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To heal is to integrate the experience we've been through, to welcome what can help us move forward from it in a way that means we leave the pain or unwanted emotion or associations behind, because we've worked through them with another's help, and feel free to go forward with valuable lessons to take with us.
Healing is transformative, and every part of who we are is changed in the becoming something more. Healing is about growing, expanding, becoming courageous and less fearful because we know we can survive.
The old feelings no longer trouble us, the old reactions no longer happen, we are more at peace and comfortable with who we are and where we have been. Gradually and almost imperceptibly, almost without our noticing it, so much inside us has shifted. We see things differently now, we see a bigger picture now, and we have let go of things we thought would never change or ease or let us be.
"I look back sometimes and pinch myself. I never would have thought this could be me. I never would have thought I could have turned my life around like this. Life feels easy and no longer scary or stressful, because I'm no longer pretending. What you see is what you get now, so there's nowhere to fall."
"I realised that who we are is the story of what we've known, and therefore of what we've come to expect and believe. And I came to see that who I was now was all about who I'd been, what I'd lived, what I'd known and the sense I'd made of those things. It had never occurred to me that other people in the world might see those things differently, or might not react the way I did. Janny referred to it as the way we 'cut and paste' our own experiences onto everything we come into contact with. I came to see that I would react to certain people in exactly the ways I might once have reacted to other significant people in my life. Like I was replaying the same old stories over and over again without knowing I was doing it."
We've learned so much more, almost without realising it. We've developed the capacity to observe and reflect rather than react, and to consider rather than act impulsively. We've come to understand that our feelings give us vital information, and that we need to listen to what they're telling us. And we've learned that we have personal power and choice, and so can live intentionally rather than relatively. We feel in control of ourselves in a new way, and that means that we feel more in control of how we see life and respond to it.
When we have healed parts of ourselves, or experiences, that previously led us to react unhelpfully, or which made issues seem complicated and led us to feel pulled in lots of different directions at once, everything suddenly has clarity. We can see where responsibility lies, and where it doesn't. We can feel in our gut what's acceptable or what feels right to us, and what doesn't. And so our relationships are more boundaried, our communication is more direct, and we no longer get pulled into being manipulated or into feeling guilty about things that really are not our responsibility. Life feels more positive and we feel more liberated, and that we can prioritise and have choice.
It's an amazing feeling when we realise that the things that used to make us flare up in anger, or suddenly make us feel little and disempowered no longer touch us. It's what the process of therapy is all about. We integrate the feelings and experiences that once brought a huge emotional response in us, and so those things no longer have the overwhelming effect they once did. Others around us notice the change too, and feel more comfortable around us, less concerned that they might press our buttons and face a huge reaction, or a sudden change in our mood or behaviour. We are free.
"I contacted Janny because I was dreading going home for the holidays. I'm at Uni and at the time was coming to the end of my first year. Things at home had been volatile for a long while, and after the freedom of Uni I was becoming more and more anxious about what going home for the summer vacation was going to be like. Both the Christmas and Easter breaks had gone badly, with arguments and tears, my Dad losing it and my Mum placating and trying to smooth things over, and my brothers and sisters bickering and winding each other up in an environment where everyone found it hard to get along somehow.
I was also increasingly aware that I had learned to be nervous around conflict, found it hard to let my guard down and let people see who I was in case they mocked or attacked me, and that my family's way of being was getting in the way of my making really good, honest friendships or forming relationships where I could ease to trust the other person with my feelings. I didn't say what I really thought or what I was feelings, and that had actually lost me some friendships during the year, as other people got to know each other really well and I sort of got left behind. I also didn't know how to react to things I was unhappy about without snapping or making a sarcastic comment. All the habits my family had got into, I guess. I didn't know any other way. So I wanted some help with that.
What was great was that we had three sessions face to face leading up to the end of term, and then we moved to weekly Skype sessions throughout the vacation period. Janny gradually helped me to look at why my family worked the way it did, and I found increasingly that I could think about the dynamics in a different way. Instead of seeing 'bickering' I began to see the way no one really listened to each other properly. And because I was there in the middle of it all, I could bring situations or incidents that had happened and unravel them with Janny in our Skype sessions and come up there and then with other strategies or new things to try.
It wasn't just that, though. We talked surprisingly deeply about me and who I was and what I'd known, and how those experiences had taught me to react to things and to see the world. I got pretty upset once or twice as I remembered occasions I had completely forgotten, and it was such a relief to talk them out and shed some different light on them. I hadn't expected that a Skype session could be so powerful, but with my headphones in, it was every bit as powerful and comfortable as being actually in the room with Janny.
I'm doing a degree in Business and Marketing, and I would say that Janny's USP is that she calms you by going straight to the heart of the matter, in a way that makes you feel so completely understood and heard that you feel instantly at peace, because you don't have to fight to make her get it. I realise as I say this that her ability to get it, to put complex feelings in ways that instantly communicated just how fully she had grasped all the different elements of what I'd been trying to explain, was in such contrast to the battles in my own family, where we were constantly misunderstanding each other, and becoming frustrated because of that.
One great spin off from this was that I learned how to listen and to communicate in a better way, and I started to use those better techniques within my family while I was at home. What was brilliant to see was how, when I used them, people suddenly relaxed and climbed down and actually tried to have a proper conversation. It feels really emotional when I think of that, like there's some hope that I never thought I'd feel that I can get along with my family in a new way, and that they will respond. It's like my whole family has been touched by therapy, even though it was only me and Janny doing the talking.
I still see Janny now I'm back at Uni, because I realise I'm excited to keep growing and learning and building on all this. It's been an amazing summer, and I'm so looking forward to daring to be me more and more as I go into my second year! I know it's going to be such a different year!"
You are a work in progress, lovely. Just as we all are. So that word 'yet' really matters.⠀
Trust yourself, brave soul. You have everything inside you. There is nothing you need that isn't already there.⠀
This is you simply growing. Expanding. Becoming more.⠀
Slowly. Gently. Mindfully. With patience and gentle encouragement.⠀
It's too easy to write yourself off. Too easy to decide you're 'useless' or 'rubbish' or 'stupid.' But see, those are not your own words. They don't belong to you. They're borrowed from others who couldn't see what you really have, who you really are.⠀
So don't wear them like a badge, sweet soul. Don't let them write you off like that. You are oh so much more!⠀
Keep faith with you. Be your friend. Your best friend. If you're not on your side, what's left? ⠀
Dare to live bravely, lovely one. Dig deep and allow yourself to discover all you truly are.⠀
You are so much more than you could begin to imagine! 💖
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