Have you ever imagined someone dedicate, 30 minutes or 1 hour of their life just listening to you alone and what you have to say? Someone who will hear about your life, how you perceive or live it without judgement? It is hard to get that these days. I am sure you know that one person you talk to about your problems, that either deviates to talking about themselves, or thanks God that they are in a better position or judges you for your decisions or shames you out of their high expectations about you. Or that one person who will not even know what to say, who will end the conversation with one word and will make you feel unheard. Or that one person who disappears and suddenly stops being your friend because you opened up to them.
The first time I went to see a psychologist, I literarily had to drag myself out of my mind, built with the walls of other people’s opinions, misconceptions and stigma of going to a psychologist. Prior to meeting the psychologist, I heard so many things like, “people who go to see a psychologist must have depression or be nuts”; “you will be labelled if you have to visit a psychologist” and above all, “Nigerians have no need to visit a psychologist.”
My first visit to a psychologist was one of the most amazing moments of my life. The best part was that all through what I said, the anger, the happiness, the sadness and everything that I felt and mentioned, SHE DID NOT JUDGE ME. It was an absolutely safe space. She was very present, patient to listening and her answers were comforting. She also did not tell me what to do about my problems instead, she asked me series of questions that led me to figuring out the answers to my problems by myself. She made me realize that sometimes our feelings and emotions distort our perception of reality and there are consequences if we don’t check them. At the end of our session, I was able to distinguish between “this is who I am” and “this is what I feel.” When I left that day, I breathed in relief, knowing that I understood my feelings and that my emotions were not just a set of actions triggered by daily activities or encounters with people. She made me realize that my emotions are a part of myself that I need to experience gracefully no matter what triggers it.
I feel so peaceful knowing that I do not only care for my physical and physiological need but also my emotional demands. I feel free of guilt because I understand myself more.
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