I have been reflecting on the pandemic that we are all living in and the good that can come from pausing to take a closer look at our lives. Over the past few days, I have been taking notes on the things I want to take away from this time and following journal prompts on cultivating the life I want. This is glimpse of my story, a peak at the things that I want to bring forward.
I am a recovering people pleaser. By recovering, I mean my work is not done, it is never done. I will always want to default to what is easy, nice or the least confrontational path. People pleasing is sweet and kind on the receiving end, but it is not honest and it is full of bitter feelings for the pleaser. For a few years now, I have been practicing radical honesty and being more vocal about how I really feel. During this pandemic, I have had to set uncomfortable boundaries surrounding rejecting the social pressure to “just come over for a little bit” when social distancing is in place. I have had to say “no” when it would have been a lot easier to say yes. I have had to say compassionate but uncomfortable truths to people who have asked me direct questions that I really did not want to answer. Being authentic is about clarity, staying true to your values, and voicing your truth even if it hurts. Slowing down during this pandemic has helped me realize that leading with authenticity is always the right answer. I have been forced to slow down and reflect on every request, response or conversation coming my way. I want to carry that forward, the pause to choose the authentic response rather than the knee jerk reaction.
Authenticity is a continuum. It is an ongoing journey that we can all choose to take, not a destination that we suddenly arrive to.
Being Quiet and Valuing Rest
I have encouraged rest for years in therapy, but sitting here with sadness I can see that I have greatly undervalued it for myself. I reflect on all the days I have spent pushing, building, reaching for goals, pursuing, conquering and falling short only to get right back up again before I can even lick my wounds. I have blasted through life at a mind numbing speed. Luckily, I know why I have done this thanks to a personal therapist I worked with several years ago that practiced Internal Family Systems (a deeply powerful approach to therapy). Gravitating toward speed is a familiar habit that I have had for many years and it previously played an important role in my life, though it is no longer needed. I am deeply enjoying the rest that is right in front of me. I am thankful that I am forced to rest, be quiet and slow down. While I know cognitively that rest and quiet is essential, there is a long way to go before it is solidified as the baseline in my brain. Nonetheless, reiterating the value of rest is coming with me out of this pandemic.
I am grateful for so many things that I generally take for granted. For one, the ability to hug my family and friends. Goodness I miss that! Or how about the ability to play outside at the park without worry? Also the freedom of going to the grocery store without fear. Or how about the nurses, doctors, schools and countless businesses that I don’t typically think twice about? I thank God for this time so I can *see* what I have been missing. I want to hold onto the grateful heart that I feel right now.
Editing and Weeding and Rewriting
Everything needs to be ruthlessly edited. Right now is the perfect time to reflect on our lives and realign with our true desires. It is a time to restructure and “clean up.” I think of the following areas for myself:
Home- It is time to look at what is in my home currently and what we are allowing to come into our sacred space. It is time to cleanse and re-evaluate our needs as a family.
My Counseling Business- I am editing the process in which business is done and the systems being used. I am reassessing the core values and re-strengthening the need to hold onto the core elements of the practice at all costs.
People- I am looking at who I am giving conscious or subconscious power to over my own internal peace. Who is consuming my mind and who should not be? Who do I truly value and who am I letting impact my decisions that shouldn’t be? Who do I really want on my team in life? It is time to cleanse and edit who will remain in my inner circle and who will have to be cut out – kindly, graciously, but ultimately for the greater good.
Marriage- I am humbly working on taking more ownership for my part of the struggles. I am striving for greater compromise rather than “my way or the highway” thinking. I am loving deeper and being intentional every single day with the love I am planting.
Being a Mother- I am focusing on deeper presence with my daughter, more patience, vocalizing and apologizing for my faults when I am in the wrong. I want to allow time to follow my child’s pace rather than defaulting to the pace life has thrown at us.
This is an invitation to look at where you currently are in your life and change the script. What do you want to take with you after this pandemic is over? What are you going to leave behind? How did you grow or come into deeper clarity? I would encourage you to write or journal your responses. Writing is powerful and cathartic…I promise you will feel better once you do so.
Take care everyone,
-Written by Emily De La Torre, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA