During Thursday’s session, the therapist asked me to clarify how I felt about something, but I couldn’t quite find the words. I said, “It just feels…no, I don’t know. I can’t think of the word”
“I know. But I’m trying something new. Sometimes I don’t have the right word or words. But I fill up space anyway with what seems to be my best guess. I don’t want to do that. I want to learn that it’s okay to not always have the answer. It’s okay if I’m not perfectly self-aware at every moment. Sometimes I just don’t know what to say!”
“Yes. And also – sometimes there just are no words. There are certain experiences for which we cannot put words to. And that’s okay.”
“Exactly. Also, I think when I just fill in the words, I set my relationships up for miscommunications. Because the other person is hearing what I’m saying and they think they’re understanding me. But then it’s obvious they don’t get it and I feel so alone and frustrated because I can’t figure out what went wrong. But they are simply responding to what I just told them. So rather than say something just to say something, I want to wait until it feels ready to be said and I have words that better represent my thoughts.”
“Hmm. I think that’s probably a good idea.”
She then shared something about her thoughts on the issue and I didn’t quite get where she was going with it, so I asked if she could expand a little. She kinda sat there for a second, laughed a bit, and said, “I don’t know…but let me try…”
I laughed, too, and told her how great it is when she does that because it is so utterly human. I get like that so often – a place where I can’t quite figure out the right phrasing or wording for something. To see her struggle with the same issues was really helpful for me. It reminds me that my experience of struggling to articulate myself is perhaps just part of the human experience and not a reflection of inherent, unique flaws.