Self-doubt. We all have it at times, but it’s such a funny thing. If you’re anything like me, you ride a perpetual roller coaster of self-doubt. Sometimes we are riding high for a while, but eventually you reach the peak and come pummeling down the other side, right?
I’m not a risk taker by any stretch of the imagination. When I was a kid, I didn’t want to go on the monkey bars because I was afraid I’d fall off. In college, I wanted to know how to do the best at my major and not do anything that would jeopardize that (um, like having fun). I grew up in a family where you were supposed to do things by the book so that others would think you are successful. The opinions of other people were seemingly more important than those I had of myself. It’s wrong to hold yourself in high regard because that means you won’t work as hard. When I was done with getting my MBA, the next step that was mentioned to me was law school. You know, because 1 graduate degree isn’t enough.
Of course looking back, I know this isn’t the case. Sure, some creature comforts are nice, and being able to support yourself and your family is pretty necessary. What’s not necessary is the constant worry that you’re not good enough. When people on the outside do tell you you’re good enough, you smile but don’t really believe them. When people hint you’re not good enough, it can launch you into a spiral of doom so deep you need a life jacket to buoy you to the surface.
There are lots of ways that I’ve looked for external validation. With this weight loss/fitness journey, validation was from the scale. When it stopped moving, I was a failure. With my blog, if no one visits, it’s a failure of my writing. With my business, if things are slow then I’m a loser who is failing at not just work, but life.
This week, something really insignificant in the grand scheme of things happened. I mean, REALLY insignificant. I found out I didn’t get an award that I thought I would get. That little symbol of validation was denied. I started crying.
My mind told me I was a mega loser and that I needed to eat some cookies to feel better (hello former binge eating personality!)
Thankfully I knew better than to eat the cookies, but the “loser” tag I gave myself wasn’t as easy to deny. Rationally, I knew this wasn’t the case. Instinctively though, years of using external validation as a predictor of success made me have an intense physical and mental reaction to this news.
A few days have passed and I can now laugh about my severe reaction to something really, really trivial. It’s yet another lesson I need to learn in order to live the life I want to.
This is my new goal:
Hahaha! Who’s with me?