Recently I have been listening to a song by one of my favorite artists; Brandi Carlile named “The Story.” One part of the song really spoke to me:
“All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am, so many stories of where I’ve been, and how I got to where I am. But these stories don’t mean anything if you’ve got no one to tell them to, it’s true.”
Those words came away with me and made me think about all of the experiences that make up the parts of who we are. There are the pieces of ourselves that we choose to highlight and show the world proudly. The pretty, happy things that make it to our Facebook statuses and breezy conversations are only a portion of our truth.
The dark, secret, shameful parts of us are a whole other story. The things we think and feel we cannot say can burden us to the point of rendering us incapacitated. The mistakes and difficult choices we carry within us reside in our guilty bones. For those of us who have to carry these burdens on our own it can be an unspeakably lonely existence.
Personally, I am so grateful to have always been able to find beautiful kindred spirits who allow me a warm and accepting home within their hearts. I have a few sacred spaces where I can be my truest self without fear. I am very aware of what a gift this is and how deeply I am blessed.
I began to reflect on our clients who come to us in their time of need. We are virtual strangers and yet they trust sharing their most intimate and painful secrets. We are often witness to their most vulnerable and broken moments. As clinicians we are at times the first and possibly only person to know certain parts of them.
This reminds me of a very important part of our work, honoring the courage it takes for our clients to tell their stories. We may hear things that will affect us in any number of ways. It is important for us to be mindful that for some clients it can take a lifetime of gathered strength just to make it to our office. We may be the very first and possibly only person they have to express their pain to. This is a profoundly deep concept that I think I will always be in awe of.
Nicole Michaud is a Counselor in training in Central Connecticut. She is also the voice behind the cooking Blog MyLoveForCooking.com.