This I Believe

Stephanie - Boulder, Colorado
Entered on October 5, 2006

I believe in the power of human expression to link people together in a network of truth and trust.

Individual expression is everyone’s God given capacity, divinely intended to build a human family. It is an antidote to depression. It can soften the criminal, instill faith, and ignite the flames of love. It costs nothing and is always available.

True expression cuts through all barriers. Even infants respond to truthful communication. One newborn, who refused to eat after a difficult birth, listened attentively as I spoke to him about his struggle. He then proceeded to nurse, and continued to do so, gaining long awaited pounds over the next few days. I can only attribute this shift to the power of accurate mirroring, attunement, and the recognition of his suffeing. This was all it took to restore his impulse to live.

I believe in the outpouring of natural expression that I have seen shift the greatest sadness time and again. Openness evokes the oneness that is our truth and thereby draws the reward of recognition.

A series of poems that I wrote as a young adult spoke of my deep despair at that time because of the violence and incest in my family of origin. Writing the poems saved me from suicidal ideation and ongoing unhappiness. Then they won an award giving me the feeling of being seen and heard, and eager to make a contribution to society.

Honest expression promotes forgiveness. The heart opens to truth. A genuine gesture cuts through thick shields of defensiveness, erected against pain. Forgiveness flows from the roots of spirit and nourishes the heart. No matter the magnitude of affliction, loving communication is the most profound healer.

I believe we are all great artists and that the greatest art is loving expression. It can mend irreparable tears in the fabric of families A man who had been shut down, closed to warmth, and almost completely withdrawn realized that he was behaving precisely as his own father had behaved. Awakening to this, he apologized to his entire family, but especially to his eldest son who had spent so many years without his father’s love. He begged for his son’s compassion and while it was first refused, ultimately his son softened to the truth in his father’s eyes, words and touch. The men embraced, ending generations of alienation.

As a psychologist who has spent many years witnessing the consequences of betrayal, abandonment and human cruelty, my faith in the power of genuine expression is unwavering. Expression that flows freely and authentically from the heart is like an endless well of hope. It is the most graceful, loving and artful reaching out to others that exists. It reveals faith in humanity and th essence of what it is to be human.