I was in an art class when I overheard a classmate saying their technique for inspiration was to Google a word or phrase, click on images, and see what comes up. I thought it was a very clever idea and have since used that many times myself.
When it comes to finding your passion, trusting your beliefs and desires, valuing yourself- that can't be Googled. We can take all the online quizzes and assessments we want and it won't (necessarily) tell us what we truly want.
Now I am pausing here so everyone who just opened a new tab to Google "what is my calling" can check it out. Maybe some interesting things came up. Maybe things to spark ideas and fan a flame. In the end, the ultimate choice is yours and means you have to trust yourself enough to follow that dream. That is the tricky part. Finding all the puzzle pieces that go into finding and pursuing your dreams. Trusting yourself, believing in your value and worth, figuring out what you need to do, talking to the people who can help you, having the confidence to keep going when the inevitable challenges arise. This is where the journey of therapy can help. I use the word "therapy" to encompass any relationship where you can explore issues and create a safe space. So why hippie dippy therapy (or art therapy)? What about friends or family?
You absolutely need friends and family, whether birth family, adoptive family, or the life family you gather around you. A therapist fills a different role though. In the relationship, you are connected to each other but there are important differences. The relationship will look different for each client and therapist so it is hard to say what will unfold for you. At times, the work may be practical or it may be emotional or spiritual. The direction is determined by your wants and needs.
"You have to listen because I am paying you." I have a strong personal connection with this one because it is what I believed for many years. I can give you a song and dance about it being a fear of letting anyone in or a history of betrayals and that might be part of it but I truly believed it was nearly impossible for a therapist to care about the client. It was a job, like any job. How wrong I was! My own desire to pursue this career was, in part, because of my good experience when I found the right providers. I wanted to give that opportunity to others. The other reason, unfolding throughout my training and internship, was a realization that as many times as I lived in negativity or felt hopeless, as many times as I felt hurt or betrayed by others, ultimately, I believe that we are all good worthy people who are changed by the world around us, what we learn, what we believe, and the mysterious workings of our brain. Some of you may have read the Diary of Anne Frank, the amazing words of an adolescent girl of the Jewish faith hiding in Nazi Germany. Anne says, "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart." I believe that. I believe that we act in good faith, even if those decisions or thoughts in the moment are not the "best" choices or thoughts. It is this belief as well as my own fascination with our lives, emotions, and relationships, that drives my work. A calling, a passion, whatever you want to call it, it is not about the pay (though yes, reality of the world is we need money).
We all try to improve the world in our own way whether it is providing for our friends and family, helping our community, devoting ourselves to our spiritual beliefs, serving our country. A tall order and a guide and witness on the journey can help reflect back the things that you want to achieve or explore. Remember always that you deserve the best therapeutic relationship you can have. I, as a therapist, need to earn your trust and respect and vice versa. The diploma on my wall doesn't mean you have to trust me or respect me or even like me. Those things are earned. These things can be developed in the safe space created between you and your therapist.
So you can't Google your calling, that comes from within, but you can Google some ideas and pursue them in therapy. The journey isn't easy...but it can be worth it when we learn how to live, risk, fail, and rise again.
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