I'm a therapist. I am honored to sit among the bravest of people! The kind of people who routinely cause me to be in awe. It's not easy for most people to walk through my door. Think about it. The very position from which they are entering is one that goes against our cultures encouragement to pretend that 'all is well'. It is to admit just by scheduling the appointment that you might need help. Realizing you might need help can be scary and frightening. Taking the steps to get help means swimming around in that which you would rather avoid. Allowing somebody else to be part of the process means you have to trust, a risk that many times led to the wounds in the first place. Making the initial phone call can be a monumental task if you are feeling broken, lost, confused, betrayed, hurt, alone and hopeless. When that phone rings I instantly see them as brave and strong. The level of courage I witness is astounding and motivating. It is the most beautifully vulnerable strength that a person could possibly be given the privilege of witnessing.
I see people on the precipice of brokenness and despair and yet they choose to fight. I'm not talking about the kind of choice where you turn a bad day around or you learn to live with a minor change in life's plan 'A'. I'm NOT talking about the well who are worried. I'm referring to those people whose worlds have been blown apart with one phone call, one diagnosis, one massive betrayal. I'm talking to you about people who have lived through years of daily torment, depersonalization and abuse too unspeakable to mention. I'm talking to you about those among us who are questioning everything about what they were taught or experienced because they no longer know what is real or true. They are the ones who likely feel the weakest but are displaying the greatest of strengths. The kind of strength it takes to raise your head above the mire of hurt, betrayal, heartache, grief, hopelessness, addiction and pain then dare to believe that something better could exist. The willingness to trust a stranger, the audacity to believe someone might care, the perseverance to keep making appointments when the change is so slow and small. That kind of strength! The kind that isn't displayed in one decision or action but instead has to be drawn upon every single day no matter the new obstacles that might stand in their way. It's the kind of strength that shows up every time they make a decision to get free. Every time they aren't willing to brush it under the rug and pretend that 'all is well'. Daily and difficult choices.
It's the choice to forgive and love because you want to reconcile. It's the choice to forgive and walk away because you are changing a legacy. It's the choice to overcome when you feel overwhelmed. To stand up when you feel like giving up. To go to the meeting, face your past, make the apology, value yourself. To say 'yes' to life and 'no' to anything that stands in your way. To start over, look up, look within and believe. To engage yourself in life's choices even if you are terribly uncertain or afraid. To build a new support system, step out of your comfort zone and challenge the damaging cognitions rolling around in your brain. To put yourself in new situations and new relationships. To face the addiction, the fear, and the lies. It is to be overwhelmed with urges to just be okay where you are and then fight those urges because you want something you can't actually see yet. That is strength! And it's the kind of strength that changes lives. It has changed mine just to be near it.