I realized yesteray I must be a counselor through and through. I say this because not only do I love my job, but I am addicted to reading books that make me look at myself introspectively and evaluate how I handle myself so I can not only encourage my clients to make change but I can realize how difficult the change is myself. I love it. Maybe that's weird... is that weird? Weird that I love evaluating myself and seeing what's wrong with me? Maybe I do it myself because I can take the criticism from myself better than from someone else? Have you ever asked someone close to you, "If you could change one thing about me, what would it be? What could I do better in our friendship?" I have. Ha. I was really looking for some honest feedback. Sometimes I think I'm doing really well with things but I want to make sure it's true and not me just living in la-la land. Sadly, I get the same look, every time. The look says to me, "Are you seriously asking me this? I don't know how to respond to this?!" Maybe she doesn't feel safe to share because I KNOW I don't have it all together. Is that true my friend? :)
I know dealing with my emotions is something I have always struggled with. I'm currently in the process of evaluating how I handle my emotions now and how I can handle them better. I'm reading the book, Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst. She states people tend to explode their emotions or stuff them. I think those are some pretty general categories that I'd have to agree with. She gets a little more specific by breaking these two types into four ways of handling yourself. The four ways are exploders who shame themselves, exploders who blame others, stuffers who build barriers, and stuffers who collect retaliation rocks.
Sadly, I will admit I do all four. Different people, different situations... but all four... I do. This was a little tough to swallow at first, but definitely faded away to realizing that I'm all over the place and should probably get that in check. It was more reassuring when Lysa states that feelings are INDICATORS not DICTATORS! Even though I tell my clients this all the time, it was different when I read the words myself and soaked them in. It's true. I tell my clients, feelings are NOT facts! How you are evaluating the situation is making you feel the way you do. If you step back and figure out why you are labeling a situation a certain way, you will be able to change how you feel about that specific situation. How empowering is that?! I will definitely start my emotional journey by using my feelings as indicators of situations I need to take a step back from and try to recognize why I'm reacting in one of the four ways and not keeping myself more "glued" together. You know the greatest place to escape to and have your "step back" moments of clarity? The bathroom. No one will bother you in there! Just try it sometime in an emotionally intense situation and let me know! Stay tuned for more of my "keeping my emotions in check" journey. I'd love to hear feedback on how you handle your emotions!
Rachael Kool, professional counselor and normal, everyday adult screw up