and needs to others, and I realized how much my previous behaviors were ultimately enabling me from finding happiness

My behaviors consisted of:

1) Shutting down and not let anyone in. 
2) Drinking to calm anxiety and later on exploding with emotions that I didn't process soberly 
3) Hiding and protecting my feelings from everyone around me. 
4) Blaming everyone else for not understanding me when I didn't understand myself. 

When I analyzed these behaviors, I realized it was ultimately easier for me to play the part that I felt would attract others, while shaming my inner struggles and rejecting my true needs. It was confusing, heartbreaking, and extremely isolating, and I was tired of being so alone.

Through my own journey of self-growth, I now can recognize the biggest skills I have developed are my ability to be transparent and authentic … not feeling pressured to play any part, any longer. I have met the love of my life and we pride ourselves on our constant efforts to enhance our relationship and connect … even after 6 years. To say the least, my life has been a roller coaster, but instead of riding it with closed eyes, I have realized I could control it instead. These abilities have not only strengthened my personal life and relationships, but have also transformed the way I connect with my clients in such a powerful way. As I became more attuned to myself and as I developed more skills, I realized the biggest benefit for the therapeutic process (and ultimately the fulfillment of my relationships) is simply my ability to just be me.

I am who I am, you are who you are, and while we plunge into this journey together, we are committed to accepting each other with open hearts and open minds, regardless of our experiences, age, race, religious beliefs, sexuality, behavior, and feelings. I’m here to help you help yourself, while allowing you the genuine space to trust, process and work through issues that may be holding you back. In a sense, I'm not here to change you, I'm here to help you expose your authentic self (which will enrich your relationships and your own self perception). 

I am forever grateful for these opportunities and feel extremely passionate about who I am and what I do.

This article was originally published at Modern Love Counseling. Reprinted with permission from the author.