“Our wounds are often the openings into the best and most beautiful part of us.” – David Richo
I think the most courageous acts a human can do are to accept his or her own flaws and take the steps to make the appropriate changes in life. I work with courageous people on a daily basis. Every time I begin to work with new people, I am always struck by their motivation and strength to make changes in their life. I know that when they walk into my office, the decision to call me was not an easy one.
Walking into a therapy office is scary, as it requires a person to be vulnerable with a perfect stranger. For most, talking about their most inner fears is not an easy or fun experience. I have worked with so many different people over the years, and there is one constant about the people who make change in their life: being vulnerable is the recipe for growth.
It is not easy to be vulnerable, since most of us have been hurt in so many different ways and the idea of going through this again is not something we desire. Who wants to be exposed to their sadness and shame? Unfortunately, it is our tendency in today’s society to avoid this exposure and instead keep piling on our baggage.
When I first start to work with someone new, I like to have a frank conversation when I first meet that person. I want them to know that the therapeutic process is a difficult one, yet it can be very rewarding. Sometimes people feel worse before they get better, but by committing to therapy they are allowing themselves to achieve beyond their current limits and attain a state of personal maturation.
It takes true courage for someone to take that stance and move forward. I am proud of every person who walks into my office. The ones that stick it out are the true heroes. I find it so wonderful to see them bridge the gap from where they are to where they want to be in life and begin to live out these desires.
When I was in my graduate program years ago, one professor talked about the human journey and the need to take chances to mature in life. He talked about Soren Kierkegaard’s writings, as well as his philosophy that each human experiences a leap of faith on a regular basis. Based on Kierkegaard’s writings: Each person stands before a cliff in the dark of night, with a dense fog before them, not knowing the height or landing below.
One thing is certain: there is a sound of ocean and tide below. Even though we think we will land safely in the water, we still fear the danger of the rocky cliffs and bitter end based on our inability to see the surface below. People before have landed safely while making this jump, yet we still ponder the decision based on our potential doom.
This is where we need to take a leap of faith. If we can make that jump we grow as individuals, as we never know the outcome of any event. It is said that if we jump, we can call ourselves human, and once we land safely, we can call ourselves heroes.
I have always wondered—what is the difference between a person who lives in serenity, and one who lives in anguish? I think the difference is that the one that lives in peace has taken the leap of faith. Carl Jung once wrote, “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
Here’s to the heroes who have taken the leap of faith, and the ones who step into my office.
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