Recently I wrote a blog post telling others to quit trying to “fix” me as if I were some sort of problem. I claimed “I don’t want fixed” and I meant it.
I still mean it, and yet I find that it’s not that simple. I don’t want others trying to fix me, and at the same time, the truth is I do want fixed. I feel messed up and I want to be better. I want to be okay and acceptable and valuable. I want to do things right and to fulfill expectations.
More and more I am coming to recognize how deep the belief that I am not capable of taking care of myself is. Intellectually, I can write it off, yet emotionally I am full-fledged caught in this belief system. And I have a lot of fear around it. I fear relaxing because relaxing is not working and I will never make it in life if I don’t work. So it’s really hard for me to sit still and rest. I fear not having people to support me a few years down the road, because what if my friends leave me and I am alone, but incapable? I fear my boyfriend not being able to handle me, but I am desperate for him to be able to handle me because who will help take care of me, since I am not able to support myself?
I had an eye-opening conversation with my counselor yesterday that helped me to see how this core belief of not being able to take care of myself affects so many of my day to day choices, emotions, reactions, and anxiety. And suddenly I feel like I am starting to see clearly! I understand myself better and why I’m doing these irrational things I’m doing! And there is a beautiful sense of hope in understanding me. I am not crazy. Or stupid. Or lazy. My brain and my body have been wired a certain way, and I’m simply reacting from that wiring.
The hope, however, quickly becomes frustration, now that I understand and can diagnose the “problem” but still remain helpless in “solving” it. This morning I caught myself confirming my worst fears (and this lie I believe) by twisting the truth; when I could not finish washing all the dishes before I headed to work, leaving my family to finish them I chastised myself: “See? I obviously can’t handle my own dishes. If my family weren’t here to cover for me, I’d be screwed. I could never do adult life on my own. I am incapable.” I was fully believing that not being able to finish the dishes confirmed something was wrong with me. And now I see where that line of thinking is coming from. But knowing that doesn’t stop it. I still feel incapable, I still hear myself telling myself I’m incapable.
If I know why I have this unhealthy pattern of thinking, gosh darn it, I should be able to change it! I can intellectually see how I am twisting the truth and I finally have a new perspective–in my 24th year of life! So, after wasting all that time, let’s freaking do something! Pull it together, dummy! Fix. Your. Problem.
It was the understanding that allowed me to have compassion on my past self. Understanding why I was believing this lie, why it was surfacing, and why I was acting the way I was. Seeing the full picture was what allowed me to forgive my past self for her actions because they made sense now.
And I want to bring self-compassion into my current self. Yes, now I see what I’m doing and how I’m listening to lies. But why would I expect seeing a pattern to suddenly change something I’ve believed for decades? It takes a lot of practice and a lot of patience to rewire a brain and body. It makes sense that I would still feel stuck in a false belief even after I know the truth because reactions are reactions that happen before we really think out what we’re doing. I’ve practiced living with the fear and interpreting everything through the lens of being not enough. That doesn’t change overnight.
Yes, I’d love to “fix” myself. Yet the message I preached before to others is a message I need to speak gently to myself. I need to be real… with myself. To really listen to what I am feeling and experiencing and why. I need to understand myself without judgement. I need to offer myself to myself as is. And then I have the choice to take it or leave it.
And, what I said before still applies “And whether you take it or leave it, it does not really matter. Because my God will take it. He will take it and all the other flak my heart gives him and he will not be afraid. He will not fear that I am on the brink of heading toward hell, nor will he try to fix me, nor will he tell me I’m messed up because of the way I feel.”
I want to learn to accept me. Yes, I am imperfect. And I still display God’s image. I still have God in me. Immanuel. And He created me as He wants me. I believe some lies and He doesn’t think the less of me for it, even as He desires to speak truth to me. I want to learn to love me as God loves me.