Keep in mind while reading this that I am fully aware of how absurd and totally counterproductive my thoughts are.
Last week I had a mini heart to heart with someone, and for the first time in a long time truly felt understood and not judged. I was reviewing a case with my supervisor, and multiple times he commented that I was unusually quiet and wondered if something was wrong. I denied anything being wrong. After the case review we were randomly chatting, and he asked again if something was bothering me. I stated that I felt that I can be annoying to my coworkers by talking too much and therefore was currently choosing to keep to myself unless someone wanted or needed to talk to me. He stated he understood, but historically speaking, that strategy doesn’t work long for “someone like me.” Someone like me being, in his words, a happy, bubbly person. I may attempt to portray this personality to others, but, as my husband has told me, I am a very angry, resentful person.
Anyway, my boss basically said that attempting to keep to myself would most likely backfire on me because that’s not the type of person I am, and I was letting my fear of being disliked by my coworkers negatively impact my behavior and thoughts. What we eventually got around to is that in my attempt to control my environment, I subconsciously yet purposely sabotage events and relationships essentially making everything I fear a reality. When I said that I’m constantly trying to control situations because I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, he pointed out that most times there is no other shoe. What’s more, if there is another shoe, I am the one pushing it off the shelf.
I’m so worried that I’ll be caught off guard by something bad that I almost make it happen so that I have the control. I’ll hurt me before you can hurt me. Because if you hurt me, that will prove to me that I’m not good enough and I’m not worth NOT hurting. So I sabotage everything good because of the paralyzing fear that it will go bad anyway. Because I’m broken. Or so I think.
But the thing is, I’m not. Tonight while conducting a counseling session with a client very similar to me (anxious, self-sabotaging, belief of not being good enough) I had a mini epiphany. (Notice everything is “mini.” Why is that?) I’ve had this epiphany before, and I’m positive I’ll have it many times again. I’m not broken. None of us are really broken. We may have flawed thinking. We’re insecure, and we make mistakes, but none of these traits equate to brokenness. They simply mean we are human. As such, we are not perfect. That is what it means to be human.
I am no less “good” than anyone else. I may have a different thought process, a different work process, a different approach to life, but that in no way means that that other person is any better or any more “right” than I am. In grad school I saw classmates stressing about papers and midterms. I worried that I was not worried enough about these things. My husband asked what my grades were. When I told him my grades were A’s, he said, “Then I think you’re doing it right. Did you ever think that the people who are so stressed are the ones that should change their approach?” This doesn’t mean that my classmates were wrong. It just means that I wasn’t wrong either.
Everyone is different, and everyone’s the same. We all struggle just in innumerably different ways. I will continue to make mistakes. I will have many more moments of self-doubt, even self-loathing. I will continue to drive my husband to the brink of lunacy with my clinginess and need for reassurance.
But I am not broken. I am human. And so are you. And we are wonderful.