There have been a lot of changes in my life recently, and a lot of challenges. Some of those challenges have been in group process, and some in my personal life. In group, and in my life, I have had to look hard at myself. As I was talking to my therapist the other day, I realised that I want my life to be about living intentionally, not about just passing through it. For me it means taking risks; telling people I care about them, rather than just assuming that they know. It means the same thing on my training course. If I ‘get’ what someone is saying in group, I need to tell them. If I don’t, i *also* need to tell them. There are times when that won’t need to happen; I’m not saying that I have to say everything that’s in my head, but the more I say, the less danger there is that someone will be missed (by me – at least). If I know (by their confirmation) that I get them, it has to be a better thing than me assuming I get them, and they don’t know if I do or not.
It was commented to me by my tutor, at my training course this weekend that I have had a much more expressive face recently. My therapist says that there is something that she cannot put her finger on about the change in the way I am. In client work, I am starting to put more of myself in to the work. I am traditionally VERY good at a poker face. In life, in counselling. On the one hand it’s great because it means that I don’t react visibly before I’ve had a chance to process. On the other hand, it means that my clients and my loved ones get less of me, because they have to work harder to know what I am thinking, and in my personal life where i’m not bound by congruence (which is one of my guiding principles in client work), it’s probably much harder than for clients, who aren’t really focused for the most part on what *i* think (although some are!).
Practically, it means actually reaching out to someone – periodically, if someone is in my thoughts, I will tell them. I don’t do it often. I only really talk with one person on my course, which feels strange, as i LIKE all the others too. So I’m resolved to change that (any one of you reading this, expect to hear from me at times!). It’s not a big thing, but it’s part of not being missed. Letting someone know I am thinking of them has to be a nicer thing than thinking that you are not thought of. I’m not limited in my ability to do it; I’ve just become lazy in my thinking.
In my personal life, I was talking over something with my primary partner about spending some time with a new person and she said ‘but we don’t spend enough time together’. In actual fact, we DO spend a lot of time together (most weekends, and an evening or two a week – around my placements and counselling), but where we used to make it intentional, now we are often just in the same place doing stuff. So we’ve created some intentional space with each other. We got lazy, and whilst it was fine because we got enough pockets of intention within all the default ‘togetherness’, the busier we get, the less availability there is for that.
I know that for different people, taking risks means different things, and some people are naturally more open with their thoughts and feelings (so this wouldn’t be hard), but for me, this will be a big ongoing challenge, where I have to intentionally do something. Either speak, or not speak, but either way, I need to look at what I am choosing to do, rather than just taking the easy option because I can.
This post is in memory of my dad who died very recently, and to whom some of this personal ‘living intentionally’ can be attributed.