“Where all are welcome and healing happens.” This is our Wellspring motto and one of the many reasons why I felt it was the place for me professionally. I became a mental health professional, on the basic level, because I enjoy helping and healing people to the best of my ability. I enjoy talking and I love listening. Personally, I find myself surrounded by a family, friend, and colleague crew that are from different backgrounds, sexes, genders, occupations, cultures, races, and economic levels. How bland the world would be if we all thought, acted, and looked exactly the same. Diversity is the spice of life.
In 2012, my husband was assigned to a project that required us to move abroad for approximately a year. Within a month, we had packed our home and moved to France without knowing the language, the culture, or when we would have a permanent place to live. This experience taught me so many things, much more than simply a very poor French language base. To move to a foreign country without a familiarity of your surroundings, how people interact, how to get from one place to another (or be able to read the signs!), or even the ability to communicate with others is difficult and daunting. It has given me a greater appreciation for others in similar situations.
Society sometimes skews our perspective. Society has a way often times of blurring that lens that would otherwise allow us to see others for their internal characteristics and qualities rather than skin color, clothing choice, gender, or religious affiliation. Society often judges books by their covers and tosses them aside without opening them up and turning a few pages.
This is another issue that drew me towards mental health. Everyone needs a place where they can express how they feel, think, and believe without feeling judged. Everyone needs a place where they can talk through and process those thoughts and emotions, healthy or unhealthy, in a way that allows them to move forward, move beyond, or grow. Everyone needs a place where they feel safe, valued, and appreciated for who they are as a person. And something I’ve learned along the way, is that not everyone has that place.
I understand that it can be difficult to understand or get on the same level as everyone else. If you are male, you cannot understand what it is like to be female. If you are caucasian, you cannot understand what it is like to be Asian. If you are Presbyterian, you may feel confused walking in to a Catholic mass. If you are straight, you cannot understand what it is like to be bisexual, gay, or trans especially in an often uncompromising world. But we are all different in some way and I would even say, all judged in some way. Which lends to follow, we can all teach each other and learn from one another if we’re willing to listen.
My challenge is to clear up your own lens. Reposition your perspective. Set judgement aside. Talk, but also listen. And, if you find yourself in need of someone to talk to, I’d love to listen.