Updated: Jul 4, 2020
I had a revelation last night after semi snapping on my boyfriend that the biggest problem throughout my life has been that I deeply fear, and to some degree believe, I am not good enough. I don’t think I realized how deep it ran until I snapped on him and reflected on it. He isn't without any fault and my feelings are valid; however, the impulsive instinct that I had was certainly related to my interpretation of how he responded to me in a way that made me feel insecure.
I don’t bend over backwards to please people instead I push them away and tell myself they are the problem. I have gotten better at recognizing that pattern over the past few years. The part I was missing; however, was the part where I do it to defend myself from being found out, left, or maybe even judged as the girl who seemed like she had it together, seemed as if she would achieve big things, but actually doesn't have it nor is she meeting her potential.
Since I was young my mom would say, "Kiauhna you are so sensitive. I wasn’t trying to judge you....or make you feel badly." In my mom's defense I don't ever believe her intention is to shame me and yet my inner insecurities and fears that I am not what people need nor expect provokes emotions from deep within me.
I honestly cannot tell you where it comes from or when it started but I would imagine it has been around for a long time.
There is evidence of it on the school yard, at dance class, during my short stint with the debate team, and the anxiety I feel toward my professional identity, work ethic, knowledge, and potential. People are always assuring me that I am fine, that I am talented, that they believe in me; however, all of that sounds like naivety from those around me who don't actually see the inner Kiauhna who is "truthfully" not good enough.
So on this night when I was already slightly sore that my boyfriend needed time to himself, instead of engaging in the pleasant good night, that I called for, all I could do was passive aggressively snap at him for offering me a suggestion on how I can better use my time. The stubborn side of me took over to defend me for not being good enough, the complacently fearful part of me dug my heels in as to why I shouldn’t change despite my stress, and the avoidantly sensitive part of me said good bye abruptly without the blowing of a kiss that we were use to.
The growth fostering part of me tried to call back to apologize. The reflective side of me sat in the bed analyzing why I had done that. Boom, it hit me as what if he were to realize how mediocre and not good enough I am. He wouldn’t want to be with me then.
I teach people to refute negative thinking that lives outside of the fact that we are human and that perfection is a fallacy.
I teach people to provide themselves with self compassion and the truth is I cannot always do it for myself.
The thing is I am good enough. The thing is I can tap into being proud of me when the critical side is taking a vacation from the job it does on my mind. The thing is what will it take for me to truly feel it and realize it?
Honestly, I do not know. I am 28 so this narrative has distressed me and possibly at times comforted me. It has grown to be 28 yrs old with me despite it's hindrances. What I can say is, if you struggle with fearing not being good enough in similar ways to me how about we take on a challenge for ourselves to challenge this narrative.
1. Notice your critical voice and those emotions associated to it. They aren't factual just because we
think and feel it.
2. Practice re-wiring your brain with compassionate and more factual non-judgmental thoughts by countering the critical voice when it shows up. (E.g. When I think Kiauhna you aren't good enough to be in a relationship I can counter that with no person who has been in relationship with me has stated that (and if someone did: FUCK them because what makes them more enough than me). I am worth having love because all humans are worth love. What actual facts do I have that unequivocally show I am not good enough or am less enough than another person?)
If we continue in negativity and fear our brains will continue to navigate pathways of negativity and fear. It may feel unnatural and false to you in the beginning but that is because we are untangling the ball of yarn that makes up our critical brain pathways.
3. Be patient with yourself
4. Lean on those who truly love you without condition for a reality check and keep a memory bank (maybe write down) moments where you are proud of yourself and feel unconditional positive regard for yourself (e.g. maybe you finished a tough class, maybe you brought someone joy, maybe you fed your body and stuck to a schedule). Whatever it is, we critical folks often minimize and forget the good and prideful moments because are stuck in a pathway of self critique and the need to work at being better (e.g. better at work although we are already working hard enough, better at love although we already give our hearts, better at being us although we already have the expertise on navigating the world in our skin).
5. Self compassion, self compassion, self compassion!! The only difference between you and a less critical more confident person is that they forgive themselves more.