As I sit listening to Patti Lupone belt out the soundtrack to Gypsy, I am stuck on the lyrics to “Some People.”
“Anybody that stays home is dead
If I die it won’t be from sitting
It will be from fighting to get up and get out!
Some people can get a thrill
knitting sweaters and sitting still.
That’s okay for some people
who don’t know they’re alive.
Some people can thrive and bloom
living life in the living room.
That’s perfect for some people
of one hundred and five.
But I at least gotta try
when I think of all the sights that I gotta see
and all the places I gotta play,
all the things that I gotta be at.”
It’s ironic that this song came on as I wanted to focus on writing about my musings as a therapist and the frustration I have in people just settling. Settling with where the are… settling to not make or accept changes. CHANGE. It’s human nature to be resistant to change. A major life change seems to bring people to therapy in the first place. Change leads to anxiety and grief… but it can lead to opportunity and enrichment of one’s life.
A therapist must have empathy – the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes. To be able to understand what they are feeling and to be there for them, sometimes simply to provide a safe place to tell their story, shed their tears and try to figure out how to find a way to get through what may seem the impossible situation. I am there to listen to help process.. but then at some point I tend to get very frustrated when a person does not embrace their pain and suffering as a gift… Yes… I will be with them through the tears and grief.. but at some point, you need to move beyond that and do something. Be the change in your life. As Patti Lupone sings, it’s about fighting the fight and getting out.
Psychologist Carl Rogers (1902-1987) is one of my heros in the world of psychological theory. It seems that the song from Gypsy mimics my hero’s theories. He is one of the founders of the humanistic approach to psychotherapy. He describes the “fully functioning person” achieving the “good life” by a series of action and beliefs. He believes that one can achieve optimal development. I wonder do most people strive to achieve optimal development, or as Patti sings, are they satisfied with sitting still.
Rogers describes “An increasingly existential lifestyle – living each moment fully – not distorting the moment to fit personality or self concept but allowing personality and self concept to emanate from the experience. This results in excitement, daring, adaptability, tolerance, spontaneity, and a lack of rigidity and suggests a foundation of trust. To open one’s spirit to what is going on now, and discover in that present process whatever structure it appears to have. A rich full life – he describes the life of the fully functioning individual as rich, full and exciting and suggests that they experience joy and pain, love and heartbreak, fear and courage more intensely. Rogers’ description of the good life: This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one’s potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.” (Rogers 1961)
In other words.. get up off your couch and live…..
Are you living your life to it’s full potential.. or are you just settling… and if so can I ask why?
Chose to be that some person who never stops growing and embrace change…. constantly….