Barbara Fish Counselling Services ... helping your life work

Don’t Go Changing

Helping Your Life Work

Volume 9, Issue 4

April 2013

Dear Reader,

This is the third is the series of guest writers. Samuel Waldner is a seasoned and well-known professional in the field of addictions. For more than 29 years, he has served generations of individuals and families struggling with the difficulties of living with alcohol, drug, nicotine, compulsive eating and other dependencies. He is also a long-time colleague, collaborator and office mate of mine.

Jake: My whole life I've never felt like I fit in. Not anywhere.

Ryder: Why?

Jake: I'm half white, half black, and half Jewish. And just in case I forget, someone always reminds me. [Glee: Dynamic Duets Season 4 Episodes 7]

Jake’s story is not unusual. Many of us feel like we don’t fit in. Many of us have never felt normal, average or typical and we believe that to fit in and to be happy, we need to change ourselves.

My private practice is full of people that are not average and I try to convey to them that that is actually a good thing. I tell them that our work together is not about helping them to change themselves, but about helping them to build a world that works for them. I teach them that they are fine as they are. We are all square pegs, that don’t need to fit in. We are a perfect fit, but our current life choices may not be a perfect fit for us.

How do we find our fit? We find it by asking ourselves the following questions: “What do I care about? If I didn’t have to worry about money, what would I do? If I weren’t worried about rejection and judgment, what would I create?” It is through answering these questions and discovering our own unique process of being creative, that we can find our fit.

Some clients say, “That won’t work for me as I’m not creative. I don’t write, paint or take pictures.” I believe that we are all creative and creativity can take many forms, not just in the traditional ways but in our ways of seeing things and expressing ourselves. But some of us are paralyzed by our fears and that prevents us from expressing our creativity. The way to tap into our personal creativity is to take risks and become fearless. How do we become fearless? By choosing to live in the here and now, we can enter into a fearless state. In the now, we are not controlled by our past mistakes or negative outcomes. As we let go of the past, our depression is reduced. By not worrying about the future, our anxieties are decreased.

Are we prepared to reclaim our lives? Considering that life is short, the only real risk is not living the life we want. To live a life of creativity, we need to give ourselves permission to dream without censorship. Some clients ask, “What if I have no dreams?” If we are not in touch with our dreams, then it is because we are blocking ourselves with statements like, “I can’t have that. I can’t do that”. Maybe we can. Let’s let our dreams surface without labeling them as too late, too unrealistic or simply unavailable to us. What if I risk and fail? Count on it. Success will come, but usually after many failures.

It is useful to remember sometimes that what we view as our problem is also our solution. Let’s stop trying to change ourselves and start building lives that work for us.

Barbara Fish, M.Ed.
Personal and Career Counsellor
“Helping Your Life Work”

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For more information, or to book an appointment at her Toronto office,
please contact Barbara by telephone at 416-498-1352 or by email at