It’s been a year for the books.
I achieved some huge goals. But…I also regressed in progress.
It’s funny. Being a counselor, you’re all the sudden viewed as having your life together. Being perfect. Knowing the right answers for everything. Smarter than the rest. Granted, we do have more knowledge in certain areas than most people. But truthfully, we never know the answers to everything. We are never perfect. We are imperfect people joining our clients along their imperfect journey.
I consider it a privilege to be the person who is present during other’s hard times. Talking about deep stuff, it’s what I am good at. It’s what I enjoy most in life. In my free time, you can frequently find me thinking about the things that puzzle me in life. That’s the thing…I am a counselor. And life still puzzles me.
The thing that makes us so good at helping others is that we have an objective view on the person and their situation. We are not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice. We have an unbiased view. So, given that we have this objective view, it makes it relatively easy for us to spot what is keeping a person tangled. But if you ask us about our personal lives? Well, that’s a different story. We are effected by personal feelings, interpretations, and biases just like you. We cannot see our own situations objectively. In fact, many counselors will tell you that they also have their own personal counselor to help them. (Hint: this is why it goes against our ethical codes to counsel anyone we know personally.)
You would think that everything I tell my clients to put into practice I would do myself. Truthfully, I do my best to. I work hard every day to be a person who lives out the truth that I may be speaking to another. But, since we are humans too, we also fail at this from time to time. That is what happened to me this year.
When I read Brene Brown’s books, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, a year ago, I was a changed person. I recognized, just like anyone else, I was afraid of being vulnerable. I was afraid of showing my flaws and weaknesses–the things that are not yet perfect, handled, or settled. I saw the truth in her books. That having the courage to be seen, despite not knowing the outcome, is the real way to live. So, I began talking about topics from her books with my clients. If the situation called for it, of course. I already had empathy for clients. But I began to see their struggles, their flaws, their weaknesses, and the things they despised about themselves the most, as the most beautiful parts of them. These things gave me a front row seat to their values, their strengths, their determination, and their hearts. I began to see just how beautiful it really is to be human. Capable of so much greatness, yet still imperfect. Yet, there I was. Telling my clients these things. And I was entirely unaware that I had fallen back into that familiar rut of fear.
Fear of being seen as inadequate.
Fear of being devalued.
Fear of being seen as weak.
Fear of not being taken seriously.
So, here I am. Dusting off my Brene Brown books. Seeking to once again change my mindset from fear to courage.
Courage to be seen.
Courage to allow others to see my flaws and imperfections.
Courage to admit what is currently entangling me.
Courage to risk being rejected.
Courage to see my imperfections as beautiful.
Courage to continue to grow.
Courage to fall. And rise.