Have you ever thought that you have to be ready to go into therapy? It’s a big step and it’s also a process which takes time and effort to open up and sort things out. As easy as it may sound, it is not. Imagine you’ve done the same things over and over again. Now, they’ve become automatic responses, and during therapy you realize some of them are actually destructive in the long run, and they keep bringing you back into trouble, or they might force you to face painful memories or circumstances you used to find yourself in, a long time ago. Being ready for therapy means that you become aware of some of these reactions or behaviours you display and you decide it’s time to do something about them.
I believe the first step is understanding what’s happening to you when you react and behave in a certain way. Most of our behaviours are learnt by observing our parents or carers, and by interacting with them. Then, as we move forward in life, we learn to behave and deal with things the way we’ve seen our parents do. The more you do it, the more it becomes natural and automatic. We realize along the way that some of our behaviours and decisions make us feel sad, angry, upset, while other choices give us satisfaction and fulfillment. We need to understand what’s behind our behaviours, what the motivation is, what our mind and subconscious are trying to tell us.
Therapy provides a safe environment for self-awareness. Becoming aware is a big part of this process of change. I need to become aware that something is causing pain, so I can attend to it. If not, I will continue doing things the same way. After you become aware of something in your life you try to make sense of it and integrate it into who you are. Most of us don’t deal very well with suffering, pain, fear and so called ‘negative emotions’. The general coping mechanism is to deny these emotions and push them aside. We rarely attend to them, not to mention we don’t even want to feel them. Even though they don’t make us feel good, they do let us know something is not right. It’s like an alarm and we keep shutting it down. Well, there comes a time when you need to see why the alarm goes on. You can even ask yourself: What is happening? Why do I feel like this? What is my body trying to tell me?
After becoming aware, making sense and integrating your experiences, you need to develop healthy coping mechanisms, new responses and habits that will allow you to grow and learn how to do things and how not to. The key is to be open: be open to explore, be open to speak your mind, be open to feel, cry and laugh, to scream your pain out, and make sense of it by integrating it. It’s part of you. There’s no point in denying it. Allow yourself to become the person you want to. Be patient. It takes time but it’s a beautiful, sometimes painful process that leads you to the next level of your life. Don’t be afraid to feel all the colours of emotions. It might not be pleasant but it’s a part of life and you have to continue moving forward. Don’t get stuck in the process. Get help and go on this journey of learning about yourself, loving and accepting every part of who you are. It will be worth it, I promise.