things 12 Aug 2017

Anxiety / Healing / Therapy

Is there ever a long period when we are not anxious about something?  I have spoken before in these blogs that it is often the case that when we must face and deal with the present reality of what we had been worrying about, it actually turns out to be not half as terrifying as we feared it would be beforehand. Sometimes, it is true, it turns out to be worse than what we feared, but usually our fears turn out to have been disproportionate.  Similarly, sometimes the things we were fervently hoping for can prove deeply disappointing and sometimes truly wonderful. But on the whole, once what we were hoping for actually arrives, it turns out to be mundane in comparison with our expectations.

Both hope for, and fear of, something happening involves anticipation. Anticipation, whether optimistic or fearful, usually, but not always, inflates and fills our imaginations so much more than the prosaic reality when it actually comes to pass.

Things can be so prosaic. They come and they go. Whether those things are events in our lives and relationships, or material things like a nice new dress or a new car, things always pass and move into history in a way that our sense of self never does. Even though it develops and changes through the course of our lives, our sense of self is somehow not a ‘thing’ in the way everything else is. And neither, of course, is anyone else’s sense of self a mere thing.

In psychotherapy or counselling we choose to try to be completely honest, perhaps for the first time in our lives, about our sense of self. It can be hard because our sense of self is not a thing. It is with us all the time, but it is mysterious and elusive just because it is not a thing.

Blog written by Caroline Cairns Clery, Family Psychotherapist at The Surrey Centre

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