I am still not really sure how I will be using this blog yet. I originally intended it to be both personal and synonym for idea-driven, but I am dealing with a lot of personal stuff right now so it’s going to be relatively more of that for the immediate future. I might just end up getting rid of all of this later if I ever have some actual readers, so why am I still writing for an audience that doesn’t exist? I’ll just chalk it up to the i̶r̶r̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶i̶t̶y̶ ineffability of human thought.
Anyway, the personal question is how I’m supposed to deal with the consequences of my actions over the past year, and how they’ve led to me failing my first year of medical school. I originally said that I’d want to write this post for therapy, so here I am writing it an hour before class. Not a good sign for my future existence hypothetically free of procrastination.
I know I’ve fucked up. But Im just learning that shame is Not A Good Way To Deal With Things and even if it’s probably true I’m a bad/weak person for failing, dwelling on that won’t make be do better and therefore I am not a bad/weak person failing. The Orwellian-ness of this position is not lost on me. But if I’m sekf-aware of this, does this mean I’m back to my old self-destructive thoughts of being a bad weak person?
I don’t think so. I think I can simultaneously acknowledge that I’ve been a weak bad person, and that being this bad weak person is mostly not my fault. It comes down to a combination of upbringing, genetics, and other factors that have continually compounded each other. But I don’t want this view to totally consume my thinking either. If I’m just a product of circumstances, that suggests my future is immutable. That’s what I. Thought anyway. But the insight of CBT is that past behavior can change through careful reevaluation of last beliefs further bolstered by action. The issue is that the action part is hard. Really hard. Especially when inaction has been contributing to your problems from the beginning. But habits can changes, and my mantra and driven, productive living is the first step back on the life-of-discipline horse.
Thinking I have the power within me to change and that I can control how I’m able to change is the recipe to success. There’s been a lot of positive research on growth mindset and believing in internal rather than external locus of control. So it’s almost like I’ve been hearing too different things. I think for my whole life I’ve taken the worst position on both qualities. I’ve been saying that everything is mine to change, everything I’ve done is my fault, and yet at the same time I’m powerless to fix it. I can now see that my Helplessness comes from circumstance, but that it is my responsibility and under my control to change it.
Now, this isn’t the first time that this has occurred to me and I’ve definitely felt that frame of mind before, but it twisted itself into a hindrance rather than a help. The solution, the compromise I’ve been working toward?
I will not be overly critical of my last or think it is unable to change. I fell into bad habits I’ve carried over from childhood and they are hard habits of personality that will bevery difficult but possible to break. In the future, It is true that I will falter and fall back on some of these habits. Slip ups are inevitable. But slipping up is not an immutable fact. if I hold myself responsive to get back on the horse in a reasonable time frame, using tools I’ve learned that I will keep available to me, I absolutely can get back on that horse every time. Over time, my mantra will hold true, “if I do what I should, it will get easier,” and I firmly believe this remains just as true in the meta-sense as it will in the individual situations I will need to invoke it.
Hooray for improvement (and for writing asecond blog post. And hopefully editing it later.)!