Maryland Modern Family Counseling
Of Monsters & Muses
"Fluffy" - Courtesy of Claymonster Pottery
So what is all this monster talk you may be wondering? Here is the thing, we all have a monster. The monster’s job in life is to keep you alive. It’s your monster that kicks into action when you slam on the breaks in traffic. Those split second reflex are designed to kick in quickly. But sometimes the monster gets a bit overzealous and tries to give unwanted advice. It tells you not to go to that party because there are too many people, or the monster fills you with dread about the test next week. The monster wants to wrap you up in big fuzzy blankets and keep you locked away where nothing can ever hurt you. It’s like an overprotective mommy who will tell you anything, even some white lies, to keep you from doing something that could be dangerous.
Have you ever sat and debated with yourself over something you really wanted to do but just couldn’t manage to get yourself to do? Say you want to start going for a walk every night. You sit there on the couch trying to remind yourself how much you like walking and how good it is for you but that other little voice says, “true, true, but you are so comfortable and you had a long day and there is always tomorrow”. That is your monster, sabotaging your well laid plans for growth and self fulfillment. Your monster is all about immediate gratification and it’s very convincing. It will even prevent healthy growth by convincing you that you are mean or stupid or unworthy of love or whatever. Monster’s are mean sometimes.
I don’t know about you but my monster did not come with an owner’s manual. I had to go to school for way too long to learn how to tame the monster. The first trick is simply learning that you have a monster and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. When you can distinguish between your true wants and needs and the voice of that miserable monster, you are well on your way to regaining control. Every monster has their own little twist. I’ve known men and women who could happily run into a burning building but could never imagine standing in front of a crowd of people to sing a song. Monster’s come in all shapes and sizes. This is not like Ghost Busters, I can’t help you exterminate your monster, you do actually need it, but I can help you learn the proper care and feeding of your monster.
So let’s start by naming some monsters that I have met. Perhaps this will help you to put a name to your monster. Feel free to send me the name of your monster so I can add it to the list. If you are feeling creative, draw your own. Who know’s maybe your monster will end up on the website. Stranger things have happened.
Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms, Monster
“But, Bess, isn’t it a cop out to blame everything on my monster? What about personal responsibility?” Yes, of course, you are
personally responsible. But you don’t have to feel guilty and ashamed of your behavior in order to change it. In fact, those feelings can lead to helplessness and then nothing will get accomplished. How often do you beat yourself up for those pesky problems in life that you just can’t seem to change? We all have them. When you struggle with your monster instead of yourself it becomes a lot easier to see what is holding you back and how. The goal is to build you up so that you can bring that monster back down to its proper size.
Uncovering Your Muse
Once we get that monster back down to size you begin to open yourself up to your inner muse. Your muse is the creative, inquisitive part of you that is ready to grow and explore life to its fullest. Sometimes the best part of therapy is the part where you begin to see that the crazy dreams you had as a kid can become reality. I think of this part as the piece that is missing in fairy tales. Why is it that they always stop at “happily ever after”. That’s the part I want to hear about, and it’s my favorite part of therapy. It’s good to get the miserable parts of life under control but it’s even better to let the muse loose and try to keep up.
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