Therapy Tuesday: It’s Complicated

August 6, 2019

I’m not going to lie, I unearth such deep themes and questions in therapy. I am discovering a lot about my thought patterns. One of the things that my therapist says is, “some stuff just is.” I take that to mean that there isn’t a clear cut path to the answer or that it’s black or white. It’s often a shade of gray–a neutral that can shift and change based on circumstance, climate, and feelings.

Yeah. In other words, it’s complicated.

That was the theme for today. I was discussing some things that happened during the week. She often asks me, “why do you think that is?” It pushes me to self reflect and explore my feelings.

I try to journal as soon after therapy as possible so I can capture my feelings with a bit of processing in between. The journal I use has scriptures at the bottom of each page.

If anyone were to read this entry, they would surely think I’m weird. But that’s the purpose of journaling right? To have a safe space to get the weird, complicated feelings space. I wrote about my feelings of love, confusion, hurt, even a bit of jealousy. The end of the written entry provided no solution, no clarity–just feelings. And frankly left me with even more questions…told ya. It’s complicated.

After I poured my heart in this journal entry–every confusing, vibrant, hurtful, elated thought–I glanced down at the scripture.

Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:2

And my answer started becoming clearer–live a life of love. Every complicated, confusing, joyful, hurtful moment. Part of what I struggle with is the social and religious conditioning regarding love. No matter how much people “say” to love unconditionally–they don’t. And they teach and tell others that our love comes with conditions, asterisks, addendums, and clauses.

One thing I realized is that not only was I depriving others of the full experience of my love and care–but more importantly–I was depriving myself of the opportunity to receive others’ who lived a life of love.

When you’ve experienced stuff, it can be easy to become hardened, protective, and almost combative when people want to get close to you. And sometimes you can’t work through that alone. One of the reasons I felt therapy was necessary for me was because as much as I wanted to be able to freely love, I also didn’t want to deny myself the opportunity to receive love and care from others.

I also realized that the first person I can practice this “life of love” with is ME.

3 Ways I “live a life of love” with Myself:

  1. Show myself grace: In an era of instantaneous, 6-figure perfection, there is a lot of conscious, subconscious, and societal pressure. The one thing I’ve learned is how to show myself some grace. Things (like accomplishing goals or healing) may not happen at the pace or schedule “expected” (usually by others), but it will happen. And so I give myself grace.
  2. Listen to and honor my heart, mind, and body: My therapist asks a lot “What did that feel like?” Usually it’s around something I fear or don’t like. That causes me to reflect on not just the emotional response to a situation, but the physical one as well. One of the things I’m working on is reflecting on what I will do when my heart, mind, and body starts whispering. Because once they start shouting–it’s a lot harder to get back to a centered space.
  3. Self Reflection: I sit with myself a lot and ask myself two questions
    1. What do I think/feel about this?
    2. Why do I think/feel this way?

This scripture encouraged me to live a life of love with myself and others, and to receive it from others. But my lesson on complicated love didn’t end there. After I read that scripture, I looked at the other scriptures on the pages I journaled for that day.

I trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He has been so good to me.

Psalm 13:5-6

This scripture tells me that I can live a life of love because I trust in God’s unfailing love for me. That means He is going to protect me and comfort me. He is going to guide me. I can love freely because He is protecting me and my heart the whole way.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.

Psalm 62:1

Even when life gets complicated, I can find rest in God alone. No person–no matter how much I love them–provides me with rest (peace) that comes with the ultimate gift of salvation. This allows me to love freely because no matter what anyone does or doesn’t do–they ultimately didn’t save me. They ultimately didn’t rescue me. God did (even if He uses others to be His instruments and vessels).

You will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you see Me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:12-13

When living a life of love gets complicated, I can bring my WHOLE HEART to God and tell Him what’s going on. Every confusing, silly, perplexing, messed up part of my heart. When I come to Him with my whole heart, He is able to make me whole.

I have fully embraced this scripture and am trying to live tall in its truth.

Here are 4 things that “living a life of love” has done…in a short amount of time.

  1. It gave me peace: I told you in my post about the reasons I chose therapy that I overthink and over analyze everything. So rather than living a life of love, I lived being scared of opening up, showing love, and being vulnerable. I would talk myself out of telling or showing the people I care about how I feel, what they mean to me, or my innermost thoughts. But Ephesians 5:2 is helping to free me. Everyone hasn’t accepted the love Christ showed when he gave His life and then resurrected for our sins. When I started living a life of love, the first thing I noticed was peace. No more “what ifs?” or “I wish I would have said something.” No matter their response–my response is the same, peace.
  2. I felt empowered: One of the things that I struggle with is feeling empowered in my voice. I was told repeatedly for years my voice, my thoughts, my opinions did not matter. And that caused me to dim my light and stop sharing. But living a life of love (even if it’s complicated) makes my light shine brighter. And not only is it noticeable to others, it feels me with the warmth that light can bring.
  3. It caused me to create healthy, but firm, boundaries: One of the things my therapist said is that living a life of love comes with responsibilities. And one of those responsibilities is developing boundaries. This life of love isn’t a free-for-all or something that is reckless. I have to trust my heart and spirit to tell me “whoa.”
  4. It increased the connection of my existing relationships: Living a life of love has deepened the affection with my crew, squad, family, circle, etc. Rather than assuming they know how I feel, I try to be more intentional about telling them. And because I feel empowered, I don’t feel like I’m stumbling over my words or sound silly.

For someone who can deflect better than Keanu Reaves in Matrix–this is pretty significant progress.

One note of clarification–the degree to which I live my life of love varies from person to person. I’m no fool–everyone isn’t capable or healthy. And one of the ways God covers and protects is to give us discernment. That’s why the Holy Spirit is so necessary in interpersonal relationships. Therapy is helping to re-establish the connection and trust in the Spirit inside me that leads, guides, and directs.

Family. Friends. Boos. Non-boos. Our relationships and our feelings about them can be complicated. I so get it. And when you’re trying to heal from hurt, trauma, and negative self-talk, it makes it more complicated.

I can’t impact or influence others’ responses and choices, but I can make the choice daily to live a life of love. And that energy, actions, and intentionality will boomerang right back to me.

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Adeea R. Rogers, known as The Trendy Socialite, believes her calling is to help empower others to develop and pursue their purpose. And as a result, she is known as “The Purpose Pusher.” Adeea seeks to equip others with the motivation and tools necessary to create and design the life they want. Adeea believes in creating the change you want to see through creating events, communities and movements. She created International Natural Hair Meetup Day (INHMD), giving women around the world the opportunity to guide each other in their natural hair journeys. In July 2015, she co-founded Black Biz Live, a community-based initiative where black owned businesses are featured on livestream platforms. Adeea’s perspective on living a purposeful life, personal branding tips, and content marketing ideas, cause her to be a sought-after event host, workshop facilitator, speaker and panelist. She also hosts a podcast, The Trendsetters Podcast. Adeea has a profound love for three things: Her Savior, Jesus Christ, Starbucks, and Statement Jewelry.