This week, I’ve done a lot of reflection about where I am on my mental health journey. Part of that was inspired by my recent post about how anyone can benefit from therapy – I reflected on my own journey in therapy and how that has affected my day-to-day life. And even though I reflect often about the growth and change I’ve experienced over the years, I’ve reached a few conclusions about what it means for a person to learn more about themselves. I always thought learning more about myself would be interesting and insightful – maybe even fun, to be honest! But I was wrong, and it’s helped me grow in some major ways.
The biggest piece of this, for me, was to realize how much better I am at giving advice than taking it. I know I’m not alone in dealing with this issue – people have discussed this phenomenon for a long time, and most people have faced this problem at one point or another. But I think I also ignored the greater implications of what this means.
There is nothing wrong with offering advice or providing help to someone who is working through an issue they’re dealing with or a problem they’re having. But if we’re not getting as good as we’re giving, we’re missing out. One of the things I’ve learned more about myself in therapy is that I don’t often offer myself the same trust and grace I extend to others on a daily basis, and that takes a toll.
I have learned many positive things about myself on my mental health journey, and those are things that I carry with me and try to remember every day. But I’ve also learned about the many coping mechanisms I created over the years to deal with various obstacles related to my mental health, and that’s been…less fun to learn about. And even though both provide a ton of value, it’s much more exhausting to deal with things you don’t like about yourself than the things that you do.
I’m hoping that there’s much more I learn about myself over the years, and while I’m curious to see what it is, I can’t say I’m excited about every bit of it. However, I’m learning that I’m much stronger than I ever thought I was, and that I even though I won’t always learn positive things about myself, I’m more capable of dealing with that than I used to be. Learning more about myself and how that relates to my mental health journey isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but it has shown me that every day, I’m more prepared to take on the next challenge – whatever and whenever that may be.