You come in desperate for help, yet defended and barely letting me interact. You won’t stop talking, repeating over and over again your own unique way of making sense of your behaviors. You are a big façade of defenses, carrying your sword and shield. Always ready to swing. Always ready to fight, to dismiss, to chop down anyone who gets near your soul.
We all do this. And that’s okay.
Unfortunately, as the hired-hand therapist sitting across from you, it means I don’t stand a chance of making contact with you. Not really. Not at first.
But that’s okay, too.
Why? Because I have learned how to be patient. To wait you out. To let you tire of hearing your own story.
I will let you come to the dead end of your isolated, circular reasoning. Just like a toddler running in circles, eventually you’ll plop over, and I’ll be waiting. Poised and ready to pour water from the well for you to drink and soothe yourself with. Because even though I’ve been along for the ride, I will be neither tired nor thirsty.
At that moment, I’ll move in. I’ll catch you off guard as you sit in the trance of your own stories. I’ll challenge your reality and give you your money’s worth.
It wasn’t always this way. When I was younger, I worked harder. I “swam upstream” against my clients. Because I thought it was better to challenge everything. I thought that was my job description.
But these days, I know better. I don’t have to tip your boat over to immerse you in the waters of understanding — I can get in the boat and ride with you. I can view the sights the way you view the sights.
And believe me, it’s so much better this way.
Because this is your journey, I need to be a witness and a bystander to earn your trust. To make you feel comfortable enough to let me come near to the demons that live inside you. Without you as my guide, I am virtually powerless to do much about any of it. And if I push, you will not only wrestle with your soul, but me as well.
But I’m not completely powerless. I am hired to help; I know the terrain a little better. I know where danger lurks, what kinds of snakes are dangerous, and where the ground is crumbly. I can hold the flashlight, carry the water, and keep the critters away at night.
It is lonely when no one has sung us lullabies. Or cheered for us. Or allowed us to explore the world. It’s a lonely path to walk.
My job is to believe in your possibilities and hold faith deep in my heart. To sing those lullabies, cheer you on, and challenge you when you want to quit.
This is a truth I’ve had to learn over time. And the fastest way to get to that point is to settle myself in, avoid trying to crack the shell of your defenses, and let you wear yourself out.
Only then will you be ready to begin with me.