WHEN DOES IT MATTER WHAT I THINK?
How I think about me (who I am, what I can do, and how I do it) seems to be a significant factor contributing to a multitude of problems including a sense of depression or feeling stuck. How I see myself is something I often do not identify accurately. At the same time, a clear understanding about how I view myself can spark the beginning of more peace and confidence in my life.
When I am talking with a client, and they feel really tired with no way out, I start asking myself questions: What are they thinking about themselves? How do they see themselves?
The answer is rarely pretty.
Sometimes a face curls up with a despising, disgusted look as the person thinks about themselves. I have seen a person who manages clients across the country in good business practices see themselves as entirely weak to bring satisfying relationship to their household.
I listen to clients tell me what they see in themselves and the words I hear are that of their spouse or parent who has berated them continually. At the time, Spouse or parent is nowhere near my office and Client carries forward the searing torch of seeing self as pitiful and pathetic. OUCH! Did Spouse or Parent actually do that in the past? Often, yes! And now Client does it even more than Parent or Spouse because it is continually the view of self that Client looks to for information. It isn’t just Spouse’s picture. Now it is Client’s picture too!
Despising self creates a crisis within. On one hand I am right here and on the other I can’t stand me. I want to ditch this person, and I still find them with me at every turn! I am disgusted and I am my only choice, or I am dreadfully weak and I have problems way bigger than I can manage. It is like walking into a store that sells items I desperately need, but I have no money with me and nowhere to get any more.
Do you see the crisis? If I thought like this about someone else, chances are I would leave them in a hot New York minute, or be planning on how to at least minimize their presence or impact in my life. But when I think that way about me, I can’t get away from my problem. I take me with me everywhere I go. This is exhausting and maybe even paralyzing.
There is a confusing piece to this. I keep thinking I am at the mercy of important others who, I am certain, hold a sordid view of me. I may also be bitterly mad at them for thinking ill of me! I assume they are my problem! I think that when they get the picture of me right, then life will be so much better. And because I am scared of them or bitterly angry, I miss entirely how I see myself. I assume I am locked in and stuck because I think someone else is in charge of how I feel.
So, if I am curious to move beyond this crisis, I might ask myself, “What is my view of me? How do I see me? In a place where I am unhappy, do I see me as someone I don’t like too much, or do I see me as not very competent? Am I angry at someone else who thinks ill of me? In other words, I am mad at others who seem unhappy with me? Could the problem really be that I see myself in the same way? Am I discontented with myself and I see myself as small? It is how I see myself that is at the heart of the problem.
Once I discover how I view myself, I am taking an important step toward a more accurate view, one that can yield more peace. As that picture of how I see myself consistently includes the strength and resources I have been given to bring to the table, I get on the road to getting unstuck from this helpless place. Understanding that I have a big part of being able to change my own experience can change my life and open the door to increased freedom and many new possibilities!
It matters what I think all the time!