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“If You Think You Are Screwed Up, You May Be Just Skewed Up”

I make people cry!tears

Yes, at first I was hesitant to admit it but now I realize that is one of my biggest strengths. As a therapist I often sit across from someone who comes in and tells me all of the reasons that they are screwed up. I listen for the first few sessions very carefully as I want to make sure I really hear what they are saying and do my best to understand their situation from their perspective.

However there comes a point – invariably around session 3 or 4 and usually as we are drawing that session to a close – when they can’t hold it in anymore. They pause and look at me with a fear and trepidation and then quietly ask, “so, do you see how much of a mess I am? Is there any hope that you can fix me?”

 A little taken aback, I usually answer, “I don’t see a mess who needs fixing. I see a person with many strengths and talents who just lost touch with themselves somewhere along the way.” It’s around this time that I see tears rolling down their face. And sadly, they often reply, “That’s the first time anyone has ever told me that.” Now a tear begins to roll down MY face.

Those tears are a mix of sadness and hope.

It is one of regret for all of those years they thought they were less than. In the same instant it is a spark of hope that what they believed deep down, in those quiet moments of loneliness, that they were really something worthwhile, was true. It is too much for one to bear and this tension is released with tears. It is a soulful cry. It is the exhaling of a breath that has been held for years, sometimes, decades. And it is awful and wonderful at the same time.

It is a moment my clients and I often remember even after months of therapy. I was thinking about how many times this scenario has repeated itself over the last eight years, since I began my private practice. It makes me sad yet also grateful that I can make a difference in these people’s lives who graciously and I might add, courageously, allow me to guide them back to their true self.

When I describe to them the person that I see in front of me, it is not like I am just saying that to be nice. (In case you are wondering. I have seen a different perspective for every one of my clients.) I truly see a different person than the one who is telling the story. Of course I have a different perspective. I didn’t go through their traumas, abuse and put-downs. Those things have clouded their vision and insight (or in(-ward) sight) to the point that they can’t really see who they truly are. I am able to look at them with fresh eyes and can often see things that they and people very close to them, will often miss. I see the diamond in the rough.

(By the way, I too have trouble seeing myself objectively. I am too close to me and I too need someone else to help me with my skewed perspective of myself.) That is the problem right there.

People are not screwed up – they are skewed up

distorted mirror

They have a skewed perspective of who they are. It is based on their early childhood years – usually before the age of eight. It is a combination of genetics, parents, family dynamics, culture and early childhood influencers like teachers, religious leaders and coaches. You are not stupid, lazy, unworthy, insecure or unlovable. You were only given those messages explicitly or implicitly by the environment in which you grew up.

Before you begin to think I am blaming anyone I want emphasize that I am not. If any of these people skewed your perspective of yourself it is only because their perspective was skewed in their own childhood. These distorted messages are passed down from generation to generation. If you think about it, we are all pretty skewed up!

The good news is that it is never too late to get clarity. It takes some understanding and unraveling of some distorted rules you play by in life but with help, I have seen people do this. And when they do they are better able to see when they begin twisting the truth about themselves and are able to stop themselves from playing these old patterns. It isn’t easy but the more you practice the truer pattern, the easier it gets.


No matter how dismal a situation appears, in the back of your head keep in mind that you may not be seeing the situation in the clearest way. Someone else may be able to help lead you out of the fog. We are all diamonds in the rough. You just need help finding them.

And if you cry along the way, imagine your tears as washing your foggy lenses, which can lead to a clearer picture of who you truly are.

Live Your Dreams!

Sam Gerstein

P.S. This is my experience of how people get their lives “skewed up”. I am interested in hearing your experiences of times where you got a new perspective for your self or your career, that changed how you saw or did things. Please share your comments below.











One Response to “If You Think You Are Screwed Up, You May Be Just Skewed Up”

  • avatar
    Bahram jam says:

    I find constantly comparing ourselves to others also makes us be skewed up.
    Social media makes it worse in my opinion.
    It’s like being ourself is no longer good enough.

    Thanks Sam

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