To Believe in Oneself

11 hours, at the psychiatrist.

– Mr. M., I think you should apply yourself more in the intervals between sessions and internalize the concepts herein exposed. We are in our third meeting and we have made no progress at all, nor moved one step. We are still stuck at the concept of: “believing in yourself”.

– I do not believe in myself…

– I know, I know! Have patience, please! You told me again and again that you do not believe in yourself, because you have no reason to do so, being, or rather calling yourself a “man without qualities”, but it is not the only point with you, it would be far too normal! Do you know how many patients I have had who had not the slightest trust in themselves? Tens! Yes! Tens! And everyone went forward, they all have improved, they made progress. But you need to work upstream, and if we go on with this obstinacy, let me tell you, therapy is likely to be endless…

– Eh, the fact is…

– No, wait, let me finish, please! It’s not just that you do not believe in yourself, but you do not believe that the concept of believing in ourselves is important! But it is, it is crucial to success! With you, it is necessary to start believing before enabling this evidence, I mean, you must start “believing in believing in yourself” and then move on and build your own self confidence. Continuing as you are now, we will never finish!

– But have patience, doctor! How can I believe in anything, a concept, a theory that seems to be so dubious, unconvincing, opaque…

– Opaque? What seems to be opaque about the fact that in order to achieve some success in life, you need to believe in yourself? Simply look at the reality! All those who believe in themselves, they are successful! What would be opaque about that?

– No! Wait! I did not deny that those who believe in themselves have success, and to be honest, not even that believing in themselves is, in some way, a key to success…

– So what! What is the problem?

– The problem is that the key point of the argument is not simply “to believe”, but to have some reason to “believe”, and all those who believe in themselves probably have at least one reason to do so. Many are successful, others are less, but none, so to speak, believes in himself “blindly”, ergo… the point is not only to believe, but to have a reason to believe, a substrate, a base, I just… I just do not have it!

– Because you are “the man without qualities”!

– Exactly!

– Look, then, I can say… I personally do not think at all that you do not have any qualities! First you argue and defend your positions very well, you have a tremendous tenacity and obstinacy, and then objectively, in life, you have also achieved some big results, you graduated, for example…

– Come on! A pass to unemployment, that’s what a graduation is, or at least it has been for me, Everybody has a degree nowadays…

– A lot of people do not have a degree!

– Just because they do not try at all! They are more clever; a degree does not mean anything; and furthermore, I do not exclude that I am not the only one without qualities. What I can know about it? But my graduation… I attained it with such a low final grade, no, no, please do not humiliate me like this…

– Okay, okay! Graduating does not mean a thing…

– I have no family…

– I know it! You have no family and no girlfriend, but you do not look for it, how should you be able to change it in this way?! Nobody ever told you she loved you, for example?

– Yes, it has happened, yes!

– Ooooh! You see, so it is not true that you have no qualities! If there is someone who loved you, who loves you! Listen! It does not happen to everyone, many people are never told even once in their life: “I love you”!

– Yes, but…

– Do not minimize, please!

– No, I do not minimize, I would just point out that others may be wrong as well, right? Why should I trust other people’s criteria? And furthermore, here we come to the second category of people who “believe in themselves”, those who are wrong in doing so.

– And so you think that those women who said they loved you… they are wrong!

– Exactly.

– You are convinced!

– Absolutely! So much that, assuming that they were in all cases girls who did not deserve a loser like me, being by far better than me, I have driven them out of my life in a bad way! I am sure they were after me just as a sort of “self punishment”, or due to some “nurse syndrome”…

– What do you mean “in a bad way”?

– With hostility! Harshly, so that the separation was surely final, and with no regrets!

– Good heavens, what did you do?

– The latest one, two years ago, I tugged her by the hair, out of my house, I insulted her on the landing so everybody could hear: “shameless creature”, “stupid”, “idiot”, and crying even with a louder voice: “go away, go! Walk! Out of my way, you crazy paranoid woman, you piece of garbage!” She was a very sweet girl, I could not stand her to be with me, I loved her.

– You really are crazy, let me say! Sorry! All this is worse than I thought it was when I saw you for the first time. Apparently, you have absolutely nothing wrong, but it is curious, you do believe that everything is wrong with you, and that makes you a totally upside down person. It makes you exactly as wrong as you believe yourself to be! It is really curious!

– Do you think?

– Yes! I do think! And what’s more, and this is what irritates me, and I do not know how to deal with it if you do not help, it would be enough for you to understand just one fundamental point, to convert all that is not right in you into something perfectly normal and happy.

– Which point?

– You must believe in YOURSELF! It is the only point! God damn it! You are no worse than anyone else! You are no more stupid than anyone, you are not lower, or fatter, or more boring, or anything else, than people who have a perfectly normal life and who do not need to go to a psychiatrist.

– That’s their own business, if they do not go, and if they are happy even without having qualities. They are mistaken even in that! I, at least, have one good thing: I know I have no qualities.

