On Personal Reflection
Last night was intense.
My wife and I went to a workshop with a bunch of strangers and a pair of life coaches. Can an atheist benefit some such an event? Yes, if they are willing to, but that’s the same with anyone. One of the women there was very resistant and to be perfectly honest, when it was my turn, I was too.
It turns out that depression is not my problem. It’s a side effect of the real problem. I’m ashamed.
Me having to be always right is actually a coping mechanism. If I’m right all the time, then I don’t have to be ashamed of being wrong. I don’t like getting compliments because I don’t feel like I am smart. Therefore I’m ashamed that I don’t live up to others expectations.
Every slight, real or imagined, is amplified way out of proportion. That depresses me. But it’s because I’m ashamed of not being perfect.
In other words, in spite of my best efforts to really be self-reflective and understand what and who I am… I’m still not there yet. I can see the symptoms, but I hadn’t realized that those are symptoms, not the actual problem. As with most of these kinds of things, they are massively deep in my history and psyche and a 5 hour session one night is not going to fix me.
Coping methods work. One of our number was mentally abused as a child and was never good enough for her mother. Her coping method was to worker harder, do more, be perfect all the time. She is the hardest worker anyone of us has ever seen. If you someone to do a job, you want her. She’ll do it, on time, under budget, and perfect. And she gets massively depressed when things aren’t perfect. Especially in her own life.
I’m the same way. Except my coping method is to be smart. Everyone in the room agreed that if they needed information or help in any class, they would want me there. But that need for me to be right has been pushing away those I love. I don’t argue, I correct. And I did it to everyone last night. I’m certainly not proud of it. And I’m a little ashamed, which means I’m slightly depressed about it.
But I can see it coming, so it’s not as intense. And I promise to not make this blog my own personal psychotherapy session.
But I think that it’s important in claiming to be a skeptic to not lie to myself. That’s what those ‘others’ do. I don’t, or I try not to. I think that this kind of thing can be beneficial. One thing that everyone in the group recognized last night was that everyone had the same problems as everyone else.
We aren’t alone. We live in a tribe of humans. We may feel like no one understands and no one can imagine what we’re going through, but no one is that different. Some have been hurt so they lash out. Some have been hurt and close up. Some are lonely and close up. Some are lonely and act out.
But we all have problems, even if we let no one see them or we don’t even realize that they exist.
We aren’t alone and it’s OK not to be perfect, or outgoing, or confident, or anything else all the time.