Not too long ago, I found myself interviewing for a new job (spoiler alert: I got it!). As I talked with my future coworkers on the phone, all the possibilities came to life as I imagined myself in this workplace with these people. This job was exactly what I was hoping for. It seemed too good to be true, until a bomb was dropped…
If I got the job, I would have the massive corner office.
That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Out loud, I mumbled something about how amazing that would be. Internally, though, I laughed, because I knew immediately that this would trigger my ultimate fear: being too much for the people and places and spaces in my life.
Immediately, a good and creative part of me longed to fill the space in a way that would reflect my truest self and would welcome clients into the sacred process of facing their fear, discovering their courage, and finding their truest self, as well. But the other part of me? The part in charge of protecting my truest self? That part panicked.
Because being ourselves within any space is terrifying, and vulnerable, and exposing.
Because if I fill space and I’m big, and fully me, and vulnerable, and alive, maybe it will be too much. Too much for my coworkers. Too much for my family. Too much for my friends. Too much for anyone.
On the other hand, maybe my “too much” is not enough. Because having the biggest office at my new job means maybe I have something of worth to offer, and, like most of us, many days I have to remind myself that that is true.
Three months after that phone call, I’m standing in the doorway of my new office, looking at the great expanse of hardwood floors, feeling as if in that doorway I’m standing on the threshold of an invitation. Either I choose to be small, attempting to hide somewhere in the big, open space, or I choose to accept the invitation to fill it. I want to say that the decision was easy…but it wasn’t. Vulnerability rarely is.
As I stand there, though, I’m grateful for the reminder that, more often than not, this is what beginning therapy feels like: you enter a strange new space and wonder if it can handle all of you. Then, slowly, you discover: the filling of the space leads to a fulfilling of you. When our truth can be witnessed and known, that is a beginning of the journey towards healing. In many ways, therapy is like my bare office. It’s an invitation to be known, and even though it can be a difficult invitation to accept, beauty awaits. The beauty of you.
Fast forward to today: I’m working in a job I love with people who are creative, soulful, imperfect, and compassionate, and who already feel much more like co-travelers than co-workers on this life journey. And my “big” office looks a lot like me:
It’s full of the things that give me life while reflecting my soul—color, art, books, and nature. My throw pillows on the sofa are intentionally mismatched, and my desk is already fluctuating between immaculate and cluttered. There is a vulnerability to it all, knowing that others can see it, too…can see me, too.
But that’s what therapy spaces are for. And what I know now is this: this particular therapy space is big enough for me and for you, so I invite you to fill the space with you.
The beauty of you awaits your response.
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