“How about we agree that you’ll be kind to yourself while you’re in here? You can go ahead and beat yourself up all you want as soon as you leave, okay?” – The therapist’s therapist, Wendell, on Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

Thursdays are my favorite personal day of the week because I wrap up my workday, put my phone on DND, and spend 50 precious minutes with my therapist. Of course my sessions are virtual and so my therapist’s room is really my office converted but for 50 minutes, I can simply unravel and not be anything to anyone, even myself.

The sessions are all I’ve ever wanted, even as a child, I recall asking my parents for a therapist. I knew early on that I needed help in understanding how my brain worked and find better ways to cope. Thankfully, my faith, along with other modalities have greatly helped me until I got to this point.

My sessions inspired me to reopen Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb and as I rediscovered this book nearly four years later, I am amazed at how I can relate to it now on a different level. When I first read in 2018, I still had layers to peel and now I am more vulnerable, more open to my own failures and shortcomings. This line though from her therapist made me stop and think of my own session with my therapist this afternoon. All week I’ve been ruminating on topics of what to discuss with her: a conversation with my partner a work, how I feel about pending changes and role transformations, the judgement I have of others, and so on. I’ve thought about these things and thought they existed on different levels but at the core of it: they were all similar, it all rooted from not being kind to myself. Of feeling shamed for sharing my emotions and thoughts that are less than stellar and for not feeling safe in doing so.

Lori goes on to say the purpose of therapy and that is to “aim for self compassion (Am I human?) as opposed to self esteem (a judgement: Am I good or bad?)” and those two things stopped me in my tracks. First off, her therapist’s direction of being kind to one’s self and the questioning of whether I am being kind to myself brought me back to the earlier wonderings that have been swimming in my head for some time now. It all related back to how I was treating myself because the way I treated myself, whether I was holding myself in self compassion or judgement, also affects how I treat those around me.

The act of kindness towards one’s self is a concept that’s always been foreign to me but now as I type this, it makes me wonder what my life would be like if I flip the switch and make it an effort to be kind to me.

Maybe that’s something I should ask my therapist today.