12 January 2015

Bad Boy or Good Boy?

I had a great therapy session where I was talking about something seemingly banal and then, boom, I discovered a shocking belief about myself that was inaccurate but on a subconscious level was really destructive.

That is how I often experience therapy. I can have a few sessions where I seem to be skimming the surface and then I suddenly stumble and fall headlong into a deep truth about myself that I had been in denial about or had just plain missed.

I was talking about validation with my therapist and then it struck me like a ton of bricks. Well, a ton of sad bricks to be precise, because I realized that from an early age I had a need to prove that I was a good person.

Having ADHD I was frequently sent out of class. I had difficulty keeping still and was easily excited. I would often leave my chair and act impulsively. The little motor in my mind didn’t know how to slow down. Often I’d find myself outside and alone with my mind. I began to identify myself as naughty.

I hated being sent out of class. I loved the thrill of being around other kids.

My self-esteem was such that on a deep level I believed that there was something inherently bad about myself and that I was actually insecure as to whether I was a good person or not. It made me cry in fact, this realization. I saw myself as that little boy, being thrown out of class or coming home to a emotionally absent father and determining that there was something morally wrong, something essentially rotten inside me. I needed to get attention and because I was louder and a little crazier from a brain that was dysfunctional, I was punished instead. I believed I didn’t deserve to be loved just as I am. I believed that I was broken inside.

One Minute Mental Makeover:

I hope you have a healthy, robust sense of self-esteem, but, if for some crazy reason you might just be one of those human beings that suffers from a thing called insecurity from time to time, it is an invaluable exercise to examine some fundamental beliefs about yourself. Don’t do this from an intellectual standpoint. Look at how you feel. Do you feel and believe you should be respected and loved as you are right now? Do you accept on an essential level the premise that respect and love are your birthright? Identify a negative belief about yourself and then flip it upside down. I used to think I was bad, but I know now that I am most definitely good. Change bad to good and believe it, because I bet it is the truth. If you notice yourself saying, “That is impossible for me to (fill in the blank), instead, give your brain a better chance of excelling and adopt this phrase, “It is possible for me to (fill in the blank) because I have seen it done by individuals through history in similar if not worse positions than myself”. Beliefs are functions of the mind, make them work for you, the real you, the one that deserves the world.