Where Is This Going? Where Am I Going?

Currently, I am a first year student in a counseling master’s program, and I have also worked as a practicum student at two counseling centers. Although I have yet to have my own client, I have interacted with clients in group counseling settings and have spoken with prospective clients over the phone.

Just hearing a weekly influx of people’s struggles, experiences, and burdens has recently made me… Well, not quite disappointed or distraught. I can’t sum it up in a word… It kind of feels like that rosy lens through which I looked at life has slowly been shattered.

And this isn’t just a lens of the world that has been changed but a view of people. Not only is the world full of disorder, ache, chaos, and affliction, but people are more capable of inflicting pain and injustice than we know. They are also more broken and weary than we often see from the outside…

This month, for example, is National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. Did you know that every 10 seconds a report of child abuse is made? One in four children have experienced neglect or abuse at some point of their lives. Those are some crazy statistics. You might think abuse is unlikely in your community, but the statistics show that it is more common than we (like to) believe.

As I write this post, I wonder… Where is this going? I guess I just wanted to share that the world and its inhabitants are more broken than what many of us like to believe. And then I ask myself where am I going with this? I guess, in part, I needed to remind myself of the importance of mental health and  counseling. Currently, it seems to be a generally world-wide phenomena, in which people downplay or disregard the importance of mental health. Counseling is a fairly new field, and we don’t quite understand it or value it. But I think counseling is a vital part of the community, because people, many people, have experienced life’s brutal winds, hurricanes, and shipwreck and it never hurts to have a helping hand. (One in four children abused or neglected? There are real mental and emotional effects that may need to be attended to).

Overall, if you are experiencing mental and emotional distress, you’re not alone. Sometimes we know the reasons for our distress and sometimes we don’t know why. And that’s okay. I don’t think you’re “crazy” or any of the other negative words associated with mental disorders. I encourage you to seek help, whether its speaking to a loved one or finding a mental health professional. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. And to my friends who are pursuing a career in counseling, let’s keep fighting the good fight. The world may not understand why we do what we do or what exactly it is that we do. But I believe you are helping the world be a better place.

The cries of injustice and brokenness are many but silent. Who will be the ones to hear them?

“There is terrible suffering in this world and we are not to run from it. However, suffering must not rule our lives, nor be our master.” Dr. Diane Langberg

“Alike” Short Film

A cute short film on how our education system does not really promote creativity.

I appreciated a youtuber’s comment: “Too me the lesson is, sometimes it just doesn’t matter if you end up as a complete loser or weirdo in society as long as you do you with a passion that brings color to your life. Not really saying that school is bad for you, but there are different ways to an enjoyable life aside from success and order.”

In a society where the pressure to succeed academically is increasing heavily, I hope we are reminded that there is more to life than our success in school. Most of our education system measures a specific type of intelligence, so if you don’t meet it don’t sweat it. Maybe you’re just a different kind of intelligent. 🙂

If you weren’t your unique self, then we’d lose a unique color in this world. And I’d prefer to live in a colorful world!

Meaning

“When I was singing about All You Need is Love. I was talking about something I hadn’t experienced. I experienced love for people in gusts and love for things and trees and things like that, but I hadn’t experienced what I was singing about. It’s like anything you sing. You sing about it first or write about it first and find out what you were talking about after.” – John Lennon

The meaning of a song, an event, a person, whatever it is, changes throughout life. If you let it, it deepens. If you let it, the meaning, even if it was bad, can be better. Remember that time can tell a different story.

Raw Art

I stumbled upon this video again, and it moved me to tears yet again. Shia and Maddie’s commitment to their roles is astounding. The emotions they pour out, raw. I know there was controversy about this video, but Sia meant to convey something deep here, the warring states that live, fight, and reconcile in her mind. Often times, these warring states are as complicated, fluid, and dynamic as a dance.

Though I am not a die hard fan of Sia, I really respect her intentionality in her music. She’s not just making music to get big or producing sounds to appeal to the masses. She makes art that moves people, and I think that’s what real art is anyway.

Everything about this video is raw. It’s grimy. Its metal cage is cold. Their screaming faces are ugly. And the ending? @3:30. Simply beautiful.

Often, when I think about my internal strife, it is abstract and elusive. And if emotions surface, then I tend to downplay them.  What I appreciate about this music video is the concrete imagery of our very real and profound emotions.

We live in a society that is often afraid to face their internal states and strifes, be it loneliness, grief, or anger. We immediately resort to our devices in any moment of silence or inactivity. (In unconscious or subconscious attempts to distract ourselves… from ourselves). Through this artistic video, I am reminded of the gravity of our internal conditions, and I am encouraged to once again give some attention and credibility to my emotions.

Don’t be afraid to face yourself.

Kids Do Better

Kids do better in life with parents who are open and honest about their faults. You either accept grace… Or you play with guilt.

Well-adjusted people come from families who had parents who were honest about their mistakes and shortcomings, parents who were even humbly apologetic. Imagine having a dad who’d be willing to say something like, “You know, you get your temper from me. It’s one of the terrible things I’ve handed you. I’m so sorry about that. Here’s how I’ve learned to handle it. Let me know if you need help. I love you so much. Would hate for you to have to feel any pain on account of me.”

….

If you sit down with Paul Young or John MacMurray, they have absolutely no problem admitting their faults. None. And this gives you a sense of comfort as you talk to them because you realize that it’s okay to be human. In fact, you can really connect with these guys because they’re vulnerable and honest and open. And it seems like they trust God to actually forgive them and that means maybe God has forgiven me too.

On the other hand, there are many kids who wander through the world lost. And often, secretly (until now), I’ve noticed their fathers are men who are constantly spinning the truth to make themselves look good. If anything negative happens in their families, they blame it on some other factor. They never admit their mistakes. They are constantly trying to “set an example” by hiding their true humanity. Kids who grow up in homes like this do not feel permission to be human or flawed and don’t trust that God will ever forgive them. Can you imagine living in such pain?

So much modern research supports the idea that it’s in morality, strength, courage AND VULNERABILITY that health flourishes.

– Donald Miller