Man is life hard sometimes. I’m sure you’ve noticed that by now. I don’t think its a realization that anyone escapes. We all hit a rough patch, or two, or hundreds. And sometimes even adjusting to the most tremendously wonderful parts of our lives can be hard. I mean, have you ever met a new parent, or someone planning a wedding? Not to mention that regardless of the circumstance, just living inside our own heads can be exhausting. I’m sure we’ve all had moments where we think “Why in the world do I think that way? And why in the world can’t I stop?”
Life is hard sometimes. Its a fact. And for a long time I thought this meant that I needed to just accept it, and all the uncomfortable emotions that came with it.
But after a while I just got tired. I got tired of things getting hard and not being able to deal better with them. So I decided to do something about it. I decided to go to counseling.
It took me quite a while to go. I already had the support of friends and family and feared that seeking a counselor meant that they weren’t enough. I also felt a little embarrassed and like I shouldn’t have been floundering to deal with life as much as I was. Life is hard for everyone, so why couldn’t I just deal?
But as time went on I realized that seeking counseling didn’t mean that the support of those who loved me wasn’t enough. Their support and their ability to help me untangle my struggles were two different things, and often they were far more qualified for the former. I also realized that no one deals well with life all the time, and that doesn’t mean that we can’t all learn to do it better.
So yes. I sit on a couch and talk to a “stranger” about my struggles. Its a comfortable couch with pillows that I hug as I talk to a stranger who has become more of a friend. Some weeks we dig into the deep stuff. The real nitty gritty. But other weeks we just chat. I vent to her, and talk through everyday, ordinary life.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started going.
At our first meeting, I cried. I cried and apologized profusely for doing so, as if she had never had anyone cry in her office before. Then I burst into an explanation of how guilty I felt for seeking help when other people have far greater struggles than mine. She didn’t scoff at my tears, or agree that I shouldn’t need help. Instead, she made me feel normal, handed me tissues for my tears that didn’t bother her, and assured me that any issue that was a big deal to me in my world was worthy of working on. And together we started the work of helping me experience a better life.
That’s why I go to counseling. I want to live this God-given life the best that I can, and be freer from all that hinders me from doing so.
Freer from the pain of the past, the anxieties, insecurities, and indecision. And for me, I needed someone to help me navigate through that.
For some, counseling won’t be something they’ll ever be interested in, and for others, they’ll try it and decide its not for them. We all get through life in different ways. But to expect any of us to get through this uncomfortable, messy, beautiful life without some additional support from somewhere doesn’t even make sense.
So for those who have considered counseling, I hope you won’t have fear in seeking it out. There’s no shame in wanting someone to talk to.
And let me assure you that asking someone to help you shoulder your struggles doesn’t make you weak. In fact, I would argue that having the courage to ask makes you strong.
We all get one shot at this life thing, and I don’t know about you, but I want to give it my best go. I don’t want anything to hold me back, and I want to offer the world the best version of myself for as long as I’m in it. That’s why I go to counseling. If you’ve been considering it, no matter your “why”, I hope you might go too.