“I feel like a different person”
“I just can’t really believe it”
“I never imagined it could be like this”
The past two weeks at The Nook have been one big love in for many of my clients. They are falling in love with their careers, new partners (old partners), and even themselves. As I’ve talked about before, issues show up at my practice in waves – one week it’s all parenting, the next week it’s communication struggles. Without any seeming rhyme or reason, similar issues show up for completely unrelated clients.
Lately, I’ve had the absolute delight of watching many of the people I work with move into their own power and discover wellsprings of self-esteem that were previously dormant. Visually, it is nothing short of a transformation. The shift is palatable; the red-rimmed eyes are now sparkling and complemented by impeccable red lipstick, posture is tall and confident, smiles are abundant, and laughs come easily. It is as though suddenly my clients are seeing themselves as I see them – whip smart, fun, competent, beautiful, and lovable. For many, this shift to optimism and energy came right after the darkest of dark, the lowest of low periods. They were sick and tired of being sick and tired with their lives.
Here are three MAJOR shifts that allowed these women to move forward in such profound ways
1 – Honor Progress
While in their “stuck” phase, all of these women were continuing to look at where they wanted to be and, as a result, felt constantly discouraged. They believed they weren’t meeting their health goals, career goals, or relationship goals. They told themselves nothing was happening. They told themselves progress was futile. They told themselves they were pathetic. But when they paused to look back on all they had achieved in the past year they were wowed, and rightly so. You’ve come a long way, baby!
2 – Look Up and Take a Breather
Each person had had their nose to the grindstone, working their fannies off, rarely coming up for air or a break. It was head down and hard work. One by one, they were becoming burnt out, exhausted, and weary. They weren’t sleeping enough. They made crummy food choices. They denied themselves pleasure. Self-care went out the window in favor of incessant hard work and ruminating thoughts. Once they stopped the insanity and took a breather, they gained clarity. They added in tiny pleasures and brief interludes of self-care. They stepped away from the drudgery of all work and no play. They allowed themselves to lighten up a little.
3 – Set Some Limits
While in the darkest depths of misery, all of these women (and some men) weren’t able to set limits with people. They said yes because they didn’t have the energy to say no. They did things to make other people happy because they had lost touch with what made them happy. One of the kindest and most effective ways that they dug themselves out of their holes was to get clear on what they would – and would not – stand for. Some set limits with bullying family members. Others shut down their depressing online dating profiles. Some spoke up to bosses or employees in direct, respectful ways. Once limits were set, and consistently followed, a feeling of true empowerment followed.
As my clients become healthier and stronger, I know this means I’ll be seeing far less of them, and that’s a good thing. As a therapist, my goal is to teach people the skills they need to go off and live their lives without relying on me. Sure they may check back in for a tune up or pop in for more sessions when a hurdle temporarily challenges them. But for the most part, they leave the nest and soar. I give them the gift of the tools they need to succeed; they give me the gift of bearing witness to resilience and triumph. How sweet it is.