I had a painful reminder today of why we all need to make sure we are a good fit with our environment. People, places, and otherwise.
How many of us have woken up and thought,”This is it. This is the best I can do. And it works.” All of us, at one point or another. I used to think that every client I came across in the field of mental health was my “ideal client”. I assumed I should be grateful, competent, willing, and able to treat every kind of individual, whether I enjoyed it or not. I felt like if I was a good therapist, I could meet every person where they were and have a great takeaway from it. Well, here is my takeaway –-The idea that you must bend to fit your environment instead of your environment bending to fit you is a lie. You deserve to be happy, with your ideal everything finding its way to you. You have earned the right to screen, weed out, or assign a very short shelf-life, to things that don’t fit you anymore.
Yes, humans can survive doing what is necessary, to get to the next place, but how much more saftisying would your life be if you were doing the things that made you thrive, and, dare I say, HAPPY? The problem is not in working at a job we don’t 100% love, or keeping people who don’t treat us well around. It’s that, we fail to recognize when it is time for us to move on from a bad fit. We get conditioned to stay and eliminate anything that threatens the status quo.
And you know what I’m talking about, too. When something is a bad fit, you feel it. You don’t have hope. You give the minimal effort. You know what “has to be done”, but there is always some fear about something worse happening, so we don’t take the chance. We don’t believe in ourselves. The result, the “ideal” never finds us. Think of it this way. As a grown adult, would you pay somebody $500 a month to provide meals, without being able to have any insight into what the meals might be? No, we would want a preview, at a minimum, but likely a lot more. We’d want to say carniverous, vegetarian, keto, gluten-free, whatever. So why do we treat our lives like we don’t know full well we would be happier if we got to design the whole menu? Are we being unfair to ourselves? Think about how detrimental of an idea it really is–and how obviously false. That when you go to work, hang out with your friends, walk around your neighborhood, that you should be utterly enthusiastic and constantly find reasons to justify why you stay. Don’t get me wrong–this is not a message against being grateful for what you have or husting and grinding to put food on the table. I’m talking about the difference between seeking out what truly inspires you, fills you with confidence, knowing that you’re safe to make mistakes, and believe in your own strength versus staying in a place too long that minimzes your capital investments. You want to be HAPPY.
To me, this is the difference between being a private practice therapist and working for other people. The difference is a luxury to a lot of people. It was to me until just recently. I never dreamed I’d end up in private practice. I was sure I wasn’t “that woman”. But I’ve learned the opposite. It is incredibly fulfilling to know that someone found me on purpose. In my own practice, people seek me out because they’ve studied me and who I am as a person vibes well with their current needs. I then get to know a little more about them, and if I feel the same, we begin! This is a lot less painful than trying to insert myself into someone’s life because I’ve been assigned. I know this is stil a luxury to a lot of folks, but the taste of euphoria I’ve gotten from people who look forward to seeing me has given me a whole diffferent level of energy for doing what I do. It’s fair to me and my clients when I’m happy to work for them and they look forward to our time together. I want that for everyone.
It seems self-explanatory, but a lot of people who have tried to get mental health services in the past know just how hard it is to actually find a therapist that is a GOOD FIT. It is so uncomfortable (and unfair) to have to be your most vulnerable with someone you have not hand-selected for yourself. I hope that each day I show up to work I’ve always given my 110%, but there’s also no shame in knowing that I’m going to keep trying new things until I feel that radical happiness. Oh, how much happier we’d all be.
Special thanks to a new coach for helping me think outside my box and to every client who ever said they didn’t want to work with me because we weren’t right for each other. You were strong for doing that!