Orthodox confession is the only relationship that I can think of that mirrors therapy in as much as we have no concrete evidence regarding our analysts or our priests personal life. Are they married, are they straight, do they have children? Even your thoughts about their life are projections from the self waiting to be interpreted. It is both peculiar and familiar that after 3 years I still, very occasionally, ask a direct question. The questions I ask are hinged with sarcasm and knowing as I may say “Well I have worked out that you are straight by now.” These feeble attempts always bring a wry smile to my therapists face and the enjoyment for me is studying my analyst and watching him trying to hide any evidence. It feels very child like but I think he enjoys it just as much as I do. It’s as though we both secretly and humbly get the gig.
So all we are left with is our own projections regarding our therapists life. This in itself is so crucial and the lesson can be applied to so many relational situations we encounter every day. The example that leaps out at me is “I can’t believe he/she has done that”. “I” being full of preconceived notions of how things should be done. “Can’t believe” My beliefs are fixed and different from yours. Taken to an extreme we can be continuously surprised and angry at how others behave, think or even feel.
When this lesson has been understood we can then apply this concept to the different parts of our own psyche which may enable us to be more kind to ourselves. “I can understand why that part of me would feel threatened by this or that situation” or “I am not surprised I have kicked myself in over this”. This kind of empathy shown to oneself can be simply put as learning to laugh at yourself but I think that it is more complex than that. It’s being able to laugh, cry or be anxious at yourself. The important thing is that you are there for yourself.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense ~ Buddha