My father taught me that “perception is reality”. Growing up, I didn’t really understand how much this statement would actually impact my life and the work I do. For many years my perception of myself and how others viewed me was skewed. I believed I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, the list goes on.
It wasn’t until my world came crashing down on me that I had a change in my perception. I lost everything to my drug addiction and honestly thought I was not going to survive. My therapist in treatment planted a seed of hope that has been growing ever since. Just the fact that I was able to stay sober was enough to change my perception of myself.
As the days grew, so did my self-esteem. My therapist was a cognitive behavioral therapist, as I am now, and she helped me identify the distorted cognitions that had ultimately led to my addiction. I began to see that I was worthy and smart and capable. As time went on I began to catch myself falling back into old thinking patterns and stopping them before they went too far.
This journey is what inspired me to go back to school so I could help others learn this valuable tool. Read this poem below:
Pretty Ugly Poem
By Abdullah Shoaib
I’m very ugly
So don’t try to convince me that
I am a very beautiful person
Because at the end of the day
I hate myself in every single way
And I’m not going to lie to myself by saying
There is beauty inside of me that matters
So rest assured I will remind myself
That I am a worthless, terrible person
And nothing you say will make me believe
I still deserve love
Because no matter what
I am not good enough to be loved
And I am in no position to believe that
Beauty does exist within me
Because whenever I look in the mirror I always think
Am I as ugly as people say?
Now, read it again from the bottom up. A simple shift in doing the same activity makes all the difference in the world!