One of the issues that I will collaborate together with you on in therapy is the attachment that you may have to limiting beliefs.
By that I mean beliefs like:
“I should have done something”
“I can’t trust myself”
Part of the hurt caused by what other people may say or do is hurt that you associate with your very own buy-in to one of the above mentioned thoughts.
A big part of letting go of what sometimes shows up as anger or frustration or even jealousy in relationships is letting go of those limiting thoughts.
For someone who believes that :
“I am helpless”
“I am trapped”
“I should have done something”
“I can’t trust myself”. . .
. . .you are likely taking an inappropriate amount of responsibility for a seeming defect or weakness. Evidence over time accumulates and what once an assumption or opinion about yourself becomes a belief.
In actuality, a lot of that pain is the projected pain from disowned parts.
For example, a significant other’s refusal to acknowledge that they sometimes too may have a tendency to be rigid gets instead targeted towards the significant other whom they may blame for being the inflexible one.
What I’m saying is, are there times when we all feel helpless, trapped, guilty, mistrustful?—sure.
Are there also times when others are feeling helpless, trapped, guilty, mistrustful, and projecting that discomfort on to you? Yes, as I just pointed out in the above example.
You’re only human and everything part of being human and imperfect.
Gaining acceptance of the best parts of yourself and standing in your power as it were is less about being overly confident and prideful and thumbing one’s nose at constructive criticism or your potential limitations.
It’s more about not owning up to misplaced blame.
And that is not the same thing as a refusal to apologize when you’ve done something wrong. It’s not the same as not taking accountability.
By the same token, be wary of taking on burdens that are not yours to bear.
These burdens fuel the overall anxiety and depression that you may feel in life. This in turn causes you to
1) consciously hold back from others in the moment
2) unconsciously hold back in the moment and/or
3) withhold inviting any kind of vulnerability in the future.
Because it becomes unsafe. It’s very hard to feel anxious and safe at the same time. Try it. Go!
How much of that anxiety do you create for yourself by holding on to limiting beliefs from the past?
It can be hard to look past someone’s actions which may in the moment seem abrasive and misplaced and try to imagine a more positive or constructive intent.
But then, if we can imagine of ourselves wanting to act with good intent even in the midst of saying something that we know would be hurtful, then it’s not a big leap to imagine the same motivation behind the behaviors of others.
I often get a response like the following: But don’t some people do things just to be mean? There is evil in the world after all. What about Hitler? He was evil.
People can do mean things with mean intent. People do make poor choices. I agree.
But even for those who set out to truly harm another, still, that person’s thoughts and behaviors are less about the object of their vehemence who no doubt suffers and more about the persecutor’s inner conflict and turmoil.
Evil behavior does leave a trail of destruction, in fact, it can cause a host of negative core beliefs in the recipient.
To come full circle with this post, those beliefs may be in the form of the following, but through the work of therapy, they can become transformed.
“I am helpless” or “I am trapped”
becomes “I can only control what I have some measure of control over”
“I should have done something” becomes “In the moment I did the best that I could”
“I can’t trust myself” becomes “I can learn how better to trust my own judgment about things”
To recap, we as humans have a bias towards negativity and that bias comes in some measure from survival and safety needs and those safety needs perpetuate thoughts that fuel anxiety and depression which then confirm the need for safety. . .what would it be like to experiment with the idea that you are much safer than you think or that you could, in turn, create safety when things start to feel a bit uncomfortable or unsafe?
In other words, how would you think, feel, act or behave if you believed the opposite of what was currently driving some of your behaviors––if in fact your negative or maladaptive behaviors are fueled by the above mentioned negative core beliefs?
I think you would be a bit more risk-taking and fearless your life.
I think you would be able to feel more relaxed and invite fun.
I think you would have the ability to forgive yourself and others a little bit more easily if in fact you believed that we were all desiring of the same securities in life. At the very least you share the commonality with everyone else of being human and of making mistakes.