What’s wrong with you?

Many of us have been asked that question at one time or another and we will usually find our defenses going up immediately and replying with a quick “nothing” or “what’s wrong with you?!”

If the answer is really nothing, then why would we get so defensive? Maybe there is something wrong with us.

If you were to sit in a quiet room with paper and pen, with nobody else around, look deep inside and tell yourself the truth, the answer to the question might surprise you.

Think about it for a minute. What are some of the thoughts and feelings that you carry around with you every day? Things such as …: I’m too this; I’m not very good at that; Compared to so-and-so, I’m just…

I will suggest that with some honest reflection, before long your list may be off the page.

So where did this list come from and, is it in fact, true?

Our teachers, parents, siblings and other kids we grew up with all had varying opinions about who they thought we were, who we were supposed to be and what we were doing “wrong” in our lives.

Not knowing any better at the time, quite often we chose to believe them.

An interesting question to ask ourselves as we look back is: “Were they always just talking to us?”

There is a theory that everyone and everything we encounter in life is a mirror for ourselves.

When I have been critical of someone else, in each case, when I told myself the truth, I wasn’t really talking to them. I was talking to me.

They were simply showing me a piece of myself that I did not like, a piece that I was unaware of at the time. My criticism of them was a reflection of the inadequacy I felt inside.

I can see now that the reverse was also true at times. Some of the teachers and authorities in my life were unwittingly doing the same thing with me.

Pointing out the flaws in others is an unconscious (and easy) strategy that almost all of us employ when we are unwilling to be honest with ourselves.

Do we really think we can see the faults of others so easily simply because we are that wise?

No, in fact many times it’s because we are doing the same thing in our lives, we just don’t see it yet.

Maybe we do it to a lesser degree or in a different arena, but we are still doing it, and their annoying behaviour is magnifying it for us to see.

The wisest people in my life all had one thing in common.

Each of them reminded me that I am whole and to treat myself with kindness and respect, and encouraged me to discover the parts of myself I don’t know yet, rather than telling me what parts are broken or how I “should” be.

I’d ask you to take a look back in your life at who was critical of you and why. Was it really about you or is it possible that you simply took on the unconscious beliefs of someone else who was hurting inside?

Could you now forgive some of these people from your past for being so critical with you?

Or maybe it’s time to forgive yourself for choosing to believe them.

What are your thoughts? (comments below)


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  1. dan says

    Great artical Timo! It’s very freeing when you see that all the criticism really wasn’t about you!


  2. Leonard says

    Thought provoking to say the least. A great colum that provides rememberance of things I know but have seem to have forgotten.


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