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Long Answer - "What's wrong with me?"

When things start going wrong in life, a common question people ask themselves is “what’s wrong with me?” In relationships, it fluctuates between that and “what’s wrong with you?” We seem to bounce between the two - looking for fault in ourselves, or placing it on others (or circumstance). But in modern psychotherapy we pay close attention to words and common assumptions around them - like ‘wrong’.

The idea of 'wrong' comes from many places in our world – science, religion, medicine and industrialisation – and the way we use it makes sense for machinery and physical bodies (when something is 'broke', work it out, 'fix' it).  However, the power, mystery and evolving complexity of the human mind, and human relationships, defy such approaches to ‘fixing’ people - or relationships. Modern research and neuroscience are now pointing to what spiritual people have always believed - that all humans possess a 'core-good'. A natural capacity to create meaning out of chaos, adapt, grow, heal ourselves, and love. This means their is nothing 'wrong' with us, and our so called 'faults' can no longer be connected to our identity – we are not the sum of our behaviours (or our thoughts for that matter). 

So if you lie, you are more than a 'liar', if you steal you are more than a 'thief'. All of us are more than the worse thing we've done... or do! So it's the same with 'medical' labels - a person may struggle with symptoms of depression but more than a depressive, or alcohol and be more than a alcoholic. 

Psychologically, it's explained as ‘behaviour being driven by complex psychology and meaning’. This means one’s history of anger (how it was tolerated, used, expressed or suppressed by significant others) conditions what the person does with it - good or bad. The 'bad' are seen as 'survival strategies' of the past, used to protect self or gain acceptance - a best choice in a past context, but a problem now. A problem one struggles with, but remains external to their 'true self'. This 'true-self' (our unique and innate capacity for 'good growth') is the part of us that faces up to the problem we no longer identify with.

Viewed this way, our problems become easier to accept while still taking full responsibility for. In fact, by nurturing our true self to deal with issues we demonstrate the real meaning of the word 'responsibility' ('the ability to respond'). Sticking with anger as the example: when it's viewed as an acceptable and legitimate emotion (like all emotions) and used to gain insight into ourselves and situation, then how we address it in-the-moment, or what we let it become, changes).

Anyway, what they’re saying is the ‘essence’, the 'true-self' of a person, is this miracle of complexity, creativity and adaptability – a meaning-maker with a constant and innate desire to ‘grow’ (emotionally & psychologically). Just like the plant in the crack of the side-walk, all humans have an innate desire to flourish into something wonderful and good (and as creative individuals, your 'something wonderful' can be very unique).