Andrew Cunningham Consultant therapist to ITV and Channel 4 enjoying his 12th year in Harley St
If you feel you are a complete and whole human being then skip this article.
This article is for those who doubt, who seek perfection, who judge, who struggle to avoid failure at all costs, for those who feel something is missing in them. This is for those who need to justify themselves, who struggle to find proof that they are a complete and good person.
In all your shortcomings, your lack, your inadequacies, your failings, did you know that you are perfect at being a human being? How could you be anything else?
Humour me in my therapy-speak, there might be something in this. These ideas are not new but have their uses.
Indulge me for a moment.
A rock is completely and totally a rock. It does not have to explain itself or prove itself, it can’t help but be wholly and truthfully a rock. This is the same for a flower or a cat, neither need to complete any procedure in order to be fully fledged flowers or cats. Whatever happens to them they are totally and fundamentally true and honest beings. Cats and flowers come in all shapes and sizes but they cannot be anything else but themselves.
Humans have consciences and have minds that strive and create and investigate. We have the ability and awareness to judge ourselves and compare ourselves to others or what we could be or feel we should be. However, conscience is another part of being human along with attributes like Origami, basket weaving or singing (OK, birds sing but you know what I mean).
The mind has the ability to think outside the box, to look in on itself and trash what it sees with self consciousness and self criticism. Like the hoover that sucks itself up into nothingness.
However, whatever we think, we are still being human, everything we do and think is human, it is inescapable. We cannot fail at being human.
You may say (and you will.. I know you) that being human is not enough, that we should strive for being more, that inadequacy and weakness is just not good enough and it is lazy to ‘just be human’ and we have no right to let ourselves off the hook. But this striving, this effort to be more than human is simply another aspect of being human.
A flower, however hard it tries, is always a flower, a dog is no less a dog however many rabbits it chases. A dog can be a bad dog but it’s still a dog.
Why am I saying all this?
Mental health is a big issue and how we think about our self-image, self-esteem and confidence is important for mental well-being. Finding ways to be more comfortable in ourselves, to be more at peace could provide an important step for many sufferers.
It is easy to use our minds destructively, to chip away at our true nature and wholeness. The mind is so active and searching and critical that it has the ability to undermine itself and put doubt and guilt and judgement where there could be innocence and wholeness.
Acceptance and forgiveness, new thinking and imagination are cornerstones of a healthy mind. And good therapy.
This article may fail to interest you but it cannot fail to be human.