We all get locked out sometimes. It is rarely anticipated yet always frustrating. This very experience happened to me recently. I came home, put my key in the door knob, and turned. Only on this occasion the door wouldn’t open. I checked that I had the right key and tried it again, as I had done thousands of times before. Nothing. I tried jiggling, then forcing the door knob. Still no luck. Clearly, what had always worked before would no longer. I was locked out.
I wasn’t getting in without help, and there was no question what I had to do next. I Googled. Twenty minutes later, Hector from Amazing 24-Hour Locksmith arrived and brought his bag of tools with him. First, he tried jiggling, then he tried forcing the door knob. That didn’t work for Hector either. The joy of validation knowing it wasn’t my fault proved to be fleeting. I realized it did nothing for me. I would pay the price for access or suffer the cost of exclusion. Fortunately, I had Hector who generously consulted his bag of tools and expertise. He made his progression from a screw driver, to pliers, to a power drill. When the first didn’t work, he proceeded to the next on his way to ultimately helping me gain entrance.
While this story is true, it is also reflective of a broader phenomenon of human experience. We all find ourselves becoming locked out of the wellness which we desire. The vast majority of which we are fully capable of accessing; a truth simultaneously exasperating and empowering. The difference is that when locked out of our home we don’t think twice about calling for help. It is the “emotional” part of emotional barriers that becomes tricky. Yet, just because there’s no door doesn’t mean there are no walls.
Life has a way of chipping away and boxing us in. We go from pretending to be Superman or Wonder Woman as children to pretending to be awake at staff meetings as adults. The cape begins to feel like a straight-jacket of responsibility and regret. We can become conditioned into complacency. The stress and loss associated with our health, relationships, and careers can leave us feeling bound by the bowlines of daily life and burdened by the accumulated anchors of lived experience. In responding to life’s inevitable inflection points and adversity, thoughts and behaviors that were once adaptive and productive can become, often imperceptibly at first, maladaptive and destructive.
Enough angst and avoidance and before long access to the best version of ourselves is denied. Obstacles can feel insurmountable. Some choose to change the wallpaper in the hopes of a better view, but it doesn’t change their seat or vantage point. Counseling, however, helps to fortify the foundation and vault the ceilings to enable expansion. Just as sure as life can hurt, connection can heal. Counseling can provide the compassion it takes to be vulnerable and uncover the courage it takes for growth.
A therapeutic relationship with a capable counselor provides the safety, support, and perspective it takes to alleviate distress and embrace a bold new wellness. Unencumbered by expectations and accelerated by acceptance, counseling is aspirational in its intent and practical in its application. It can be both transformational and restorative. Whether it is managing symptoms or magnifying strengths, the benefits are as unique as the challenges. Through counseling “I wish” becomes “I will” and “I should” becomes “I shall.” Counseling is an open invitation to begin where you are and get to where you’ve always wanted to go. Consider yourself invited.