For a Valentine's Day gift, my husband gave me a few sessions with a personal trainer. It was not something I would have purchased for myself. I suppose I thought of a personal trainer as a 'luxury'. Maybe more necessary for people who preferred someone 'cracking the whip' or 'cheering them on' to make things happen. Or perhaps for those who were training to compete in a fitness competition. But not for me. I attended classes at my gym 3 times a week and I believed that was 'good'.
After one session I was sold. Mind you, my husband did his research and he chose a skilled trainer... so... she's very good at what she does. But here's the thing. I actually needed a trainer and didn't know it. All those neck, shoulder, elbow, knee aches from old injuries .... I had become 'used to' and my body was resourcefully compensating for their weakness with other muscles. You can get away with that sort of muscle compensation for years without any noticeable debilitating impact. And then as you approach mid-fifties... you glumly write it off as 'getting old'.
The totally tragic part is that I consider myself well informed. I studied physiology in university and find the human body both miraculous and fascinating. Even so, I was allowing my discomfort to persist without fully understanding what was happening in my body. Without realizing that I was unwittingly but consistently hurting my future physical health by not dealing with 'core' stuff. Without recognizing that there were things I could do differently.
It is precisely the same with our emotional health. We have learned to compensate in our relationships. In response to the childhood wounds that we all have, we figure out (creative and resourceful) ways to cope and survive. We compensate for feeling scared by presenting ourselves as strong and invincible. We compensate for feeling unsafe by becoming indiscernible and staying under the radar. We compensate for feeling anxious by presenting as cool and in control. We compensate for feeling sad by presenting as tough and blocking off our 'feelings'. We compensate for feeling sensitive by presenting as super-rational. Or something. We find some way to hide, camouflage and compensate for our true feelings in our intimate adult relationships and it works great until a crisis, or until our inner conflict about being a fraud catches up with us.
This is equally tragic. Even people who study psychology in university emerge as unable to understand their own psyche and persist in sabotaging their emotional and relational health and happiness. We respond unconsciously without recognizing our choices. Without recognizing that there are things we can do differently.
Becoming self aware... of your body, of core 'wounds' and of your emotional responses... is actually not a luxury. It may feel like an unnecessary extravagance when you are confronted with choosing between a car payment or a therapy session. I understand that. But the truth is... we can usually find a way to purchase what we believe is important.
It is so awesome to feel good from the inside out. It is so awesome to be free of the physical and emotional pain that you have carried for so long that you no longer appreciate its weight or impact. In my opinion... it is much better, and lasts much longer than the 'compensating' ways we spend our money to buy temporary relief... like a caramel latte, a new outfit, a bottle of wine, a trip away or ...however you buy relief. (Not that there's anything wrong with those things as a treat... but... if you have to choose... well... you make a choice....) As a client recently said to me... "This is the best money I have ever spent. It is so worth it to actually BE the person I always wanted to be!"
If you have a difficult time making long term, personal well-being decisions or if you have no idea how you sabotage actual emotional strength by inappropriately compensating... then you would be wise to see a therapist.
Call me. I can help.