Last week I was given a gift. I didn’t realize this was a gift until yesterday because upon receipt I spent the last several days feeling like a bag of worthless shit (dramatic yes, accurate also yes).
A well timed comment from someone I deeply admire sent me off the deep end. In that experience I was able to see for the very first time that just about every thing I do and have done in my life has been to gain significance and approval. Despite this, the comment, a tasty combination of outright rejection with a dash of “nothing you ever do will make me proud of you” WAS a gift because I am now aware of how I have been operating.
Since I was little, I have been programmed to produce. Not just produce but at the highest level. I was taught that my deepest value was to be productive, that play was a waste of my life, and that if I was good at something I should pursue it to the highest level a person could do it. Whether I liked to or not. In order to be accepted (or at a minimum just acceptable) there was no room for fuck ups or for just kicking back – no bad grades, no vacation, no laziness, no unplanned time with friends – self and skill development was the best use of my life or at least that was the way the message was received.
Byproducts of this way of operating work really well for me. I am good at anything I do, not because of some innate talent but because I am insanely disciplined and have a work ethic few will ever fully know about (only Jovan probably truly knows). To me work is my security blanket, producing something is what gives me value – I would rather work than sleep, eat, vacation, anything – I am a person capable of working myself to death. The thought of vacation gives me the shakes (actually and truly), relaxation to me makes me feel like I am coming out of my skin, deciding to undertake any new thing becomes an obsession. If you check my resume, I have accomplished a wild spread of many different things in many different fields… cool. Except it’s unclear if most of that was actually something I gave a shit about or if someone I cared about told me I should do it and awayyyy the production program went… not only will I do it but I’ll do it till my hands bleed so that *you* will finally be proud of me. Meanwhile I can honestly say I have never ever been satisfied with anything I have done – I have never been proud of me. I may say I am but there’s this counter conversation of “yah but it wasn’t done fast enough, big enough, perfectly enough so really why would you be proud of something sub standard you low performing bitch.” – that’s a real life re-enactment of how I think sometimes weeeee
***Ugh, so gross so embarrassing, like I hate even writing this right now but it is true and I promised myself I would be honest.***
N-E-WAYS and I digress – I know I have the ability to respond to this new awareness about myself, even though I didn’t put this thing in place I am now able to decide what I am going to do about it.
7 Steps to Unfuck Myself
1. I am choosing to keep the work ethic, it serves me so well.
2. I am going to make a daily practice of starving my need for acceptance of others, thank you God I already have a daily ritual but I have yet to put any real focus on this so it starts today.
3. I am not going to allow myself to be a victim to what is – how I am is how I am right now. I didn’t choose the initial program but by living in self pity about it I am feeding it. What you resist persists.
4. I am going to take time everyday to celebrate who I truly am, even though even thinking about this makes me want to projectile vomit. But fuck it, I admire others all day long but never me so why the fuck NOT me!
5. I am going to put effort into letting go of expectations. It isn’t someone else’s job to make me feel like I matter. It just isn’t. Me feeding this is asking for pain and disappointment and it’s 100% in my power to stop participating. So bye Felicia it’s been real, real shitty.
6. I am going to continue to know that I am not my thoughts, I am not my feelings, I am not my ego, I am more than this. Me knowing this will save me from myself in the inevitable bumpy road of growth and living in pure joy (that’s the goal right). Maybe less spiraling? *crosses fingers in earnest hope*
7. Overall I am going to start being proud of me. Not because of what I do but because of who I am. Because I am valuable just by existing, I am lovable even if what I do/create isn’t perfect, I am deserving of significance just the way I am right now, I am a unique expression of a divine being and that alone is enough to fully celebrate.
Thanks for reading,
The One Where She Felt Super Embarrassed to Share It But Held Her Breath and Did It Anyways