– And you, instead, let me get this, why do you go to a psychiatrist, why do you come here? If there is no way to convince you…

– I do it just to be completely sure in a certain and official way, I am right once in my life, for the rest is full of failures and disappointments.

– I mean, you are here to hear from me that you are right?

– That, in a nutshell…

– Ah! So I, as a professional, I should bend to this “joke”, “farce”! Come on!

– It is not a joke, it is important for me to be right at least once in my lifetime, and I would like you to write a report in which you admit that you knew someone who was right in “not believing in himself”, since he “really has no qualities”, and he is aware of it. So I can consider myself a step above all those other idiots who have no qualities, either, but they infect other’s lives and the world with their huge egos.

– Do you understand that, as I said at the beginning, you are better than so many other people who, although being wrong, since they believe in themselves, they have a better social position than you? They let other people love them without worries, they accept jobs that they cannot do, they got elected…

– I do not care about them, I do not care, really. If the world is in the hands of idiots and all goes in this way, what can I do? On The Contrary! I do not want to do anything! It’s not just that I have not the qualities needed to change it, I do not want to change it.

– Let’s get back to the point above! Now you should admit that having self-confidence makes you more efficient, or otherwise ensures greater success! Even if you are wrong…

– I cannot admit it! I am sorry. If I admit it, it would mean that I am wrong even now, Then I would also have to admit that I should pretend to have some qualities and change my mind. I should become just like all those people without qualities, who do not even have in their favor the clear critical skills, and self-analysis I have: the capacity to admit to having no qualities. The fact is that when someone admits to having qualities he does not have, it seems like “the qualities appear in him”, it does not happen for real, but he becomes arrogant, self confident, so other people who have a similar or worse understanding are intimidated, They let him act, and that’s the reason why, as you say: “they are more successful”. But I do not want them! Not those false qualities, nor this falsely based success.

– You just want to have this official role of “man without qualities”, this “license”!

– Exactly! A license to prove I am a complete jerk and aware of it! In the report, you can plainly use the word: jerk!

– But no…

– But yes!

– It would not be appropriate…

– It does not matter, it’s a well understood word even by other jerks, and my certificate, I will show it especially to them!

– What a delusion!

– Do you think?!

– Eh!

– Bah! Never mind!

– So, let’s say that it’s okay! I will write the certificate: my patient, Mr. M., is a man without qualities, and a real jerk…

– Oh! Thank you, thank you!

– Wait! Let me finish… But! If I would do it, here it is, this would lead to a beautiful contradiction that would not escape your intelligence…

– Yes…

– Eh… right? Because that would mean that, in addition to having that single, unique, very unique quality of “accurate self-criticism” and “objective vision of oneself”, that would place you before the mass of unaware dorks. That would also mean: to have certain skills in persuasion, a certain eloquence and rhetoric, since you have convinced me! You convinced your psychiatrist, a professional of the human mind, to say it pompously, he is wrong, and you are right! And that’s not for everyone…

– Yes, Doctor, but let me say, no offense, I never said that you are not a jerk!

– Ah!

– Excuse me!

– No, no, no problem, but in this case, if I would sign such a document, giving to you, as to say a “Man Without Qualities License”, implicitly I would be admitting that I could fall within the group of those who have no qualities themselves, but they have become better positioned than their natural resources would have lead to just because they are motivated by this famous “believe in yourself” crap. Which means I became what I am in a totally arbitrary and unjustified way, then.

– I could not have put it better. It is evident you deeply studied these specific matters!

– And if I would refuse to sign, we could go ahead with the therapy for who knows how much time.

– Exactly.

– There is one thing to note, Mr. M.

– Tell me.

– If you succumb to the theory of “believing in yourself”, if you would surrender and change your mind about yourself, and begin to do as anyone else, despite the supposed illusion you have mentioned of believing in inexistent qualities, in which many fall, you would achieve better results in life anyway. That is important, and I would not be forced to admit to being a jerk.

– We both would gain, you say!

– Exactly.

– And that would be the most rational and intelligent choice, since it does not cost anything, and it improves both positions…

– Very accurate.

– But if I was a real idiot, a real man without qualities, I would never accept such a convenient choice in such a dull and peaceful way, just because of my lack of any quality and being a loser, unable to realize even the slightest success and improvement in life. Which would lead, so to speak, to the fact that I am right considering myself a man with no qualities! I would be right about myself, only not changing my mind!

– But damn, your stubbornness is phenomenal!

– My lack of quality and reason also are!

– So we should go on for how long? To avoiding forcing me to admit that I had become a psychiatrist only by virtue of “pathetic self motivational thrusts” the kind of stuff you can find in a social network? A year? A century? I do not want to admit it!

– At this point all this is more up to you than to me… what should I tell you? I know I do not have qualities! If you are happy with yourself or not, that is not my business. I will certainly not end up like the people I see around me, shouting to the world for decades obscene falsities about how “good” they are, without a minimum of decency.

– I will sign the document, ok!

– Thank You! I finally know I am a person above the average!

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