People come to therapy for a number of different reasons. Frequently they are struggling with something and they want support or guidance. I feel honored to do the work that I do and grateful to my clients for allowing me to accompany them on their journeys. For some reason, there is still shame around not being able to get through a struggle on one’s own or even struggling. One of the most important things that I try to convey to my clients is that they are not alone and that they exist.
When we feel unheard, unsupported and unloved and we all struggle with these feelings at some point in our lives, it’s important to know that to someone else, anyone else, that we matter, we exist. During times when all is well, it’s also important to know that we exist. David Isay of NPR’s Story Corp, agrees. Here is a link to his amazing talk at TED.
Isay said, “In 1998, I made a documentary about the last flophouse hotels on the Bowery in Manhattan. Guys stayed up in these cheap hotels for decades. They lived in cubicles the size of prison cells covered with chicken wire so you couldn’t jump from one room into the next. Later, I wrote a book on the men with the photographer Harvey Wang. I remember walking into a flophouse with an early version of the book and showing one of the guys his page. He stood there staring at it in silence, then he grabbed the book out of my hand and started running down the long, narrow hallway holding it over his head shouting, “I exist! I exist.””
Isay’s TED talk is 21 minutes short. It’s filled with so many terrific pieces of wisdom. I want to listen to it over and over again. I hope that you get as much from it as I did and I hope that you know that you too, exist.
Contact me here and let me know if you could tell someone that they exist, who would it be and what would you say?