Clarity Counseling Seattle
man smiling | Counseling in Seattle

I don't know how to act my age

July 26, 2019
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Posted By: Justin Pere, LMHC

Birthday Card | Seattle WA TherapyI came across this card in a store the other day and was struck by how it hits on something that often comes up with my clients that I believe is so important:  you've never done this before.

Every moment we're alive is new and different, if only a little bit, and therefore something we've never quite encountered. You've never been here before, where ever or whatever here is. Even if it's a situation we've been in previously, that was its own experience and therefore differs in ways we're typically unaware of but that make the current iteration of a similar situation unique and new. With unique and new often comes fear. And often when we experience fear from new experiences, we judge ourselves for feeling afraid.

But of course we're afraid - we've never lived this experience before. We've never been this age, in this stage of life, dealing with whatever's in front of us in this moment. Each one of us is making it up as we go along. We have to. We're not in a taped sitcom that allows for retakes - we're live, 24/7, and really it never stops...each moment rolling into the next. It may appear to slow down at times but it certainly never stops.

So, given this, many of us could use a strong dose of self-compassion...self-patience...self-grace.  Tough moments aren't the time to judge, criticize, or punish ourselves for not always knowing what to do with the moment: how to manage our emotions, what choices to make, how to get perspective on whatever the heck's going on. Instead these are circumstances in which we're best served by practicing being kind to ourselves for the struggle that comes with living life for the very first time, moment by moment. And this applies to our experience of relationships as much as it does for our individual experience, as you've never been in this moment of your relationship. *Your partner is having to ad-lib this all too, remember, so try to go easy on them as well.

This is a big topic, and one that's particularly necessary for those of us raised to be self-critical and to see our fears as weakness. If you relate to any of this and want help, give us a call.

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