Most of us have unconscious go-to’s that ultimately hurt us. We have them because they helped us cope in difficult situations when we were much younger. Even if, as adults, we know they’re untrue and unhelpful, we can end up finding ourselves going down that road countless times.
My unconscious go-to is “I don’t matter as much as …”. As you, or my neighbor, or someone I know nothing about. I don’t always find myself going there, but when I’m unsure of what I’m doing, or don’t know my surroundings, it’s pretty easy for me to begin to go down that familiar path.
I know I matter as much as everyone else. I know intellectually that I matter more than others to those who care about me. And yet I can hear that familiar lament inside, and feel it in my body at times, and it never takes me to a place I want to be.
The way I tackle it is through persistence:
- Recognizing the feeling, then stopping it immediately. I know it’s false, that it comes from a place of feeling wounded and uncertain, and that allowing that particular tape to play isn’t useful.
- Replacing it with something that’s true. There are many things to choose from such as; “I do, in fact, matter”, “ I matter as much as any other living being. I’m a part of the universe.”, “I matter!”. If I’m with someone who truly feels that I don’t matter as much, it may be that it’s time to be with someone else.
The old story has been played many times. It only stands to reason that the new one will take a while to replace it.
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .