If you’re anything like me, you constantly look at the people around you, measure yourself against their seeming successes, take a look back at yourself, mentally kick yourself in the ass for being behind/a failure/not knowing what the hell you’re doing, eat a gallon of ice cream and cry while listening to your Sia, Drake and Enya mixtape (those are still a thing, right?) as you stare at yourself sobbing in the mirror surrounded by tissues and wine and a confused looking dog. Um. Something like that completely imagined scenario. Haha, LEFT FIELD COMING IN FOR A LANDING! Amirite?
I’ve never felt good enough for much of anything. Sometimes it’s crippling enough that I choose inaction as the only action. If I do something, I’m just going to suck at it! And people will judge me. With their eyes. And words. And no thanks.
Why does anybody do this to themselves? I guess we all have our reasons. I know why I do. I grew up getting made fun of mercilessly, for my ears that stuck out (I pinned those bitches back, thank you), for being short, for looking “anorexic”, for finishing my tests too fast, for being a teacher’s pet. I’m not humblebragging here; I actually felt bad about all of these things. The last thing a kid wants to be is a nerdy dorky dork who looks stupid. I spent most of my formative years feeling embarrassed about who I was, blushing constantly and walking with my head down hoping the wind wouldn’t blow my hair back to reveal my Will Smith ears. I had zero confidence and I rarely stood up for myself. Girls didn’t particularly like me, and boys sure didn’t either. I was a walking sad state of affairs. I was so wrapped up in that tiny town mindset that I never stopped and thought, hey, maybe I don’t suck THAT bad. Maybe kids are just fucking assholes.
“Oh wah wah, you were made fun of for being smart and skinny a million years ago! Grow up and get over it!” You’re probably saying. Well listen, you insensitive sack of feces, getting “you suck and no one really likes you” drilled into your skull when you’re a kid is something that soaks into your brain and leaves a residue that subconsciously alters your view of yourself for the rest of your years. For a lot of motherfuckers. Although my brain logically knows I’m just as swell as anybody else, the tendency to beat myself to death and feel unworthy/fucked/damaged/like a pathetic victim is this pesky problem that I continue to battle.
Whatever a person’s reasoning is for feeling down on themselves and/or their place in life, there’s one thing we all have in common: if you’re actually trying to contribute to your own success, you’re being way too hard on yourself. Using other people as a yardstick for your own life is doing nothing to propel you to the next level. Beating yourself down is bullshit, because you are literally the only person who can change your own situation and life. And how are you going to do that if you are too busy kicking your own ass? I saw this quote the other day and it made me stop and facepalm myself.
“Be nice to yourself. It’s hard to be happy when someone’s mean to you all the time.”
Oh. Yeah. Hey, maybe stop being a jerk to yourself. There’s a lot of other people who can and will do that for you. You have to be your own best advocate and drown out the internal “I sucks” with a louder voice frantically screaming “I AM FUCKING AWESOME!!!!!!!! And crazy. Due to the voices.”
And yes, okay, some things are out of your control. Even if you are all confident and put together and have your cheerleaders on call and at the ready in your brain, that doesn’t always mean you are going to get everything you want. And that can be stressful to think about. For example, I am watching all of my friends get into serious relationships or get married or have kids and be all settled in their lives and careers, and I feel my 30th birthday looming on me and I’m all “but, I don’t know what I’m doing! And I am SO #FOREVERALONE DOT COM. And WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE OH GOD! Stop the clock!” But I have virtually no control over when or even if this perfect man & career combo is ever going to tap me on the shoulder and sit down for coffee and pie for the rest of my life. I can’t help but feel anxious about that, but hemming and hawing over it makes it about as likely to happen as Rihanna telling me she wants me to pay me half her fortune to be her new best friend.
So stop scowling and start pretending that your smile is the truth. And give yourself a lifelong round of applause. You are doing just fine. That is our new mantra, friend. Say it over and over until you actually start to believe it.
Who wants milk and cookies.
Or Beyonce in a bikini.