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Think of Yourself as Your Home


During a session with a client who’s rapidly progressing (though it doesn’t always feel that way to her), I asked if she could think of herself as a home, actually a new home she’s moving into. I admit that one of the joys of my job—and there are many—is watching the “becoming” process from dysfunctional to functional. The idea behind the house analogy is that my client is moving into herself or into being her best self.

Think of what a home represents. First off, you own it. It’s yours, which brings you both freedom and responsibility for it. For example, the joy of owning your home and living there means you can do whatever you want with it within legal limits. There’s no one there to tell you what to do. If you’re self-motivated, that’s not a problem because you want to be in a place that puts your health and well-being first.

Alternately, you could let your house fall into disrepair, but you’ll be unhappy when the roof leaks, the stove doesn’t work, and the toilet is clogged up. You see, the fact that there’s no one there to mind what you do works both for and against you, especially if you’ve spent your life being bossed around by other people, aka your family. You might be so used to having other folks run your show that all you know how to do is either begrudgingly follow their orders or outright rebel against what you’re supposed to do.

When you move into your own house you have choices to make. You have stuff from where you lived previously and want to decide what to bring with you or throw away. There are things you definitely don’t want around any more, that you never want to see again. And there are things you’re not sure about—do they serve you or not? Finally, there are things you never had but always wanted.

Are you getting the drift of the metaphor? Just because you’ve always done something a certain way—turned to food when you’re upset or looked to everyone for approval—doesn’t mean you want to do that in this new place of yours. You’ll want other ways of behaving, perhaps turning to friends or riding out upset and making your own mistakes and not relying on others to tell you what to do every step of the way.

Listening to my client, I thought how she was moving into the self she wished to be— building a new “self” composed of her desires. She recognized it would take time to replace behaviors she used to have with healthier ones and she’d need to keep practicing new skills until they were second nature. The best part of the experience was knowing that though the process would take patience, perseverance and discernment that when she was done moving in, her house would be just what she’d always wanted.