I love when clients share a great metaphor or a unique perspective. I enjoy seeing the different ways that people see and understand the world. That happened the other day in session with a client that I was seeing for just the second time. We had a good initial session and now she was back to really start digging into things.
As we started our second session my client shared that she told a friend that she felt like since the first session things had been going well and that she had “smoothed the wrinkles out of her rug.” She said she was a little apprehensive to peek under the rug because she knew that it probably wasn’t as neat and tidy as the smooth rug might imply. She said her friend thought for a moment and replied by saying, “that may be true. But what if you discover a golden nugget under there?”
I’ll admit my first reaction was to think that if it had been my friend I would have wanted to shake my head and roll my eyes. But at the same time I would have had to, albeit grudgingly, acknowledge the wisdom in that comment. Because the truth is, that is exactly why people bother with therapy.
I believe few people, if anyone, thinks, “Hey, you know what would be fun? To drag up all kinds of things from my life that I didn’t know about myself or I would like to change or that have been challenging. Yeah, let’s do that.” Rather, people come to therapy because they want to change. And they hope that by looking under the rug they will find a golden nugget. That golden nugget might be an insight that helps them do something differently. Or maybe it is discovering a strength in themself that they hadn’t recognized. Maybe they’ll get new understanding about their relationship with a partner or a family member or a friend.
So the next time you consider taking a look below the surface of your life, don’t spend your energy thinking about what messy things might be under the rug. Instead, think about the unknown for forgotten treasures you might find. Maybe you’ll come away with a golden nugget.