Three things have struck me during today’s session. Although I know that I am progressing, that I have developed and found understanding, I listen to the other members of the group occasionally mentioning how they have used counselling in their home or work life and wonder why I haven’t managed to develop to that level. Reading through my reflective logs I can see that I have used counselling skills in some situations at home, but these are few and I haven’t managed to do so at work at all. I appreciate that it is all dependent upon people learning at different speeds and that situations need to arise or exist in order to be able to use the skills, but I still feel as if I’m being held back, that I’m not quite getting it. I wish to be presented with similar scenarios to the others, but I fear that I don’t because of my problem of not always being able to engage with other people. I often turn inward, thinking about my own life, problems, book idea and therefore don’t express enough interest to engage others. I need to be more open, less self interested, but I fear I won’t be able to consolidate ideas, or move ahead with myself, my life or my book if I don’t think about them.
After undertaking the mock exam I had a twinge of sadness, possibly desolation, at the thought of the course coming toward an end (despite still being three months away). By the time the course ends the group will have spent seven months getting to know one another. When I worked at the school, at the end of every school year I was sad that I would lose contact with the students I had got to meet, to know, and to share a friendship with. I think that because I have a fear of death and loss I am always looking “nostalgically” to the past. I am always thinking back to the things that I have done, the people that I have met and the times that mean most to me. I think what makes me sad is the loss of friendships and times that I can never get back. My friendships will never be the same and with a change in the type of relationship: I will have nothing in common with these friends on the course once it is over, and I cannot stretch myself to keep up the relationship after that because it becomes a tie preventing me from spending time on moving forward. Meeting these people again in the future will, as I have often found with meeting other friends, never be the same. The built friendship will have deteriorated too far to be the same.
I have realised in myself that most of my arguments, and the arguments of others centres around a feeling of being misunderstood or not listened to. This annoyance, or developing anger means that often the argument escalates. At the moment I am asking myself why it is necessary for me to make myself understood! Whilst I acknowledge that it is rude for me to interrupt others and to not allow them to express themselves, their thoughts and emotions, and whilst I myself understand that I need the positive strokes of expressing myself et al, I also see that it isn’t necessary.
Despite the fact that I should never discount myself, I realise that I do not ever have to make myself understood. I have every right to walk away from a conversation, an argument, a discussion. I don’t need to be the last word, I do not need to be perceived as right or wrong, and I don’t have to think of myself as the loser or the culprit if I apologise.
People need to be understood and feel that they need to be able to say their piece solely because they feel that they are being suppressed otherwise, and I recognise that. I also recognise that it is ultimately irrelevant in a usual day-to-day environment. For example, religious debating rarely changes either side’s point of view. Often, as in this example, animosity and self righteousness can build up on both sides, which is like banging heads against a wall. Ultimately what each side is doing by asserting themselves and wanting to be heard or to be allowed to speak last is simply because they want their point of view to be put across and because they believe that their view is more important than anyone else’s.
I don’t feel that I need to do this anymore, I don’t need to play this game any more. It will be interesting to investigate whether I can do this, and what the outcomes are. Will I be unburdening myself or will I be discrediting the possibility of personal strokes.