The folks I have regular contact with in my practice have been well seasoned by life, which is my way of saying they have been through some rough stuff. They have been through traumas, addictions, abuse, self-harm, and have also done some pretty hurtful things to other people. So by the time I see them in my office there are big feelings of being broken, hopeless, and unworthy. For the most part this makes a lot of sense to me given what they have been through! And I can completely relate, I too have been seasoned by life, and tenderized, and cook a bit by it!
As I sit with folks and we engage in this beautiful process of uncovering and recovering the “broken” bits of themselves I am often struck by the lack of brokenness I see. I more often see parts that have unmet needs, or parts that know exactly what they need to do but have been stifled by family and culture. I see and experience bodies that know just how they want to move to release the big energy of trauma. I experience, from my clients, a deep a profound longing for connection and to be seen. In the mist of that I am reminded of what it means to be human, to feel the longing to be close and at times the fear that arises in opening to another.
None of this indicates brokenness to me. There is nothing to fix, because essentially there is nothing wrong. Yes, there is pain, suffering, stuckness, and a longing/fear of connection, but none of that is a sign of brokenness. It is a result of the natural process of mind, body, and soul calling out to be seen, attended to, and connected with. It would be revolutionary to attend to others and ourselves not from a need to fix what we see as broken but to be with what is. It’s like seeing something we don’t like about ourselves and instead of saying I gotta find a way to change we say, “Ok, this is what it means to be me right now.” This is not avoidance but acceptance. As our buddy Jung says, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
The deal is we do change, heal, and grow not from will power and muscling our way through but by tenderness and softness towards these parts that are calling out to be seen and connected with. So as I move through my day today I will be noticing that tightening in my stomach, or the tension in my chest and saying, “This is what it means to be Karolina right now.” As the judgment and need to fix is arrested, through contact and acceptance, the panic lessens and I just feel better. Thank God!
Karolina Walsh Psychotherapy
Providing psychotherapy, counseling, and support for grief, addictions, trauma, PTSD, relationship issues, and GLBTQIA.
“Karolina walks her talk, her ability to meet another in their capacities is sensational because she has done her own work” -Diane Israel
"An effective therapist needs to do at least two things: be compassionate and provide constructive feedback that actually changes the way people experience the world. I see many therapists who can do one or the other. I routinely watch Karolina do both..." -Patrick Weeg