In a memorable moment in graduate school, my professor said, “A good social worker needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” I knew instantly that it was true. It is helpful and necessary in my job to say things, make suggestions, offer observations, provide encouragement, and form recommendations. However, it’s not enough. I believe that a really great therapist needs to be willing to do the very things he or she endorses. It’s a worthwhile endeavor that I’m trying for, and maybe sometimes achieving.
While I certainly do not want to dominate therapy with talking about myself, I do want to at least acknowledge that I’m a human too. I have things I work on in life. I’m a fellow traveler in this journey through a complicated human existence. As much as possible, I’m trying to do the same level of reflection, self-compassion, mindfulness, and effective communication that I’m advocating for in my office everyday.
It is hard at times to lead a life that is tuned-in to ourselves and to others. To “walk the walk” in our parenting, our jobs, our relationships means always looking at how well your words and your actions are matching up. It requires a lot of patient reminders to ourselves to be aware, pay attention. You really have to give yourself credit for when you can rise to this challenge, and compassion for when you realize that you can’t do it one hundred percent of the time. So, be kind to yourself while walking out there. Tell you what… I’ll do the same.