It is impossible to explain or demonstrate how incremental changes arise from small encounters, moments of connection, and poignant experiences in the context of significant relationships. Little by little we change over time until, at some point, we look back and realize that without our experience with that person, our lives would not be as they are. We make different decisions, we perceive things in new ways, and we challenge our habits of being. We are impacted by our interactions with other people, and particularly people who are important to us.
Have you ever had a friend whom you did not see all that often, but who was reliably supportive? You might at some moment, look back and see how much of an impact that friendship has had because you could count on it. We change in deep ways because of the people we choose to include in our lives. We can, over time, learn to trust the responsiveness of our most serious relationships, and then, within that trust, we can begin to disclose our diciest inner experience. To the extent that we are able to find those trustworthy relationships, and we are able to tolerate that level of connection, and we make active use of those interactions, we can grow as human beings. And, just like any organic growth, this process is imperceptibly slow, lurching, and unpredictable.
We will change over our lifetimes. Life happens to us. Other people happen to us. Circumstances happen to us. We cannot control everything, and we cannot control how our lives unfold, much as we would like to. But what we can do is choose which direction we put our energy and resources into. We can choose who we spend our precious time with. We can choose how much we allow other people access to our inner space.
This blog is about long-term therapy. Having had the privilege of accompanying many people on some part of their life’s journey, it is palpably evident to me how different their lives are because they take themselves seriously, they allocate time and money to the project of making a space to be reflective about what is going on deeply inside of them, and they allow themselves to make a relationship with a stranger—me–whose only aim is to promote the unfolding of their natural growth. There is truly no way to put this into words that would make sense to someone who has not seen it.