Before I became a counsellor, I used to think my life story was unusually bad. I thought it was pretty dramatic and awful and that few others would have been through what I’ve been through. Since becoming a counsellor, I’ve realised that the vast majority of the population have been through trauma, hurt, rejection, unhappy childhoods, loss, physical and mental illness and to be honest, some of the stories I’ve heard have been horrendous! My story pales in comparison. I’ve discovered there are very few people who have had the idyllic childhood and life that social media likes to pretend they have.
We all need to be really heard and understood. Expressing our emotions and talking about the past is healing and allows us to clear the slate to move forward in a more emotionally healthy way. But staying in what has happened to you is disempowering, removes your purpose for living and keeps you stuck. As a treasured friend once told me, “Don’t sit on your pity potty too long, you’ll get welts“. Sympathy encourages you to stay in a position of inactivity where empathy says, I hear you, I feel your pain, but now it’s time to pull yourself together and move on, because I know you can.