June & July: Lemonade Worthy Lemons?
I have been itching to write a post because there is so much that I wanted to share! Life has been giving me lemons, some sweet and some sour. The real question is, whether I was able to make a sweet batch of lemonade with the lemons I was given or if they soured the taste. Take a sip of my Arnold Palmer-styled tea and tell me what you think!
June was an interesting month for me, I lost myself. At my full-time job as a mental health counselor, I had what was supposed to be my 3-month review at the start of the 6th month of the year...yeah. Anyways, it wasn't a bad review at all, but me being who I am, my toughest gosh damn critic, took everything that was said to heart and allowed it to make me lose sight of myself and my purpose. I'm sure you are curious about what was said to me, but what really matters is the words that I held onto. The words threaded together throughout my review: "you're textbook", "you're too young", "you need more experience", "I'm all about the money and your numbers have dropped", "you need to try some new approaches" and lots of jibber-jabber about me in comparison to counselors and therapists of the past. I held onto those words. They told me everything about myself that I was not and I believed each and every word of it that day and for a while. That's what made it real and true.
I let those words eat my truths up to the bone. I no longer felt as if I was meant to be a mental health counselor or capable of helping people in the ways they needed. I began to feel and be really hard on myself. I just wanted to run away and go somewhere where nobody knew my name or anything about me. I wanted a complete reset. I was mentally and emotionally defeated and wanted to take a break from therapy altogether. Mentally, I was equating everything I expected to have achieved at this point in my life to be defined as success and anything not achieved to make me equivalent to a failure. Emotionally, I was not secure enough in myself nor was I acknowledging that where I was at in my career and what I was doing, were all things I prayed about for years and now they had finally come to fruition. The career I prayed for, the ways in which I prayed to be able to help people therapeutically, I felt like I wasn't fulfilling these areas in the ways I expected myself to. Not wanted, expected, there's a difference. The expectation is the unreasonably high standard I hold myself to. Want, is something I don't need to reach, achieve, or accomplish but do because I can or have the interest.
I sold myself short on everything, not just my career. The way I defined success for myself was that I expected to have it all together by now. I expected myself to be thriving in my career as a mental health counselor and well on my way to owning my own practice, but I allowed my review to change my perspective on myself and my career. I expected to have my savings back and better than it was before my former car, Lu Lu sucked the life out of it, but life happens and things come up. I expected myself to not be working two jobs anymore, and to be living alone and at peace, but I extended the move-in date for my apartment and made other plans. I never really pictured success as me with anyone, in particular, I didn't want to set myself or my heart up like that, but if it were to happen after or along the way of me checking all of my other expectations off then cool.
It's not that my expectations were not feasible or unrealistic, because they are definitely feasible and realistic, my timeline was not. My expectations were created on demon-time. I was impatient. I figured the sooner the better, but sometimes the wait and the journey to get there is what makes reaching something you have been working towards worth it. I had to see that there was no rush to level up to any of those places that I wanted to be in life and that I was not in a bad place at all. I had to check my defeated, negative-ass attitude, and get back to what I know to be true, that my attitude determines my altitude and if I couldn't be grateful for where I was at and continue on then I would never grow and blossom into the place I wanted to be. Just like coals take an immense amount of pressure over time to become diamonds, I too will come into my own at the right time, there's no need to rush. I am young, single, educated, intelligent beyond the books, independent, talented, and creative, and there is no time limit to defining what I consider success for myself. Success has no time limit.
