Pat didn’t believe in therapy. He was the kind of person who believed in pulling himself up by his own bootstraps.
Besides, he had no time for therapy. It takes so long. And he had so many important things to attend to. What a waste of time it would be to just go and on about stuff that happened in the past!
And for what purpose?
And yet, Pat had begun to feel that a different life was waiting for him on the other side of his wall. What wall? He didn’t really know. He just knew that life was no longer working for him anymore. At what should have been the height of his success, Pat was dreading getting up in the morning. Everything seemed so heavy. Without purpose. Without joy.
Finally, to appease his wife, he consented to trying a session or two.
Much to his own surprise, a horde of resentments came rambling out of him without any prodding at all. “You don’t know what it’s like to grow up with a father who never said a positive thing about you in his entire life. Always tearing me down. Assuring me that I’d amount to nothing. Ridiculing my dreams for the future. An endless supply of disapproval. That was my father.
“And my mother. Not much better. That look on her face told me that whatever bad happened was my fault. Even when she hadn’t quite figured out how yet.
“Well, I showed them. I became successful – beyond my wildest dreams and certainly beyond theirs. Now life should be good. And it is sometimes. But in the quiet hours of the evening when I’m alone with my own thoughts, I still feel like that kid who hasn’t measured up. After all these years, is that ever going to change?”
Wow, that was some beginning. Pat didn’t beat around the bush. He got straight to the point right away.
Let’s now fast forward one year:
“I know I didn’t believe in therapy. But I gotta admit, therapy believed in me. It has been quite a quest to find my own truth. I was always fighting against my parents’ truth but never took the time to find my own.”
Pat’s journey continued for another year in which (in his words) he moved “from ignorance to knowledge, resentment to acceptance, chaos to clarity.” It began as a reluctant journey but ended up as a joyful journey.
How does therapy do this? There is no simple formula. But at its best, therapy is an essential guide for developing a more authentic self. As you safely explore your feelings, thoughts and behavior in a supportive, nonjudgmental environment, the stage is set for magic to happen.
If you have become so “adult” that you no longer believe in magic, look around you. Behold the magic of nature. Rejoice in the magic of color. Celebrate the magic of growth. Be open to discovering where your own magic will take you.