A Headshrinker's Guide to the Galaxy

Psychoanalytic wisdom for everyday life

Words to Live By Part 3: Just Let Go

Becoming free to be your best self

This post showed up on my Facebook and really captured my attention:  “It took awhile to understand the beauty of just letting go.”  By George, I think I have found Words To Live By #3!

These words got me thinking that there are essentially two types of people who come to therapy—just like there are pretty much two types of people in life.  Some are kites and some are strings. 

Kites are the ones who fly freely in the wind—they are the dreamers, the adventurers, the excitement seekers, the entrepreneurs.  They have a lot of fun.  They learn from experience—by trying and failing, then trying again.  Impulse-to-action kinds of people, they come to therapy in need of grounding and discipline.  They need to learn how to think, to deliberate, to wait, and to take their time. 

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Kite-people are both frustrated and grateful to find in their therapist a helpful string counterpart.  Frustrated because they often feel held back.  Grateful because the grounding allows direction, reliability, and staying power to their kite-in-flight.  For the truth is that a kite cannot fly effectively without a strong tether.

Strings are the ones who hold things together—they are the anchors, the rocks, the lovers of routine, the still waters that run deep.  They pay their bills on time, get a gold watch after 30 years of service, and are home-base for the dreamers in their lives.  Measure-twice-cut-once kinds of people, they come to therapy in need of courage and liveliness.  They need to learn how to let go, to take a chance, to discover their own passion, and to let their light shine. 

Just like kite-people, string-people are both frustrated and grateful to find in their therapists a helpful foil.  Frustrated because the kite-like encouragement from the therapist feels like it does not appreciate the great risks involved.  Grateful because the push out of the nest gives them a chance to really fly.  For it is also true that a kite cannot fly effectively unless it gets off the ground.

I know I am always talking in my blog about balance, but here it is again!  Balance is so essential to a well-lived life that we find it anew at every turn.  While it is helpful to find in another person that counterpart to our natural tendencies, we each need to develop in own selves a kind of balance that allows us to take full flight.  Inside, we need to build up the yin to our yang—the kite to our string or the string to our kite.

As a therapist, I find it so fulfilling to help someone develop this kind of internal balance.  To see a kite-person develop his inner string—or a string-person find her inner kite—is a pleasure indeed.

I smile when I think of the young adult who had been so tied to his parents, developing the courage to move out into his first apartment.  Or the woman who never could sit still, developing a slower pace and a better friendship with herself.  Or the man who had one girlfriend after another, finding the value of commitment and fidelity.  I also feel so pleased when I think of the too serious mother who thought she could never relate with her teenage children, learning how to lighten up and send a text and take a joke.  Or the good, responsible girl learning to have some fun.  Or the scared-of-his-own shadow man starting his own business.

To me, these changes are indeed things of beauty.  For they mean that a person has grown more fully into themselves.  By developing their under-developed side, they become more free just to be.

Copyright 2012  Jennifer Kunst, Ph.D.

Like it!  Tweet it!  Comment on it!

Jennifer Kunst, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, working with adults and couples in her private practice in Pasadena, CA.

more...

Subscribe to A Headshrinker's Guide to the Galaxy

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?