Sunday, June 30, 2013

Letting go of perfection!

There is no "Easy Button" for life. As a therapist people are consistently looking for the "Quick Fix" to emotional distress and pain. We cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight. Experiencing pain isn't easy. As you allow yourself to go through it.... it becomes a teacher, a motivator, it allows you to love more deeply, and eventually it allows for healing.   Whenever I’m working with people who avoid past hurt or grievances I tell them that they can either deal with it now, or it will come back and bite them in the ass.  The only reason why I give this advice is because I have been bitten so many times you would think I would eventually learn my lesson.

 In my 32 years of life I have learned that no matter how much we push unresolved issues (hurt, pain, past mistakes, unhappiness, etc) down they always seem to resurface.  I’m no expert in facing obstacles and hardships in my life, in fact, I avoid them like the plague.  If I’m forced to face something uncomfortable I try to make it go away as quick as possible. It’s like placing your hand on a hot burner.  It’s gonna hurt whether you leave it on or take it off.  Just because you remove your hand from the hot burner doesn’t mean that your hand will be instantly healed and functional.  We can try to ignore the pain, but if you’ve ever been burnt before you know it’s almost impossible to ignore it.  With any type of physical pain there is a healing process.  So, why would we expect any difference with emotional pain?   

In my experience of personally or professionally dealing with pain I have learned a lot.  First, pain can turn us in two ways it can either make us bitter or it can transform us to something better. As a young adult I suffered from an eating disorder.  I was the type of woman that did everything I could to be perfect or at least make people think I was perfect.  It’s amazing how on the quest to perfection I completely lost who I was and became the bitterest person I know.  On the outside people saw this friendly, loving, and confident woman.  On the inside, the most insecure woman who never felt good enough.  As hard as I tried I still can’t turn off the tape in my head that tells me “I’m not good enough or worthy enough to be happy”.   Why, when we know that there's no such thing as perfect, do most of us spend an incredible amount of time and energy trying to be everything to everyone?  For some reason we believe that perfection will protect us from pain, blame, and hurt.  I mean if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect it’s easier to minimize or avoid the pain.   

            The second thing that I have learned about pain is it can be a saboteur.  We use our past hurt and discomfort form moving on to bigger and better things.  I can’t tell you how many times something amazing came across my path, and before I could allow  it bless my life I dismissed it.  For some reason I never felt good enough for life’s blessings and love.  If you want to know what burying pain does to a person….It blinds you… makes you feel so unworthy of the good things in life.  As a result we stay stuck.  I mean feeling something is better than feeling nothing at all right?  Seven years ago when I was consumed by my pain I took a look at my life and said I want it back.  I decided that I no longer wanted pain to consume my life, and I entered treatment for my eating disorder.  It’s been a long road, but everyday I’m feeling more worthy of love and happiness.  I’d be lying if I said that it was easy.  The longer you hold the pain in the more destructive it can be.  I still find myself wanting to sabotage the good things that come my way, and not feeling I will ever be worthy enough for love.  I’m so very grateful for the amazing people in my life who refuse to allow me to sabotage their love.  Who continue to knock down my walls, and who allow me to be the beautiful imperfect being that I am.  I look forward knowing that I deserve to be happy, guilt free, and loved.  If you find yourself struggling to let go make a step today to be better and free yourself from pain and distress. 
Love, Crystal Angel    

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Life is not a matter of milestones, but of moments."


The thing that I love most about working with children is that they help you remember that the small things in life bring the greatest joy.  I don’t know what it is about watching children enjoy each moment, and how much happiness  they can get from playing with dirt, boxes, or other things that we as adults often fail to recognize.    Somewhere between being a child and becoming an adult we lose sight on cherishing the moments in life, no matter how small, that bring true joy.  As an adult we start to focus on achieving milestones in our life like graduating from high school, then college, getting a career, and then advancing in our career.  Of course there are moments in our life where we appreciate the “TRUE” joys like spending time with family and friends, appreciating nature, and treasuring those silent moments of peace.  I have also had opportunity to work with adults and the elderly population.  In the process of working with them I heard many people tell me that life moves too fast and  they wished they would have appreciated it more.  I have never heard someone wish they would have spent more time working or making money.  As a child I don’t remember stressing very much about anything, but as an adult I find myself stressing about things that don’t really matter.  Sometimes when I find myself overwhelmed with the stresses in life I like to find serenity in the beauties of nature.  It’s amazing to me how much beauty is around us, and how often we fail to recognize what our creator has blessed us with.  Yesterday morning I got up to let my dogs out, and as I turned to come back inside something caught my eye.  It was the most magnificent sunrise I have ever seen.  I stared in awe at the beauty I had just witness.  I thought how many people miss this moment?  I felt so lucky to have the opportunity that many others would not.  The thing that I love about sunrises and sunsets is you never see the same one twice.  Each day has its own magnificent beauty.  Beauty that in our fast pace world we rarely spend the time to appreciate.  I believe that we always have enough time, money, and energy for what is most important to us.  Disease, divorce, or death of a loved one are all jarring reminders about what really matters most.  Life happens and forever rushes forward.  But the present moment is what we have, so choose to be happy and love right now.  Don’t wait for the milestones to happen to be happy, because life is not a destination.   Happiness starts right now by appreciating the moments in life and fully embracing them.  It’s a choice to choose happiness and love, and it will never come to us if we are distracted or fail to recognize it.    

Crystal Angel