Mid-Ending of June
Having sold myself short and still feeling defeated, I continued showing up each day for sessions. The lower the number of patients I had per day, the more I allowed my feeling of defeat to sink in and poke me. As weeks went on, sessions continued, and there was a noticeable shift in my sessions as far as my patient's responses. Almost every session I had my patients would thank me for speaking with them or helping them work through something or get to where they are today, I just kept getting validated left and right. They were speaking me back into my purpose. My patients were reassuring and validating me in the sense that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and doing the work that needed to be done. Hearing my patient's appreciation for me was like an epiphany moment that realigned me with the reason I got into this line of work in the first place. It was a reminder of what my mom told me, "It's not about the number of patients you have each day, it's about the people you are helping." She reminded me of what I would always tell people when they asked me why I wanted to be a counselor. I would tell them that I wanted to help people therapeutically. I would tell them that I wanted to meet people where they were and guide them to where they wanted to be. I would tell them that it makes me feel appreciated and fulfilled when I am able to be a listening ear, a sounding board, a shoulder to lean on, or a well of wisdom for others. The validation from my patients and reminder from my mom brought me back to where I was meant to be, showing up for people and engaging in colorful conversations, and ensuring that I am offering receptiveness, understanding, compassion, validation, reassurance, encouragement, and love without judgment. That's what I was doing and when I realized it, that's when I stopped running.
Working for this company may not have been as advertised during the interview, but it taught me a lot about myself and what I want and need to grow and blossom moving forward. As well as my ability to grow wherever I am planted. When I wanted to run away from my career and everything else because nothing felt as if it was going my way, something that kept me going despite personally struggling was that I still had people who I had to show up. They were depending on me to show up for them just as they showed up for their session, with the intention to share things they feel as if they cannot share with anyone else without judgment and be guided with validation, insight, feedback, and encouragement as needed. Little did they know that showing up for them was helping me show up for myself because there was a time when I didn't want to show up for them anymore, I felt as if I couldn't, but I did. I'm still there today, meeting patients where they are and being their personal lighthouse on their journeys.
The time between the end of June and the start of July, things have gotten a bit busier for me work-wise, which is good right, considering I always pray over my financials, essentially my prayers were being answered. I was getting more patients at my full-time job and more hours at my part-time job. As things were filling out more, the less bothered I was with my fluctuating patient load. I knew I did not come into this field for the sake of making money, I came into this field for the sake of helping people and finding innovative ways to do so. I knew that it was going to take time to build my patient load and that I was not the counselor for everyone so whoever remained with me for any period of time was for a reason and I served my purpose. While I am grateful for the time I was putting in between both jobs, I was also stretching myself pretty thin in the process. I don't normally work as much as I have been lately at my part-time job, but life happens and my supervisor needed me to cover when she got sick. This means every day I went to my full-time job, then in the evenings, I would be at my part-time job until I left the next morning for my full-time job (yes my part-time job is an overnight shift). Thankfully, this lasted for about a week, this week to be exact, and I was so grateful for the weekend.
A weekend that I didn't have to work at that, since I have been working the past weekends of June & the start of July, it was nice to have a break. Especially because both of my jobs are very selfless positions, it's all about showing up for others, which is something I do very well but have learned to have limits because this giver has been on the verge of burnout after this week! I was showing up for a lot of people between both jobs, so this weekend it was nice to take things slow. I had a relaxing Friday evening, on Saturday enjoyed a girl date, and spent Sunday afternoon having lunch and catching up with my parents. Now, I am well into my Sunday Funday evening, finishing up this blog post and looking forward to an evening of solo movies and chill, another week is on the horizon and I am selfishly using up every ounce of my evening to be disgustingly laid back. When Monday arrives, it is back to the grind for me so I need to preserve my energy.
All in all, I am grateful because everything that I pray for and talk to God about, he answers. It may not go exactly how or when I expect or want them to happen, but they do and that's all that matters. Whenever I have focused on the things within my control, that's when things were easy and effortlessly flowed into place. When things have felt forced or pressured they didn't necessarily create diamonds, rather they created confusion and disruption and they happened in that manner because they were out of my control, not meant to be controlled. Like I always say, life is full of lessons and blessings and that's exactly what the month of June and the start of July have been for me, lessons and blessings. Lessons learned; having patience, letting go of things out of my control, going with the flow, growing through the cracks of concrete, standing still and not running, selflessness, and showing up for me as well as others. Blessings; knowing that I have helped others in some way, having a better understanding of myself and what I am capable of, and being able to plant seeds wherever I am, in the concrete or the dirt.
Hoping to have the most fun and make the most memorable moments for the remainder of the month of July and all of August! I look forward to telling you why in the next post...Stay tuned!