To be really really honest…

To be really really honest with you all…

I feel a lot of disdain for myself these days.

I’ve been feeling like a huge failure for the last year or so. And I’ve been struggling to keep the internal conversations I have with myself positive, supportive and kind.

girl on bedThis growing business of mine offers up continuous opportunities to fail. I daily find myself in situations for which I have no experience, no guidebook, no trusted advisor, no certain outcome. The margin between making decisions that lead to success and those that might result in closed doors is razor thin. (Who even knows where it is?)

Just living day-after-day with this reality in my periphery is exhausting and overwhelming. Plus I’m an Introverted HSP (Highly-Sensitive Person) and that’s something to work around, even on a fairly routine day. ( ;

In the face of relentless change, frustrating setbacks, heavy responsibilities and sleepless nights, taking big risks and experiencing very mixed results, I’ve found myself falling back into old ways of thinking about myself.  I’ve been responding to my imperfections with harshness and impatience, the way that I used to in the past before I had come to realize the truth about my intrinsic worthiness. The kind of worthiness that doesn’t have to be—indeed can’t be—earned.

I’ve started to blame myself again when even mundane things go wrong:

“This is because you made that wrong decision back there,” or “You have no idea what you’re doing and you aren’t cut out for this. There are a million people who could do this better than you. No wonder that happened,” or “You need to be reminded not to think you can have so much, so that’s why this is happening right now. Stop dreaming and get real. Get back to work.”
Broken window?
“It’s probably my fault.” 
Still no profit this month?
“It’s because I’m stupid.”
Disappointed client?
“No wonder nobody wants to pay me for my work. I should have been able to keep that person happy, no matter what.” 
My fear, shame, and embarrassment about not being able to do everything just right so that everything happens as it should devolve into beliefs that I’m a fraud, an imposter, a silly and stupid human being who has ridiculously outstepped her capacity and doesn’t deserve to have or achieve anything.
Especially, most especially, with any kind of ease.
Maybe if I work super hard for it and suffer a lot, maybe just maybe I could have a little of something I want. Also, if I beg and someone takes pity on me and gives me a break. But probably not.

The truth is that I’m more terrified of what will happen inside me if I fail than I am of any kind of practical repercussions.

Will I be able to withstand how bad I’ll feel about letting everyone down? About having to admit that I’m not “good enough?” About having spent money and time and attention that my family could really use and deserves from me?  About having hoped and believed I could achieve something and then having to admit that I couldn’t? To experience being disappointed in myself and to believe that I am not deserving of anything good, yet again?

Can I survive those horrible feelings about myself, especially if I have to experience them under a microscope, with everybody watching?

These limiting beliefs could, if given free reign, stop me from doing anything at all. A big part of me wants to get under the blankets and just stay there.

This NYT article stopped me short this afternoon, reminding me that I don’t deserve to be measured by the mean standard to which I hold myself. The standard that no one can meet. The standard that I would never hold up as a goal for anyone else but me.

Rereading a post I wrote over 7 years ago called Kinder to a Stranger also reminded me to try to find some tenderness in my heart for myself today.

I know that I’m not the only one experiencing these feelings of self-hatred and fear. Still, sometimes it’s really helpful to actually hear that that’s true, out loud.

3 Responses to To be really really honest…

  1. martha October 28, 2017 at 2:36 am #

    A year is a long time to be having those sad feelings 🙁 It sounds to me, like you might be on the brink of something wonderful…
    that is often how life flows. Chin-up Buttercup! Having your own business is difficult and will always be a mix of frustration and elation. Reflect on the last year and make note of both the successes and the lessons learned – then move forward on that clearer path. I hope you find joy and satisfaction on the journey!

    • Moon Zlotnick October 30, 2017 at 9:24 am #

      I want to send you a big hug and tell you that I admire and appreciate the work you are doing. I also know it’s hard.

  2. Tim November 1, 2017 at 5:32 am #

    A wise friend once observed that we routinely compare the “inside” of ourselves with the “outside” of others — an intrinsically unfair comparison. Deep down I suspect we are all little kids pretending to be adults in these very grown up roles, fearing that someone will find us out and blow our cover. That’s not to diminish what you are feeling; rather, to give you a lot of company. Trust that you are more capable and talented than you feel; arrayed in richer colors than you see. I will look forward to seeing what blossoms, of which these tumultuous days are the birth pangs. Blessings.

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