You Have To Swallow Water To Learn To Swim

Tom Kearns

As a friend, parent, boss or therapist, it is important to know how to let people grow.

We have to give others permission to stumble and make mistakes. This is the process of growing up.

People need to fail the test, not get the date, lose the game, score the winning goal, land the part, and miss out on the job.

The person has to live in the world.

Therapy, coaching, parenting, or mentoring can help make the experiences more meaningful and purposeful, but this alone is too empty for it is purely intellectual like reciting phrases.

What we must do as supporters is become an ally of the individual. Have them find out if what they wish for can be done or that it cant be done (as long as it does not have permanent injury!). And be there to help and guide along the way.

So get a part of you that can feel where the person is, and join them in their place. Let them try to reach for their wish with you along for the ride. Even if painful, and it might be painful, they will find out themselves you sometimes have to swallow water if you want to swim.

Tom Kearns, LMSW