Who Do You Think You Are? No, Really…

Do you have a good sense of who you are as a person? I’m sure you know who you are as a parent, or girlfriend, employee and neighbor. But do you really know yourself in an intimate way? 

I think one of the intimidating worries about coming to therapy is that your therapist is going to try to change you. Or, you worry that you’ll have to completely change in order to feel better. 

Yes, some of this is true, but in reality, we’re not here to change you, rather to figure out who you really are and magnify the heck out of that! Our therapeutic approach is really about revealing your true essence, which has been buried by all the years of hurt, negative messages, self-doubt, and self-criticism. To deal with all of that crap you’ve been wading through your whole life, you have probably developed some pretty negative coping skills and thought patterns. 

That’s where we come in! I’m curious if you recognize yourself doing some of these thought patterns to deal with the crazy around you: 

1. Black or white thinking: You think that either you must be perfect, or you suck. You tend to think that either your life is wonderful or it’s the worst. You’re an either/or gal! 

2. Catastrophizing: This is a popular one! Do you automatically go right down the rabbit hole (hey, Alice!) whenever anything bad happens? For example, your boss doesn’t say hi to you in the morning with her usual smile, so you automatically think, “oh dang, I’m so fired, I don’t know why I thought I could do this job, now I’m going to be humiliated and embarrassed and how the hell am I going to be able to pay my car payment next week???” Yeah. You know who you are… 

3. Personalization: This is when you think anything that happens around you is directly because of you. The cashier at Giant that was rude to you? That’s because she thinks you’re a selfish jerk because you didn’t bring your bags with you. Or that fight at the holiday dinner at your sister-in-law’s? That’s because you didn’t see it coming and redirect the conversation before it headed south. You’re always comparing yourself to everyone around and looking for evidence that you don’t measure up. 

4. Minimization: My personal favorite! This is when you basically minimize anything positive people say to you. Your bestie compliments your dress and you immediately say, “This thing? I look like a potato sack in it.” Or, your partner tells you how great dinner was, and you respond with, “At least I didn’t burn it!” Always deflecting any compliments from others – or worse – talking yourself out of any positive thoughts you have is what this little ditty is and it’s a rotten one. 

I’ve listed these examples to show you that we all develop these kinds of thought patterns over the years to help us manage what’s happening to us and around us. Figuring out what specific tools, patterns, and habits you’ve taken on is the first step in peeling back the layers to seeing the real YOU – the girl that you remember who loved swinging on the swings, hiking to the creek at your grandma’s, making homemade cards, and taking in the sunsets. Spend five minutes right now and jot down all the things you used to do, used to be, and used to love that you can remember growing up. This is the woman you are now! You have just fallen out of touch with her, but part of your therapist’s job is to get you reacquainted – reacquainted to the you who used to be open and trusting, who was excited about life, who loved taking chances! 

Let’s find YOU again! We’re super skilled at seeing YOU, hearing YOU, appreciating YOU, and reminding YOU that you don’t need to change who you really are! We just have to figure out what you’ve been using as a mask and shield for protection. Our therapists can begin rewiring your brain and your habits to settle into the fabulous bad ass person you’ve always been! We got you. 

Schedule online to begin getting back to YOU at EmpoweredConnections.net/ client-portal

DEBORAH DULEY is a licensed social worker in the state of Maryland. She has a BS in social work from Bowie State University and a Masters of Social Work from Howard University, Washington DC, as well as thousands of clinical hours and continuing education. She is a certified Stepfamily Foundation Counselor and is ASIST trained in suicide intervention. In addition Deborah is trained in divorce and custody mediation. Deborah is the founder and owner of the counseling practice Empowered Connections LLC, located in the heart of Leonardtown Maryland and the facilitator of her new therapy program “10 Sessions to Better Self-Esteem.” Deborah has over 25 years of experience working with women in many capacities such as activist, domestic violence counselor, and crisis interventionist. As the “women’s therapist,” she is passionate about working with women and teen girls. She integrates her knowledge of mental health issues and her life experiences to assist them in increasing their self-esteem, decrease anxiety & depression symptoms and tackle a whole host of personal issues that women struggle with.