Viewing entries tagged
mental health professionals

Who Will You Be Today? The Importance of Being Yourself

I stood in the dark parking lot for several minutes before going inside the restaurant that waited for my arrival. The expectation of the night remained unknown.  I was unprepared and uncomfortable and really, I didn’t genuinely want to be there. Yet the discomfort of the invite drew me in as a means of addressing one more fear I’d long held.

It wasn’t meant to be a big deal, this networking dinner I’d been asked to attend.  My friend said “come mingle and meet people in your field”. I knew it was a good idea, meeting new mental health professionals who had long worked independently. I loved to share my views on mental health. I wasn’t new to the work, but I was just beginning my private practice so I didn’t at feel like I knew what I was doing. I was insecure in my ability to share my opinions independently, not representing anyone else other than myself.  

I heard the question in the darkness break my internal stillness….”Who am I going to be tonight?”

It was a valid question. I’d spent most of my career in a profession that required me to filter my words and opinions. I had to craft my views wisely to ensure the face I showed was acceptable to the employer I represented.  I could not have been successful if I didn’t curb my true inner thoughts and feelings…which was also the reason I was no longer there.  I longed to break free of the constraints and in that parking lot, I recognized that I was free. This was my choice, my gig, my terms, and yet I wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like.  I wanted to assist whichever part of me was going to show up to be prepared.

After a brief assessment of who was best suited for the presentation, I heard the next question…”why don’t you just be yourself?”

The exhale came fast. I was terrified. The internal fears flooded quickly. “What will they think of me if I share my non traditional views? How will they reject me once they realize I am not one of them? Will the start of my new career be the end of it?”

And then…”wait, what am I really afraid of? I have absolutely nothing to lose. Go be yourself and try her on. What’s not to like?”

Deep breath.  Keep Reading...

How To Handle Fear of Change When Life is Changing Unexpectedly

 

I sat at my desk and stared out the window at the flagpole almost daily, longing to be outside and breathing anything but the staleness of each day.  I had no idea where I wanted to be or what I would be doing, but I knew I was reaching the end of my rope.  I was unhappy and tired of listening to my own complaints to my friends of just how miserable I was. My mantra in life and as a high school counselor had consistently been, “if you don’t like what you’re doing, than do something about it.”  I desperately wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what.

So I sat and waited, feeling the internal nudge to make a change, yet feeling my feet drag even more forcefully. I only had questions, not answers. I had a mortgage and two children to care for in my newly single life.  My plan had to be concrete and fool proof in order to proceed. 

The odd part was, I liked the work I did at my job. I loved counseling kids. I loved teaching them about their strengths and helping them see what was clear from the outside looking in. I liked who I was when I was with them doing what I do best. It was the rest of the work that felt contrived and half-hearted and quite simply, confining. I felt myself creeping out of my shell with a censor that blocked my words and the authenticity of what I knew to be true. I craved the freedom to express myself untethered.

I made a pact that I would start actively generating ideas for ways to get out. I had become comfortable in the discomfort and it was not how I wanted to live my life.  I had been making huge changes in my personal life and clearly I was ready for one more. I would make this one on my terms though. I would make sure everything went smoothly to ensure its success.

Within weeks of making this pact to myself, I was sent an email letting me know of a mandatory meeting scheduled for me with a person of power at the school I worked for. I knew it was a warning sign the minute I read it. Life was about to change. It was scheduled for a few days away, which gave me the opportunity to lay awake obsessing over what it could be about and worrying how I would respond. I went into the meeting prepared for the worst and the worst was actually worse than I thought....Keep Reading...