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What does it mean to be a “person with a person”?

What does it mean to be a “person with a person”?
March 14, 2018 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #600 – “What does it mean to be a ‘person with a person’ in Focusing, and in daily life?”


Tina writes:

I felt very touched hearing you recount at Gene’s memorial how he said about “being a person with a person.” I wonder if you could share how you experience that phrase while engaging in Focusing, and in daily living?

Dear Tina:

Thank you for recalling the eulogy I gave last August at the Memorial for by beloved mentor Eugene Gendlin, the creator of Focusing, who I knew as a friend and colleague for 45 years.

If people want to see a video of that 16-minute eulogy, it is here.

The quote you are talking about, Tina, is from a talk that Gene gave in 1989, called “The Small Steps of the Therapy Process: How They Come and How to Help Them Come.”

It was at the very beginning of his talk that he said these beautiful words:

I want to start with the most important thing I have to say: The essence of working with another person is to be present as a living being. And that is lucky, because if we had to be smart, or good, or mature, or wise, then we would probably be in trouble. But, what matters is not that. What matters is to be a human being with another human being, to recognize the other person as another being in there.

I find Gene’s advice deeply comforting and profoundly calming. The way I take in what he said, and the way I live it every day, is: I am enough.

Just as I am, flaws and all, I am enough.

And what is needed, both for my own Focusing (being with me) and for my contacts with other people, is that I am here.

I am here… of course as myself… and I am willing to be here with you.

I am interested in who you are… and I already know that you are someone too. You are someone unique… interesting… to be discovered… just as I am.

I hope that’s the kind of thing you wanted to hear, Tina!

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