When I attended a weekend seminar on depression, I wondered where the main speaker went for advice. Where does the counselor go for counsel? He had so much wisdom and experience to give, and I respect him so much that I almost put him on an unfair, high pedestal. But of course he’s human, and needs input from other people.
Then when I trained to become a massage therapist, I started wondering where does the therapist go for therapy?
I don’t know how our present generation compares with former ones. I only know that me and my peers tend to think we’re pretty well-informed on every subject, and we can spout off ideas and opinions, and we think the world owes us an audience. I think it’s partially connected to the narcissistic behavior we can adopt on blogs and social media.
That said, we do have good things to learn from each other. We CAN build up each other, inform, teach, advise. At the same time, I want always to be able to listen, to be taught, to know my own mind but to acknowledge that my perspective is limited and even flawed.
Every counselor needs a counselor. Every therapist needs a therapist. And EVERYone needs a mentor.
My mentor is a wise lady who, several years ago, asked me a pivotal question that changed my life direction. She’s a gift because I didn’t go out to look for her. She saw me and pursued me and even when she saw how ugly and messed up I was, she didn’t cringe or flinch. I don’t live near her, but at least a couple times a year, I email her with my current questions and issues. She answers with insight and calmness that heals me like little else does. And she keeps me from being dependent on her, because she keeps pointing me to God and what He’s up to.
When I’m afraid that I’m using her, she reminds me that God uses people to help people, and that she wants to hear back from me.
I say this here because EVERYone needs someone like this in their life. You might have to ask someone to be your mentor. You might have to make the first move, and tell someone that you really need them to give you perspective and advice on your big issues. And don’t kid yourself–you’ve got issues. If you don’t think you do, ask yourself why you got so angry the last time someone disappointed you. Or why you heard yourself talking to/thinking about your co-worker or sister or boss in a less-than-loving way.
I’m not talking about slotting into the touchy-feely world where you only think about your feelings and experiences. You can give, and give well, but you can never know so much or have so much experience that you don’t need others to help you.
My old wrinkly-faced friend Pepita used to tell me, “The day you stop learning, your toes curl up.” She was over 90, so she should’ve known.