I've been working with people for more than 25 years, which is to say I've been working on my own self for at least that long. Longer, to tell you the truth.
I didn't always have the best tools, though. As a young clinician I jumped into the helping business with great enthusiasm. I was sure I was one or two insights away from healing the human condition, and if I was earnest enough - and I was - I could heal myself along the way.
I had a fix-it mentality, and an abiding belief that if people (including myself) just knew enough stuff we could eventually attain a kind of peaceful contentment - a more sophisticated version of happily-ever-after.
A couple of decades and an episode or two of professional burnout later, I've learned a few things I wish someone had told me sooner.
I'll start with these:
- You can't fix what's not broken.
(What?!? Not broken? Are you kidding me???)
- There is an essential part of me that has never been damaged, abused, neglected, or stained. I can learn to live my life from that essential place.
- My various neuroses are just a collection of stories I tell myself over and over. When I live inside the stories, I suffer. Greatly. When I let them pass through, I ground myself in peace.