Ever since the moment I sat down on the sofa in the Willingness Hub waiting area, I felt that I was entering a safe, warm and accepting environment. Little did I know that I would be still experiencing this and so much more throughout my journey since joining the Willingness Team.
Throughout my journey so far, I have been working on and reflecting on my growth as a professional and as a trainee Gestalt psychotherapist. But when writing this, I simply cannot escape the realisation that this journey also helped me immensely on a personal level. With Willingness, I am getting to know myself better, I learn new things about myself, my profession and others too, and I experience challenges and new situations too. From all of this, I am growing and becoming more confident in my role. Having a team behind me which I can rely on and be open with has been of great support on this journey.
However, when I reflect upon this journey of growth, I ask myself: “What have I learnt so far?”. Below are some of my reflections.
- To Stand Up for what I Believe is Right
The Willingness Team have been recently working on reaching out to the community through Activism. Activism is a subject which interests me as it involves standing up for yourself, for your rights and for the perceived greater good. Through Willingness, I have learnt that even as a professional, one can be an activist through educating the community. Through this, I feel I have the energy to stand up for, speak and write about what I believe is right, both from a personal and professional level.
2. Everyone has a Voice
I am the quiet, highly attentive person during a meeting. However, with time I started to realise that I needed to shift into being a participant, rather than just a bystander. I started to realise that I got anxious, and I doubted my thoughts, opinions and any questions which I had. However, I addressed this issue with a colleague of mine and she said the following words, “Everyone has a voice”. When she said such words, I realized that everyone has a right to their own opinion and thoughts, that what I say could be something new you learn today (and vice-versa), and that there is no shame in having an opinion. Additionally, when working in a multidisciplinary team, communication and discussion are key, and having a voice is what brings about change, even in the community. As Obama (2008) had once stated: “One voice can change a room. And if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state. And if it can change a state, it can change a nation. And if it can change a nation, it can change the world. Your voice can change the world.”
3. Accept and Be Yourself
With Willingness, I feel that I am seen as a person, one which holds a number of strengths and weaknesses. Through this time, I have been supported to accept the disowned aspects of myself and my flaws, as they are a part of me. This has supported me to accept myself fully and to be who I am.
Most of us are taught to hide our flaws, most of the time to fit in and to belong. We may run away from them, but here, we are denying our very own being. The world is far from perfect as it is filled with diversity. Each person living in this world is a unique being, and it is our flaws which make us interesting and different from others. It is this diversity which makes the world a beautiful place. However, do not allow these flaws to define you, but rather accept them as part of you, because everyone in this world is flawed, and it’s ok. As Kapoor (2020) states, “Our flaws are what makes us unique and they are what ground us. They are, in a sense, what keeps us in the present”.
4. Challenge Yourself, Have Courage and Take the Risk
With Willingness I have encountered moments which were challenging and I was not ready for such moments. These situations were new to me, and they challenged my weaknesses mainly. I felt unprepared, anxious, and fearing that I was not able to go through such situations. However, despite the anxiety and the urge to shut down new opportunities, I took the risk. What helped me in this is the support I received from significant others and the team at Willingness itself. Even though such situations were not my strong point, I now feel that thanks to such situations, I am learning new ways of dealing with such situations and emotions which come alongside this. This contributed to my growth on a personal and professional level.
When reflecting on this, what comes to mind is the quote from the film Mulan, “There is no courage without fear”. What this teaches us is that despite the fear, anxiety and worry you experience, courage is the one thing which can help you fight this and move forward (Gordon, 2021). Taking a risk may feel scary, however with risk comes reward. With risk, failure can occur, especially if the necessary support is absent. However, when this happens, giving up is not the solution, but rather we must take responsibility, learn from our mistakes, and keep pushing ourselves forward. If we remain in our comfort zone, life will become monotonous and repetitive, and that does not make our life interesting. It is the risks we take which add some excitement and colour to our life.
Gordon, S. (2021). 7 ways to feel more courageous. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/7-ways-to-feel-more-courageous-5089058
Kapoor, A. (2020). The power of self acceptance: Ways to accept yourself. Calm Sage. Retrieved from: https://www.calmsage.com/how-to-accept-yourself/
Obama, B. (2008). Your voice. Retrieved from: https://www.obama.org/your-voice/