Written by Kim Billington, counsellor.
My belief is that we understand ourselves a little bit better whenever there’s an obstacle thrown in front of us. It might be a sporting injury, a relationship loss or another unexpected event you did not invite into your life. Did anyone mail-order COVID-19? The moment these things happen, we may feel a loss of control of our usual life-balance and chosen activities.
However, change can bring opportunities to better know ourselves. We are each unique and precious, and we can keep evolving for years and years and years.
So, how can we get to know ourselves? How do we check out what’s going on in our whole mind and body, including our motivations, our beliefs and outlooks on life, as well as our personal values and hopes for the future.
Counsellors often suggest writing a journal, if you’re seeking help and support through difficult times. Writing can increase self- and other- awareness, promote change and growth.
Right now the rules and routines of society have changed, and we may feel we are being held back from our usual, automatic ways of living. By writing down our thoughts, body feelings and future dreams, we can take control back and pay attention to how we are travelling. We might even develop a new relationship and friendship with ourselves! It’s a great time to find out what we really want to do with our lives today, and into the future.
But, where to start? What to write? What’s the purpose?
Here is a 7 Question Challenge I have developed, to help you explore what’s happening right now in your life.
We often use a mirror to see what is on the ‘outside’, surface level of ourselves. Counselling can help people to look inwardly and talk about what’s happening on the ‘inside.’ This might be the unknown, unexplored part of yourself. By sharing these thoughts, fears and questions with a counsellor, who is obliged to keep conversations confidential (unless somebody is at risk of harm), a young person or adult can often feel as though they are in a safe space to get things off their chest.
These seven questions can help people to accept they are currently in an unusual situation, such as COVID-19. That they are not alone. That they have a slumbering willpower which can be activated to stay connected to what is important to them: their family, friends, values and their goals for the future…
I would also recommend the Creating a Team of Life task, as another resource to get you through hard times.
Please email any questions or requests for support to email@example.com.
Kim has had a few quite different careers: RAAF air traffic controller, teacher and now a counsellor. She has two Masters of Counselling degrees, with narrative therapy as her preferred approach. Kim hopes to be of value to people of all ages who are struggling with the emotional and physical impact of life stresses such as: loss, rejection, injury and violence. She has worked with young people and adults to bring about a greater understanding of their unique strengths and values. Kim has found that people can find it helpful to know about how things came to be as they are, and what hopes people have to help them endure the darkest days.
Kim came to OTLR because of her belief that when people feel supported and have information about how the mind and body work together, they can make informed choices about how they will live a purposeful life and better understand the things we can all do to increase our mental well-being. Feeling that life is not so precious is an indicator that help is needed, and Kim thinks OTLR is the kind of place where people will learn that it’s ok to say “I’m not going so well.”