I have a lot of lightbulb moments. Some of them are lasting, and some of them have got a bit of dodgy switch which leads to intermittent flickering and eventual failure. However, I think, I hope, that this morning’s one, was of the more permanent kind.
I struggle with I’m Not Good Enough Syndrome.
It’s common amongst the female side of the species, and sadly, I think in recent years, has grown dramatically amongst the guys too. So much social and media pressure, 24/7. Unless you have a self-esteem that is made from anything less than steel and Teflon, it’s a difficult little fucker to avoid. However, mine didn’t come from that. We didn’t have the same pressures when I was a kid; in fact, most of my childhood was spent staring at posters of John Taylor from Duran Duran.
Mine came from my father.
I was a high achiever with a ridiculous amount of ability until high school at least. He encouraged me in the only way he knew how. By yelling at me and telling me that I could do more. Achieve more. Be better. Reminding me every single day that what I did, who I was …wasn’t good enough.
I wasn’t enough for him.
And there it was. The message took root and evolved into my own personal nemesis. A self-belief that fused with every atom that made up the person I was. Am. With no conscious awareness, I spent my adolescence choosing both friends and boyfriends who would re-enforce the message; and in return, I would play up to the person everyone ( and I) thought I was. Over the years I learned to flick away compliments like a highly skilled tennis player returning serves. I’ve shied away from doing things, going places and meeting people, all for fear of rejection of what I can bring to the table. i.e. Me.
I’ve held back emotions for the same reason. To evade the possibility of rejection. To sidestep any chance of being told, either by word or deed, that yet again, I wasn’t good enough.
” I will never be enough.”
I’ve worked on it continually as I know many do. Reading the self-help books, watching the videos on YouTube, clicking ‘like’ on the trillions of memes that travel around facebook. Tried losing weight, tried gaining weight. Grew hair, cut hair, grew hair. Like a sticking plaster, the difference was always temporary because they only affected my thoughts and not my feelings. No matter how many times you go over a mantra, if the emotions behind the facade remain the same, we will always return to type. Eventually.
So what changed?
I’m not ashamed to admit that I am Abraham Hicks’s biggest fan (these days), and it was hours and hours of listening that finally got a new message (and method) to sink in.
Life isn’t supposed to feel shit.
I started taking responsibility for my own emotional well-being. Made a decision that whilst I couldn’t stop life chucking things at me that made me feel yukky, I could choose to walk away from those that made me feel anything less than good. And I have been. Where ever possible. And the number of those ‘possibles’ appears to be growing.
It’s getting easier to say ‘No’ to that, and ‘Yes’ to this.
Shit things don’t just feel shit anymore. They feel wrong. That’s a big difference. A huge shift in perspective. And this is what led to this mornings lightbulb moment. A conversation online with an old friend who happens to be abroad. Discussing what different people are attracted to (potential relationships). An old friend who also happens to be incredibly confident, and good looking.
“I’m generally only attracted to confident people,” He said. “even if I was initially attracted, without that confident element it wouldn’t last. Not with me.” Or words to that effect. It was open and candid, as our time together generally is. It’s one of the things I love about out friendship. And I was in agreement. Being around people with low self-esteem can be tiring. It’s exhausting having to constantly prop up another human being.
And then I remembered that I am one of those people, lusting after people like him.
<Cue my brain caving in.>
I begin reminiscing about how it’s always been ‘my issue’. I could feel the childhood stories backing up inside. Tales of woeful romances that had fallen by the wayside because of ‘my issues’. In previous times this would have continued until I’d all but brought myself to tears; at which point I would shuffle off into a corner, faceplant some cake and ice-cream, and berate myself for hours for not being enough, or good enough. Resign myself to eternal singledom because no one was ever going to love someone so broken as me …. that no one should ever have to carry that burden of carrying me.
Seriously. By the end of the first tub of Ben & Jerry’s, it was not a pretty sight.
But today was different.
I have no clue when the penny dropped. But something had changed. I had insight.
I recognised that I was talking myself down, and not only that, I was doing my darndest to get my friend to join in too. Subconsciously trying to get other peoples validation of how horrible a person I was. Am. IS THAT CRAZY OR IS THAT CRAZY!?
Not content with my own constant self-punishment, I’d decided I needed some reinforcement! Thank god it was with someone who not only won’t play ball but who also won’t hesitate in telling me to ‘shut the fuck up and get off the train bound for Pity-Ville’ … but today it wasn’t needed.
I spotted it. Felt It.
That horrid sickness that accompanies self-loathing and sneaks into your gut like a grey sticky shadow … it stuck it’s head through my door and I smashed it right back out.
“I don’t like talking about how crap I am!” I announced. The words fell out. “It’s making me feel even crappier about myself and I don’t like feeling like that anymore. I’m off to do some Yoga Ball.” And I did. And the bad feeling went away.
It was that easy! After all these years of wrestling!
It felt bad so I walked away. It. Is. That. Simple.
Only we can stop the rot. Only we can be responsible for what we allow or don’t allow. The hardest part about all of this, is learning just how easy it is.
I could go on forever and waffle people into a coma on the subject of Abraham / Ester Hicks these days, but I won’t. So if you’ve managed to get through this fuelled only by the power of a couple of coffee’s, then well done. Your prize is in the post.
Anna J ❤