Tonight I am feeling inspired by my clients, showing courage in the uphill battle presented by our culture, the multiple layers of dynamics that perpetuate their struggles with eating, and the steps out of their comfort zone that they are asked to take on a daily basis.
Are the rest of us so strong? We are quick to label the “patient” in many scenarios, but don’t we all have a lot to learn from someone navigating the hardship of the storm and managing to stay afloat, even if only intermittently?
I am reminded of the words of James, the brother of Jesus, urging readers to consider hardship “pure joy” because it produces perseverance. There are weeks when I feel emotionally tired, physically tired, and completely spent at the end of the day because of the strain my psyche is going through, trying to work something out. It’s as if I can physically feel my heart working to integrate a complex puzzle of thought and emotion. As my own therapist once said, “The psyche does not like to be rushed.”
I considered switching therapists.
This painful truth is inconvenient at best for perfectionist-prone individuals. Our pace for emotional struggle and healing is expected to be fast. Yet it is in the midst of slow pain when I feel most alive, most human, and simultaneously most driven toward all that is spiritual. It’s when I personally struggle or witness another person’s struggle that I feel connected and present, and when some of the most meaningful connections occur. It is in the slow, trudging work of being strengthened that pure joy can eventually become a greater reality.