I was listening to a successful, high-powered woman executive speak at a luncheon the other day. Someone asked her about the best thing she ever did for personal development (not to be confused with “taking-a-bath-to-relax” self-care or strictly professional development) and she said “start going to a counselor; if things aren’t going well in your professional life or if you want to make it to the next level, you seek the counsel of a mentor, someone you trust. Why should your personal life be any different?”
Amen, sister. I love my therapist. I’ve been seeing the same one off and on for about seven years now…never more than several months in a row, because eventually I get uncomfortable with my first world problems…but then I always go back, because life. No one holds up a reflective mirror quite as well as my therapist (she’s the professional, after all). Furthermore, I take more personal risks – speak my mind, own my mistakes, do things that I might otherwise think of as kind of scary – because I know she is there to help me pick up the pieces when/if it all goes wrong. In that respect, she is probably the best teacher I’ve ever had. It’s a privilege to go to a therapist – there are cultural, classist, gendered things built into everything I’ve just typed. One of these days I’d like to sit down with someone who prays and goes to church, someone who meditates and goes to yoga, and someone who journals/blogs and goes to therapy…and look at the similarities and differences.