I hear it all the time… “What’s wrong with me?”
It may seem like a natural question to ask after a relationship breaks up or a job opportunity falls through yet again. Disappointment after disappointment and you wonder, is it you? What is wrong with you after all? Are you innately flawed, condemned to failure?
But why do we ask that? Do we really want an answer, or maybe it’s sympathy we’re after. It may be out of sheer frustration, but merely asking the question can reinforce a negative idea that can become your reality if you’re not careful, especially if you ask it repeatedly.
When disappointments and failures occur, better questions to ask are “What could I have done differently?” and “What can I do differently in the future to get a better result?” More often than not, changing our actions and making better decisions is all that is needed.
But if you find yourself in repeated patterns of failure or broken relationships, sometimes it’s because of things that have happened to you in the past that have compromised your judgment or ability to deal differently.
When it comes to creating better emotional health, instead of focusing on what’s wrong, what’s not working in your life, it’s important to gain understanding of the things that have happened in your life that may have compromised your feeling of safety or your ability to trust. Mental illness and distress often make a lot of sense when we stop to understand past traumas or adverse events that may have occurred in our lives, especially during our formative years.
Divest of labels
Perhaps you’ve sought out help from your doctor or a mental health provider and have received a diagnosis. It can be an anxiety or depressive disorder, or a personality disorder. That may help your clinician conceptualize your distress and decide the course of treatment, but it’s important you not become too hung up on that label.
You are not your diagnosis. You may be a person suffering from anxiety or depression or someone who experienced trauma with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. But there are reasons underlying these conditions in your own unique story. And in your unique story lies your hope.
Be patient with yourself
Read that carefully, be patient with yourself…but don’t be a patient. You are on a journey and you have strengths that can help you overcome the hard things that happened in the past. It’s a tenet of our faith that God doesn’t allow evil unless He intends to bring a greater good from it.
Ponder that. God may have allowed you to grow up in a dysfunctional home, or to be betrayed by a spouse or any number of terrible things. He did not choose that, but He allowed it by respecting the free will of all of His children. But He is always at least one step ahead. He has a loving plan for you and will use your suffering as an important part of it.
Working with a Catholic therapist who sees your inestimable worth can be life changing when dealing with past issues and traumas that need healing. Always keep a view toward the future of what you can become and do not allow yourself to dwell too much on the past. Try to look for the strengths and resiliency you developed that got you through those events. Remember also, as bad as some may have been, you survived. Sometimes though the emotions get impacted and need to catch up. There is always hope and the sooner you reach out, the sooner you can be relieved of your distress and walk confidently into a better future.
If there are no significant issues in the past in need of healing, but you need help carving out a more positive future, consider a Catholic life coach. A coach can walk alongside and partner with you in plotting out your God inspired future. If your mindset is holding you back, a coach can help you identify your limiting beliefs and thoughts that may be at the root of what’s holding you back.
The bottom line is this: God had a purpose in creating you and has a vision of a glorious future for you, no matter where you’ve been or where you find yourself today. Take a step out in faith and ask Him what He wants for you. Then tune in and listen. He will make it clear if you quiet yourself and open your heart to hear.
May God bless and keep you!
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