I have had some opportunities in the past few months to represent myself as an expert. I don’t shy away from these opportunities because out of all the times in life I fall, the one thing I am most confident in is my work. Which is why it is sometimes so difficult to apply what I know to be true and best and effective in my personal life.
Because when I am being clinical, I am not being vulnerable. When I am intuiting and guiding and suggesting and validating and empowering, I am not taking a personal list.
This is why, I think, I can go to the next level in my office. I can empathize as well. I can acknowledge, in words, why some of those suggestions I make to clients might feel impossible. I can speak the “what ifs” before they are fully formed as a question in their heads. And I can taper back the ideas until they feel safer and more possible.
I know my practice did not start this way. But in the years that I have done this, I have learned a second language. It is the self-talk that so many of us do. The disagreement in our own thoughts even as we nod along agreement fact to face. The self doubt shouting in our heads as we speak words of confidence. I had to learn this second language that I myself am fluent in in order to hear clients’ languages. And I had to re-interpret and then develop my own third language that is kinder, friendlier, and absolutely wiser.
I loved putting this together into words with Sarah Fader when I was (fortunate enough to be interviewed by her). We talked about how an anxious person KNOWS that people hat them, but learning why they tell themselves these details, figuring it out in my office, the shame triggers behind it, is on of the biggest life changing self-caring things we can do. Because it nurtures that third language. And then it becomes truth.