I know there's been a lot of buzz around the movie, Frozen, and the song, Let it Go, and while I really liked the movie and the song, I haven't been quite as obsessed as other people have been. I know most parents are ready to burn the DVD because they've watched it so much and their kids won't stop singing and I can't hear someone say "let it go" without the song popping in my head, but I haven't thought too much about it. About seven months ago I started counseling. (I know, kinda a random jump, I promise I'll get back to Let It Go, I didn't just want it to be stuck in your head for the remainder of your time reading this :-) ) For whatever reason, there is a stigma around counseling that I think is so completely wrong. Where some people think that going to counseling means you're broken, something's wrong with you and you're crazy, I think it means you're brave, you realize your mental health is just as important as physical health to be a whole person, and sometimes we need a safe place to let it all out. (and sidenote...we are all broken, we all have something wrong with us and everyone's a little crazy, but I digress...) I'm not shy about sharing with people that I'm in counseling and how much I love it. (although, I never really thought I would post about it here) I've gone to counseling off and on since college and it has always been the best decision I could make.
Counseling this time around has been a little different. Other times I've done counseling, it's been for a specific reason or situation of life I'm dealing with, and this time it was just because, well, of life. There was just so much transition, so many things happening and I had so many feelings and I just felt like I needed to let it all out there to someone who had to listen and not judge. Best decision I've made in a long time.
This journey I've been on through counseling has helped me arrive to the truth that it's okay to be who I am. It's helped me realize the deep issues and struggles I've had that made me think I was never going to be enough. It helped me identify the natural tendencies I have that lend towards counting myself as less and shifting to be the person who everyone needs and likes rather than staying true to who I am.
To go into everything that's come from counseling would be pages and pages of writing, but I will say the last seven months have consisted of some of the hardest, but most rewarding work I have ever done. I am not the same person I was seven months ago. I have discovered who I am and that I don't have to apologize for that. I have truly realized that I am good enough, just because I am me. I have come to face my issues and work through them and realize it's okay to feel things besides happy and "good" feelings. I know that my life is my life, no one else's and I can walk through each day with the knowledge that I am staying true to who I am. I have felt empowered, I have experienced freedom and I know what it means to be whole.
Part of my counseling is something called EMDR therapy (it's too long to explain what that means here), but it has been incredible what it has done for me. So at one point today, my counselor asked me what I noticed during EMDR and the lyric from Let it Go (you thought I forgot about that by now, didn't you?) came to my head when she sings, "Here I stand" and then the rest of the song flooded my head.
We decided to play the song at the end of my session, so as I sat there with my eyes closed listening to Let It Go, I felt like I was experiencing a holy moment (after I stopped myself from almost laughing out loud because it seemed a little ridiculous), with the help of a Disney song. It was a moment where I fully realized where I had been, where I was, and where I was going and all I had processed and journeyed through the last seven months. "Here I stand, Here I'll stay"...this is who I am, this is where I'll stand, knowing who I am, whose I am and letting go of this "perfect" person I think I should be so that everyone else is happy. While this song played, in that little moment in a small therapy room, I felt like Jesus was there. I felt like I could feel and know my worth and value, that I know the confidence I can have in who I am because I am one who is dearly loved, that I can keep living life unafraid and let go of anything that has made me feel less than enough or that I'm not able to be who I really am. It was a moment of freedom and holiness. Who knew a Disney song could usher in such a moment!
Just in case you don't know the song I'm talking about, find it here! Also, a sidenote, but if you're reading this and you actually made it to the end, you should consider looking into counseling! I think it's something everyone should do in their life and it's so beneficial for so many reasons, even if you don't think something is "wrong", but that's just my two cents, and not that I'm telling you what to do or anything like that... ;)
It's become a tradition to write this post each year and I love it. It gives me a chance to think about the last year and what all has happened...specifically 25 things that have happened in my 25th year of life. This year was a pretty big one. So...here are 25 things that have happened in year 25.
I have been called out recently. Called out in a way that brought attention to something I didn't even realize but as this person said it, I could only nod and agree. She said, "in one hand you have your life as you thought it would be. You have your life as you expected it would be, as the person you think you should be and doing what is expected of you. This is who you think you should or could be. In the other hand, you have your life. Your real life, with everything you've accomplished, struggled with, and face every day. This is who you are and the life and circumstances that are shaping you into who you're becoming. You aren't accepting your reality and reconciling these expectations with your reality. And really your reality is a good reality!"
This was so true. I didn't even realize how I was struggling with accepting my reality. My life has not really turned out the way I expected. In many ways it's like all I planned to do and thought I would do have been thrown out the window. I have had the opportunity to do things I feel like I don't deserve and have been fortunate to do so many good things. I kinda struggle with that in a way I'm not fully even able to explain. I desire things I thought I would have and try to bring things with me from the past that I thought were good. I never realized how much time I've wasted on this. How much time I've wasted on letting my expectations rule over my reality.
When we allow our expectations to rule our decisions and our mind, we miss out on our reality. We miss out on what's right in front of us. We miss out on realizing that the opportunities we have been given are just that, opportunities! I don't want my life to be ruled by my expectations. I want to fully live in my reality and not the "what could be or should be", but by what is.
It's been a season of life where there's a lot going on. A season of life where if I'm not doing something I know I'm two seconds away from realizing what should be done. A season of life where I feel like I have a balance and then the next day I don't. A season of life where I am doing things I never thought I could or would do. A season of life where I'm growing a whole lot. In this season it's easy to forget to breathe. It's easy to forget to breathe deep. It's easy to get so overwhelmed. It's easy to feel like I'm doing so many things, but nothing well. It's easy to feel like I'm a not so great friend, employee, student and family member because it's all just too much.
I have to remind myself to breathe these days. Sometimes I just have to take a minute and sit in my car away from all the noise, the to-do lists, the due dates, the emails and just take a few deep breaths. I have to remind myself who gives me these breaths to breathe each day. With each deep breathe I remind myself I cannot do this by myself.
These days the words of one of my favorite songs resound in my head...All that I know is I'm breathing...all I can do is keep breathing...all we can do is keep breathing.
Some days all I can do is remind myself to breathe and remember who gives me these breaths to breathe each day. Just keep breathing.