I’m coming up on my four-year therapy anniversary.
This may not sound like a big deal, but for years I actively avoided going to therapy, even though I knew I had a laundry list of issues I needed to work through.
I kept letting my fear, my ego, my pride get in the way of actually dealing with my sh*t.
I kept convincing myself that I wasn’t struggling. That I was fine. That this was just life and I was capable of getting through it on my own.
But I also kept finding myself in a state of stress. Of unease. Of denial.
I was constantly fighting my reality. Wondering why the universe had chosen to make my life so hard.
There were so many days that I would cry and wonder “Why me?”
It just seemed like I couldn’t find a way to excel at one part of my life without another completely imploding. Found a great job? Awesome, your family is falling apart. Things finally calmed down with your family? Super, say goodbye to your relationship. Found a great guy to be with? Perfect, better check on those finances, though.
I wanted to feel settled, at peace. I wanted to feel like I was walking on a solid path, not balancing on a tightrope. I was tired of feeling like I was living my life on shaky ground.
So after experiencing another relationship hiccup and my first-ever panic attack (0/10: do not recommend), I finally made the call and started therapy.
And you know what happened? I realized, almost immediately, that going to therapy wasn’t about getting off the tightrope and finding something solid.
Therapy was about me finding a way to exist on shaky ground without losing myself. Without constantly wondering, “Why me?” Because that shaky ground? Well, that’s life.
Do we all need to go to therapy to figure this out? No, but we do all need to find our own way to cope with change and transition and the ups and downs that being human inevitably brings.
If you’re struggling to cope with the shakiness of your life, let this Pema Chödrön quote be your therapy:
“Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it.
Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.
To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.”