“THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU, EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT YOU THINK SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOU.”
Years ago, as a young mother, I asked a dear friend, “What is wrong with me?” She said, “Nothing is wrong with you except the fact that you think something is wrong with you”.
Could it be true that there is nothing wrong with us?
What if it were true? What if we believed it deep in our bones and brains?
Life is all about having experiences, interpreting those experiences, making choices based on our interpretations, and, learning.
Thomas Edison said he didn’t have 1,000 failures, but 1,000 steps. How many steps did you get today? I bet it was more than 1,000. Do you think you have learned a lot in the past 10–40 years? Do you think you are a better person? If you were to make a list of all the things you’ve learned and all the little and big things you’ve done in your life to contribute, every smile, every “thank you”, every dish you’ve washed, every time you went to work when you didn’t feel like it, you wouldn’t have enough paper to write it all down.
Think about it.
And think about the person you perceive as making you unhappy. How many little and big things have they done to contribute to this life? Maybe they have a lot of goodness inside them, also.
I heard Dr. Benjamin P. Hardy say that the only way to reduce the pain of the past is to reframe it to: “Everything happened for me, not to me”. Look carefully at your past experiences. How did this happen for you and not to you? How can you learn from it or benefit by it now? Dr. Hardy said that one session of introspection on this subject will not necessarily be enough. Every time it comes up, look at it again, peeling the layers, gradually feeling better.
I invite you to not think you will overcome everything once and for all, because regularly we have “stuff”. Just deal with it when it comes up, moment to moment.
Is it possible that there is nothing wrong with you, even considering your weaknesses and mistakes? It would be weird if you didn’t ever have any weaknesses or mistakes. Do you think you “Should Have Already Mastered Everything”? (Jane R. Pennington) The acronym for that is S.H.A.M.E.
I can’t think of one single good thing that comes out of shaming yourself. We cannot shame ourselves into being “better”. Loving ourselves, accepting our humanness, is more effective. If we shame a child it just makes them feel worse, and when they feel worse, they act worse. If we love a child, (and that might at times mean tough love, but not shame), they have a greater chance of acting better.
Is it possible that you are good enough?
Is it possible that the person you believe is making you unhappy is also good enough?
Jody Moore and Natalie Clay, sisters and life coaches, helped me to really feel this deep into my bones and my brain. I had struggled for years with perfectionism. After being coached by them, I felt so much better, that I decided to become a life coach and help other people feel better. Of course, perfectionism and other weaknesses pop up sometimes, but I don’t get stuck there anymore. I have tools. I know how to coach myself and I know other good coaches who can help me see things more clearly.
I love life.
I even love the messiness of life. I even love it when things go wrong.
It’s not only okay to have feelings, but it is normal and good. Wouldn’t that be weird if you didn’t ever have any feelings? Look in the scriptures, even God has feelings. If you feel fear, just notice it, feel it. Then get back to washing the dishes. If the fear sticks around that’s okay. It’s like a little puppy dog wanting some attention. “Oh, hi fear! How are you today? You can hang out with me for a while if you need to. Come on, let’s go finish the dishes.”
I hope the following story illustrates the value of being kind and accepting of ourselves and kind and accepting of others.
Adam Sud, raised in a happy Jewish family, had an amazing childhood. Then something interesting happened at the age of ten. His parents pointed out his “love handles”. He went from fully accepting of himself to thinking that he was acceptable only under certain conditions. He became hypervigilant in observing how other people responded to him, afraid that others would think that he wasn’t capable of fixing something that was “wrong” with himself, his weight. He became a closet eater.
Soon after this he was diagnosed with ADHD and put on Ritalin. He thought, “Now there is something else about me that doesn’t work properly”. He went to a new high school where he didn’t know anyone. He was awkward, overweight and made fun of. His medication was changed to Adderal, which he soon realized was a party drug because it made people feel good. Students started inviting him over because not only did he become the life of the party, but he also brought the party.
In college everything went downhill. His need for drugs increased. He went doctor shopping, forged prescriptions and treated his family poorly. He began to isolate. He was now 300 pounds. The average dose for Adderal was 10 mg and he was taking 500–1,000 mg at a time. He developed psychosis, hearing and seeing things that weren’t there. He was miserable!
Adam’s father took him to a retreat with Rip Esselstyn where he learned about plant-based nutrition. But he wanted to continue drugs to escape from feeling that there was something wrong with him that he couldn’t fix. Daily, he would take off his shirt and stand in front of the mirror hitting himself, repeating “I hate you”, thinking he could hate himself into changing.
