These insights all come directly from things my psychologist said and indirectly from books I’ve read. One insight for each of the three sessions I’ve had.
The first insight is that my love for myself is conditional. If I do well and please people, I like myself and am happy with myself. But as soon as I do something wrong or hurt someone, I am livid at myself and internally tear myself to shreds.
I need to learn to love myself fiercely no matter what. I need to remember my self-worth does not depend on perfection, performance or people-pleasing.
The second insight is that there are some things about myself that I’m secure in. This gives me hope because it means I can eventually be secure as a whole person.
When I make a mistake or hurt people, I’m not secure in myself. One little failure can shake my whole sense of self-worth. But when my psychologist asked me about my strengths, she helped me see that there are certain things about myself that I am secure in.
I told my psychologist I’m a good listener. She asked me if I had a moment where I wasn’t listening and someone pulled me up about it, would I question if I was a good listener. I said no because I know in myself that overall I am a good listener. This made me realise I need to apply this attitude to all of me. Just because I make one mistake doesn’t mean I’m a bad person.
This is something Brene Brown’s book, I Thought It Was Just Me But It Isn’t , helped me with too. I don’t have to aim at perfection. Instead of saying, ‘I’m going to kind all the time,’ I can say ‘I will be as kind as I can,’ then it doesn’t matter if I have an unkind moment because I’m still overall a kind person.
So I need to learn to not blow up mistakes and make them a reflection of who I am as a person. They don’t define me. I am bigger than them.
The third insight is that even when everything seems bad and I do something wrong, I can still control how I see myself. I can’t control how other people see me or how I affect people, but I don’t ever have to let them control how I feel about myself
It’s really hard to do when you’re in that moment of intense emotion where you feel like the worst person alive, but my psychologist showed me that it is possible. Man’s Search for Meaning also helped with this because it showed me that nothing can take away a person’s dignity or their freedom to decide what they will do and how they see things. So the responsibility is on me to not let my circumstances to control me.
I need to remember I am bigger than my circumstances and the opinions of people. I need to keep being me in those moments where everything feels wrong, instead of go to pieces in a shattering of self. I need to remember I’m still worthy and needed, and to just keep going.