One of the biggest challenges of changing ourselves is remembering to remain changed. It is something that I often come across with my clients, and it is something that I have personal experience of too. I often laugh when I remember my friend describing how he quit smoking when emptying his ashtray before bed one night. He woke up and did what he did: shower, breakfast, coffee, and then he remembered that he stopped smoking last night. He was so proud of himself - until he noticed the full ashtray on the table.
It is so important to become aware of self. This is what counselling is really good for. And it is hard, it often feels impossible to face some truths about self. Pain, tears, despair. And then the enlightenment 💡 "THIS is what it's all about! THIS is what I came here for! Thank you, counsellor, you've accompanied me on the most important journey of my life!", we say as we look into the bright future with our new-found self-awareness and determination to change our ways. And then, much like my friend, before we are properly awake the next morning, we've already been our old selves for hours.
What is the trick?
Hard work. Practice. Capacity to forgive ourselves again and again for our capacity to let ourselves down - again and again. If you thought that counselling is hard work, think again, because what comes afterwards is where we learn to truly love ourselves unconditionally - even or especially at times when we don't like ourselves, because when we learn a true compassion, we learn that this is the time when we need love the most.