5.0
June 25, 2015

How I Stopped Kicking My Own A**.

funny yoga

Caution: a little adult language below! 

I like my job.

Most of the time, I go to work knowing I can help people. But like most of us, when I wake up in the morning, I lay in bed for a little bit and consider inventing a sickness that will prevent me from having to unfold myself from sleep to brush my teeth.

Then, I go make my coffee (by make, I mean buy) and weave through the Austin traffic as I get jazzed up for the day.

Today was not one of those days.

The morning started off the same. I arrived at my office relatively chipper. I had enough work on my schedule to keep me happy, but not too much that I couldn’t work on other things.

And that’s when my day started to fall apart.

One no-show and three cancellations later, my schedule is blown and an ocean of self-doubt starts to overwhelm my logic. I remember that I have prepared myself for this. I pull out my encyclopedia of entrepreneurial mantras I’ve collected through the years to remind myself that this is normal. So I run through the usual suspects.

Sometimes this happens.

Summer is coming. People don’t want counseling during the summer.

I suck.

Wait? What? I’m pretty sure that last one just creeped into my list. I don’t think it belongs there. But maybe it does? I’m not sure. It is hard to tell when I’m suspicious that my lack of success today may actually be because I suck.

So, rather than working, I’m sitting here writing this blog. I’ve come up with the title because I hope that by the time I reach the end, I will have discovered how to stop kicking my own ass. Maybe I should rename it, “How I Kicked My Own Ass: And Why I Keep Doing It.”

I seem to be pretty good at that.

That doesn’t seem very therapisty of me though. Shouldn’t I have some deep wisdom about how to not doubt myself when things don’t go as I suspect they should?

Listen to me: I doubt my doubt.

I’m pretty sure more people would read this if it was titled, “5 Ways to Feel Good About Yourself.” Every time I read those, I always feel like those people know something I don’t.

Unfortunately, I don’t feel good about myself right now. I feel shitty. I wish things were going better than they are. Maybe they will soon. But now? I feel like that big pile of dinosaur poo from Jurassic Park. The original one.

I doubt that I will have the impact on people that I want to have. I doubt that I’ll ever be able to take my wife to Hawaii again. I doubt that I’ll be able to provide for a child that I doubt I’ll ever have.

So what do I do with my ocean of doubt?

I sit at my laptop and bleed, hoping that if anyone reads this, they’ll still believe I can help them instead of seeing me for what I really am: dinosaur poo.

Sometimes, even though I wouldn’t tell anyone this, I wish I were perfect. I think all of us do at one point or another. But that’s impossible. We’re human. And to be human is to kick your own ass when you screw up, or when you think you do. But I don’t want my ass kicked.

That settles it. The new name of this blog is, “Three Steps To Be Perfect, and therefore, Not Human.”

I like where this is going.

Step 1: Get plastic surgery. If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that perfect people live perfect lives.

Step 2: Pretend that work is more important than relationships. Children always remember the Mercedes that came to their band concerts.

Step 3: Take responsibility for everything. This one is most important. As long as I am always to blame, no one can ever hurt me because I’m too busy hurting myself.

I don’t think this is going to work.

I really had good intentions when I started writing this. I’m pretty sure that I should be telling myself to believe in my inner power or dance like no one is watching or some such nonsense.

Maybe I should just be looking at Pinterest.

Someone just interrupted my self-pity to call me on the phone and told me that he needs help breaking up with his partner because he doesn’t deserve her. My first thought was, “holy shit, I’m calling myself from the future.”

Then I realized that’s not possible.

My second thought was, “This guy is kicking his own ass. I know something about that.”

If I didn’t have experience with this, then I wouldn’t have a clue how to help the guy on the phone stop kicking his own ass?

Isn’t that my job? To help others stop kicking their own asses?

That’s it. I’ve renamed the blog its original title. I’m even adding steps.

Step 1: Help someone else stop kicking his or her own ass.

That’s all the steps.

We can’t kick our own asses. I just tried. I don’t care how flexible you are. Upper thigh is the best you get, maybe the lower-right quadrant depending on what you’re working with.

Anyway, I think that when I try to kick my own ass, I’m just trying to repeat what others have done to me because they repeated what others have done to them. It turns out that ass-kicking can only be done effectively by another person. This is why the best ass-kickings come from the people we love the most.

Those ass-kickings last a long time, lingering around enough to make us feel like we deserve another.

So we do it ourselves. Ever wonder why it’s so easy to show compassion to someone we love, but not to ourselves? We need others to help us stop what other others started doing to us in the first place.

I’m renaming the blog again. Sorry about all the renaming. It’s called, “How We Ask Others To Help Us Stop Kicking Our Own Asses.”

That seems long. How about, “How to Ask To Be Loved.”

That sounds like a Beatles song.

I can’t come up with the right title right now, but here’s what I’m going to do. I’m very aware that it could fail miserably.

I’m going to pick up the phone and call my wife. I’m going to ask her if she loves me. Then I’m going to believe what she says. I’m going to stop listening to myself and begin listening to the people who see me as I don’t.

I’m going to be choosy about whom I ask. Some people are getting their assess kicked too. If I misjudge, then I’m going to tell them I love them when they try to kick mine.

Then I’m going to tell my wife I love her for loving me. I’ll tell my mom too. Then I’m going to do it again.

Because I need help to stop kicking my own ass.

Then I’m going to dance like no one is watching.
~

Relephant: 

Today, it’s just me & my Vulnerability.

When we feel bad, we tend to do things that make us feel worse. Do this, instead:

~

Author: Mathis Kennington

Editor: Renee P 

Image: Sue Clark on Flickr 

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Meg Apr 7, 2016 6:09am

This is me. This is everything I needed to read this morning. “Step 3: Take responsibility for everything. This one is most important. As long as I am always to blame, no one can ever hurt me because I’m too busy hurting myself.” made me cry instantly….crocodile tears. Something about reading and identifying with something that makes me feel like everything shifts a bit. Thank you.

stacey Jan 20, 2016 3:24pm

As i was meandering in my self pity, I read this!! Perfect thank u!!!!

Tonya Dec 20, 2015 6:16am

Perfect!

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Mathis Kennington

Mathis Kennington is a couples therapist in Austin, TX. He teaches couple and family therapy at St. Edward’s University and is the author of many blogs that most people haven’t read. To connect with Mathis, visit his website, Twitter, or Facebook.