I haven’t felt like writing in awhile. I felt like I was doing alright, but at the end of June I fell in a cycle of negative thoughts, and it took a bit to get myself out. I have been taking care of myself and trying to open up with close friends. Here are some thoughts I started awhile ago and never got to express to the internet:
It started with a training in motivational interviewing (MI). MI is a skill in therapy to help a client wrestle with feelings of ambivalence surrounding the goal of making a change. We all have things we think about doing, but never fully commit. In the training we had to do practice sessions in front of the group to work on our new skills. I found the hardest part to be the client- which frustrated me. Being the therapist should have been the worst part!
Let me tell you why. I thought I picked 2 seemingly superficial areas in my life that may benefit from adjustment. 1st scenario I talked about my friendships- they appear to be changing, and what should I do? I can make new friends, or work harder to maintain my current relationships. 2nd scenario I talked about my salsa team and whether I will continue with the team in the future.
In the 1st scenario, therapist mentioned that I use phrases like, “I should.” I have an expectation that things “should” be a certain way and I “should” be doing this or that. I’ve wrestled with feelings of guilt in the past, and I still have a hard time with a personal expectation that I need to be living my life a certain way. She also mentioned something about finding a partner to share my life with. I didn’t want to go down that path, but I found it strange she found that connection. How the hell did she know?
2nd scenario I spoke about my salsa team. I love to dance. I’ve written before about the role of dance and movement when I was young. My self esteem has really been rocked via this salsa team, and I have historically been ambivalent if the performing and friends I’ve made on the team make up for the negativity that enters my life after certain practices. Therapist commented I appear to be searching for belonging. WTF, lady?
What upset me about these comments- that I appear to be wanting a partner; that I struggle with doing what I “should;” that I don’t feel like I belong, is that they came out of short, 7-10 minute conversations. How could she see me in that should amount of time, these vulnerable things about myself I wasn’t even consciously aware of? What else can people see? I thought I was doing a good job of presenting myself to others how I want them to see me. I wonder if this is another lesson in vulnerability and authenticity. But this time I didn’t see it coming, I didn’t even see it in myself.