We saw life change drastically, and even come to a screeching halt in many ways, in 2020. Now in 2022, we are in a place of renewal and change. We’re taking control back in as many ways as we can.
We’re reimagining what we really want our lives to look like, and taking action steps to get there. This is happening as a country and also on an individual basis, moment to moment.
Today is a conscious shift from two years ago. In my clients, family, friends, and self, I’m seeing mindful decisions to both harvest deeper connections, and create firmer boundaries. People are re-evaluating what it means to have a full life and become their authentic selves.
This includes both expanding and tightening up at the same time. It’s about writing a line in the sand of what we will and will not accept Some boundaries I’ve noticed people creating anew can look like versions of these:
• “I will not allow talk of racism, homophobia or transphobia around me.”
• “I will no longer accept this pay.”
• “I will no longer accept being treated this way.”
• “I am ready to transition to my correct gender.”
• “I will not play these communication games anymore.”
• “I will not accept these work conditions.”
• “I will not continue to limit my life based on old trauma.”
These are all difficult and amazing steps, and they have genuinely come from the last two years’ chaos. Many bring butterflies to your stomach, shaky hands, a quivering voice, self-doubt. They all also come with a strong heart.
Some old cliché talks about how, when the whole world is dark and you feel you’ve been buried, you’ve actually been planted. I’m also reminded of an unreleased song by the talented Ani Difranco, who says, “Ask a mother, she will tell you, transition feels like dying.”
Dark times really do lead to letting the light in — and even better, uncovering our own light.
As a therapist, I am in awe of how many clients have found these times are calling them toward finding their own light. In the middle of extreme challenges, people are reaching out and bursting through their seams to be planted, and grow. This takes an incredible amount of bravery and strength, and I’m honored to be along for the ride with so many.
Mental health built from authenticity, boundaries, empowerment
My framework as a therapist is a mix of empowerment theory, trauma treatment approaches, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. This means that I understand how trauma physiologically effects our brain, and I empower people to take committed actions toward a values-based life.
I have a small private therapy practice in Bettendorf, Ia. — which, by the way, is a way I created my own boundaries. I went from working two jobs, to setting my own hours and taking my kids to and from school every day. Opening my own practice also enables me to focus my full attention on the types of therapy I’m best at.
With this new column, I aim to add perspective on how mental health, authenticity, therapy, and the search for self, can mix with the The Real Mainstream’s values of being compassionate, collaborative, and progressive. We all need to feel accepted for who and where we are. We all need to be empowered to become our favorite version of ourselves. I hope to answer your questions — and to inspire and challenge you.
Let’s get started: send your questions about self-empowerment, mental health, boundaries and more to me at email@example.com.
(This column originally appeared in the January 2022 print edition of The Real Mainstream, which you can order here.)