Like millions of people everywhere, I own a car. I know people who have names for their main mode of transportation. They baby their cars and have them washed and detailed on a weekly basis. I’m not one of those people. Ever since I can remember, I’ve hated car washes. I can remember my parents singing to me to keep me from crying when I was little. While I don’t cry hysterically as my car is being doused in soap in water, I do sing at the top of my lungs to distract myself from the fact that I am trapped in a moving vehicle in less than ideal conditions. And just in case you’re wondering, this post does not end with some profound thoughts or wisdom related to car washes and daily life. No, I have not figured out why I don’t like car washes. It’s probably attached to some bad experience hidden in my subconscious. I endure them when I must and consequently my car is currently in need of a good washing. Basically my point in saying all that is to say this: being comfortable and being safe are two different things. As a therapist, I’m pushing people out of their comfort zones and challenging them to change their behaviors and thought patterns. That’s uncomfortable. But simultaneously, I’m also creating a safe space for them to be themselves and to not be judged for their weaknesses while they are figuring out the next step. That’s safety. While I am extremely uncomfortable being trapped in a car with water and soap splashing everywhere, I’m still (relatively) safe. Plus, the end product is a cleaner looking car. Similar to the way that being emotionally vulnerable ( a.k.a. uncomfortable) can have good results.
Many of us are waiting with baited breath for the day that our lives will be perfect. We eagerly anticipate an existence where no one annoys us and everything goes according to plan. Sometimes this thought is the only motivation we have. Trouble won’t last always is a philosophy we’ve eagerly adopted a means of coping with our current situation. One of the things I’ve noticed is that there’s so much emphasis on being positive that sometimes it’s hard to be realistic. Good days and bad days happen to everyone. Growth is always uncomfortable and adversity builds strength. When someone first starts to work out with weights, they usually start with smaller weights and eventually work their way up to larger ones. Life isn’t like that. It involves ups and downs without a set routine. As I’m doing some self reflection, I’m realizing that I need to be ok with where I am in life because its a part of something bigger. I can’t expect everything to go my way all the time. Sometimes I’m just going to have to roll with the punches and take it because I know that it’s making me a stronger person regardless of how I feel. After all, it’s not all right, but it’s ok.