In 2012 he attempted suicide. He woke up terrified, but with an immense feeling of relief and a realization that there was something about himself and about life that he loved. He didn’t really want to end his life. He just wanted to end the pain and didn’t know how. He called his parents who helped him get into a treatment facility for 37 days, then transitioned into another facility where he decided to try eating a plant-based diet, because at the new facility he could order whatever groceries he wanted. He structured his day around nutrition instead of around drug use.
Adam’s new diet helped him lose 100 pounds and helped balance his brain chemistry. He read and learned. He realized that his body had been fighting for him, never giving up on him, that his body was his ally and needed to be nurtured. He learned to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, that having feelings wasn’t failure, but a reasonable response to life and that we have feelings because we are whole, not because there is something wrong with us.
He realized that it’s okay not to know what to do and it’s okay to get help, that we need a community of support, need to bond and connect with others, need to stop defining each other by what we struggle with, that humans are in pain, that we need to stop discrediting people’s pain, stop making them feel like their pain means nothing, that needs make sense, that we can focus less on what is the matter with us and more on what matters to us, that it’s not about perfection but about being 100% committed to holding 90% to our goals, that it’s not about restriction but about taking care of yourself and listening to others and letting them know that you love them no matter where they are at, to live like it’s the last day of your life and treat others like it’s the last day of their life.
(As far as the plant-based diet went for him, he lost 100 pounds, reduced his blood pressure, got rid of his diabetes, heart disease, drug induced bipolar, OCD and got off of all his medications. He said the most important step was to get out of the house every food not on his nutrition plan, that if the environment is set up there is no need for self-discipline or will power, that it’s not about restriction but about eating in alignment with his priorities and values.)
I find this story very fascinating and insightful. The belief that ten-year-old Adam had that something was wrong with him and he didn’t know how to fix it is a very common belief many of us have struggled with. And more often than not, we don’t even know the belief is there because it can be deeply hidden from the conscious mind.
Are there things “wrong” with each of us? Is it wrong to have struggles and weaknesses? What if we are all perfectly imperfect? Is that okay? If not, at what point are we “okay”? When we get a good job or start keeping our house clean or don’t get angry anymore? The purpose of this life is to learn and grow, which involves “getting it wrong” sometimes.
This is why Jesus Christ said forgive seventy times seven. He knew we would all need a lot of forgiveness.
Adam Sud said he was fully accepting of himself until he became aware of an imperfection. Are we fully accepting of ourselves, even in our awareness of our imperfectness?
Would we be less likely to give offense or take offense if we are more accepting of ourselves and more accepting of others? Would there be less need to “prove” that we are right and the other person is wrong.
Adam thought he could hate himself into getting control of his eating and weight. Accepting himself would have been a lot more fun. Instead of focusing on his perception of others’ perceptions, he could have focused on his Heavenly Father’s perception of Him.
How does God perceive us?
I love the scripture Book of Moses. It says that when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain he saw God face to face and he talked with Him. The glory of God was upon Moses, which enabled him to endure His presence.
God said to Moses, “And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look…I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten…the Savior…Moses, my son…now I show it unto thee…the world”.
Three times God referred to Moses as “my son”. God told Moses he was in the similitude of Jesus. Then in another chapter, “And I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him, male and female, created I them”.
What does this tell us about who we are and how Heavenly Father feels about us? How do you feel about your children, even when you feel frustrated with their choices?
Does God accept us only when we do well? He is our Father! He is our Heavenly Father. He loves us. “God is love.” (1 John 4)
Instead of focusing on imperfect human beings’ perceptions of us and our perceived perceptions of their perceptions, wouldn’t it just be easier and a lot less painful to focus on His perception of us?
Look for evidence of His love. It’s everywhere. Take a tally of the evidences. We can easily see dozens of evidences if we are looking. We see whatever we look for. If we are looking for evidence of what’s wrong with us, that’s what we will see.
God likes you. You might as well like yourself.
Heavenly Father is the only one who gives love perfectly, all the time. Stephen R. Covey spoke about letting God be our source of love, our source of security. I feel my very best when I allow myself to receive His love. How does one receive a gift? Acknowledge it, be grateful for it and use it!
There is nothing wrong with you.
You are loved!
When you begin to genuinely feel this in your bones and brain, you will more easily become the person you have been striving to be.