Probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks in true healing, is the frustration that so many other people want to have a say about your journey, your intended destination and the steps you need to take to get there. They want to tell you which steps to take, why you should, how you should and if they have their way, sometimes even take the steps for you. All well meant and with your best interest at heart. However then it is not your journey, you do not own it and do not become powerful.
The role of the therapist/friend/confidant/coach/family member is NOT to prescribe a list of steps to take. Their only role is a safe place/space through their presence and to really be a witness to your journey. What does it mean to be a safe space? My presence needs to make you feel safe. That is a tall order for some people because they only feel safe themselves when they have certain action steps to suggest or live by or give to someone to follow. Very few people can be safe with themselves with their own thoughts, their own journey, their own past dark spaces, their own loneliness, their own pain and just be with it – comfortable, without shame, without fear and most of all WITH COMPASSION for themselves for the journey they have travelled to integrate all their parts into their story. Like a woven tapestry.
My presence needs to first be with myself and my own story, my own healing, my own parts – dark and light – before I can be a healing presence to you. Before I will be able to provide you with that feeling of “here is a space where I can come and just unravel in my own time, in my own process, in my own Idontknowhowto”. NOTHING can happen in the therapeutic journey before safety is not established. This in itself can and should be a journey by itself as you need to find out what safety means to you and what safe presence mean to you.
Gabor Mate puts it so beautifully that no therapist can guide any client further into their own process as where they have been with their own trauma. Which means that you need to firstly as therapist feels safe within your own story and own it – all of it. Own your own story and not take over your client’s.
How safe do you feel within your own skin/within your own story/within all the different parts of yourself? Are their parts of your story which own you or have you worked through them/sat with them so that you could move through them and learn from them, be comfortable with them without shame, and own them? Or do you want to help others because the void in yourself is still so big as you have not put all your parts together yet?
If we going to be therapists/counsellors who want to fix everyone else and in the process claim their journey for us, then we do not let them feel the power of claiming their own journey, taking the responsibility to heal and moving forward in their lives with a healthy toolkit to be powerful human beings without shame.
First step – find yourself the person who is safe with themselves and in whose presence you know and can immediately feel – they are not scared of my cracks as they are not scared of their own. They are not scared of mess which means here I can start to relax and not mind that my mess is going to start leaking. I do not have to try and hold it all together anymore. That is when you know that this will be YOUR JOURNEY and not theirs and they own their own.