Yesterday, I talked about my (lifelong) resistance to therapy and the reward that comes with leaning into that resistance to find the opportunity for growth.
Today, I want to talk a little about the process of therapy, because I received a lot of messages from you about it, and touch on the foundation that served to build my entire approach to therapy as a form of self-care instead of an obligation with a destination to be reached.
I believe therapy is a form of self-care because it fosters self-awareness. The first step to self-care. Because how do you know when and how to care for yourself without the awareness of what you are experiencing and the tools to address it?
I used to think self-awareness was solely an internal thing. The way in which we introspect and process the world, understand our desires, beliefs, motives, passions, and emotions. Essentially, the autobiographical story we create for ourselves. Then the whole ‘listen to your body’ premise came onto the scene and I realized that another definition of self-awareness existed. The ability to observe our physical body in the present moment. The sensations and tensions we feel, our tone of voice, and our energy levels.
When I started therapy, I would tell a story about something painful and be so in my head trying to account the details in a coherent way that I wouldn't notice the tightness in my chest or the quickening of my voice. When the dreaded question “How does that make you feel?” came across the table my initial reaction was one of, “What do you mean how does it make me feel? Like shit? Bad? I don’t know, what do you want me to say?” So, yea, I was really helpful.
Once I learned that the “How does it make you feel?” question is there to bring you into awareness of your emotional, mental, and physical state and instead of labeling it as good or bad, simply noticing it, things started to change.
I began to bridge those two systems - my internal emotions and the current sensations I was feeling in my body. Only then did I come to understand true self-awareness, and healing. Basically, putting the mind back into the body, and the body back into the mind.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.