“Can I leave everything behind me?”
Often, I see someone coming into the therapeutic process very determined. They know what they want, they have given it much though before even calling you or knocking on your door and they pursuing it from the first moment they meet with you: to leave everything behind, in the past, where it belongs, to manage to turn their back on it, if possible, and focus on the future, on the pleasant surprises waiting to be experienced.
It is part of the normal process of development and evolution to make steps, walking towards creating new conditions within ourselves and around us and to aim at pursuing dreams and values which motivate us to live. And every time I come across a request of someone to cut off anything that might embed this process, it is like I almost hear them say “I want to grow”. And the level of determination and certainty they present this request includes a low whispering voice wondering “how can I make this happen?”
- And how do you imagine leaving everything behind you;
- Just not to think about it.
- And if you do not think about it, where will this go? What will happen to it;
- I don’t know. It will be forgotten. Like a story that has not place to come back anymore.
But any story needs to be remembered and understood in order not to be repeated. And one step further, it needs to be accepted. The moment you ignore it, it finds its way to open up new holes in the present and pop up with strength, in present tense, making circles and touching upon the remains of the past, waking up the same emotions, the same thoughts and reactions.
No matter how painful the story you want to forget is, provoking feelings of anger, sadness, weakness and helplessness for change, when looking it through the spectrum of the person you are today, there are possibilities and options to understand it, to realize what it offered to you and embrace the losses, giving it the reassurance that it has been heard, that it has a place and a reason to stay in the past.
The therapeutic process is a safe place to figure out the past and redefine who you are in the present and what you need, now but also in the future. And this is how you do not need to leave the story behind you but to make a conscious decision instead, regarding your needs and emotions after every battle you’ve been through, every conflict you experienced.
When rubbing two stones with each other, fire is born. And afterwards, the stones get softer, smaller, less sharp, and they find their spot in the landscape of your life, where they do not create any obstacles but work as points of reference, among other, which are helping the new steps to be born in the overall path and journey of life.