My personal notes on fixing myself.
What are your goals, that is, the most important positive changes you want to make?
I think the most important thing for me is to feel comfortable around people and discard my fear. I want to be able to comfortably carry on a conversation with most anyone, and get rid of my distorted thoughts. I also want to increase my self-esteem because it’s pretty sad right now.
What do you need to achieve those goals?
I need to practice talking to people, meditate, and start recognizing and replacing my negative thoughts.
What are your expectations of how you’ll feel, think, and act when you’ve achieved them?
When I achieve these goals I hope to feel human. I want to be able to go to social events and not have a panic attack. I want to be able to give a presentation and actually communicate my ideas and influence people, not spend all my energy on avoiding a panic attack.
My goals and expectations nee to be as concrete and specific as possible. I need to be able to identify with and relate to them.
I suffer from ambivalence, the state of mind where there are coexisting but conflicting feelings or thoughts. I often find myself in situations with this state of mind. I desire interaction with others, but my fear of rejection and fear of feeling awkward is just as strong as my desire.
I have read that the key to recovery is not self-esteem, but self-efficacy. It’s our expectation of success in the tasks we undertake. It’s our self-confidence, our belief in our ability to carry out plans, reach goals, and succeed with our specific task. If we believe we can’t accomplish something, we’ll have no hope of achieving that goal. No hope= no effort= no change. But if we believe we have the ability to do something, we’ll feel the hope, make the effort, and effect the change. Studies show increased self-efficacy leads to increased coping ability and decreased anxiety.
How do I resolve my conflicts? How do I decrease my ambivalence and increase motivation? I need to accept myself and love myself. If we don’t accept ourselves, we tell ourselves that if our behavior is bad, we’re bad, and we must change as opposed to wanting to change. When we feel genuinely accepted, we’ll feel free to change. To accept ourselves, we need to:
Separate ourselves from our behavior.
Assess our behavior non-judgmentally, then:
Accept and respect ourselves irrespective of our behavior.
I might hate my behavior but I need to love myself as a person. I need to give myself unconditional positive regard, which is analogous to respect and love.
Growing up, I pretty much only received conditional positive regard. In other words, the love I received was conditioned upon my actions. I received disapproval for doing the “wrong” things, regarding manners, or spilling something, or being too loud. I was conditioned to be silent and submissive. As a result, I see love and positive attention predicated upon my doing the “right” thing. I’ve internalized this attitude my whole life and now I disapprove of myself. I am full of self-hatred and disappointment.
When we perform unacceptable behaviors or perform acceptable behaviors badly, we feel guilty and unworthy, feelings we must defend against. When we feel defensive, we feel anxious. This defensiveness limits our freedom to interact fully and openly with our environment and cuts us off from many experiences.
I need to look at my behavior, thoughts, and feelings the way an objective, nonjudgmental person would.
I feel like I’m unwrapping my mind right now. This entry should be the theme of tomorrow morning’s meditation.