Do you ever feel like a walking contradiction?
Does it feel as though you hold conflicting beliefs about yourself simultaneously?
It’s not unusual to have paradoxes within us. The tension they create is often what brings us to counselling.
Clients frequently share with me what they think about themselves – “I’m greedy”, “I’m lazy”, “no one likes me”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m a failure”.
Sometimes when they’re in the middle of describing themselves negatively, they do something quite astonishing.
They stop, look at me and say:
“But I know I’m a good person”.
It’s happened so often I can’t count.
They never say I think I’m a good person. They always say I know I’m a good person. It’s usually said with such beautiful clarity. It’s as though they’ve checked in with themselves at a deeper level and found the truth. They may be baffled by it, they may dismiss it, but it’s there.
Sometimes this deeper level of knowing is clouded from our view because of the sheer volume and persistence of negative thoughts. It can take some time to clear a path to it, but it’s there if we’re willing to search for it and connect with it.
And it’s worth taking the time.
Negative thoughts are worthless to us – they diminish and limit us. In contrast, that sense of knowing is trustworthy and something on which to build our lasting and authentic self.
You’re not who you think you are. You’re who you know you are.
For more ideas about exploring self and identity, click here to read the 2017 post “Who Are You?”