It's Never too Late to Shine

“You know how you feel when you’re hanging on by your fingernails?” she asked.


“Yeah.. well, that’s what I was feeling,” says Gale Hartschuh while describing a crucial and transformative moment in her life. 

This pivotal moment that I am referring to, which followed the graduation of her high school, the marriage to her husband, and the birth of her three children, was a stressful but self realizing experience for her. Gale, who had been a stay at home mom for the great part of her early adult life, had put her education on hold and was now in her mid forties when she decided to start working a full time job and go back to graduate school. “There was a point where I felt like I might break...but I didn’t!”  We know that Diamonds can't be broken though- well not completely. 

 

Despite the overwhelming stress, Gale graduated from the Texas Women's University at the age of fifty-two. Now the CEO of her own business of twelve years, Family Counseling Place, Gale recalls how she was able to build the life of her dreams, both in her career as a counselor and her family life as a wife and mother of three. She attributes much of her strength to the support system around her. “I would have never made it without my husbands support. He encouraged me to stay in school rather than discouraged me from my dreams and goals… What also made that time so hard is that we were living on my student loans.That’ s just how we got by.” 

Gale was aware of her fascination and interest in human behavior at an early age. “I wanted to become a therapist because I was interested in human behavior ever since I was a teenager. I was interested in what motivated people, and parenting, and how to be a good mom, what makes people tick,” remarks Gale. “I also wanted to help people be happier in their lives.” 


But one of her most significant challenges during her feat was a lack of confidence (Tune in diamonds, because I think this is a trait a lot of us might be suffering from.) “I would say to myself, “who are you to want to be a counselor?” And so I held myself back with my lack of confidence.” She told herself that she was too old to follow her dreams and that her time had already passed her by. 


One day though, after a discouraging thought that she wouldn’t make a good counselor because she didn’t know what she would say or how she would offer advice to someone, Gale had a sudden epiphany. “ That’s when I believe the spirit gave me the thought that said “well... that’s why you go to school. They will teach you what to say and how to help others.” It was a real sentence that I heard in my head, not some vague thought that I had had, but a real prompting. That was a huge AHA moment for me!”


Although she was feeling inspired now, Gale needed one last push to give her the ultimate courage to return to her schooling. It would be her sister in law’s ( who was the same age as Gale) decision to return to law school that allowed Gale to give herself permission to go back. “I loved grad school, but it was also one of the hardest things that I have ever done.” She may have started out with a lack of confidence, but Gale certainly remained “stubbornly committed” to her goals all while building her self esteem in the process. 


Gale believes that self esteem is a huge factor when taking your life into account. “What gives us our self esteem is knowing that we are capable and competent and that we can take care of things. It’s not really compliments and awards- those things dont give you self esteem. But knowing that your life is in sync with what you’re mission is on earth is important.” In other words,  when your life and your behavior is in line with your value system, you build esteem in yourself. Gale recommends a book called, Celebrate Yourself, by Dorothy Briggs and also credits this work to helping her build her self value. It taught her a lot about how to correct her dysfunctional thinking that she wasn’t even aware of.


Now that she has, Gale Hartschuh, is certainly one of the best therapists there are now!  ( I’ve had the privilege of working and interacting with her myself.)  “I’m proud of having a masters degree because it was never even a dream that I knew I had and it was so dang hard! That’ s another thing that raises your esteem; if things are too easy, we don’t appreciate them as much, but when we have to work hard and sacrifice for something, it means a lot more to us!” 


Well, hey.. I mean, she definitely has a point there. 

 

 

 For more information, visit http://familycounselingplace.com/

1 comment

  • Aliyah! This is my first time getting to read your blog and I enjoyed it so much! I love having a platform and space to bring voice and light to someone’s story, where they came from, where they started and where they are now. I love your analogy to diamonds - how we are all a diamond in a rough- really love how you connect each person’s story to that and let them come to light by the end of your blog post. Great blog and I look forward to looking out for more posts from you!

    Lindsay B

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