Welcome back to our semi-regular blog series: From the Heart of a Therapist. Often, clients will ask questions that hint at the underlying uncertainty, “What do you, my therapist, really think of me?” It’s normal to bring hopes and desires of being liked and appreciated into the therapy room, so related questions and uncertainties are normal, too! And this series is the perfect place to get the inside scoop on what your therapist is thinking, feeling, and experiencing as they witness your growth, courage, and journey!
A Call to Visibility
I know sometimes (perhaps for some people, all of the time) you feel the need to hide yourself from the world. I know sometimes you truly believe that you are taking up too much space. I see and know of your attempts to shrink back, to blend in, and to simply be invisible. Inside of you reside the shoulds and unspoken rules that in some ways reinforce this need to go unseen, unheard, unfelt.
This is a common human experience. To feel, let’s say, unworthy or like a burden to all others we encounter. Filled with guilt and shame to even exist. Well, here is the thing. Not a single one of us has asked or willed ourselves into existence. Rather, we were born into this world, not by choice, but by circumstance and we have come as far as this very moment placing one foot in front of the other. Alive and breathing, in and out, we find ourselves in existence. We are here both together and alone. We are each taking up space in the here-and-now. We cannot deny that. And let me tell you, from my perspective, I do not think a single one of us needs to.
If you don’t mind me saying, I think it is pretty special to have you here. Here on this earth. A living, breathing, one-of-a-kind being. There is only one of you and you have a place in this world. Just let that sink in for a moment. Whether you take hold of it and carry this inner belief forward or not, I ask you to just consider it for an instant. I know you may not feel worthy of this place you maintain. Many of us, including myself, often do not feel a sense of worth, but I am here to genuinely tell you that not only can you, but you get to have a place to be visible.
You have the right to breathe, to share land, to take up space, and to be alive. You have permission to exist and permission to be visible. In fact, you can even crawl from the depths of invisibility and shine on as you are. None of us are perfect or ever will be. I believe every single human being is doing the best they can with what they have been given. I think every single human being has endured hardships and traumas and heartbreaks that once told us to go away, to move, or to believe and accept that we are undeserving. For just a moment, however, let’s pause those voices. Pause those hurts. Let’s acknowledge that we, in this time right here, are an individual brought into this world, filled with experiences and life happenings that are unique to us, and we can be present with all those parts of ourselves.
We all maintain the superpower to withhold our true selves. The superpower to stay in hiding. The superpower to tell a different story than that which is our own. That superpower of invisibility. But, let’s see ourselves, for just a twinkling of a second, in a different light. One of worthiness. One where you can use those same superpowers to show your true self, to come out of hiding, and to tell the story that is only yours to tell.
One of the things I love most about being a therapist, is getting to hear the stories of each individual person that walks through my door. The gift of seeing and being with a human presence without filters. One that shines of a true self. One of vulnerability and openness. A self that is in pain, hurting, and attempting to find a light in the shadows of the darkness. A self that experiences joys, triumphs, and highlights to celebrate. A self that wrestles with the big, difficult questions, and finds self-exploration a journey of great challenge, but also intrigue. A self that can be in the presence of another and not only be listened to, but accepted, and understood as best as possible without something of obligation. Rather they can experience something of empathy and kindness and genuine interest, perhaps for the very first time.
It is not a necessity to have this kind of experience with only a therapist. Any person in the world that allows you to feel like you can express your whole self, take up the space you need, and be who you are from your inner depths to your outer image is a special person to connect yourself with. This kind of experience is a true gift in life that I encourage all to seek. We are wired for connection and relationship. We are wired to belong and be seen and felt. We long for acceptance and understanding. It is certainly okay to turn off that superpower of invisibility, show up as you are in relationships that contain safety and trust, and experience yourself with a newfound sense of acceptance.
It is okay to be visible.
From the Heart of a Therapist