Updated: May 6, 2021
The last blog post explaining the acronym of AHRLEE addresses probably the most integral facet, our ‘Experience’. I say this is integral because our ‘experience’ is really our personal viewpoint and assessment of the life we are living based on our knowledge, past experiences and goals. It brings together how we see our situation, how we make our choices and how we feel and express. Our individual experience is quite unique in a way that you could place 100 people into the same environment or circumstance and those 100 people would have different interpretations of how they experienced that event. This is the reason why the primary focus of AHRLEE Counselling sessions are on you, your life, and your journey.
A recent example of these differences would have to be how we have all experienced the Covid-19 pandemic. It would be safe to say that this may not have been the best experience for many of us. We have experienced restricted travel, lockdowns, loss of social contact, loss of employment, mental health concerns and the unfortunate loss of life. We have seen our options become reduced, our routines disrupted and life as we know it become a complete unknown. Whilst only scratching the surface of what people have experienced, just the things mentioned above are enough to take a substantial chunk out of our mental and physical wellbeing. I do not want to just linger on this side of the experience though.
For some, this pandemic highlighted a need for change, a shift in values and priorities and a reconsideration of their experience to now. Whilst travelling to my practice this week, I had 3 Uber drivers tell me about such epiphanies that Covid had brought to their lives and the subsequent changes they made. These were all major changes that left me in awe of the sheer effort and risk it must have taken for these people to achieve. I soon began to realise how the clarity of their new insight and had facilitated new meaning and in turn, became a powerful motivation for change. Clarity was a major theme in all of their stories, and I felt quite uplifted listening to them as they spoke with a mixture of strength and relief.
This leads to also being able to consider not only our experience of external events, but also of ourselves. I will assume that the 3 people I mentioned above would have a very different experience of themselves due to the actions they have recently taken. Maybe more self-esteem, self-efficacy and essentially, a more positive view and belief in themselves. Their narrative was not really along the lines of regret, but more of realization…. Realization in hindsight, that the path they were on was a major cause of the distress or emptiness they were facing before change was made.
In essence, our experience is always going to remain ours and ours alone to understand. We can explain it to others, and they can listen and somewhat comprehend it. But we actually live it. So when we think about our well-being and practicing self-care, it is important to acknowledge that this is what we are being reminded to do. To look after our experience, to be mindful of when we are not coping and to seek help, to incorporate things into our lives that we get enjoyment from and make time for them regularly. It can help us see things for what they are and most importantly, how they can help us move forward.