When I was in my twenties I wondered if therapy or counseling was right for me? I had gone a few times as a rebellious teenager and didn’t really feel I got anything from it to be honest. Mostly I felt judged for my “attention-seeking” promiscuity and being sexually active. I believed therapy and counseling was for those who had deep-rooted, gnarly issues. In the first 25 years of my life, I had experienced a lot, but counseling or therapy worthy? Nah, not me! Isn’t therapy or counseling for people with severe issues I wondered. This is life, I’ll deal with it! Boy oh, boy did I have a lot of things to learn!
So a little back story.
I was raised by a single mom (who was amazingly strong and selfless) who literally left town and everything and everyone she knew behind and escaped with me and my little brother. Our father was a very sick, extremely abusive person. As I grew, I had failed relationship after failed relationship with men. I married young and became pregnant soon after. I endured the pain of watching my first husband and my brother fall into the cycle of addiction, one is now dead. I watched others enable the people I loved dearly.
I wondered why this was happening to the people I loved and also, why me?
I was a good person. I gave 100% all the time. I wasn’t lying and cheating. I worked hard and I did everything I could to help these men and to make these relationships work. Time and time again I was faced with heartbreaking decisions. Then, one day while wondering why me again, out of nowhere it hit me like a ton of bricks.
I needed to take a hard look in the mirror!
I can’t do the work of everyone else in life, what a burden that would be. I can work on me though! Now, at 39 years old I know that therapy and counseling were never about anyone else even when I knew it might help “us” and trickle down and out to those around me. It’s about me, and it always has been! It’s about working on myself, recognizing behaviors before they become patterns, avoiding my triggers, finding what motivates me and what drags me down. For those who are religious it’s different than praying, but similar in that you don’t just pray when things are going poorly, you give thanks when things are going well!
It’s the only work in life we have control of, self-work!
Therapy allows me to get it out, out loud, without hurting other people’s feelings, without judgment or guilt. My therapist listens to me ramble and vent, helps me process things, listens to me cry, laugh, bitch, and cuss like a sailor, and she remains there by my side. She makes suggestions, gives me things to think about and strategies to use. She holds me accountable and we all need that! It truly is the ultimate me time.
Maybe you’re thinking, but I have my friends I can call!
Everyone has their friend(s) they call and vent to. Thank God! Work’s going shitty, we call our friend. Kids driving us bonkers, we call our friend. No sleep, teething baby, husband sleeping right through the insane crying, you guessed it, phone a friend! How many times have you had that happen and then hang up either feeling; a) like crap for venting because you love your friend, and they don’t need your crap burdening them too OR b) think I don’t even know why I bothered calling them anyway? You know exactly what I’m talking about.
Here are the top 5 reasons therapy or counseling is right for me:
- I don’t have to burden my friends with my problems!
- I get to share in a safe place and not have things thrown up in my face later.
- My therapist is invested in seeing me be successful by my own terms!
- I don’t have to worry that my personal business is being shared with other people.
- I don’t feel guilty because I’m paying her to do a job, not taking her away from more important work! I get to be the most important work while I am with her!
Can therapy and counseling be right for everyone?
Yes, I am a firm believer! Is it right for everyone? I don’t claim to know what is best for someone else, but I truly believe it can be if you want it to! Was it right when I was a smart mouth, wild, rebellious teen? No! You know why? I was young, tenacious and ready to grab life by the horns, I wasn’t “seasoned” or ready to take a long, hard look at me and that was okay. I didn’t know just how important, yet insignificant my life was at the time. I needed to make some mistakes in life, experience hardship, be humbled, and then grow from it. As a mother to three sons who are in their early twenties, that one stings from time to time, but it will be okay. I know this now!
Everyone has the potential to benefit from therapy and counseling in their own time when they are ready!
I found it hard to go at first. I didn’t believe it would help much if at all. It took me a while to find the right fit for me, but now I can’t do life without it! I mean I go periods of time without it and just go see her for a “check-up/check-in” or scheduled maintenance. While other times I have things come up in my personal & business life and I need more “me time”. In addition to eating well, sleeping enough, relaxing and catching up with friends and family, massage, swimming, walks, meditation, and floating, therapy is my other “me time” activity! People around me notice sometimes, but what’s great is I notice!
Working on one’s self can happen now, later, or never. You get to choose, but we only have one life to live and none of us get to decide when our time will be up! Living my best life means therapy and counseling are right for me! Are you a woman in the Greater Jacksonville, Florida area? If you answered yes, you owe it to yourself to contact Maria Inoa at Full Potential Counseling and start living your best life!
Elizabeth is the owner of The Jacksonville Baby Co., providing exceptional support and inclusive care for families welcoming babies in the Jacksonville, FL area since 2013. Helping families enjoy their births, their babies, and their sleep.
Expecting a new baby soon? Contact The Jax Baby Co. and let Elizabeth and her team help you get off on the right start!