Are you ready to make changes?
As some of you will know, at the beginning of the year I moved into a new office that we had created in our attic space. I love my new space and it has made a huge difference to have somewhere that has enough space for the things I need for work but can also hold most of my special interests. Some clients have already spotted the Lego in the background, and my sewing machine finally has a permanent space. However, getting to this point has been a hard journey, that has taken a lot of time and energy and the process reminded me a lot of going through therapy.
It started with the pre-therapy work of recognising that something needed to change, but being unsure of what or how to do it. We thought about self-help (do I just need better storage?) and then got some advice from a professional (our builder). It was his idea to use the attic space as it already had a floor, window and walls in place and looked like quite a small job to make it a workable space. Or so we thought…
Then came the ‘unlearning’ of old ways of being and doing or sorting through all the boxes of ‘stuff’ that we had been storing in the attic (some since we moved in). This was the longest part of the process, going through lots of boxes of old things which had big emotions connected to them and figuring out what was staying and what was going. There are always reasons why we keep the old stuff and unpicking these reasons and figuring out if they’re still valid can take a lot of time. This stage needed a lot of self-compassion because it can be hard and sometimes, we cannot sit in this place for long before we become overwhelmed. It is also not necessarily a linear process that we only do once, just as some stuff moved in and out of the charity pile our old beliefs may move in and out of our heads many times before we decide to let them go. And, of course, even once it’s gone from the house, doesn’t mean that you won’t see it in the charity shop and decide to buy it back!
Once we have created space by sorting through the old things, then we can start to build something new. This stage can be really exciting, but also contain a lot of distress and vulnerability as we figure out what is right for us, what aligns with our values, how we want to move through the world and then try it out. This part can be noisy and involve the opinions of lots of other people, but it is you who has to decide what is important to you. Just like I was the only one who knew how many plug sockets I needed and where I wanted them, I am the only person who really knows what my sensory needs are, or what actions align with my values. Asserting these things in the face of other people’s opinions can be hard, especially if you have spent a lot of your life figuring out who you are ‘supposed to be’ as a way of staying safe, this is where we might be tempted to go to the charity shop and get some of those old ways of being back.
Eventually the dust starts to settle and your framework is in place so you can start filling it with the things that nurture you and bring you joy. I’d already done a lot of this work on my internal self, so when it came time to do this with my office it was much easier because I know what my needs are. And because I have learnt to value myself I gave myself permission to fully meet my needs rather than ‘making do’ with what we already had. Which isn’t to say we didn’t reuse (that’s one of my values), but we did make sure what we used was fit for purpose.
In the same way that therapy can often be, what started out as a small project, the office became a much bigger and more complex project than I thought. There were times I wished I could just go back to the way it had been. I got overwhelmed and had meltdowns on several occasions. But the end result has made it all worthwhile, because now I have a space that is mine, that aligns with my values and meets my needs. Just like my own journey with therapy, I’m so pleased I did it, even though it was hard, because what I have now priceless.
If you’re ready to embark on your own therapy journey, I have some availability for new online, weekly clients to start in mid-March on a Thursday afternoon or Friday morning. If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of working with me then email email@example.com and we can arrange a free telephone consultation to see if we might be a good match.