I had a text conversation with a guy recently. I don’t know if I can call him a “friend”, “buddy”, or “acquaintance”. This is a guy with whom I’ve shared huge chunks of my life’s story. Someone who doesn’t seem to have “my kind” of story, but he’s been pretty encouraging. I’ve admired the guy for a long time as someone who has integrity and humility.
In our recent conversation, I got the idea he wanted to help me, but what he had to share came across to me as though he were offering a “hand up” – as someone who is “better than” to someone who is “worse than”. It surprised me. Where had that come from??
What did he say that made me feel this way? He suggested I read a book. The cover had words like “unlock potential”, and “achievement”. I got the feeling he doesn’t see me as a very successful person, and he wanted to help with that.
That’s when I got “stuck”.
At least, that’s what I’d call it. Like totally tangled up in my own thoughts, spiraling inward and downward! For several hours, I found myself second guessing everything- especially myself – and wondering why I ever thought this guy was even trying to be my friend. Clearly not! I felt such pain and judgment! How could I ever think he was a friend?
And then, I found some mental space. Something untangled. I was able to pause the negativity for a few moments and step back from myself, so to speak. I realized my wounded self had encountered something really familiar, and responded in a very customary manner.
Maybe he was just trying to have a conversation. I mean, what if he was wanting to open up the conversation with me even more?
What if this was just my insecure attachment style showing up and doing what it has always done?
What if his suggestion was because this really remarkable guy struggles with similar negative internal voices like I do??
I decided to press into that idea a little. I crafted a sincere response to his suggestion. Instead of shutting his suggestion down, I opened up a bit more and was vulnerable. He responded with his own vulnerability! I asked if he wanted to talk more about it, and he jumped at the opportunity! We are going to have a phone chat next week, and I’m really looking forward to it!
There’s no way this result would’ve happened if not for therapy. In fact, I don’t think it would’ve happened before my therapy session just last week! I’m incredibly grateful for a therapist who is intuitive and attuned, and who is helping me disentangle myself from the negative messages I’ve had in my own head for so long!
My therapy session today was amazing, too! We processed some really hard stuff! I’m still processing, so maybe I’ll write more about it another time!
It’s really good to know that even when I get stuck like that, I can get unstuck – and not just move on, but move through to a better place of understanding and relating!