I’ve been a therapist for about 15 years now. And while that’s certainly not a lifetime, it’s been enough time for me to notice common threads amongst clients. One thing I’ve noticed is that many clients come to see me because they are lacking depth in their relationships.
They’re feeling lonely.
Seeking more meaning.
And they’re not alone.
Why is the quest for meaningful relationships so hard-wired within human beings? Why are we not TRULY satisfied talking about the weather, what the market’s doing, or what happened on the latest episode of “Game of Thrones?”
I think it’s because, as human beings, we are actually created for intimacy.
And when we lack it, we LONG for it.
Recently, I was reading a book by Beth Moore where she shared an insightful perspective on what causes a lack of intimacy. (To be clear, what she was referring to was a lack of intimacy with God. But I believe her wisdom can be expanded to the rest of our relationships.)
She said, “Imagine being on an extended backpacking trip with someone where ground rules were set for complete freedom of conversation as long as no one asked any questions. Talk your tongues dry but no inquires allowed. Not even a basic, ‘How are you feeling?’ Or ‘You getting hungry?’ An interchange of statements would go well enough for a while, but, sooner or later, you’d no longer be talking with one another. You’d simply be listening to one another. That’s not dialogue. That’s diatribe.”
Diatribe isn’t dialogue. And while dialogue doesn’t GUARANTEE intimacy, you can NOT have intimacy (with God, yourself, OR other people) without some kind of honest dialogue.
When clients come to see me for therapy, they can be sure about one thing - I’m going to ask them questions. And yes...one of the questions will most likely be some version of the infamous, “How does that make you feel?” (I know. SO cliche. But it’s my job, people.)
Do you know what often happens when I ask clients this question?
They tear up.
Not all of them.
And not all the time.
But it happens.
And I’m not talking about wailing and falling apart, here. Sometimes, only a tear or 2 is shed. (We therapists have tissue boxes for a reason...but they aren’t always wiping away sad tears.)
Sometimes clients dab tears simply because they feel...well...FELT!
And that’s kind of the point, right?! I want my clients to know that I genuinely care about them!(They’re probably not gonna come back if they don’t believe that.)
Within the first few sessions I have with clients, I encourage them to begin asking themselves questions between sessions. Questions like, “How am I feeling?” Or, “What’s going on inside right now?” And, “What prompted me to behave the way I did?”
After Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree in Chapter 3 of Genesis, God went walking in the garden. And He called to them, “Where are you?”...
(I mean - He’s God, right? So He already knew the answer to that question).
But do YOU? Do YOU check in with yourself on a regular basis? I would encourage you to start inquiring of your own heart - “Where are you?” And, “What are you feeling?”
If we desire intimacy (with anyone), we have to begin by having an honest dialogue with ourselves...
So...where are you??