Challenge Accepted!

For as long as I can remember I have struggled in a dichotomy between confidence and complete lack there of. I fluctuate between  knowing exactly who I am, being confident and self-assured to then suddenly feeling inadequate and having a defeatist attitude of not being “good enough”.  At any given time I feel I am walking on a taut shoe string and the slightest breeze can push me the wrong way. In these moments of self-doubt I feel like a phony further amplifying the negative self talk I am experiencing.

In my INFP personality my “P” keeps me loose and fluid, I am not rigid or severely structured in terms of lifestyle. This does not ring true for everything though. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my interactions with the world. To explain further, what I mean is I hold myself to a very high standard in my role as an employee, a student, a fiance, a daughter, a sister, a friend, etc. You get the idea. I may be haphazard in my daily life as far as being clumsy and a bit scatter brained but when it comes to my relationships, significant or minor, I am incredibly hard on myself. I am always striving to be better, I will never be satisfied with what I am giving. I will always want to give more, do more, be more.

I do this to myself, there is no one to fault but me for the pressure I am constantly under. It is difficult at times. An example of this is the many “speed bumps” I have encountered as a returning student. More plans have fallen through than those that have worked out and when this kind of thing happens my immediate response has always been to go to a place of self-doubt. This week specifically I found out that there is a chance I will have to add a class to my work load next semester ( a class that I am not naturally good at and will require quite a bit of effort on my part to do well in). The initial thought of this sent me into a bit of a tail spin. I will be working full-time at a demanding job (emotionally as well as mentally) while already taking one class I do not excel in easily. Finding out that I may have to add another very demanding/difficult class to that already heavy emotional/mental load made me feel scared and unsure of myself. My first thought, “I can’t do it”.

I am embarrassed and frustrated to admit that was my basic gut reaction to such news. I have never been blind to the fact that I beat up on myself in this way. I have never cared to work on it though because as bad as I may make myself feel at times this negative inner voice is also my constant drive to be better, do more and give more. After a day of processing this new information I had a complete attitude adjustment.

Here is my conclusion:

First off, what is wrong with me!? When life throws a challenge my way my gut reaction should be “CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!” in a roar of a voice. Not, “Oh I can’t, I want to give up”. I am ashamed and with all the other positive changes I am making in my life this should be at the very top of my list!

In addition, I realize my drive has always been to be better because I have never felt good enough. Even coming from a negative place this attitude has produced incredible results in me. I have a huge drive and am always pushing myself. Going forward I need to be striving to be better knowing that I am already good enough but there is always room for growth. That seems like a much healthier attitude that will produce the same great results.

Finally, when I feel that pang of “I am not good enough” or “I can’t” coming on I need to remind myself regularly that I am doing this as we speak! I have changed my entire life and way of thinking in the span of three years time. I have a vision of the person I want to be and I am taking all the right steps to get there regardless of how difficult the path in front of me is. At the end of the day I need to remember that I can and I am already doing this. I am capable of anything, this is corny and cliché I know but shit it’s true.

Last night Todd and I talked for hours about everything herein. I fell asleep feeling strong and sure. I just needed to pause for introspection and really see where I was wrong and how my attitude needed to change. Now instead of feeling fear or anxiety about next semester I am ready take it on and prove to myself once and for all, I can handle it and I am absolutely good enough.

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2 thoughts on “Challenge Accepted!

  1. I’ve said so much of what you’ve written here, about myself. Only slightly differently. At times, I am jaw-droppingly confident. Other times, I beat myself up like it’s my job. I’ve always believed in what I could do. I was taught to do things, after all. This track record would convince me on my tough days. Other people believed in my abilities–so I believed.

    What has been harder has been believing in who I am…mostly because–for most of my life–I had no idea who I was or what I wanted. I had no idea what other people thought about me. I just assumed I wasn’t worth knowing unless I was doing something for someone. That’s how I earned my keep. That’s how I bought my friendships and made sure people liked me. I was a perfectionist at everything. I had–have–incredibly high standards for my behavior in relationships. But I was never taught how to have healthy relationships. I never felt like me just being me was worthwhile. Everyone had to have some sort of ulterior motive for being around me–so I could trust no one.

    I never felt like a phony so much as I felt lost and inauthentic. Like I wore ten million masks every day.

    I often still feel like all of this. I am still so hard on myself, but I don’t ask for the same in return for me. I’ve had to learn to be my own advocate and to let the BS go.

    There’s nothing wrong with you. I’ve lived all those shoulds. Telling yourself you shouldn’t feel the way you do only makes it harder to swallow. It’s just more perfectionism. What’s really helped me has been the idea that I don’t have to be good enough. I just tell myself in those painful, too human moments that I’m doing the best I can…just like everyone else. And if I can forgive everyone else, I can forgive myself. And if it’s enough when they do it–then I’m enough, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I’m doing the best I can”. I like that. I like it because it is always true. That feeling of inauthenticity has been a constant companion over the years. For the bulk of my life I too did not know myself or what I wanted my role to be in this world. My goal for myself, now having a better grasp on who I am and what I stand for, is to bring all these versions of myself that I have adapted over the years into one. I know who I am and more importantly I know the person I want to grow into and I want to be that person with everyone. I know that is a lofty goal but it’s a life goal, something that can be worked on and will always have room for improvement.

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