Hatch!

25 Jul

When I graduated from my masters program I had no idea where I was headed. Not only did I learn how to be in the room with a suffering soul, I learned how to be in the room with two suffering souls. My client….and ME!

Like most first-year counseling students, I was terrified of what might transpire as I approached the practicum experience. What if I didn’t know what to say? What if I didn’t have the answers? What if….

It was during my two years, seeing over 20 clients, and logging over 2000 hours of therapy time, that I learned how to be much less in my head while being much more in my head.

Yes, the skill of critical thinking was developed over time, through a lot of dissection, much discussion with my peers, couch-time (pun intended) viewing and reviewing my sessions. What was my biggest lesson learned during what I might call the most pivotal two years of my life?

THE VALUE OF SELF REFLECTION

I came to understand just how often we deceive ourselves and that the only way in which we can get to a place where we are no longer creating our own barriers, building our own walls, kicking ourselves in the teeth, creating gashing wounds of pain, continually asking “why do I keep doing this to myself?”, and hurting others in the process, is to GET REAL with your self.

To do so I had to develop the ability to get into my own head, grab a shovel, start digging…in fact, never stop digging, rummage around, decide what to keep and what to toss out, and commit to a life-long process of asking myself over and over and over again, “What the heck was that about, Propst?!” In turn, I had to learn how to do this in an honest, yet non self-conscious way.

In my program I got drug through the mud, wrung out, thrown in the washer with the other soiled articles without the delicate cycle to choose, and dried on the hottest setting. My vulnerabilities were revealed repeatedly, and I got to stare right into the ugliest faces of myself. I developed a thick skin. By this I do not mean a defensive posture designed to protect myself due to insecurity. Quite the contrary! I learned how to be genuine in a manner that says, “This is who I am. I recognize my weaknesses, and when I recognize them I’ll admit them. I am by no means perfect and I never will be. ”

Are you shaking your head in disbelief and wondering where the heck I went to school?

I could not have asked for a better introduction to “life.” My graduate program was like re-experiencing birth. I was hatched anew, only unlike a newborn child, at the age of 20 I had already formed a conscience, I had beliefs, values, some irrationalities, assumptions I’d been making, patterns of behavior, conclusions I had come to, and motives that were not necessarily benevolent, to uncover. I was launched into my the parts of myself that I had kept hidden, and oftentimes not even consciously.

See, that’s what I’m getting at. Unless we are made aware of our fallibility as human beings or we meet someone who can be our mirror, who can challenge us to think about what we think about, to examine where we are coming from and why, to assess the reasons for our actions, to look at our emotions non-judgmentally, and to pursue the motives that guide us in so much of what we do, how can we ever hope to be rational? Reasonable?

Ignorance is only bliss until we realize that we know that there are things we don’t know.

Notice the people who you admire most– are they the individuals who are even-keel, take things as they come, seem to roll with the punches easily, persevere through difficult times? Mine are.

Do you know that this is resiliency? These people have developed the ability to look at their worlds more objectively. They are likely engaging in that internal dialogue I mentioned before….”That was a strange reaction…where did that come from?” They have developed the skill of assessing whether their reactions are biased, geared toward self-interest, or based on evidence and fact versus emotion.

Individuals who find themselves upset a lot, stressed out, succumbing to anger or depression, or uncomfortable a lot of the time 1. don’t recognize that it is often their flawed thinking that leads them to this place or 2. they are choosing to ignore that their thinking is flawed and unsound.

If you were suddenly made aware that much of your struggles were rooted in thinking errors, would you accept the challenge of self-reflection more seriously, checking yourself, and doing the work to improve and upgrade your critical thinking skills so you could live a more authentic and enjoyable life? Or would you choose self-deception?

I remember asking myself after I graduated, “I wonder what I would be like if I’d never gone through this program?” I remember at the time getting tired of thinking. Now, 10 years later, I feel as if I didn’t think and wonder and ponder and assess, I’d be oblivious to the mysteries of myself and the wonderment and intricacies of others. I’d be lost. I’d not appreciate so much what makes us so different and unique and human! And I’d not get a fraction of the pleasure I do out of writing blogs called Hatch that encourage my readers to break out of ignorance, crack their shells, and let their insides be revealed. There is freedom in this. There is a fuller, more enjoyable and happy life in this.

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5 Responses to “Hatch!”

  1. saggabao July 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM #

    Thank you again! You always seems to post another amazing thought just when I need it the most.

    • kpropst July 25, 2012 at 11:10 AM #

      Whew! That’s a lot to live up to, Stacey!!;)

    • kpropst July 25, 2012 at 11:11 AM #

      But I’m up for the challenge!

  2. Dynamic Demo July 25, 2012 at 12:01 PM #

    Awesome Kori!! Thank you for your honesty and thought provoking blog!! Although I am new to your blog… I am beginning to see the incredible insight they have and I get the feeling that your blog allow you to express your deepest feelings to us. Sharing has always been the corner stone of freedom, and giving of one’s self in service to others is the greatest of fulfillments… so I have been told. Your blog is a testament to this! Thank you!!

  3. kpropst July 26, 2012 at 5:39 PM #

    D: Thank YOU! More than my blog being a place for me to express myself, my intent in writing it is to show my readers that they can overcome their struggles. My hope is that they glean at least a small tidbit of insight from each post that they can snatch up and run with. I want them to know though too that I am far, FAR from perfect, and that these imperfections in us all is what makes us fully human and amazing! I take great enjoyment in writing and “serving” others this way, as you said it. I also love to read, and I want this to be a space that others look forward to coming!

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