After graduating from two universities, raising two children, the experience of moving to a new country, a long-lasting marriage, and 7 years of experience as a psychotherapist, I feel the need for a change in the way I approach life.
I think this happens to anyone who has time to say STOP to a more or less automated pace of life, to look around and ask: now where should I go?
This shift has determined me to rethink the words that represent me as a psychotherapist, reconsider my values, and redefine my vision for the future. These are words that I feel being present in everyday life and that guide me in my current and future actions and plans. I chose them not only for myself but also with the thought of all of you who take responsibility for your lives and who are ready to actively participate in the path lying ahead.
These words that will accompany me from now on are Clarity. Courage. Fulfillment.
For me, clarity is synonymous with the awareness of who we are. It is the capacity for introspection, to look inside ourselves, to explore what we feel and think, to be in contact with ourselves. If we want to obtain and maintain our self-esteem, it is essential to have the desire to understand ourselves, to have clarity for what is happening in our awareness.
The environment in which we grew up, the family we belong to, the ideas we formed about our failures or successes, the thoughts, and emotions that accompany us, the actions we take, are proof of what we are now.
Clarity is the starting point for fulfillment. I think it is very important to start by assessing our current situation: who I am and how did I get here, and then to identify where would I like to be to find fulfillment in my life.
We start by looking at the history of the family of origin and the environment in which we spent the first years of our lives and we continue to understand who we became as we progressed in life and went through different experiences, more or less happy. If you find helpful, you can use as guide the following questions to ask yourself:
What is the emotional, behavioral, and spiritual legacy I have inherited from my family and my culture?
What are the values that are guiding my life?
What are my limitations and my strengths?
How do I behave towards others and to myself?
What are the emotions and feelings that predominate in my life?
I am convinced that when we manage to see ourselves clearly, we will be able to see those around us similarly as if we were cleaning our glasses lenses. And I know it will be easier for us to define who we want to be and what path we should take because we will be more tuned to our internal wisdom.
Once we have found out who we are and how we got here, the next step is to think about how to get where we want to be, to our ideal of fulfillment?
Most of the time there is a difference between what we are and what we want to be, and to go through this gap, we need the courage to recognize obstacles and to overcome them. We need the courage to identify our limitations, to ask for help when we need it, and to take the necessary actions toward our ideals, even when these are not at all easy.
Who is your hero, your symbol of courage?
When did you lack courage and regret it?
If you were to teach a lesson about courage, what would be your story?
Courage is a value that has accompanied me in many decisions, but likewise, I have often lacked it. Maybe because I tend to always move my ideal higher when I'm not always ready for that. This leads me to think that we are actually in a process towards an ideal of fulfillment, and this personal ideal is not a fixed, final goal.
I feel courageous when I continue, despite the difficulties encountered, when I go through the frustrations that have arisen when I do not have the results I was hoping for and when I feel that I want to give up and yet I do not. It is the courage to assume responsibility for my actions.
As a therapist, I admire the courage in those who acted despite fear, who opened up to themselves and those around them, who dared to say NO to unhappy relationships or to fight unhealthy habits, who embraced reality even when it was not easy to do so.
I think that without courage we cannot move forward in life. And I am sure it is something we all have; it is enough to look back and acknowledge those moments in your life when you were brave. Then why not cultivate it further?
The greatest schools of psychotherapy have in common this idea that we, as human beings, should have a purpose in life to feel fulfilled.
Why do I live?
How do I live?
What is the meaning of my life?
These are questions I didn't ask myself when I was 20, but I've been asking myself lately more and more.
It is clear to me that what fulfills me, what gives meaning to my life is subjective, is based on my values and my vision.
You need to know who you want to be and what things you want so that, at the end of your life, you know that you did not just let yourself be carried away but had an active contribution in the course of destiny. That you made your way as far as you could.
Are you content to build a house, raise children and plant a tree, as our culture inspired us? Or are you willing to go higher, to explore your potential for self-actualization, inspired by Maslow's hierarchy of needs? These are questions that only you have an answer to.
Because at the end of your day and life, you will hold yourself accountable first and foremost for what you did or did not do. Only then will you be able to live a conscious life, with actions that are anchored in your value system and oriented towards your vision.
Clarity. Courage. Fulfillment.
These are the three words that will accompany me from now on and that I hope will inspire many to give meaning to their life. It is never too late to live a conscious, courageous, and fulfilled life.
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