As human beings we already have everything we need to flourish. The dilemma is that life happens. Life inevitably introduces various degrees of harm and tragedy into our stories. Sometimes the harm is clear as in cases of overt abuse. Other times the harm is more subtle and confusing and you might find yourself saying something like, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I shouldn’t feel anxious or depressed. My life looks good on paper. I didn’t have it bad at all compared to other people. I should just get over it.” Whichever is the case for you, your most authentic self naturally develops survival strategies to protect itself in the aftermath. This tends to work for you on some level until you reach a point when simple survival is no longer enough and you start to notice that a deep desire for a more authentic and life-giving way of being in the world is beginning to slowly wake up. This desire can be disruptive and scary at times because it is calling you to leave the relative safety and familiarity of your survival strategies in order to move on to a more life-giving path. All of this to say that it takes courage to enter into the process of counseling.
There are several general themes that tend to come up in counseling. The themes tend to be embedded childhood wounds that become limiting beliefs about oneself. Take a look and see if any of these resonate with your experience. If so, counseling can help.
- You experienced severe criticism which now sounds like a nagging inner critic telling you that you’re never good enough.
- You were taught that your needs are selfish and so you constantly sacrifice your needs for those of others hoping that eventually someone will do the same for you, but it never seems to feel reciprocated.
- You were only loved for what you could accomplish, not simply for who you are.
- You experienced abandonment (either physical or emotional) and you never quite feel like others understand you.
- You had overly controlling or intrusive parents.
- Your trust was betrayed in some way, leaving you with a sense that the world is not a safe place.
- You were deprived of nurturing during painful experiences.
- Your environment was unsafe physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
- You were overlooked, neglected and developed a deep belief that your needs do not matter.