I have been through my fair share of heartbreaking experiences in life. We all have. I have learned to cope. I have learned to shove things down—painful things, messy things, hurtful words spoken to me, my own shortcomings, etc.– in order to survive. We all learn to cope as a way of life. No one is exempt. Part of living this side of heaven simply means you will get hurt. You will hurt others. And life isn’t always fair. There isn’t always someone clear to blame. And if you’re like me, that is hard to grapple with.
For the longest time I have put off going to a therapist. I could think of a million excuses, but deep down inside I knew the biggest reason was I didn’t want to face my pain. I didn’t want to clean my closet. I didn’t want to acknowledge the skeletons.
Over years of practice, I have conditioned myself not to feel emotional pain or negative feelings. I have gotten very good at not getting hurt. But recently a multitude of right variables aligned– finding a reputable, friend recommended therapist in-network with my insurance, my anxieties reaching an all-time high, not being able to fall asleep at night, my excuses getting just tired enough– and I caved, and sent that overdue email to said therapist to see if they were possibly taking any new clientele.
I used to think therapy or counseling was only for people with mental illnesses, traumatic events happening in life or some sort of addiction. But the truth is, therapy is for us all. Therapy is for the person seeking to become more self-aware, emotionally healthy, and quit coping their way through life.
I recently read a quote by the awesome Justin McRoberts:
“Therapy is not for ‘weak’ people.
Therapy is for people who want to live into their strengths.
Therapy is not for ‘broken’ people.
Therapy is for people who want to live healed and whole.
Therapy is not for ‘sick’ people.
Therapy is for people who value their health.”
I love this idea of reframing the conversation around therapy and mental health. Removing the shame and the stigma of it will free all of us to enter into the journey of self-discovery. Who doesn’t want to “live into their strengths, live healed and whole, and value their own health?” When we reframe the conversation, we see therapy as a life-giving, healthy choice just as necessary as exercising, going to the dentist every 6 months or getting a physical every year.
I have been shocked at how much therapy has changed heart and mind in such a short time. I am uncovering ways I have coped since childhood– coping mechanisms that have created negative beliefs and behaviors I’ve wrestled with for years. Together, we are continually uprooting lies and collectively reshaping my perspective and identity based on truth.
“The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” –Proverbs 20:5
The journey of sanctification is a hard one and should not be traveled alone. I have found that having a trusted counselor to dive deep with me into shameful, wounded places has made me braver and given me more clarity to be free from subconscious habits formed over years and years. It has given me a voice to speak out and fight for my freedom. And has gifted me with the confidence to walk with my shoulders back and head held high into the light.
Therapy truly is for everyone. It is for humans. Normal people, if there is such a thing. The playing field is level. And we all have hurt. We all have need. No one is exempt from pain on their journey. So, don’t walk it alone. Why not just give therapy a try?