We are at the half way point of 2021 and how are we looking? On New Years Eve last year I wrote myself a letter to my future self to open on New Years this year, and I have been trying to remember what I wrote to myself to try and gauge how I’m doing. Ultimately, I can’t remember things I wrote 6 days ago, let alone 6 months, but it has got me thinking about where I am at.
Being back in therapy has been a bit of a sucker punch, it’s great having someone who makes you talk about -all- of the things, but it also can be draining to work through those things. I’ve been working on myself a lot the last few weeks and have made progress in areas I, for wanting of a better way of putting it, want to ‘fix’. I’m not broken, but in the days I am being hard on myself it can feel like I’m a broken toy that’s in desperate need of some TLC and superglue to put me back together again.
When you’ve spent time solidly working towards a goal, as I have in the area of my mental health, triggers and ultimately the feelings and behaviours that have come out of these, it’s sometimes hard to see what progress you’ve made. I’ve said before it’s important to reflect on the progress because it is there. You’ve put the hard work in, and it maybe two steps forward and one back, but that’s still a step forward.
I love a self-development book to help me in my progress. Most of you know this, but I have seen in these, and in people I talk to, a flaw. The flaw I have seen is that there’s this pressure that as soon as you figure out ‘why’ you do something (the childhood trauma, the words spoken to you by other kids at school, the events you’ve been through since, for example) it’s expected that you’ll just be ‘fixed’. Yes, finding out why you are triggered by certain things is extremely important, integral in fact, but that doesn’t mean the triggers are just going to disappear. Your mind and body has most likely spent years and decades forming these triggers and actions that it’s not going to switch off instantly, as much as I would love that to happen.
For me figuring why I have a deep sense of distrust for a large majority of people has been the challenge which I have recently faced. I have figured it out too. But then having people look at me like ‘so why are you still like this’ is hurtful, to be honest. I’m now at a stage where I am working through having realised where my trust issues come from, where my other triggers have come from and I’ve made so much progress that to have someone expect more from me is tiring. A couple of the books I’ve read lately have had case studies along the lines of ‘and then they realised it was this and they were better in just one session!’ Which is great for that person, but not reflective of the majority and frankly, pisses me off they aren’t sharing the struggles after the realisation more openly.
I take what I want from self-development books. I take the parts that are helpful to me and my situation and I need to start leaving the feeling of I’m not being better as quick as I should be behind. Probably a good idea to do this with people too. If they aren’t supportive of your progress and just want the ‘better’ version of you, then they don’t really see you. You are not a broken toy. You may be a work in progress, but that doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of love and support just as you are.