I know a lot of people who have a problem asking for help. It’s not that they don’t know that they need help, but it’s a leap of faith to make their needs known to others. I think that asking for help requires a certain amount of vulnerability that many people are very uncomfortable with. I think that some of this reluctance comes from the fact that many of live in an individualistic culture. Making it on one’s own without any helped is looked upon as something to aspire to while asking for help is sometimes perceived as a sign of weakness. I must admit that as someone who provides a service that is often very needed as a part of my job, it’s frustrating when people visibly put on a front and lie about how they really feel or situations that have just occurred. However, while it’s frustrating, I’m not upset when it happens because I know that it’s very hard to be honest with oneself–let alone others in a difficult situation. Not too long ago I was in a similar situation where I found myself in a position where I either had to ask for help or experience the regret that comes along with not making the right choice at the right time. Now, luckily (or unluckily) for me I’m the kind of person who is plagued with insomnia, nausea, and other weird somatic stress symptoms when I procrastinate doing something that I really need to do or if I have some kind of conflict I have to resolve. It’s essential to fix it as soon as possible so that my pseudo-sickness can go away and I can have some peace of mind. Great incentive. All that being said, I couldn’t sleep or be productive until I fixed this huge misunderstanding and at least said what I had to say. There’s a saying that says “close mouths don’t get fed” and I was in dire need of some assistance. However, since I had already failed in delivering my message effectively in person I decided that an email would be the next best thing. So I sent a very long and rambling email that wasn’t organized but got my message across. It was definitely a gamble in the long run but at the end of the day I was able to get the results that I wanted because I was willing to get out of my comfort zone and actually say something.
First off, I want to say that while the title of this blog may bring back memories of the picture of Jay-Z wearing a shirt with these words emblazoned on his chest. This actually something of a sequel to one of my previous posts, Stepping Away. Well, maybe. When I’m wearing my therapist hat I’m always working for the benefit of my client. I am incredibly conscious of my own ideas and biases and i have to mentally put them to the side so that I can be in the moment. There have been hundreds of times where I did not agree with my client’s actions. He or she may have done something that I would have never even dreamed about doing, but it happened. Many times my clients have negative consequences as a result of their actions and they must then pick up the pieces and live with the decision that they made. One thing I said a few posts ago is that sometimes you can only know that you’ve done good work by walking away from it and discovering if it will stand on its own. Recently I had the chance to witness the results of my work and it was a good feeling to see years of work finally coming together after a long period of doubting if the results would ever be what I wanted. While I can say that the results were not everything that I was hoping and dreaming for, they were perfect in their own context. There’s a certain freedom that comes from letting people make their own choices and empower themselves. While you may offer suggestions as to how do to it, the final decision is theirs. You don’t take responsibility for their actions and you don’t judge or criticize their choices. One thing that I’ve learned as a therapist is that you have to respect the choices of others. While one can manipulate and strategize all day, there is nothing like a definite decision your client makes that you know will help them to have a better quality of life. The flip side is that you have to also allow them to make those stupid decisions without chiming in and telling them what you would do if you were in their shoes. You respect their right to self-determination and are supportive instead of just telling them what they need to do. And that’s a good thing.
What do you do when you have a million and one thoughts running around in your head that need to be connected by reading them? You blog. And unfortunately, the randomness that may come as a part of this spontaneous blog post may violate the NUMBER ONE rule of blogging: “Only have one subject” or the number two rule: “Don’t be wordy.” Well this one may actually be wordy. For the sake of the people reading this, I think I’ll at least separate this non-subject blog into topics. Topic One: One thing that I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts is the amount of traveling that I’ve done in the past few months. Five weekend trips in six weekends has been no joke. Trying to keep up with schoolwork and managing a job without taking PTO has been a superhuman feat that (thankfully) is almost over. As someone who loves to travel, it has been great seeing the world outside of the little bubble of work and school that perpetually seems to overshadow my life. Topic Two: The whole idea of choices has really been in the forefront of my mind these last couple days. I’ve been able to benefit from a series of particular choices I made that began in March 2012. These choices involved being deliberate in certain actions that I knew would have an outcome. While I did not know what the outcome would be, I knew that it was preferable to making the opposite choice not to change my actions. These choices continued and more choices related to them were made with the full knowledge that all future choices needed to be in line with the ones previously made. As I began to build choices upon choices, I saw very small but also very pointed results. While the results were not always (and rarely are always) explicitly exactly what I want as far as long term, there are still results that come directly from those choices. I say all this to say that many times I think that people neglect to recognize and acknowledge how certain choices can not only change your life for the better or for the worse, but also that they lead to other choices in the similar track. An example of this are the drugs known as “gateway drugs”. Statistics tell use that people who use these specific drugs are more likely to try harder and more potent drugs. Choices lead to other choices and these choices ultimately shape our lives and who we are as people. We don’t always realize the impact of a particular choice and seldom take the time to view our lives as a series of choices that we made. People we chose to associate with or listen to. Things that we neglected or paid attention to. Opportunities for growth that we capitalized on or disregarded. I was reminded how making certain choices in my life served as the gateway to an environment or an experience that I didn’t “deserve” to have. But those consistent choices laid the ground work for a positive result.