The first time I ‘willingly’ went to a counselor, I was 28 years old.
(My aunt had dragged me to a counselor who obviously didn’t know how to handle children after my Dad died. The poor woman kept asking me what I thought, and I finally told her, disgustedly, that if I knew what to think, I wouldn’t be sitting in her office!)
At 28, I knew I was crazy. I felt my life ‘circling the drain’ as the same experiences kept happening, faster and faster. I was terrified and willing to do ANYTHING to make it stop.
There was a diagnosis and a year of weekly visits, then bi-weekly for several months until she moved away.
During that time, I read voraciously and did everything she asked me to do, in the vain hope that I would someday feel “normal.” By 30, I knew I was ‘okay,’ but ‘normal’ eluded me.
Fast-forward to my recently-turned-50 self (breezing past off-and-on counseling where I was told me she mis-diagnosed me, 7 years of life coaching, and on past the multiple attempts to get some professional to tell me I was crazy, only to have them seek my help with their own spiritual conundrums!)
I called my counselor this week (I keep a counselor and at least one life coach in my support system at all times. As a Life Coach, I believe it is the responsible thing to do.) I was seriously questioning my mental health for the first time in two decades.
I was too happy. “TOO HAPPY,” and I was scaring myself, so I decided to check in with a professional.
As I related the events since I last saw him, he listened, asked questions, and didn’t seem at all concerned. That was reassuring.
Near the end of the session, he told me that he could understand why I was concerned. My behavior had shifted dramatically from when he had seen me last. Letting go of my own place without having a commitment or another place of my own wasn’t how I used to handle things. I had a long history of needing things to be set in stone. “You’re getting really good at dealing with ambivalence and ambiguity, and that is a sign of maturity.”
I sat with that for a minute. More than sat with it, I actually savored it. At the most childlike, trusting, open, joyous time of my life, I’m being told what I’m feeling and doing is a sign of maturity.
This feeling of ebullient freedom, this joy and limitlessness, this is me when I release my need to control outcomes, people, things, life, me…
“What is the purpose of control?” he asked me. “Safety,” I replied.
I am finally safe in myself. I don’t need something outside of me to create the illusion of safety for me.
And, that brings me to the thought of “too happy.” Because of my concern, he was looking for mania, and didn’t find grounds for it.
So, what is this, “too happy” judgment I had placed on myself?
Old Family Patterns. Hand-me-down Beliefs. The Looming Threat.
“Don’t get your hopes up, you’ll be disappointed…”
“Sure you’re flying high today, but that just leads to a crash…”
“Don’t let your head get too big…”
“Don’t lead with your heart, you’ll only get hurt…”
And on and on. What are your family stories that keep you small?
What stories have you re-written to increase your joy and celebration of life?
Here are my answers to the above hand-me-downs:
Hope nourishes Seeds of Greatness!
A Soaring Heart brings Joy to Everyone it Touches!
Have you ever actually seen someone’s head get big? (I actually ask people this question. It starts GREAT discussions about the silliness of some things we believe/say!)
I Lead with My Heart Because My Heart KNOWS THE WAY! <3 <3 <3
I am happy. I have no idea what is next, but I can lean into the feeling of it and I know that it is wonderful.
Ironically, this is exactly where I get the most excited with my coaching clients, when they get to the point of “I don’t know” and “I can’t explain it, but it feels like…” that is when the biggest shifts and breakthroughs begin.
Yes, Hope nourishes Seeds of Greatness!
I hope this post gives you a little more permission to hope and enJOY your life! <3 <3 <3