You do work that matters.
You do work that matters and makes a difference. Sometimes this is really clear and at other times you just might not feel it.
I am taking a moment to notice what you do and to encourage you to join me.
Therapy and healing work is hard. It’s personal, it’s challenging. It is a journey that can take you to strange worlds and incomprehensible experiences. It can be fraught with pain and grief.
It is also profoundly inspiring and moving, and can be full of discovery and joy. Being a part of clients’ transformations is a gift and honor. At the same time, it requires a tremendous amount of energy and investment from us.
I have received deeply meaningful thanks directly from clients, and you may have as well. I have also received appreciation in the form of clients sharing about positive change or inspiration, acknowledgment from clients’ parents or significant others, and I even once had a donation made in my honor.
Expressions of gratitude come more frequently and more directly for me in private practice than in other work settings where they came minimally or infrequently, and I also know that a great deal of therapists’ work goes both unrecognized and underappreciated.
Honoring all the appreciation that is not spoken or expressed directly to you, and knowing that you give so much – thank you.
I also want to offer the idea that when we take the time to notice and appreciate what we do, it is not only self-nurturing but also supports our professional growth. By integrating appreciation for ourselves, perhaps we deepen our capacity for compassion for others.
Shall we take a moment to turn to the body’s wisdom to help integrate a sense of appreciation?
YOUR BODY KNOWS
Read through the guidelines below and then spend as much or as little time as you’d like exploring the ideas. First, get comfortable and relax.
First, get comfortable. Take some nurturing inhales and relaxing exhales. Stretch, shake out your hands, sigh. Smile or relax your face. Do what works for you.
1. Remember appreciation.
Take a moment to remember a time when you felt truly and deeply appreciated. It may or may not be related to your professional work. Use your imagination to really connect to the memory. Think about the sights, sounds, smells, the environment, people. Remember what it felt like in your body. Perhaps you feel a sense of expansion or energy, ease or relaxation.
2. Savor it.
Take some time to really enjoy the feeling of being appreciated. As you inhale and exhale, let the feeling deepen and settle into your body. If it feels right, you may play with moving your body. You might stand or walk or make a gesture. It may be a small movement, or you may find yourself wanting to dance for joy!
3. Look at yourself professionally through this lens.
Take a moment to turn your attention to yourself as a therapist or healer. Feel into this sense of you plus appreciation and notice what it’s like. You may notice something that you would like to appreciate about yourself as a professional or you may just sense how you see yourself a little differently.
Appreciation is not a token of merit. It goes beyond saying, “Hey, good job.” It is a way to honor and love not only that which you do, but who you are. Imagine your day lived with a deeper sense of appreciation of you. Imagine how your sense of your work might change.
Imagine the world if we all lived this way.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
– Gautama Buddha
I would love to hear your experience with this exercise. If you’d like to share, please get in touch.
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© 2015 Annabelle F. Coote
You may freely reprint or share this article/exercise. Simply include the following attribution, and if you print online, make the link at the end live:
Article ©2015 Annabelle Coote, Body of Knowledge, all rights reserved. Used with permission. This article and other resources are available at http://firewithinconsulting.com