Your Own Personal Treasure Map

Much of our society’s focus and energy seems to be centered on attaining the status quo.  From a very young age, we are taught that attaining the status quo will make us happy and fulfilled.  However, many times when people finally reach that impossible place if they even can, they find that they are still just as unhappy and unfulfilled or worse.  The outer attainment of status and success, while promoted by our culture as the way to happiness and joy, often feels empty and meaningless.

Many of my clients come in overwhelmed and burned out from pushing and driving themselves towards this false destination at the cost of their health and well-being.  They have symptoms of anxiety and depression because their bodies are trying to get them to listen and pay attention.  Many are forcing themselves on this climb up “fake mountain” in direct opposition to what their bodies are trying to communicate to them.  They have no idea what their authentic values, desires and talents are – and even if they do, they have pushed these gifts aside for a path that they feel will lead to certain financial security and that perceived American Dream.

What exactly is this status quo we are all mesmerized with?  The media constantly floods us with images of beautiful houses, perfect bodies and perfect lives if only we can reach the top of that mountain.  Yet at what cost?  Most people will never attain the status quo – and really, if you think about it – it is a rather boring journey anyways.  What excitement is there in following the same path as everyone else?   We seem to want our paths to be straight lines full of guaranteed steps  – making life safe and predictable.  Yet our true paths are full of twists and turns that create interest.  Perfection is boring – it is our failures and the obstacles that we overcome that endear us to others.  Who would want to be around a perfect person – never having failed – always having the right answer?  It is our quirks and our struggles that make us lovable – not our drive for perfection.

Each person has an individual and unique path.  The adventure is in uncovering that path step by step – much like a treasure map.  There is no manual for life or one path that fits everyone.   We each have our own distinct treasure map inside of us.  The excitement is in accessing that map, which is informed by our own inner guidance system.   Learning to access that map and its messages through your guidance system sets you on an exciting quest towards discovering your own authentic gifts and talents  – your inner gold.

Bypassing your own uniqueness is a surefire path to mental health issues.  We cannot ignore our own individual path, for if we do, our bodies will rebel against us – and for good reason.  They are trying to get us to listen.  We are here to express our own authentic version of being human.  Not to follow along like robots.    

Think of an orchestra.  If there were only violins playing the same part over and over in unison, it would be rather uninteresting.  However, multiple instruments with multiple harmonies all playing at the same time create beautiful music and perfection.  It is the same with being human -we each have a harmonious part to play.  It is our duty to find our own individual contribution.  In doing so, we create a more beautiful, diverse and perfect world.

I recently read this quote and loved its message – “when you don’t follow your own individual nature, there is a hole in the universe where you were supposed to be”.


Boundaries and Personal Value

Boundaries are such an important piece of healing. Setting up and enforcing good boundaries will allow you the space to sit with your own emotions and feelings in a protective bubble.  This is what is needed for healing to occur.  In setting boundaries, you get to determine what you want to let in and what you don’t – what feels right to you and what doesn’t. It is a way of valuing yourself.  When you feel valuable, you rise to a level of wholeness and expectation that demands respectful and kind behavior from others.  When that behavior is not what you encounter, you can firmly set a boundary and walk away.  That is your right as a human being.

Many times anxiety and depression can be traced back to a violation of boundaries – often trauma related.  Most people do not understand that they have a right to exert boundaries, even with their family members.  In fact, family members can be the biggest offenders when it comes to boundaries – feeling an entitlement or special privilege and right to do whatever they want.  Yet family members should be our greatest allies – protecting and standing up for us.  Unfortunately, that is not usually the case.  Dysfunction is passed down from generation to generation – patterns are deeply engrained.  It takes a very strong and aware individual to break those patterns.  It is no wonder that the people I see in therapy have no idea what a boundary is and/or how to firmly enforce it.

Anyone that does not respect a boundary you have clearly placed, does not respect you as an individual.  If someone becomes angry with you for placing a boundary, they are not someone you want to be around.  The people you want to be around are those that would never think of violating a boundary in the first place.  They are genuinely respectful – innately possessing things like integrity, ethics, honesty, loyalty – virtues that show a person’s character and come from within.   They lift you up – not tear you down.

We can be born into a family where these virtues do not exist, yet it is our responsibility to do better.  It is never an excuse – we always have choice.  That is our gift – we can always choose differently.  We do not have to be what we came from – we can change the patterns.  However, it takes great awareness and courage and the inner drive to be different – to do the right thing.

It can be a challenge to enact boundaries – especially when you are sensitive and empathic.  In fact, the therapy clients I work with are most often predisposed to sensitivity.  It is the way they are wired.  My job is to help them manage that sensitivity and protect themselves from others that want to use them and manipulate them.  The manipulators of the world are looking for those with a sensitive nature because they want to feed off of their kindness.  They can suck you in and drag you all over the place with their drama.  It is imperative to become aware – learning to identify when your boundaries have been violated.

When our boundaries have been walked all over, we can feel like we have been bull-dozed – our sense of self obliterated.  The work is to develop a strong inner core that cannot be rattled.  To believe so strongly in your own personal value that you will not tolerate disrespectful, dishonoring and rude behavior.  To know deep within you that you have a right to demand appropriate behavior from others and if you do not receive it, you can remove yourself from the situation.  You are not responsible for fixing another person’s drama or for making them feel better about themselves – that is their own responsibility.

When we have boundaries, we are affirming our value. And when we do that – other things start falling into place – the right people show up – the right opportunities come together because we are in alignment.  We are congruent.  That is the goal of therapy – to lead us towards alignment so we can successfully navigate the challenges life presents.  Challenges will aways be there -that is the journey; however, we can learn to have tools in our toolbox that help us move through the challenges and keep us safe at the same time.