Seeing the Forest through the Trees

By Jessica Wilkerson, MA, LMFT

There’s a piece in all of us that can feel disappointed.  That piece feels disappointed in ourselves – disappointed for many different reasons, but they all add up to a sense that you did or you are something wrong or flawed, and that sense of wrongness becomes this golden thread weaving it’s way through the rest of your experiences or self-concept.  You might be able to truly be happy at times or genuinely be proud of yourself, but then there are other times where that disspointed feeling says, “yeah, but…” and it finds the way you could have been better. It discredits your joy.

Some people can see that, honor it, speak to it, and release it.  Those people probably had some wise and helpful mentors along their early journey through childhood or adolescence (real life people or books that had characters who embodied this trait).  That is a skill that’s learned somewhere and from someone.Not everyone had people in their lives to give them the ability to see their own forest through the trees, and they get lost looking at the one or two tall redwoods looming over them, and all they can see are these monstrous giants in their path and the dark of the forest beyond them.  The big picture of who they really are gets lost.

The forest of who they are: the flowering brush, the fawn, the streams of sunlight breaking through between branches, and the rustling of small critters scurrying to and fro – those are also “the forest.”  The forest isn’t just the two big trees looming over you in this present moment, but it’s the sum of it’s components: the scary and the glorious.

And so are we!

We are flawed and we have made mistakes.  We have hurt others and ourselves.  We have been on the receiving end of injustice.  But!  We are also beautiful in our longing for joy and in the way we smile at small things.  We bring calm and love to others and to ourselves.  We have been on the receiving end of generosity and we have generated healing for someone else’s sorrow.

Our forests make us, but sometimes it’s just so hard to see around those trees and it’s so frightening to veer into the forest.  Your therapist can hold your flashlight and walk along side you so you don’t have to be alone in the dark with your innerself that you’ve yet discovered.  Your therapist can illuminate the beautiful aspects of who you are while also holding safety while you wrestle with the inner wolves, taming them.  It can hurt sometimes, it can feel releasing other times, but you don’t leave unchanged.

If this is a journey you’d like to take with one of us at Inspired Life Counseling in Chico, please feel free to send an email to or schedule an appointment with the online appointment calendar.

Author: Jessica Wilkerson, LMFT

Jessica is the owner of Inspired Life Counseling in Chico, CA and has a License as a Marriage and Family Therapist #104464 in the state of California.  For more of Jessica’s writings, please see her blog on her personal website