I was sitting outside the psychotherapist’s clinic gaping at the clinical wares, dismal look on the queue of clients and the busy receptionist taking appointments and continually complaining about having no empty slots.
I was wondering, what causes people to get so stressed. The mind is powerful vehicle but aren’t we at the steering wheel?
Kate, the once bubbly and vivacious friend of mine was inside the cabin. She is having some mood disorders lately along with frequent spells of crying for which she cannot identify the cause. She had become irritable. Her eyes looked vacant. She asked me to accompany her and I agreed.
Kate emerged from the clinic flushed and distracted. As we walked out into the fresh summer evening breeze, I decided to talk her into taking a break as she has been working too hard lately as if work was her escape. She is dear friend and her whole demeanor had changed lately which worried me. I needed to find out why she was running from herself.
She agreed to visit the Jones Beach with Aaliyah and me in the weekend. We drove to one of the New York’s biggest beaches with 6.5 miles of sand and two-mile boardwalk.
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The weather was pleasant and cool sea breeze played with the surging waves washing our feet just before receding into oblivion as we took long strolls along the shoreline.
Kate discussed the mounting stress she was under. Aaliyah questioned her about her relationship with her boyfriend. She has been in a relationship for a long time and I was a little shocked that she didn’t invite him to this weekend getaway. She looked hesitant but revealed how he always spoke to her ruthlessly and was grumpy almost all the time. She blamed herself for not being able to make him happy and lost herself to work. She lived in misery but was fearful of moving on without him.
“Some relations become our habits, we mustn’t be with them but we can’t muster the courage to be without them. I don’t even have the confidence to be by myself.” She said.
We asked her about what is it that she wants in life? She almost instantly replied, “Love”. Aaliyah retorted, “And I don’t see you getting anywhere near it, if you continue to choose living in a toxic relationship, love makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. There’s immense acceptance when you are in love and you are not constantly trying to change each other. The only significant factor that keeps love alive is respect. If you have lost that there is no point continuing.”
I added in agreement to Aaliyah ,“ Kate, you have to reflect upon it as you know in your heart you deserve happiness in life, it’s your decision , communicate your feelings with him and give your relationship a fair chance but choose yourself above all cause if you cannot stand up for yourself than you surely can’t for others.”
We all went in for a swim and I observed Kate was in her deep thoughts throughout the evening. I hoped we didn’t add on to her woes. Aaliyah gave me an assuring look and said, “Sometimes we all need a jolt to snap out of the daze we live in.”
She sat on the shore playing with the sand, staring at the setting sun.
We met again at dinner time. To my relief, she looked radiant and her beautiful smile was back. We were waiting for her to share her contemplation. I kept the conversation flowing and we spoke at length about her work and her achievements. I believe if we want to remain in a positive state of mind we must choose to stay long in the winning moments rather than lingering long over the letdowns.
Finally, she said, “Thanks to both of you for giving me the gift of me. I had lost myself and lived in a shadow. Today when the sun melted in the ocean I let the ‘vulnerable -self’ submerge too. I’ll stay positive and explore life. Give it a fair chance to be joyful and whole. I will release others to experience whatever is meaningful to them, and I free myself to create that which is meaningful to me.”
We all smiled. It was a luminous moonlit night and the stars shone brilliantly in the sky.
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