What Does This Serve Me
Our mind creates ways for us to cope and protect ourselves. Our experiences mold our personality in ways we can be completely oblivious to. Hence why it is easy to be frustrated with how your mind works, especially when it seems to be self-destructive. It is easy to judge yourself for the way your feelings manifest themselves in ways you don’t like. And it is hard to understand it.
Why do I bite my lips? Why is it so hard to fall asleep? Why do I obsess about food? Why do I have a hard time connecting with people? And the list goes on. Why am I how I am? When there is something about ourselves that seems to weigh us down, we are inclined to judge it and judge ourselves. Stop biting your lips. Turn off the racing thoughts. Just eat whatever. Learn to love someone!
Our frustrations further remove us from solutions. If there is something to stop, it is first important to understand why it appeared in the first place. Someone once told me that all addictions at one point in our lives served us a purpose. With years of therapy and introspection, I have begun to piece together the connection between my behaviors and my needs. Obsessing about food allows me to feel in control. My racing thoughts are a mechanism for me to feel like life cannot surprise me and is likely a product of trauma that I felt unprepared for. It’s a mechanism for myself to always feel ready for the worst case scenario. I’ve been disappointed by people I’ve trusted so now it is hard to let people in. Our “worst” qualities came to be because they served us a purpose.
Finding out what fears and pains contribute to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors is a process. I still find myself making new connections constantly. Connecting the dots of how a reaction I had to one situation felt similar to one years ago. I don’t have a handbook to give you on how to understand yourself. Yet, I still encourage you to try. I think journaling is a very helpful tool for a lot of reasons, but used in a particular way can help identify root issues. Ask yourself - what does this behavior do for me? Do this while removing the judgment you associate with it. Think back, when else have I felt like this? When did my heart race like this? When was the last time I was comfortable like this around somebody? Question what could be subconsciously connected, because your mind holds onto more than you know.
Judgment leads to shame and loathing. Be compassionate towards your feelings and work to understand yourself. We are often patterned. Repetitive self-destructive behaviors set the trap for a negative self-critical spiral. Avoid that temptation, and seek to understand what is driving you. By evaluating what need it is meeting, you can consciously choose an alternative way to meet that need. I know my issues with food resurface when I feel out of control, so I find healthier ways to assert control in my life. I remind myself that I control my actions, my clothing, my hobbies, my passions. We all have needs and fears, many of which spring from past pains, while others may just be a part of our natural individuality. Nonetheless, our mind will strive to meet our needs and calm our fears. Take notice, be open to making changes, and go easy on yourself. And always wonder, “What does this serve me?”