Why Can’t I Just Fix This On My Own?
The answer to the question above is you can, given the know-how.
When I graduated from High School, I was depressed, anxious, and didn’t know a thing about life. I did pretty well in school, with what was taught there, but nobody taught me about what was really important – how to keep myself emotionally stable.
At that time, my family didn’t deal with my emotions. If you acted out you were sent to your room. You ultimately had to conform to their rules. It was due to my anxiety that I was forced into therapy and deal with my emotional health, about a decade later, stunted emotionally, angry at the world, and feeling that others were much better than me.
I didn’t know how to fix myself. I just believed that in order to be happy I needed to look, act, and think like everyone else. Well, that sure sent me into a brick wall. But, at least I was on a path, a path of self-discovery. Who was I back then? I didn’t know. I was what I thought they wanted me to be and became a chameleon. Learning how to like myself, and then eventually love myself unconditionally has opened up a world of mental health and stability. The bottom line, when you understand how to address your thoughts and feelings, and literally embrace them, a whole different world opens up to you. The world of infinite possibilities.
We are only as strong as our emotional makeup. If you think that working only on your thoughts is what is important, well.. think again. If you think that changing others will give you relief, you are missing the mark. What happens if they don’t change? In fact, have they ever changed? And, if so, for how long? People are doing the best that they can and to be honest your healing has nothing to do with them because the real issue is how you are with you.
Let’s face it – We are a victim of our past. The biggest part of therapy is the process of unlearning. We come from a family system that taught us, basically how to think and act. It is not uncommon for us to outgrow our family system and see the detriments of being a follower of what the family has always dictated. Here comes the push-pull of being your own self or a family clone. Conforming can happen to a point but after a while, you will lose a sense of who you really are. Being your own person takes commitment and strength, but it can be done, given the proper support.
Of course, you are probably thinking that this article is a lofty way of a therapist recommending therapy but think again. Self-help can lead you down the road to a certain point, but letting somebody else in is more beneficial. And this is written by a person who writes self-help books. Nothing compares to working with a person, feeling heard, cared about, and has expertise.
On the other side of the coin, therapists must do their part. It is crucial for them to constantly work on themselves. If a therapist has an unresolved issue and a client comes into a session with that issue, they often get triggered and the session will be unsuccessful. I personally appreciate the times a client triggers me since I use it in my own therapy and continued growth in me will take place. On our own we can only work so deep, in therapy, more issues come to the surface to simply clear out.
I recently was watching a comedian on T.V. and have always tossed around the idea of becoming a stand-up comedian myself. First of all, it would be another opportunity to deal with the stage freight, but also another opportunity to educate people on the mere fact that we are all flawed and that is okay. I grew up going to the Comedy Store in Westwood, CA. (this was a few years before it moved to Sunset Blvd) and saw all the greats get their start there. Robin Williams, Steve Martin, Roseann, etc. I guess that seeing them and of course David Letterman, who was the M.C. at the time, taught me that they too were trying to figure out life, but had a comical twist on it. Therefore I would start off my act by saying, “So, just face it, you are screwed up, and let me tell you why”. Realizing that we are all screwed up brought me down to earth and I started to feel like I was a part of something special – that regardless of how unworthy, and naive I was, I was doing the best I could in that moment of time.
This is an interesting point to believe we are always doing the best we can. Given our life experience, how we are feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally at that moment, things you have done were the best you could of at that time. I wish they taught us this in school. It would have surely stopped half of the negative thoughts I held against myself. I often judged my actions harshly, wondering if the person I was interacting with at the time was judging me as well. But, when you accept that you are doing your best in each moment, the self-judgment thing becomes optional.
Can we fix ourselves? Of course. Even when you are doing your best and things falter you have a decision to make – do you beat yourself up or use it as a learning opportunity? We learn through trial and error and if we are not making mistakes, we aren’t learning. It sure took a lot of falling before we mastered walking.
The first step to fixing ourselves is realizing that the real issue is how you are with yourself as you go through your life. Treat yourself and others with dignity. It is interesting to realize the way we treat others is how we treat ourselves. If you are harsh with them, it follows that you are harsh with you. In changing how you are with you and accepting that you are a worthwhile person, then it naturally flows into you believing that both you and they are worthwhile.
We hope that this gives you a few items to ponder.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.