5 Lessons Learned from a Year of Counseling
I watched a man die today.
Last night, I decided to write something about my experience during counseling.
I wrote the title and left it at that.
The next day, a man jumped from the roof of a parking garage near my office.
It was surreal and not something you’d expect on a typical business day.
So I thought all the more about how much I needed to process. I am going to pull on some nuggets I’ve received from when I was in regular counseling.
Lesson 1: It is what it is
Emotions are just that, emotions. We tend to define our feelings as good or bad. Yet, I learned that it’s not the emotion itself. But instead what we do with emotions.
I can be angry about a situation or something someone said. But, that does not give me the right to hurt someone, whether physically or verbally.
It’s a hard distinction to grasp, but it can be great if we develop the awareness to see it at the moment.
My emotions are set, and it’s a matter of what I do with it that matters.
Lesson 2: Acceptance
I would often come to a session and air out all my grievances. This person does this petty thing I don’t like. Or this person is always like this.
My counselor would stop me and give me a different take. Maybe it was someone similar in his life or a circumstance he learned he couldn’t change.
In those cases where something you cannot change, he’d talk about acceptance. Learning to accept someone just the way they are rather than trying to change them.
It would hurt, but it’s true. If you love someone or want to keep a relationship, you will have to accept that person entirely.
It’s the same with circumstances. If you can’t change it, what point is there complaining about it?
Now is the time to start making decisions to chart a path for yourself.
Lesson 3: You can’t make me
I grew up saying, you are making me so mad. Or I did X because of you.