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Witnessing Yourself and Allowing What Is

As human beings we have many thinking and behavioral patterns that we’ve developed from our upbringing, culture, society, and life experiences. Some of those patterns are healthy and contribute positively to our lives. While others don’t. They get in our way, make us feel depressed or anxious,  or add to other negative patterns.

One benefit of therapy is that it gives us the opportunity to explore ourselves. We can stand in the center and witness as we give words to the confusion, pain, or problem. And if our witnessing isn’t entirely clear, then the therapist can be curious, ask questions, highlight what’s working, and share their own perspective. A therapist can help you settle into yourself so that you can witness your own inner experience versus getting caught up in it.

For instance, you’re likely coming to therapy because of a stirring question, a quandary, or a compelling desire to heal. The very act of speaking about your dilemma puts you in a state of curiosity. You’re talking aloud your inner experience and you’re curious about it at the same time. Meanwhile the therapist is curious too. The therapist remains open to what is arising within him/herself as well as what’s being said.

With both you and the therapist being in a state of curiosity, there’s another internal state that emerges – allowing.  Allowing is an experience where you’re open to what’s arising inside of you, even if it’s painful. In fact, the word allow breaks down into all and ow, meaning that you’re letting it all arise, even if it hurts. This is often where insights, new ideas, and healing happen. You might cry, scream, or laugh. You might feel a sense of relief, let go of anger, or forgive.

Plato once said that the unexamined life is not worth living.  Without examining our lives, we will never see what’s really underneath. Although at first we might be suffering, with a little exploration in therapy we can move through our burdens and discover that our wings were there all along.

Photo Artist: Noell S. Oszvald

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