Stop thinking everything has to be ‘sparkly rainbows’ all the time. Photo: Thinkstock.
By Aura Walker, MA, Cht
I am not from Los Angeles. I grew up mostly in NYC. A very down to earth and real place. A place where you can expect a real, honest, and raw answer from just about any seasoned New Yorker.
In the 1990’s there was a mass exodus from NY to LA. Many people I knew moved to LA, started families and businesses. I was one of the last to follow. I meandered across the United States,
building my tolerance for the need to drive. Once I moved, to LA, it took me a few years to acclimate and find my bearings. Over the years in LA, I have restructured my career and life to accommodate 20 years of training as a mental health professional, in a sprawling and hedonistic city.
One of the characteristics that set my practice aside from many of my colleagues in West LA is that I cut to the chase. I do not believe in dragging therapy out for years. In fact, my biggest professional issue is, I am almost ‘too good.’ I have a high turnover of clients because I expect my clients to get results. I also do not coddle clients who refuse to do their own work, to make day to day improvements in their lives. I tend to retain serious clients, who are committed to working out the kinks in their day to day lives.
In the 13 years since I moved to LA, I have seen about 98% of my clients gain great results. About 2% do not. The 2% comprises people who want to blame me, or anyone else, for their failures. Those people tend to remain stuck because they rely on the familiarity of their issues and suffering as a predictable and safe reality. Yes, safe. Why? Because a known suffering is often less threatening than learning to make changes to be happier. That said, I found that a cultural norm within the popular ‘New Age Movement’ in LA, is that one must always be a ‘shiny, happy, rainbow unicorn lover, or else.’ Both as a straightforward New Yorker and as a seasoned mental health professional, I am going to give it to you straight. I find true happiness to be a process and not a constant for anyone.
Everyone has good days and bad days. The unrealistic expectation that one should always be elated, constantly happy, and never have a bad or challenging day. Is a huge set up for disappointment, and a buildup for a major crisis.
For example, the danger in the rhetoric of the marketing genius behind the ‘Law of Attraction’ product line, is that it sets people up for major self-blame and a form of inverted narcissism where people begin to hold themselves responsible for everything that happens around them.
No one has that much power or control. It takes major concentration and effort to make anything happen day to day. And, sometimes shiz just happens. Things break, fall apart and don’t work out. For all sorts of reasons.
Learning how to deal with challenges requires skill and effort too. The fact is, things will go wrong in life. It is a part of life. How you deal with it is key. Staying calm, taking good care of yourself, and strategizing will help you more than taking on some fabricated doctrine that you are a ‘screw up’ because something went off plan.
Stop thinking everything has to be ‘sparkly rainbows’ all the time. That is a unicorn myth! Or that every little mishap is your fault. Be grateful for the good days. Suck it up, and deal head-on with the bad days. Taking a day off here or there, when things get too overwhelming.
Taking a’ time out’ is also part of self-care and dealing with your life. Just don’t prolong the time off. Deal with issues as they arise. That is the best way to ensure they don’t get too big. The faster you deal with things, the more room you have to relax and enjoy your life!
Aura Walker is a seasoned mental health counselor and holistic health expert. She specializes in the use of hypnotherapy for rapid healing in short term care. Write to her, and she may feature your question or problem in her Yo! Venice column. E-mail [email protected] or call 310.382.6313.