I’ve had a lot of clients "break up" with me over the years, with out as much as a "goodbye" or a "thank you."
I have a confession: It hurts.
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You might think this kind of thing is no big deal -- after all it comes with the territory. Professionals learn to block and repress these kinds of feelings, right? You can’t really hurt your coach or therapist, can you?
Well, you can! Even football players get their feelings hurt.
The truth is (for this coach) it does hurt to be “dumped” by a client. Definition of dumped? To be dropped without notice or communication.
People tend to think that getting paid to do something somehow makes you impervious to hurt -- and I’m here to tell you it does not. Sure, I’m masterful at dealing with what I feel and owning my feelings, but that doesn’t change the fact that it feels bad when clients (whom I care deeply about) leave without notice.
Of course I understand all of the reasons why people do this; it’s my job to understand why. I know that clients have a hard time with “goodbye.” I’m aware that they’re afraid to hurt their therapists, or don’t know how to articulate (gently) that it’s not working anymore. Sometimes it’s the positive things they can’t say – such as your caring and guidance has helped them feel whole and they’re ready to move on.
What clients miss is that this key communication, as challenging as it may be, closes the circle of relationship and enforces a valuable skill. Learning to say goodbye, to close ties, and move on when the time is right, is as important a skill as learning to surrender into love.
Saying goodbye makes it possible for you to move forward with a clear mind and heart– and step into what’s next without psychic entanglement. Saying goodbye gives your coach or therapist an opportunity to learn something of value from your feedback, and to express his or her gratitude and caring.
To not as much as email your coach or therapist to break it off, leaves you holding onto an unfinished action. There is a door left open, and a person on the other side of that door wondering what went wrong. It’s not empowering for you and it doesn’t honor the process of relationship.
Saying goodbye is never easy, but essential if we are to move forward. If you need to let go of your coach or therapist, find your truth (that truth that is personal and non-confrontational), and share it by email or phone.
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Thank this person for his or her contribution to your life. I assure you that this one action will increase your personal power, and make it possible for you to dive more deeply into any relationship without fear of entanglement or letting go.
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