So many of us bottle up our thoughts and feelings thinking we have keep carrying on. We think this is what being strong and independent means. We think if we shared what was really troubling us people would think we were crazy, they would think we were weak, or they would think we were silly.
But I have learned through my own therapy that you don’t have to struggle alone. Hard as it may be at first, strange as it may be at first, learning to share in a safe space can be transformative. Through therapy I came to understand that the things I was feeling and thinking were not crazy, weak or silly. That there could be strength in my reaching out. That others felt as I did. My therapist offered me so much in our time together but perhaps the greatest thing she offered was her presence – I see you, I hear you, I accept you.
We are relational beings. From the moment we are born we rely on those around us for nurture, protection and love. Without these we would not survive. As adults this does not change. We are not designed to go it alone.
Reaching out and asking for that relationship might seem like the hardest and most vulnerable thing you could do. And it is hard. And you will feel vulnerable. But if you can make that step. If you can find the right person, the right counsellor or therapist, then there is nothing quite like that feeling of knowing you don’t have to struggle alone.
‘When a man is singing and cannot lift his voice, and another comes and sings with him, another who can lift his voice, the first will be able to lift his voice too. This is the secret of the bond between spirits.’
Martin Buber (1962), Ten Rungs.
Further reading and links:
A General Theory of Love (2000) by Lewis, Amini, Lannon.
Between Person and Person: Towards a Dialogical Psychotherapy (1991) by Richard Hycner.