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It’s Complicated

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Have you ever noticed how you can experience two things at the same time that seem contradictory? If you have, you probably berated yourself for being irrational. At least that’s what I always do.

Take my last post on being indispensable, for example. I confessed to all kinds of things that I do in relationships that don’t make any sense. I know I can’t be all things to all people, but I try to do it, anyway. I feel this anxiety in the pit of my stomach about a guy, and I do everything I can to be in a relationship with him. I am devastated when the relationship ends, even though I’m not sure I liked him that much to begin with.

I know it’s not just me. I had 2 clients last week who were beating themselves up for similar things. But as a therapist, I’m much wiser than I am in real life. As a therapist, I tell them that we can experience things that seem mutually exclusive at the same time. People can love you and still make choices that they know will hurt you. You can be afraid, but you can still take a risk. You can be grateful for all of your blessings and still have a right to be sad.

People are complex. We are a mix of loving and hateful feelings. We are both selfish and unselfish. Good and bad. In fact, if you know someone who only seems to be on one side of the good/bad continuum, you probably don’t know them very well.

I just went to lunch with a friend who told me that she was catching up on my blog and realized how little she knew about me. I told her it’s because I’m good at hiding how I feel, which I’ve always taken pride in. But I don’t think it’s such a good thing any more, which is why I blog about honesty.

But my friend pointed out that it can be a good thing and that she was glad that I seem happy and together; it helped her to accept the other things about me. Which seemed insulting at first, but I think I get it.

If my weaknesses were the only things people knew about me, I probably wouldn’t get as many comments about being courageous and honest. I would probably be judged more harshly, fair or not.

But I am not just those things. I am also relatively well-adjusted. I am also someone who strives to be a better person. I am also someone who shares my vulnerabilities so that other people can feel normal.

I am a walking contradiction. I am the entire spectrum. Strengths and weaknesses. Crazy and normal. Perfect and flawed, all at once. And so are you.

I have to admit, even as I write this, I still don’t love all of the contradictions that make me who I am. But at least it gives me lots of material to blog about.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

10 responses »

  1. The Professionally Depressed Professional

    I swear to God, I could hear John Legend’s song “All of Me” playing in the background as I read this post . . . “love your perfect imperfections, all your curves and all your edges . ..” Come to think of it, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day (which I can’t stand btw), this song could be a love song to the self as well! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. In my current relationship, which has lasted about 18 months so far, I think I’ve finally learned to let go a bit. He helped from the beginning when he said things like, Please don’t talk about yourself that way. My abandonment fear is still up there in neon lights and will probably never go away. It’s just not quite as bad now. I am frightened and hopeful at the same time.

    Love,
    Janie

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  3. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve little doubt it helps far more people than you know. Contradictions can be fun, I suppose, but I’d guess they’re more often difficult to manage. I love blogging and helping others…was a CNA for awhile and loved my residents. I also struggle with trust, and that’s putting it mildly. It’s an interesting place inside my head. 🙂

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  4. This was a lovely post. I am taking this with me “I am a walking contradiction.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. I love this, thanks! I too am much wiser, and much more sane, in my coaching practice than I am in my life. I have been owning up to my inconsistencies for years, and it feels much better to do so as a celebration instead of something to regret.

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