The path forward may go back to the beginning
As professional helpers, we are given the immense privilege and responsibility of being “holders:” holders of space, holders of confidentiality, holders of pain and grief, and holders of hope. I remember going through a particularly dark period of time when it was hard to imagine how life could ever feel light again, and a helper in my told me: “I will hold out hope for you until you can hold it for yourself.”
A surrogate holder of hope was exactly what I needed.
I think that oftentimes we believe our work with people is too “weak” for the problems they face, the pain they feel or the past they carry with them. I know for myself, I pressure myself to do the most exquisite, strategic, calculated therapy moves that will leave my clients feeling empowered and healed and motivated. And of course when all of those results don’t happen, I blame myself as the only cause of some kind of failure.
And it’s in those moments that I have to come back to the basics: my work isn’t too “weak;” it’s actually not simple enough. I have lost sight of my role as a holder. I’ve tried to do the holding and the healing and the choosing and the fixing and the changing. And I think my clients have lost sight of my role too. They need me to hold the space and the hope for them, so that they can do the work they need to do.
So to you, a fellow helper: if your work feels not enough, could it be that it’s time to go back to the beginning and simply (yet powerfully) hold out hope for others?
With you and for you,