The Humble Therapist
Be humble, be brave.
These 4 words are a road map for life. For how to be; personally, professionally, humanly.
When we humble ourselves, as healers, we approach our work with clients with a greater sense of empathy and compassion. We recognize that we do not know it all and that healing is a journey, not a lecture. We approach our work with immense respect and gratitude for the opportunity to walk along someone’s path. To journey with them. For they invited us onto their path to help with their mess… But we are not omnipotent and don’t have all the answers.
The word humble comes from the Latin root word “hum” which is the root word for “ground, earth, soil”. What we call ourselves as creatures of this planet, “human” is rooted in the fact that we come from dirt and soil. That we are products of the earth and the soil beneath us.
Humility, a derivative of “hum” and “human” means “to be small”. Small in your ego. It means to be neither full of pride nor self degradation. It is to act in accordance with the smallness of your being. To not act out of ego or want. To not believe yourself to be bigger and more powerful than you are. To remember that you came from the earth, like all other creatures and organisms you share this planet and space with. You are no greater, nor lesser than anyone or anything else here. So don’t let your ego make you out to be more important than the mud and dirt you came from.
To be humble means to keep in your awareness that in the great spectrum of the universe, you are less than a blink of the eye. You are a brief moment in time in the many many moments in time that make up the universe. This is not to say you are insignificant or worthless. Rather to remain aware of your space and time, and the dirt that makes up who you are, is to honor the vastness that has come before you, that exists before you, and that will continue to exist when you are long gone.
“Being humble is reminding yourself that you are a drop in the bucket.”
It means remembering that you are mortal and finite. That you are vulnerable and messy…Just like every other living thing that has come from the dirt and soil of this earth within this universe. It reminds you that you are imperfect, so don’t pretend to be perfect. Don’t even strive for perfection. Strive to make mistakes as the messy little creature that you are.
Recognize there is more that you don’t know, than you do know. That you are flawed. That you are biased. That you are forever learning.
What does it mean to be brave? How can you be humble and brave at once? These concepts are not in opposition. Do not mistake humility as requiring a lack of bravery. To be brave means to have courage. To recognize the fear and show up. To step forward even though there is fear and persist through unpleasant times and experiences. Being brave often means that you are scared, that you feel fear or are fearful of what you are called to do. Being brave therefore is not defined by an absence of fear, but rather having courage to acknowledge the fear and vulnerability, and keep going.
Being brave in our role as healers means that we sit with the vastness of suffering in the world and in our offices, and we recognize that it can feel scary and vulnerable to support others on their journey.
“What if I do it wrong? How do I do this right? What if I break my client? How do I know when to do what?”. These thoughts are in fact the voice of your humble self in therapy. But that humble self can also be consumed by the fear, leading you away from bravery and the possibility of healing, and towards a thwarted and frozen helper who is too scared to try.
Can you journey through your life and the lives of others, without a big ego but with a big brave heart instead? Can you hold space for the fear and vulnerability, but keep going and trying regardless? Can you be small in your ego but big in your compassionate courage?
Having a big ego will not get you a brave heart. For your heart will be acting out of ego rather than fearless compassion and faith. The ego acts with self interest and a desire to be rewarded and praised. The brave heart acts out of the good for others, out of a desire for perseverance and overcoming the darkness.
Welcome to The Humble Therapist. Where being humble and brave is a part of our journey together as healers.