Anyone who knows what I do could probably guess a few things I have to manage on a day to day basis. Encouraging others, instilling hope, empathizing with people though difficult moments, etc. There are many things I enjoy about therapy, but sometimes my life is engrossed in conflict.
As you read this, you may be thinking, “My anxiety will never go away.”
“Where did the last year go? The last 5 years? The last 10? What am I doing with my life? I am too ashamed to look at my husband, my wife, my family.”
Whatever your story may be – You are not alone AND You can overcome.
Day after day and therapy session after therapy session, I hear about the conflict with friends, the battles with family members and the self-turmoil that people live through every single day. If you are in the middle of it – it is exhausting!
The words of this blog may give a different perspective, but they most likely will not provide answers. That is completely fine. The purpose of writing this blog in particular is to speak to the individuals who not only live within this daily struggle, but they actually choose conflict.
It is like the “junk” food we eat. We know that it is not good for us and we know those two (or 2 dozen) cookies or that liter of Coke will force guilt, regret and further promises to “do better next time,” but gosh darn it – it is so good!
Most children process through different events through their actions and their behaviors. As we grow older, our vocabulary expands and as adults, we also process by displaying certain actions, but are able to verbalize what we are going through. Just as we can make (or not make) the decision to reach for that “junk” food, we also choose to allow ourselves to become encompassed with conflict. Why do we allow this to happen?
- We are still attempting to process or get our heads around what is going on or gain perspective of what is happening.
- Like I said, as we grow older, we begin to process our world through our actions and words. If we do not have the means to understand or to find answers, we may be in this process for a long time. We need someone in our life that can help us process or “think our loud” and finally be released of our speeding anxious hearts or be lifted out of a depressed pit.
- We are (always) the solution to somebody elses problem.
- A good rule of thumb to remember is to ask, “Am I part of the problem?” The next question you can ask is, “Am I part of the solution to this problem?” If the answer to both of these questions is “no” then please refer back to my first point above. Please do not take responsibility if you do not have to. This only adds additional stress and if you fail – it may cause more long-term damage (guilt, shame, anxiety, depression). If the answer is yes then you have a responsibility to amend, fix, clarify, apologize, forgive, extend grace, etc.
- The other aspect to remember is that it may not be a quick fix. People need to heal. Healing takes time and effort to continue healing. Regardless of your spiritual involvement, we are all wired the same way. I believe Andy Stanley is on point with his question in his new series “Ask It”, “In light of my past experiences, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams – Is this the wise thing to do?” If you are part of the problem or part of the solution, seek the counsel and guidance to ensure an appropriate and educated response to conflict and truly break from daily overconsuming emotions we “get through” everyday. (Warning – you may not always enjoy the truths and answers)
- We do not trust there is action being taken elsewhere.
- Making the decision to go through therapy can be difficult. As a therapist, I may not be apart of the original problem or apart of the ultimate solution, but it is a privilege and an honor to have people sit down with me and ask for help. Through their willingness (not always the case), we are able to come up with different solutions, but I cannot make those decisions for the folks I have the opportunity to work with. If we believe a person or someone we love is not taking steps to “get better” or “change” then it is our duty or responsibility to step in and do something about it. In my short career, I have had the opportunity to work with dozens and dozens of individuals, couples, parents, families, etc. Unfortunately, some folks did not want help, they “didn’t need” help, or their pain far outweighed their motivation to overcome. The point being — I cannot change people — I help people change on their own. If I took full responsibility to be the ultimate solution for every one of my clients, I would no longer be (or want to be) a therapist.
In summary, we first have to trust that action is going to be taken by the individuals that are responsible and no, it is not our job to tell others they are apart of the problem or they need to be a solution. Chances are, they know this, but do not know where or how to begin. If we cannot trust that action will inevitably be taken, We have to ask ourselves if we are apart of the problem or solution. If we are not and you are still compelled to take action – seek counsel. It does not have to be through the means of a therapist, but someone you trust and can help you process though (or gain perspective).
If we are not careful, conflict can overtake our lives and when the conflict is over – we have absolutely nothing to show for it. We have not grown individually, we have not developed our own relationships, we have missed opportunity after opportunity with our family, with our children, our spouse, our Lord. Do not allow conflict to consume you life.
I do feel obligated to say that if you or anybody you know struggles with self-harm or or has contemplated suicide then you and every single person is obligated to step in and keep that person safe. If you have questions or concerns, I would encourage you to please visit www.groffandassociates.com and explore the different resources and be open to seeing myself or one of the many great therapists with Groff & Associates.