1. I'M ONLY HUMAN. Being entrusted with people's innermost thoughts, feelings, and fears has allowed me to recognize that we're all so much alike in the end. It can be difficult at times to remember that our struggles and shortcomings are so normal. I'm "perfectly imperfect" like everyone else. Society may try to convince us that we need to work our hardest to reach perfection, but one of the most freeing life lessons for me, that I try to pass onto my clients, is that perfection does not exist. Doing our best is enough, and continuously learning from mistakes, rather than regretting having them, is a peaceful and self-compassionate way of going about life. Embracing this idea has helped me in being able to help others, because otherwise we may all continue to be on an endless quest for perfection, getting us nowhere.
Speaking of self-compassion...
2. I DESERVE LOTS OF SELF-COMPASSION, JUST AS YOU DO. Negative voices from the past, and inaccurate beliefs about myself have lead to much more criticism than I ever deserved. I work with people on almost a daily basis by helping them to pay close attention to the way they think and feel about themselves. As someone who likes to "walk the walk" as best I can by staying consistent personally with healthy habits that I teach my clients, I try to stay aware of how I may be treating myself in less compassionate ways, and I make an effort to Mindfully provide myself with grace and room for mistakes. I've learned that the more I work on these parts of myself, the more I can understand my clients' struggles and work with them to overcome their challenges.
3. GRATITUDE IS PRICELESS. I may not have it all (in fact my life doesn't really look much like I thought it would...) but taking the time to recognize what I DO have...feel...experience...has given me the chance to not only improve the quality of my own life, but also be able to encourage my clients with enthusiasm that having a gratitude practice is an almost magical way to realize that we already have SO much. Witnessing clients' struggles in life, while realizing that many people would be thrilled to live their life, has helped me to realize that collectively we don't focus nearly enough on what we already have. This is not to say that their pain and problems are not real and valid, just as mine are, but when I focus on whats going right, or what someone has contributed to my life, for example, it really does change my mood and perspective almost immediately.
4. MY (former) PRE-CONCEIVED NOTIONS OF PEOPLE ARE WRONG. I used to fall into the trap that having a certain level of wealth, or beauty, or a certain amount of friends meant that those people were more or less happy and lucky to have the life they do.. Time and experience has taught me that we all suffer, we all see our own faults, and we all want some things that we can't have. "The grass is greener on the other side" seems to be a belief that many hold strongly to. If they're able to regularly practice and buy into a gratitude practice (see #3 above) then they may be able to combat this belief system, but otherwise most people feel that having something that they don't have, or being some way that they're not, will magically make life better.
Not only do I get to see that these pre-conceived ideas of people are untrue, but I get to have the honor of supporting those who many feel "have it all". In that process, I continuously receive the gift of recognizing that I'm fine the way I am, and what I have IS enough.
5. I VALUE MYSELF ENOUGH TO HAVE HEALTHY BOUNDARIES; AND I'M STILL A GOOD PERSON. I used to feel that being a "nice person" often meant bending over backwards for others and making sure that everyone was happy. Due to being a business owner (in my private practice) while also being a therapist, I've had to learn to mesh my passion for helping others and being flexible and giving, with being able to manage my business effectively, utilize my time well, and be able to make the money that I need to support my own life and bills. Trials and tribulations in my practice have helped me to formulate the boundaries that work best for me so that I'm honoring multiple parts of myself, and still being able to help others in need of support and guidance. Although I would love to have the resources to help anyone and everyone, the reality of life has shown me that sometimes I have to say "No", or at least offer compromises and alternatives to things that don't serve me well. .I hope to be a positive role model for setting healthy boundaries because if I can't do it, i certainly can't teach you how!
Overall, being a therapist, and being given the honor of peeking into peoples' innermost thoughts and feelings to help them heal, has been a tremendous gift and growth experience for me. I look forward to whatever surprises and opportunities to stretch myself, are around the corner. I'm forever indebted to my 20 years of clients thus far, who have given me this chance to grow as a human while walking with them through their life challenges and assisting in their healing and transformations.