Something that’s so important to keep in mind is this idea that you matter. We can often look around and experience so much noise around us that it can feel hard to feel a sense of peace and calm inside. It can also feel hard to maintain a sense that we are important and that we matter – to ourselves and to others.
I often think about this especially when it comes to relationships and how we relate and interact in relationships and how we experience closeness with others. For some, it is difficult to cultivate this consistently. There is often a tendency to look at how others impact us instead of how we impact others. I think we need to reverse this. This is not to say that how others treat us or interact with us isn’t important, (of course it is!), but in order to “do our part” we need to examine how we are contributing to the conversation and how we are entering an interaction. For example, we might be out in the world and maybe we are feeling rather small or insignificant in some ways – how does this then translate into how we experience ourselves and others in relationship?
If we didn’t grow up in an environment where we felt validated and affirmed (or particularly important in terms of how we felt or what we had to say), it can be harder to trust and truly believe in our goodness or believe in our gifts – or to even identify what our gifts are. This is especially difficult if we are also part of a group that has a history of being oppressed or shut out or shut down in their everyday lives. This can make it incredibly difficult to cultivate a sense of “I matter” “how I show up – what I have to say, my feelings have a right to be heard, I matter, I count.” I think if we don’t cultivate that inside as we grow, we can go our whole lives feeling a sense of “without” or a sense that we are not important. This has grave consequences – relationally, culturally, and globally.
So where to start? In my work as a therapist, I am always conscious and interested in how I help a person to become more empowered in their own life. There is a process involved: assessment, history taking, understanding of what’s working, what’s not, etc. I like to work very organically with my clients meaning that if something comes up that we feel deserves more time and attention, we may stay there for a little while to explore and to heal. Foundational to where we go is understanding their values as an individual. Exploring what is truly important and why helps us to have clarity about how we decide to move through life. Congruence, meaning your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are in alignment. You don’t say “I’m fine” when you actually feel terrible. You don’t say you care about someone but your actions prove otherwise. You are in alignment. When we are congruent, we can move through life with greater intention and make decisions with courage and conviction.