Hello friends, it is so nice of you to join me here for another week. I feel like this week’s post just sort of came out of no where, to be honest. I had shared with you all last week about my struggle with heartbreak. I can tell you that it has not been any easier of a week but this week I decided to give my grief a little more focus and attention. I am a therapist during the evening time and work as a social worker during the day time doing community mental health, so I get to take on a lot of people’s problems all day, everyday. So, I know it makes a lot of sense that I would be struggling even harder with this break-up because I have no time to focus on myself and focus on my own problems because I am dealing with everyone else’s. I decided that I needed to do something to really work on my grief so I started seeing a therapist. I really had to suck up a lot of pride and make time for it when, in reality, I have no time for this.
So, yesterday was my first session with this lady. I walk into the office and immediately feel a little awkward and ready to run right out the door because there was just no way I was going to sit there and tell her anything. Goodness…I wonder how my own clients feel sometimes. Anyways, we begin the conversation of “so what brings you in today”. Man…where do I even begin. I decided to start at the beginning and explain what happened in my life prior to meeting the man I was recently engaged to. I felt it was important for her to know. We were talking about my ex-husband and the loss of my kids and the lady gives me the awkward silent pause, and then she asks me a question that I did not expect to puzzle me so much. “So, as I am hearing you say all of this I can’t help but be curious…do you even like yourself?” I am sure my face may have startled her a bit as I looked with pure confusion as to how my divorce and loss of my kids could relate whatsoever to my own thoughts of myself. However, I found myself also stunned because I did not really have a clear answer.
Fast forward to this blog post where I am going to explore this a bit. Do I really even like myself? I can say with complete confidence that I love who I am as a person and I love my personality. I may not be everyones cup of tea, but I am unique and I love it. Growing up in the household I did, I was always taught that we should always strive to be Christ like. I think the few qualities I love most about myself are the ones that are most like Christ…I am full of grace for people, I forgive without thought, and I have a heart for helping others. I really do love these things about myself. Do I wish I were a tad more outgoing and found it easier to engage with others? Sure, but I love who I am as a person. I love my job, I am proud of my accomplishments, and I love that I am financially stable. I love the connections I am able to make with people and that people feel confident enough in me to confide in and be a listening ear.
I pretty much answered her question with a lot of ramble of all of my qualities that I just listed and then went on to talk about the things I didn’t like. I am self-conscious about my looks and my weight. But hey, most people are too right? I hate where I am at in life right now because I am struggling with feeling so far behind. But hey, thats normal too isn’t it? I sort of stuttered my way through all of that and tried to normalize my negative thoughts and then reluctantly said…”so yeah…I’d say I like myself overall”. Since that moment of answering that question, I have continued to wonder…do I really like myself? Why would she ask me that? Did I say something that made her think I didn’t? I mean I am a therapist so I know why they ask the questions they do, it is because the client said something that made them wonder. So, what the heck did I say?
If you have been journeying with me a while through this blog then I know you have discovered by now that I have been through alot as an adult. My experiences have shaped me and changed me in ways that I did not really realize until she asked me that question. I can name off qualities and dislikes all day but those are not the things that I actually measure my self-image by. Without even knowing it, and through the story I shared, she learned that I may have all of these nice and wonderful qualities but I have disqualified myself from being happy because I actually think my horrible adult life is who I am. I define who I am right now by what I have been through. I hate that I am divorced. I hate that I have to say I have ever been divorced…but it’s apart of me. I hate that I struggled with infertility and I tend to say “I am infertile”. I hate that I feel that everything I want to be isn’t happening for me. I continued to use words like “hate” during the session to describe any situation that happened to me and I discovered that when she asked if I actually liked who I am it was because I think of myself in all of these negative terms. “I am divorced”, “I am fat”, “I can’t make relationships work”, “I am infertile”, “I just want to be happy”…..all of those are statements I made in the session and it prompted her question.
I can’t take back what happened to me as much as I wish I could. In a lot of ways I am glad that my marriage ended, because I was so unhappy. However, the heartache the situation caused and the rest that followed has changed my whole outlook on who I am. From an outsiders perspective, I get so many messages from people admiring my strength in how I overcame all that I have and I catch myself wondering, “who are they even looking at”? Man…I really need to change my lens a bit of how I view myself. I need to value myself more and stop disqualifying myself from happiness because I cannot see past all the things I think I am. I am no where near where I want to be, but I think realization and admitting the faults are the first steps to change.
So, I end this with posing a question to you. Do you even like yourself? What criteria are you using to define your self-worth and identity? Are you disqualifying yourself from happiness because you think you are not worthy of it? I’m still walking this out so I don’t have all the answers for you right now, but I am hoping to revisit this topic in the months to come and have a whole new perspective for you. I am praying for you, friends. You are not alone in your walk.