Cognitive Dissonance — or, remind me who I am

I’ve been having this struggle lately (/slash/ not-so-lately) and I was thinking maybe you’ve been there too. Or maybe you’ll be there someday. Or maybe you’ve seen someone who’s been there. Or…whatever, the point is I asked myself, what’s the best thing to do when I’m struggling a bit? explore, of course.

sooo….shall we?
[and we’re going to ignore the fact that I’ve been MIA for a bit…a long bit. I’ll probably write about it later. …probably meaning more than likely since I missed writing… alotta bit. buuut this draft was sitting, waiting, ready to be finished. So, on a Sunday night, after researching moving companies and applying for an apartment, I’m doing what I now best, writing…and procrastinating from the to-do list that’s been staring me in the face…and attempting to heal. So let’s continue, shall we? Thank you for agreeing].

Okay, back to it: so the struggle is with figuring out who I am. Well, not who I am exactly. Maybe more so it’s about being comfortable with who I’m figuring out I am. Or maybe not that either. …obviously the struggle is real since I can’t find an understandable way to express it.

I guess it’s fitting all the my pieces together in a way that doesn’t feel so disjointed. …yeah, I think that’s it.

I think I’m full of contradictions.

or maybe I used to be.

clouds, you’re confusing me. You’re saying a lot of words but not really saying any one thing..

Ahh I know, I know, I’m right there with you. Okay, let’s see. Maybe this:

Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore. ― Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayd

Does that help?

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s hard to figure out who I am when I am stuck on who I was. Truth is, I used to be very much full of contradictions. I was a hypocrite. I lived my life one way while professing another. The contradictions were so great that I literally couldn’t stomach it at times.

Ready for more truth? I’m still filled with contradictions.

and that, friends, is the struggle.

Okay sure, I’m being hard on myself. We both know I’ve made some changes (reference any post pre-2014). But still. Tons of contradictions remain, folks.

I think what makes it more evident, what creates the discomfort, is when I think of how much more courageous my clients are than I am. That’s where the uneasy, uncomfortable feeling comes in, where the cognitive dissonance creates this feeling…feeling disjointed. Yes! That’s a much more fitting description of where I’m at in the moment…or in my life in general, depending on how fatalistic we want to view this.

I interact almost daily with individuals who face their fears, who take the first, most difficult step, who ask for help. And I help them. I know what should be done or at least what questions to ask to get there. I know helpful versus unhelpful coping. I know the importance of social support, of confrontation for good interpersonal communication, of trust. I know, I know, I know. Yet, I don’t.

“The key problem I encounter working with wounded, depressed, and unhappy people is a lack of connection…starting from a disconnection from themselves and then with others. This is why love often becomes so distorted and destructive. When people experience a disconnection from themselves, they feel it but do not realize the problem.” ― David W. Earle

I pride myself on moving toward fear in many areas of my life. I am proud of myself for facing the current with unclenched fists, of accepting the anxiety and depression that come and go without being deterred. But that only happens in one facet of my life: my profession. I have not found the way (read: courage) to do the same when relationships are on the line. I really want to, really. But I can’t. or maybe I don’t know how. I can’t seem to unlearn what kept me protected for so many years — disconnection, not attaching to or relying on others, fixing, helping, putting others’ needs first.. It works…until it doesn’t.

Experiences this year made me reflect on years past, on what I missed out on. I’ve realized that goodbyes are pretty easy for me; part of it does genuinely feel like a zen, holistic acceptance of goodbyes as necessary in life. But part, the part that creates the disjointed feeling is that part of it is probably that saying goodbye comes more easily when you haven’t really said hello.

…let’s allow that to simmer for a bit.

I know that I never really let people connect with me fully…and while I write that, I wonder “why is the responsibility on me, why didn’t they ever try?” And then I think, “did I even let them?” Aaaand then I argue, “maybe, maybe not. but they could’ve tried harder…” This might give you a glimpse as to why I’ve been stuck in this place between wanting growth (read: accepting my faults) and being stubborn (read: feeling bitter).  Point is, I kinda really want change but I realize I need to relearn (or learn in the first place) how to trust others and accept that there unconditional love can not only be given, but can be received. …I want to highlight that point right there. I think many of us are fully capable of giving unconditional love and do so often (forgiven me for speaking for you if this isn’t your experience). But, we don’t do this for ourselves or allow us to receive this same type of love we freely give out. I’m pretty sure this is the key: remembering who you are, remembering that you are worth love, remembering that you are loved.

Stay tuned for how to get there.
Or, if you’ve got some pointers, send them along ❤

Be brave.



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