Let's See What Happens
A long time ago when I was a different person living what now seems like another's life, I used to teach improv. Often times there was an intersection of improv and the real world. I would take the lessons used on stage and apply them to my student's everyday lives. The connection often led them to be curious versus the myriad of other feelings that might come up when learning and dabbling with the art form.
One such concept was "let's see what happens". I found this concept particularly useful as it pertained to live performance in front of an unknown audience. People put expectations or undue pressure on themselves to perform to some real or perceived aptitude and often the result would be to fall short and leave the performer feeling as if they failed.
To remove or dilute this pressure, I would say to my performers go out there, have fun, and let's see what happens together. This mantra eased their mind and with that ease, their body could relax, and then the skills they had in place along with the fun they were having would result in a positive experience for performer and audience alike.
Lately, I have been experiencing a high level of stress before my therapy sessions. I'm struggling with the process of healing and often feel I'm missing some metric on the "getting better" scale. We even took a step back from a therapeutic tool known to help because of my inability to regulate well. Essentially, I'm failing therapy. Sure, it's a journey and everyone has a different time frame but given what I internalize and deeply rooted issues manifest in a very loud and, frankly rude, inner critic, I'm not treating this with an air of "it's okay this is part of the journey" and more" yeah, I'm resistant, difficult, and the exception to the rule of people who will get better" internal conversation. I also recognize the irony while I'm writing this.
While I'm miring through this sludge my anxiety is on high. I often think of canceling my appointment or telling my therapist I'm going to take a break and then I get mad at myself for that thought cycle so it's pretty messy in my head.
I often avoid thinking about improv for a variety of reasons (another blog post perhaps when I'm ready) but the mantra "let's see what happens" feels relevant for me right now. Starting to shift any expectations of myself in the therapeutic environment or presumption of where I should be on a made-up timeline helps ease the anxiety of the process. Letting go of the laundry list of why I didn't hit the emotional mark for the week or soften the focus on the inability to undo my dysfunctional patterns and instead head into the appointment with an attitude that I would bestow upon my performers. That in of itself is progress on this journey. While the end result might not be leaving a therapy appointment in a state of euphoria, connection, and joy, I can experience less anxiety and pressure to attain "ideal therapy client".
So for the next therapy session, I'm just going to go in there and let's see what happens.