We often use the word ‘work’ when we talk about therapy. Doing inner work. Doing our work. Working on our problems.
There is a level of work required.
Therapy is a practice that unfolds over time.
We need to go to our sessions. Regularly.
We need to try to say what is on our mind. To consider our therapist’s response. To take risks. Maybe small ones. But we do need to push ourselves. A bit.
But working too hard doubles back on itself. If we work too hard we are telling ourselves: you aren’t alright just as you are. You need to try harder.
This is a self-defeating message.
You might say - no, it’s not. I definitely have such and such a problem and it needs to be fixed.
This might very well be true. It might be true that you hope for something from therapy. But you need to hold yourself with kindness. To take in some of your therapist’s stance towards you and care and attend to yourself with understanding that you are how you are for a very good reason. And that you, as you are, are exactly enough.
Pushing too hard will get in the way of the work. The tender and vulnerable parts of you that need to come out - those parts won’t respond to pushing.
My zen teacher once said, “Sit on the forward edge of your cushion."
This is, of course, a paradox. Try, but don’t try.
This is the fruitful edge of the “work”.
To support the work of this site, sign up for my email list here.