Being a therapist in 2020 has been an incredible privilege. It’s been an amazing year for transformation, and truly a step-by-step discovery of life as it reveals itself in so many surprising forms. 2020 has placed us in a position to face what is within us and find a deeper understanding of how we relate to the world- a journey for which we must create the map in each step, because, even with all the help we can acquire, there is no standard protocol.
This year, clients have shared with me aching loneliness that has haunted them for years but just risen to the surface in quarantine. Spending more concentrated time with people in the home revealed anxieties about feeling broken and inadequate. As tension rose over the year, clients allowed themselves to experience healthy anger and create boundaries for the first time. Despite the intensity of emotion, client's have expressed gratitude that they chose to go to the depths of experience they did. Many have shared that the turbulence of 2020 has inspired them to commit to exploring their pain because they know the rich awareness it yields.
Although there is no standard protocol because we each stand in a unique point of view, I have found overarching themes that seem to relate to most as they dive into the depths of their experience and create the map of their relationship to themselves and the world.
Where do you lose control?
To authentically relate to ourselves and the world, we need outlets to express the conflicts we hold in our minds, emotions and bodies. We can’t be sure how it will look, sound or feel; controlling our expression too carefully can add confusion and frustration to an already overwhelming experience. Find places, people and internal resources that allow you to genuinely unwind and unleash what you feel.
How much tolerance do you have for the unfamiliar?
Sometimes people think of being present as a blissful experience. It can be, it can also mean connecting to incredibly uncomfortable feelings, some of which are even good. When we feel something new, it often registers as uncomfortable. Discovering new depths of self and relationship to the world means staying with new feelings and building a positive relationship with the unfamiliar.
What is it like to be with you?
We begin our understanding of ourselves and the world by the roles we play and the reflections others provide us. We are the children of particular parents and members of specific groups. As we grow, we have the opportunity to show interest in who we are as individuals in addition to the roles we play for others. As we lovingly notice what it is like to be with ourselves, we build a secure home base from which we can explore the world. The things we observe become the material by which we transform. In my experience, committing to noticing one’s own experience is the most effective and fastest way to transform every aspect of life. Knowing ourselves gives us the stability we need to maintain consistent growth.
My hope is that 2020 has provided us with valuable awareness of our internal conflicts and the tools to integrate them.