March 4, 2015
A belief I hold (about myself) becomes a delusion when I continue to believe it in spite of evidence to the contrary. It gets tricky for me in that I can be pretty slick. Remember, I’m a psychotherapist!
When my son was growing up I told him he had my permission to call me on my BS if he happened to notice it. He never missed an opportunity! When he was around 12, he heard me whining about something and said, “Mom, you know you’re not a victim here, right?” Ouch! I remember busting out laughing and telling him he was right!
This morning, rather than continuing to glide along on my rainbow imaginings of who I’d like to be, or who I hope I am, I explored some of my delusions. It took a while to come up with these because I’d prefer to have already arrived.
Some I discovered a while ago; some are more recent; and some literally surfaced this morning. I won’t give you graphic details—this is meant to be a short, pithy post, not an autobiography.
None of these are black and white, ‘I do it all the time’ behaviors and characteristics. They are absolutely ‘I do it some of the time’ behaviors and characteristics that I have a hard time noticing in myself, much less accepting. Although, ironically and glaringly, they are immediately apparent in others.
I’m still lazy; unhealthily attached to my beliefs (code for arrogant and self-righteous); struggle with listening once an idea comes into my head; selfish; greedy; jealous; disorganized; obsessive; critical; judgmental; whiny; and . . .
Of course there are more, but I got impatient and quit!
Pretty much all I can say is I’m trying. I’ve suggested to clients that ‘trying’ is a euphemism for doing nothing. I still tend to think that’s true; at the same time it lives with the paradoxical truth that life is a big hot mess of stop and start tries.
My point is I haven’t arrived – I still run amok at times because of delusions I hold about how evolved I am.
Here’s the important part. I keep putting one foot in front of the other, over and over setting the intention to tell myself the truth about myself. My hope being to avoid, as often as possible, shooting myself or anyone else in the foot because I’m holding on to some delusion that I’ve arrived or somehow achieved enlightenment.
This has been a surprisingly fruitful exercise. Oddly, acknowledging the limitations that continue to plague me seems to have opened a door allowing me to more clearly see and own my strengths.
Be gentle with yourself. Remember that you are more than you can imagine. At the same time, in order to see who you are, you may also need to see who you’re not.