The more you welcome your vulnerability, the less afraid you’ll feel.

Wendell in Maybe you should talk to someone by Lori Gottlieb.

Talking to someone is one of the most daring things that we all do on a regular basis. As we utter words, we lay our thoughts bare in front of another. It gets all the more intimidating as the filter between our thoughts and speech is removed. In that emotional nakedness is a vulnerability that is also very brave, because that is when we show ourselves as we are. Lori Gottlieb’s delightful, intimate collection of memories in Maybe you should talk to someone is a celebration of such priceless moments of vulnerability.

Lori’s anecdotes are presented in a fragmented non linear format. This gives a feel of what goes on in therapy, and how the pieces of a human are put together gradually, over time, with compassion and care. In her chapters, she takes us through some moments in that process- moments when Lori adds her own touch to the lives of other people, only to realize later, in retrospect, how every person she encountered had left a mark in her story. Quite often, these marks were not just memories. Rather, they influenced the narrative of life, as Lori puts it:

This leaves us with a string of very ordinary, mundane yet powerful life experiences. We see stories of people, trapped by their circumstances, setting themselves free enough to make the best of their circumstances. Therapy, in all its figurative unpacking, helps us to come in terms with one of the greatest paradoxes of life, as Wendell, Lori’s therapist puts it:

Lori is on both sides of therapy – as a therapist and as a person who goes for therapy. This way, therapy takes center stage in her story. She explains the titular suggestion with her experiences only to remind us the magic of the other- of how we need another soul to cling onto. In all its enigma, she reveals how therapy is more like an experience of human connection, a mutual process, in which one gets reconnected to one’s own humanity, through the other. It is in the safety of our own humanity that we get to do all the good things in life.

Ultimately, this book is a slice of Lori’s life, just like an hour of therapy. Like therapy, this book is all about the here-now, the moments in that part of her life. The past doesn’t hold her or any of her people hostage, it just informs their present. Like with her life, Lori shows us how therapy helps us edit our narratives, so as to enrich the stories we tell.

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