Written by: Vicky Truong-Mirhossein
“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
As we approach the New Year, some of us may feel the yearning to become resolvers. This year particularly, perhaps not for the banal band-wagon normative intentions, but from being confronted with our own mortality and the sacredness of living.
With that being said, changing relationships with what we’ve become unwillingly attached to can be difficult, if not even painful. Western cultures may refer to them as addictions, eastern culture refer to them as hindrances. Nevertheless, these attachments, indeed serve us; whether they help us feel connected with the familiar, provide us with a perceived sense of belonging, or invoke an emotional state that we know will never let us down. Yet somehow, perhaps the seeking of a new experience or a sense of freedom calls to us, despite how daunting the terrain of the unfamiliar may be.
It takes courage to live a life true to one’s values and to acknowledge when influences around us may be influencing us to exist incongruently to the ways we prefer to live. When the resolve weakens and the lure of returning to the familiar takes hold, therapy can be a compassionate space for self-inquiry and learning, as well as a tool for pruning. It can help us rise above the voices of self-blame, judgment, or discouragement that we may be accustomed to.
A tree or plant is unable to discern when it is time to part ways with particular branches or roots that have been part of itself for such a long time and has served such pivotal roles for its growth. However, a trusted gardener and nature’s wisdom can be relied upon to recognize what parts are now safe to detach from that are not requisite to growth. Therapy allows for you to examine your life and become your own trusted gardener.
A therapist’s role would be to witness the process, provide invited insights, and to bring to light the unique skills and attributes you bring to the world and to yourself. By doing so, perhaps room for possibilities can peak through to bring you closer to the ways of living that speak deeply to your spirit.