I didn’t notice it until I left college and started a “big-girl” job. Someone at work would say something I didn’t like, underhandedly disregard my input, correct me when I made a mistake…really just about anything could send me into a spiral of doubting I had what it takes, wondering if I mattered and if I’d ever mean anything to anyone.
Of course, at the time I didn’t realize this, I just knew that when someone kind of hurt my feelings, I completely shut down.
It felt a lot like being imprisoned inside of myself. I hated the way I treated people when they hurt my feelings, but I didn’t know enough to change anything about myself. I wanted so badly to speak up and be honest, but I had no idea what would tumble out of my mouth if I did. Most of the time, I didn’t even know what triggered it; I just knew that sometimes I’d go quiet for days at a time.
Eventually I started working at Cross Point Church and I learned that when you combine passion, purpose and community together, it could be beautiful. I also learned that it could be a ticking time-bomb.
Suddenly I was thrown into a world where truth and love were given in equal measure. I was in the trenches of war for human hearts. I found some of the deepest friendships I’ve ever known; there was a lot to lose and a lot at stake, and I was still in the cycle of shutting down.
About six months into working at Cross Point, I started hearing more and more of friends who go to counseling. They started telling me their own stories of heartbreak and grief. Growing up, I’d thought counseling was for crazy people, really messed up people, people who really needed it. Now, I was learning that even the healthiest people I knew were still in need of help. Even the healthiest people I knew couldn’t do it all on their own. So I signed up.
Fast-forward a year and a half and I still go to counseling every few weeks. In that safe space we’ve talked about my tendency to shut down, grieving the loss of my dad, writing a new history for myself and so much more. From the little questions to the seemingly traumatic, I have a place reserved just for me and my heart.
There are a thousand reasons I’m thankful for counseling and I never would’ve had the opportunity to find that kind of health if it hadn’t been for others’ self-care. Because other people want to take every limit off in order to be used by God, they ask the hard questions, they get honest and they care for their hearts and souls. Their self-care gave me the chance to prioritize my own. It’s since given me the opportunity to lead others down the same path too.
Self-care isn’t selfish. It is kind of like a gift that keeps on giving…you never know the kind of change and impact it’s making. Sometimes I still have doubts about whether or not I have what it takes and if I matter, and on my worst days, I wonder if I really mean anything to the people around me. But I’ve learned a lot in the last couple of years about how to fight for myself, heart and soul, and in that how to fight for others as well.