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What Your Therapist Wishes You Could See

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I wish you saw yourself the way your therapist sees you. I am a miner by trade. My job is to see you for all you are and all you can be. I sit across from you week after week, year after year and I hear the potential humming just below the surface.

You see failures, mistakes and flaws. I see opportunities for growth, your insight building. I see the lens clearing and opening you up to love a little deeper, be a little freer, a little more of the you who you haven’t met yet. I swallow a lump in my throat as you speak of caring for your little brother, making the dean’s list, holding three jobs while in school. Your eyes ask, “Am I doing enough? Am I enough?” You’re not convinced. I stifle the yes I am all but shouting in my head.

If you could borrow my eyes, you would see your power is limitless. This vantage point is a gift and a responsibility. I am your therapist, your advocate. It is my life’s work to help you see this. I’m under no illusion you are perfect. Our relationship is real. I hold you accountable, call you out and call you in, but above all, I show you what unconditional positive regard looks like in action. That there is no criteria to be met for you to be worthy of love, of reverence, of your full humanity. That I care for you despite of and because of the things about yourself you try to hide from the world. And we are both changed.

You cry over another fight with your partner, afraid you are unlovable, that you will never get it right. But I don’t see it that way. I sit in awe of someone who dives in heart first, who can feel this deeply, who understands we are here only to love and be loved. I see your eyes light up as you discuss that photography project and glisten as you remember Christmas morning snuggles with Mom when she was still here to have them. You’ve never mentioned her before. You’re ready now I think, as that familiar feeling bubbles up, that surge of energy, compassion and wisdom all rolled into one. A banner promoting The Mighty's new Chat Space group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Want to talk and connect with others? Join Chat Space to check in with others or have a conversation that's not related to health (because we all need a break sometimes). Click to join.

I hear the doubts, the “I shouldn’t feel this ways,” the “I should be doings,” the heaping piles of self-judgment. But look at all you are! I want to scream. But I won’t. Because it can’t come from me. So I wait. I nod. I gently reframe. I affirm. I smile. And I witness the shift. The confidence blooming, the plans go from questions to statements. It whispers until it sings. The dreams solidify, the voices quiet. I wish you could see yourself the way your therapist does. Until I don’t have to wish. Because you do.

Pexels image by Polina Zimmerman

Originally published: December 5, 2020
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