One of the biggest mistakes I made earlier my career was not reaching out for help and support when needed. It was hard for me at the time to go from being the one everyone turned to for help to acknowledging I was a hot mess inside. The moral of the story goes, taking this approach did not work out so well for me. I now have real life experience with 'going off the rails'.
I have numerous therapists, and those in other helping professions, as clients. I genuinely appreciate their vulnerability in coming to see me and tell them so. I inform them I have nothing but the utmost respect for them in coming in to work on themselves. It is those who refuse to do so who worry me.
Perfectionism perpetuates fear and shame
All of us who are therapists, coaches, writers, motivators are just people doing the best they can, nothing more. Yes. We have an obligation to maintain a certain level of health for our clients, but perfection is not a prerequisite for helping others.
A few years back, I went through a divorce. One of my specialties is couple's therapy. The majority of my clients are referrals from other clients - you have to go see John. No pressure;) During this process, my old nemesis, shame, wanted to rear its ugly head. I started to feel like an imposter. Here I was helping all these couples restore their relationship, while mine was failing.
Connection undoes aloneness
Fortunately for me, my mentor intervened and prevented me from falling into this trap. He disclosed to me how the woman who developed the model of therapy he was teaching me was going through a divorce at the time of his work with her. She was renowned for helping others deal with their emotions and developing secure relationships. He told me she said to him, "At the end of the day, I'm just another person."
There was something about the story he shared that pulled me right out of any sense of shame and inadequacy I was feeling. It was my vulnerability in disclosing my shame, his in sharing the story, and his mentors in exposing an intimate part of her that lead to freeing me.
Stop judging and take the risk
We all need each other. We are all pretty much doing the best we can. Stop putting on your best front. Quit judging others. At the risk of sounding a little Kum Ba Yah Ish, start exercising a higher level of kindness and vulnerability. This my not immediately change the world. But I can tell you from first hand experience, it will change yours. Like it or not, when all is said and done, we all need each other.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.