A sometimes-hilarious thing that happens to therapists is when we find ourselves giving out very sound, balanced advice that we are neglecting to implement in our own lives. This is not such an uncommon phenomenon – we are human, after all, and in need of just as much self-reflection and intention-setting as anybody else is. And sometimes, we don’t carve out the time to do it, and we find ourselves in a puddle of messy emotions that require the care that we’re recommending all day to everybody in our therapy rooms.
Therapists: they’re just like us!
Currently, a theme that keeps popping up for me is intention – the intention behind my practice, the intention behind my daily schedule, and the intention behind the nature of the care that I’m providing for myself on a daily basis. As a dual business owner, it can be hard to figure out how to juggle things in a way that reflects what my initial visions were for my work-life: Calm. Fulfilling. Quiet. Impactful. Allowing for space for my body, and my mind, and for Fun (lots of fun!) and Rest.
It’s a tall order, for sure, and sometimes I go all akimbo with it.
One of the ways that this occurs is when I operate from a Fearful Part in my work-life. I hear this a lot from clients in the therapy room – the Fear associated with not earning enough, with starting a business and having to buy health insurance, with not enjoying work but fearing trying something new and liking it even less, with going into student debt to learn new skills, with not being able to save for retirement….trust me, this list could go on and on and on.
I don’t believe that American culture does a very good job of prioritizing the well-being of the worker (we like everything Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger), and that leaves many of us burnt-out, anxious, and questioning how we can pursue “thriving” in our very individualistic society.
To that end, it’s interesting to think about what would happen if we threw out cultural expectations to a degree, and set our own individual intentions around our careers. If we no longer cared about 40 hours as a benchmark, how many hours would we choose to work? If we weren’t reliant upon our nonprofit jobs for Student Loan Forgiveness (and if you’re in that program, my fingers are triple-crossed that it comes through for you), would we venture out into self-employment? If our identities weren’t so wrapped up in our value as workers, would we be more forgiving of ourselves when we didn’t perform perfectly? Could we allow ourselves to let go of the Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger mentality?
Much of my choice to venture into business ownership had to do with the intention for my work to take up less of my life. I wanted (and still want) my work to be a pleasure – a place where I have the opportunity to sit down with individuals that I like and respect, and be able to actually help them get to where they are going. I aim to be enthusiastic and learning, always, in my work.
And I certainly don’t want to be Fearful, despite all the anxiety about work that the helping professions likes to hoist onto its (highly skilled, educated, and valuable) workforce.
So – an intention: Let’s nurture and take good care of our Fearful Parts, so we can work from our center.
What would you like to do to be better aligned in your work-life?