You really aren’t, and that’s a good thing. Let me tell you why, and a few other things that count as free therapy. What can I say? I’m a giver.
Despite what every other woman trying to sell you shampoo or work-out clothes on Instagram is trying to tell you, you’re not that influential. Your effect on others is not significant enough to affect every aspect of their existence. Their actions, thoughts, feelings, and reactions (usually) have very little to do with you. Is someone being really rude? Probably not your fault or problem (unless you outright said/did something offensive). Don’t take it personally; it’s not about you. You’re not that important.
Realizing you barely matter to others will open up your schedule and allow you to focus on worrying about what you think of yourself. Do you like yourself? Would you take the time out of your day to hang out with you? Are you enough to fill the void within you and enjoy your solitude? These are the questions you should focus on instead of on whether Tyler sounded “off” over text last night or not.
Let go of your ego – most of the time, you’re simply reacting due to your hurt ego, not an actual offense. Your ego is getting between you and healthy relationships. It feeds on fear and anxiety. As Sigmund Freud stated, the ego defends itself vainly. Whether you agree with Freud’s other work or not, he has a point. Read more about it here.
How do we go about this?
First, realize that there is probably a lot that you do solely to fill the void and avoid your own thoughts. Whatever your avoidance technique may be (fucking, arguing, dismissing, etc.), you gotta find a counter-technique that adds value instead of attempting to escape. You know exactly what I’m talking about. I don’t wanna hear, “oh, but I can’t stop it.” Shush. Develop grit and self-control. Get your shit together.
Identify the defense mechanisms you use when your ego is triggered. Isolating those and tracing them back to childhood trauma instances will help you process said trauma and resolve these poor defense mechanisms. You’re also not the only one – everyone in your life needs to do this. Some may not realize it yet.
Getting your shit together
Usually, you’re the one driving yourself into a negative spiral and causing your own self-destruction. If other people in your life are causing chaos, try to get rid of them. If you’re in circumstances where you can’t get rid of them, try your best to seek help to manage them to the best of your ability.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the best method for dealing with most shit. It’s kind of like reprogramming your brain – unlearning and re-learning. I’ve done CBT, and I fucking loved it. I went primarily for my OCD and skin picking problem. I attended 2 or 3 sessions and found them to be incredibly useful. It didn’t cure me but definitely helped me control myself.
However, it is important to keep in mind that many problems and obstacles in your mind are often not curable but most likely manageable. This is where grit and self-control come back into play.
My CBT therapist, whose name I was never certain if it was Betsy or Beth, taught me to sit with the feeling. Sit with the anxiety/upset/yuckiness you feel inside. Don’t react or act; just sit. Wait for the tsunami to pass. It fucking sucks, I know – but you have to do it. It’s a skill you have to practice, and over time you’ll get better.
“Maria, what the fuck do you mean to sit with it? If I could not do it, don’t you think I wouldn’t?” Yes. I believe you wouldn’t, but you have to teach yourself that. Learn how to stop the negative spiraling. We all love indulging in a little self-deprecation, victimization, and blame-game – the trick is learning when to stop it. That’s what you need to practice.
Now, go practice ignoring your ego.