This week we talked in small groups about how we could use counselling theory to understand our own personality, or apply ideas found in the theories we have covered this year so far to increase our self-awareness, and reflect on ways in which one or more theories have helped us understand ourselves.
For me, the concept of congruence, and being true to oneself, was a massive revelation. For a long time I presented myself as I thought others would want to see me – which is terrifying because how would I know what they wanted me to be? I never asked them. I tried to be what I thought they wanted, rather than being myself, but then it caused dissonance when I was rejected by them. I thought that if I could be agreeable, then everyone would like me and my life would be amazing. But it turned out to be the complete opposite. I think people saw through me, and my act, unconsciously, because I was acting unconsciously to a degree.
CBT helped me realise that I had developed a skewed core belief when I was younger – that I would be removed from the group if I behaved in a way that upset the rest of the group – and this faulty thinking caused me to wear that mask. I consciously try my best every day to not just go along with what others think and say just for group approval. Sometimes I succeed, but sometimes I do not. I don’t beat myself up about it, because at the end of the day, sometimes it honestly is easier to just say “yeah, you’re probably right” and not get dragged into a pointless argument that won’t really achieve anything. This could also be considered as having an external locus of evaluation. This is now moving into personal history territory, so I’ll just say that congruence is very important to me, and I now try to live my life being as congruent as possible.
I found it very interesting that the others in our small group also made startling revelations about themselves, from similar aspects of the various theories that affected me, but their revelations were completely different to mine. I mean, this is understandable because no two people are the same, but I found it interesting nonetheless. It was the idea of the unconscious mind that did it – it helped me realise one thing about myself, but it made my classmate realise a different thing.