It’s always interesting when a new fish is dropped into the bowl. People react. The energy and the dynamic of the group changes almost instantly. This happens in any group, not just therapy groups. Dinners, parties, classrooms. As a therapist, I have to notice these changes and what is being triggered in each member, including in myself. The other day, someone with Aspergers joined the group for the first time. He is currently working on social skills. As I predicted, the temperature of the group instantly changed. No one had to say anything. You could tell what each member’s opinion was of this person or their opinion on him joining the group just by their body language. Things got awkward. There was resistance. Even in myself, I felt my patience growing thin. I felt like I was losing control which is not good because I don’t believe in controlling groups. The new member stood up and decided to leave. He said he was tired and needed some rest and that he may come back later. I’m not sure if that was his truth or an excuse because he felt unwelcomed or uncomfortable. Just as he stood up to leave, a male member shouted out “I love you, man”.
It was not a joking “I love you”. It was a very sincere one, like what an older brother would say to his younger one. Or a father to son. As if a tire has just been popped, those three words changed the direction of group instantly. You could feel the energy being lifted as if a wind just came through the windows. It was strange. Powerful. I congratulated the member for attending group and told him he was courageous. I invited him to come back and attend more often. But the true courage was from the male that said “I love you”. He put himself in a vulnerable situation. He put someone else in front of him. Those three words he announced made everyone check themselves, including me. Why didn’t I have the courage to say that? I’m running a “Love Hard” campaign for God sakes. Did I feel that I was too cool to say that? Was I hiding behind my therapist shield? At that moment, there was no Asbergers. There was no addiction. One’s decision to love hard peeled all labels and what was left was a group of people trying to overcome something. For me, society’s definition of therapist. The point of my story is this.
Life is about love. Finding love. Losing love. Rediscovering love. Healing from love. Redefining love. Spreading love. It doesn’t matter in what capacity. Romantic, platonic, blood. This group reminded me the power of love. There is nothing more powerful. I also believe in the power of stories and I am sharing this one to remind you to love hard. Be the person that changes the temperature of the room.
Keep leaning forward,