We humans have an amazing capacity for NOT putting two and two together. It doesn't matter who you are — genius, successful, experienced, academic OR not — you miss something. Lots of somethings. We walk around with blinders on.
I'm no exception. Case and point:
I've always known I was a "southpaw." But, until recently, I thought eating and writing were the only things I did with my left hand. Turns out I brush my teeth left-handed, too. It took me more than 30 years to note something I've been doing for more than 30 years. Crazy, right? The discovery came out of a casual discussion with my in-laws about my left-handedness. Someone probed me about my habits and, forced to think about it, I was astonished by what I discovered.
I think we all do a lot of things out of habit. Whether it's muscle memory or instinct or learned coping behavior, we do an awful lot in life — spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically — without thinking about it or being aware of it. We don't always connect the dots. That's not always a bad thing, but it can be. That's where I think therapy can be helpful — in the cluing us in and clarifying of things.
No, you don't need to know that you brush your teeth with your left hand, but it may help you to know:
- that you're attracted to chaotic relationships because that's what you grew up navigating.
- that being uncomfortable is comforting to you and that that's why you sabotage all things good in your life.
- that you eat excessively (or starve) because food is the one thing in life you've ever felt you had any power or control over.
- that you drink alcohol to avoid being socially awkward because being socially awkward makes you feel what you've always felt and believed about yourself — that you're alone and unworthy of love and attention.
- that [insert YOUR story here] ...
All of it, any of it, might help you to know that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
I think therapy is a lot about that stuff. Counseling is about the exploration of what we do and why we do it and why it matters. More importantly, therapy is about the hope generated by the exploration of self, life and God — a brand new opportunity to respond accordingly, to begin again … to be transformed.