I had a friend say to me, “Oh my god, I am so glad to hear you lose it, it makes me feel better to know you are a therapist and sometimes lose your cool.” Uhm, yes…I am human. I lose my mind, I curse, at times I do stupid stuff…this morning, half way through my morning, I realized I had my pants on backwards…they are yoga pants, do they really have a front and a back? The thing is, when you are sitting on this side of the couch, it is easy to appear like you have it all together and you are perfect. Spend twenty minutes with me though, and you will know that is far from how I see myself. Far from how I live my life.
I make mistakes. My kids drive me crazy. Sometimes, I yell and then have the Mommy guilt afterward. I forget to get my oil changed. I frequently lose my keys. Occasionally, I want to leave it all behind and go sit drinking some kind of fru-fru drink in Bora Bora. I am human. It is that humaneness that gives me compassion, kindness and understanding of my clients. I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I have been on both sides of the couch, and well the therapist that just sits there, and does not show me their humanity, is not the one I want or need. I need to know that you are real…that you screw up. How do you expect me to be vulnerable with you, if I think that you are perfect? I hope that I can offer my clients the same. I hope that they can see my imperfections, and feel safe to be vulnerable…I mean that whole opening yourself up is hard enough…let alone to someone who can’t let you see them.
As I sit across the couch from you, there is no judgement. Why? Because I know you are learning. I know what if feels like to try to figure out your path, and to fall off of it. I screw up too. I want those in my life to offer me the same kind of positive regard I try and offer my clients. There are going to be times I am off base, run late, or am just struggling. There are times when I have had an argument with a loved one, and while I try to check it at the door, and be fully present for you, my thoughts may wander for a minute. I could try and hide it, but as my client, you will see I don’t hide my emotions well, and comment. I will own it, and refocus. There will be other times, that I see and feel your pain so deeply, that I will tear up with you. My focus so on that you will think I have read your mind. You see, I am not perfect. I see it in you, and you see it in me.
I often joke that perfection is like a unicorn, you can chase it all day, but even if you do catch it, it will end up being a goat. No one is perfect. However, I am perfectly imperfect. I own my imperfections. I try and make them better. I try and make healthy choices, and sometimes I royally mess things up. However, I learn. That is my gift to my clients. I learn and I am willing to share those experiences with you. I am willing to be real with you. In doing so, I create a safe place to witness your mistakes because I was fortunate enough to have someone along the line witness mine. They held me accountable with love, and now that I have done a good deal of healing, I can do the same for you. Hopefully, as we go through the process of healing, you are learning too. You will fall down, you will feel guilt, but in being your authentic self, you allow someone else to see you, which opens the door to healing wounds. That is the point of this whole exercise right? To learn, grow, change and find greater happiness? If we can embrace our humanity, and allow ourselves to love each other regardless…this thing we call life might just get a little easier.