“You know Paul… There’s a lot of hurt and pain here,” he said. “From what I’m hearing, there’s definitely a questioning of your self-worth. Does it feel like, perhaps, you may feel that you’re not worthy of being loved?”
And that hit me.
It was all the words I had felt but never was able to form in a sentence. How did he know me so well? How did he know exactly how I felt? Let alone after only 40 minutes? I felt so exposed. I felt like I was standing in the middle of a capacity crowd with the spotlight on me. It was a mixture of anger, sadness, upset, gladness, all of it. I was angry that these people had done this to me; I was sad that this was exactly how I felt. I was upset that I felt helpless – that there was nowhere left to turn, but I was glad that someone understood.
I just had no idea how to react. I’d seen therapists in the past that helped me sort through some anger and resentment issues that I had lingering. I had therapists that helped me become a better person in general, but Chris was different. Chris is the one that’s going to help me find myself, find my self-worth, find where I belong in this life, why I’m misunderstood, where I can better express myself to others, and ultimately stop pushing people away.
At the end of the day, I’m not 100% the problem. Are there things I can do better? Absolutely. We all can work on ourselves. However, Chris is helping me stop the cycle of surrounding myself with people who do not value me, and it may sound pretentious, as if I have my nose up, but that’s far from the case.
When my issues with relationships started, I had a friend named Braden. He had said to me, “What’s the one thing that all these people have in common?” My response was simple. “They’re all batshit. They’re all crazy.” However, Braden said, “No. It’s you. Have you ever thought that maybe you’re the issue? You’re the common denominator in all of this.”
Naturally, I was defensive and dismissive. How could I be the problem? They’re the ones that are crazy.
Well, that’s a statement of half-truths. The thing that Chris is teaching me is that just because they are all crazy, manipulative, abusive, and so on, the correlation is not causation. Just because there’s a pattern, it doesn’t mean that it stemmed from a singular issue – that issue being me. However, the pattern is that we, as humans, are creatures of habit. We look for comfort in familiarity. Therein lies the problem. What am I familiar with? Bingo.
So I’m trying to break that mold. I’m trying to find my self-worth, someone that’s going to make me see what I know deep down inside, not just what I’ve been trained to believe about myself.
There are a million ways to break a man, and seemingly I’ve fallen victim to all of them. I’ve had my trust betrayed, I’ve been withheld from my child, I’ve been lied to, I’ve been abused, and I’ve hit rock bottom multiple times. The crazy thing is how I’ve been able to pick myself up and build myself back up every single time. But I’m learning to find the silver linings, to find what’s been so bountiful in all this hurt. Ultimately, that path will lead me to find someone that knows my value, knows my worth, and not only respects that but cherishes it. I’m trying my damndest to be that person for myself. Unfortunately, I deal with a terrible case of codependency, and that’s the duality of my existence. I’m the guy who can do it all by himself; that doesn’t need a fucking soul to make it happen, but I’m also the guy who needs that validation.
Where are you? Because I’m here, and I’m slowly believing that I’m the person that I know I am. And one day, you will too.
Until then, I’m still a pupil to the teacher I call life.