Being a therapist is interesting work. In fact, it might be a job like no other. Day in and day out, I bear witness to people’s emotional pain. There aren’t many other places in life that people attend expecting to focus on or release the pain they’ve been carrying around, like they do in therapy. It’s a unique position to be in. It can be heavy, soul-wearying work. It can also be holy fulfilling and exhilarating. As a colleague once said to me, “Being a therapist is the best job and the worst job.” The highs are high, and the lows are low. Yet, I can’t imagine loving any other work in the same way. Why?
Because my job lets me see people--really, truly see who they are. We get to skip over the small talk and pleasantries and get to the core of what really matters. Isn’t that refreshing?! In being allowed to journey with people to the essence of who they are, I learn so much. You all constantly teach me about life and living and being. From you, I’ve come to some firmly held beliefs about people:
- We are more resilient than we realize. We can endure enormous pain and hardship and go on to thrive.
- We are social beings. We very much need each other. We were not meant to live in isolation. We need close, connected meaningful relationships with other people.
- We’re not so different. It can be so common to think that our pain, our suffering is like no other’s. We become ashamed because we believe there’s something wrong with us. IT’S NOT TRUE. There is no new emotion under the sun. We are human and we feel what humans have felt since the beginning of time.
- We can worry so much! We can be experts at worrying about how we look and what we say and what we think and how we’re perceived and if we’re wrong and how come and . . and . . .and . . . The worrying is exhausting for us.
- We are well served when we understand the why. We struggle when things don't make sense to us.
- Most of us hate uncertainty, and we fight against it--sometimes to our detriment.
- We tend to compare our inside selves to others’ outside selves, which makes us feel like we never measure up.
- We lie, cheat, steal, connive. We’re mean, jealous, revenge-seeking, hateful, manipulative. We hurt those we love accidentally and on purpose. However, we are not BAD PEOPLE because we sometimes do these things. They ain't pretty, but they are HUMAN.
- We long to be longed for, cared for and protected.
- We tend to know what we need. The hard part can be figuring out why we’re not doing it. When we don't know, we become overwhelmed or frozen with the not knowing.
- We are really good at self preservation; we struggle when our tools for self-preservation stop working or need to be adjusted.
We hope, we smile, we laugh, we cry, we rage, we sulk, we love, we wish, we hurt, we dream, we live. We are beautiful, but sometimes we need to be reminded of this--or shown for the very first time.
Namaste. (“The light within me salutes the light within you.”)