You Are Good.
It was a transformative moment in my life when, just as I was beginning my own counseling journey nine years ago, my counselor gently reminded me that I am good. He didn't say it in those words exactly, but like any good counselor, he rather suggested it, and let me do the work myself. In many ways, that insight marked a new beginning for me, and paved the way for everything that was to come.
You Are Good. A simple, yet profound statement. Somehow it's a message we don't hear very often, much less embrace as truth. Whether it's advertisements, social media, religious doctrine, our families, the news, or countless other influences, we are often bombarded by messages that deny and diminish our inherent goodness. What would happen if we actually believed our goodness was true?
Carl Rogers, a psychologist whom many consider the "father of psychotherapy" in America, wrote that "I'm not perfect...but I'm enough." His approach to counseling, called "person-centered" (or "client-centered"), always maintains an eye toward the goodness and potential of each client. Without avoiding or undermining the reality of pain, difficulty, and challenges of life, Rogers believed that approaching clients with genuineness, unconditional acceptance, and accurate empathy could create a transformative therapeutic environment for clients to uncover (or rediscover) their truest selves.
Call me an idealist, but I believe our truest selves are inherently good. Yes, there is much in the world that suggests otherwise, and often these messages become embedded in our worldview and self-understanding. Pain, suffering, injustice, and hardship are real. They deserve our attention, and they deserve our efforts to overcome them. Perhaps embracing the fact that we are good - and just as importantly, believing that others are good as well - can be what anchors us and motivates us as we work toward change, healing, and wholeness in our lives and in our world.
As a counselor, I am committed to seeing and embracing the goodness inherent in each client that I work with. Like Rogers, I believe that genuineness, acceptance, and empathy are necessary to create an environment of growth and healing - one that fosters the recognition of goodness and potential. Meeting clients where they are, amidst all the messiness and hardships of life, I hold to goodness as a reminder that pain will not have the final word.
Whoever and wherever you are at this moment, whatever challenges you may be going through, and whether you believe it or not, hear these words today:
You Are Good.
Let's begin there.