Therapy is about processing the past. It’s about finding new ways to do things. It’s about learning to be happy with who you and with your life. Too bad it doesn’t come easy for everyone.
One thing I have learned from therapy is that nothing is ever as it seems. All we see is the big picture. Actually, we see the beautiful flower standing in the garden. The bright colors are so vivid and it seems to be growing up so nicely with healthy leaves, strong stems, and a nice moist ground. What we don’t see is all the ugliness underneath. We don’t see the tangled web of roots all intertwined together.
Some of the roots are fragile and with the right tug they will break suddenly, causing potential harm to the other roots or to the flower even. Some of the roots are thicker, making it harder to break through and dig them up; they have rooted themselves in their familiar setting. What we don’t notice is the care of the soil before that flower was planted. How the ground was properly prepared, all the bad roots were weeded out, and fertilizer was added before the flower was put into the ground. We don’t see all the time taken to water the flower, or when the bad leaves are plucked away. We don’t see all the work the gardener has diligently put into the successful growth of this one flower.
That is what therapy is. Therapy is the gardener, the client is the flower. Sometimes as clients, we are so planted in those strong roots that we cannot see anything beautiful can be produced. We have those strong roots holding us in our past, keeping us frozen in our trauma, afraid to move forward. Therefore we have dug ourselves in firmly to the ground. Then there are those roots that are fragile. The ones where we want to be uprooted and planted somewhere healthier but the past is holding us back. We long for someone to tug at these fragile roots and help us become untangled from our past traumas. We long to grow.
Then along comes this gardener who can help. This therapist, through the therapuetic process, is able to help the roots be untangled and replanted in a safe place. They are able to help the strong stubborn roots use their strength in a positive way to help the flower grow strong. The fragile roots are taught to lean on the stronger ones as a source of safety. Over time, the flower is planted in new soil. It is nurtured, watered, and cared for. Time is taken. The process is not rushed. And the end result is that beautiful flower standing tall and bright and healthy.
It’s hard. Healing is hard. We get familiar with the pain, the trauma, and we find it difficult to see any way out. It is easier to believe the negatives about ourselves than it is to believe we deserving of a better future. You see, the flower wanted to be replanted and it flourished when it did. We have to be that eager to be replanted. We need to see that with a little hard work, the end result can be beautiful. But the only way it works is to be willing to let the process work.
Your past trauma can be debilitating or transforming…the choice is yours.
A. G. Ballard