50 Shades of Me

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I had my second counseling appointment today. This is the first time since college that I’ve had a male therapist. The first one was very ineffective, but perhaps that’s because he was in training himself. If I had known how to look for a quality therapist, then the issues I’m trying to work on now may have gotten at least partially resolved then. I’ve had several female therapists over the years, but unfortunately they were too easy to suck into the world I painted for them- a false world. I told this gentleman to be on the lookout for such tale-spinning, and so far he seems to be on par with me.

Today’s focus was on developing myself. We both readily agreed that this is something I’ve been severely lacking in (having a core self), and also something which has lent to the bulk of the mistakes I’ve made in dealing with others my entire life. Yet, I already knew this. I actually have been trying to figure my “self” out, or even construct myself, for a couple months now. I haven’t been able to come up with much, unfortunately. In addition, every time I sit down to work on this issue I get emotional blocks, so I have the additional task of trying to discern what in me has such a problem with being “someone” as well.

So my homework was to take my blank slate of a persona and start filling in the details. I was at once frustrated, hopeful, and displeased. I was displeased because I was hoping to have some help with the assignment, but I guess that defeats the purpose- I’ve been pandering to how others might define me for far too long.

So when I got back to work I sat down with some yellow sticky notes and decided to try to come up with some attributes to describe who I am at my core. The first thoughts that came to mind were things like my tastes and preferences, but I know those things aren’t what give me personhood; what makes “Amy”. After some time I came up with a list of 50 descriptives I felt were fairly accurate and consistent. In fact, I tried to stick to things that I could defend with “proofs” if anyone tried to tell me that they were incorrect. Here is what I came up with:

1. A Dreamer 26. Eager to Please
2. Hard-working 27. Conscientious
3. Principled 28. Teachable
4. Trusting 29. Open-minded
5. Trustworthy 30. Idealistic
6. Passionate (non-sexual meaning) 31. Hard on myself (Perfectionistic)
7. Affectionate 32. Scrutinizing
8. Driven 33. Candid
9. Resilient 34. Sentimental
10. Unique 35. Lonely
11. Curious 36. Productive
12. Analytical 37. Loyal
13. Reflective 38. Logical
14. Thorough 39. Poetic
15. Insecure 40. Conflicted
16. Responsible 41. Expressive
17. Undefined 42. Compromising
18. Intuitive 43. Versatile
19. Independent 44. Duplicitous
20. Quick to understand things 45. Incomplete
21. Fast 46. Dependable/Reliable
22. Soulful 47. Impatient
23. Practical 48. Hopeful
24. Selective 49. Appreciative
25. Methodical 50. Complex

I am sure this is not a comprehensive list. There are more, I’m sure; but I stopped writing when the time between ideas became longer and longer. I feel like since these were the first to come to mind, perhaps these are the ones that need the most attention….whether that means building upon them or working to erase them (in the case of the ones that are hindering me).

That is part one. Part two comes next week, in answering the question: “What do I want my life to be like?” When I go on vacation I will work on that specifically, and in shaa Allah put together a viable panorama of a life suitable to my goals, interests and values. Ya Allah, help me with this, because it’s painful, scary, and difficult in ways no one else but You could understand.

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