I took a Reiki course on Friday. I’m still not sure how it all works, or even whether it does work. I was totally enthused in the actual class, and then afterwards, that little nagging voice entered my head. You know it’s just the power of suggestion, don’t you? You know that it’s a placebo, that it can’t really work.
The funny thing is, when I started questioning why I always do that, why I choose to discard things that could actually be helpful, I realised that it’s because I believe there is nothing inherently talented or special about me. Reiki? Of course, other people could learn to practice it, of course other people could benefit from it…but me? Nope. Not special enough. Not open enough. Who did I think I was kidding?
I’m actually getting a lot better at challenging my thoughts. I even like myself most of the time these days. So why does this belief persist, deep-down, that I am in fact not worthy, deficient, a cheap imitation of a person?
I used to think terrible things about myself. I would stand in front of the mirror and list my (many, many) flaws, being utterly cutting and cruel about each feature. My hair (too red, too fluffy, too thin). My nose (too big). My hips (too wide). My skin (too pale). And all of those thoughts built up and built up, and under the pressure they solidified into a sort of certainty, the way sediment compacts over millions of years of pressure to produce fossils holding leafprints and snailshells in detailed permanence.
I used to think that I would never be able to think positively about myself. But I’m getting better at it. It takes time and it takes effort, but it does get easier, and I do tend to be able to acknowledge things I’ve done positively or well. When I realised that, deep-down, I still felt essentially unworthy, I was shaken. I thought, It’s never going to go away. There’s nothing I can do to unbelieve what I believe.
But when I look back through my diaries, or blog entries, when I think of how my mentality and self-perceptions have altered in just these last few months…the proof is there. I can change my thinking; I can change my thoughts. And, by extension, I can change my life.
We all can.
And sometimes it feels like an insurmountable task - like chipping away at a huge old mountain with a bit of flint. But it’s important to remember that even the smallest action counts. Small changes become big changes over time. Big changes become even bigger ones.
Change may be difficult, it may be gradual…but it is possible.
Sometimes we just need a little reminder of that.