In fact, I often struggle with feeling like the uninvited left-out kid pressing my nose to the candy-store glass looking in at people having all the fun. But I know this is ridiculous. I just wish my head would let my heart know this. I mean… yes, I do get out of the house (except for the past month or so while my hubby’s car has been down and we are having to share my car). I go to Bible study and to MOPS and my son has several extra-curricular activities I need to attend with him. But even in these groups I feel like the one on the outside looking in at all the moms and friends going about their lives connecting and enjoying each other’s company, and somehow, I always feel like the one set-apart because of illness or family’s illness, or some thing that I have never fully understood. It is like I somehow set people uneasy. So I start yammering on trying to make them comfortable, and end up making the situation worse. Does this ever happen to anyone other than me? Am I the only one waving this freak flag?
This ridiculous feeling also extends to my work. In fact, I have allowed it to brew itself (we all know what they say about holding on to comparing ourselves!!) into a type of jealousy. I have found myself making comments in my head saying, “This girl has been working two years, and is already making a living from this.” More recently, has been the bigger voice saying, “I cannot believe that mid-westerner is getting the bridal show in MY state!!” Ugly voices that I know are not healthy. I will be happily following along with someone, then they reveal they started their “calligraphy journey” a WHOLE TWO YEARS AGO!! I think to myself how I have been studying it for the better part of 25 years now, and practicing since 2012, and still consider myself a newbie student. I find myself thinking jealous thoughts, and feeling even older and more left out. Yes, I am self-teaching, but so have A LOT of these ladies. One in particular I allow to really get under my skin: she taught herself not only calligraphy, but the business of calligraphy as well, and is pulling in a good income now. Of course, she has worked her tail off, I am certain. But that knowledge does little to impede my feelings of inadequacies. I suppose that is what this boils down to, right? Not feeling good enough.
So, not being one to allow myself to revel in despair, I came up with a game plan I thought I would share with you in case you are ever feeling the green-eyed monster stealing your joy and robbing you (and me) of our right to feel proud of ourselves. After all, we have the right to pat ourselves on the back for a job well-done too!! It is no small feat to self-teach, but add to that mix a special-needs son and a hyper-toddler, a husband with anxiety disorder and other health problems; holding down family obligations as well as keeping up with the nine-million mom duties, a house that isn’t going to clean itself (they can make computers that sit on the end of a pencil, but can’t seem to make carpet that cleans itself????), and I know in my head I have MUCH to be proud of. So what if these twenty-something girls without a family to take care of, (or at least kids) are making enough money to be able to buy and sell me? I will not allow myself to be bitter. I will not allow myself to be bitter. I WILL NOT ALLOW MYSELF TO BE BITTER. And every day, I learn a little more to move myself closer to earning a living myself with my business.
So, as promised, here is a little action plan to help when the monster takes his turn with your self-worth.
- Understand that how you speak to yourself speaks louder than you may realize. Whether or not you lend credence to the “Law of Attraction,” the basic principles at it’s core is a powerful one psychologically: the words we speak are what we believe, therefore, that is what will become our reality. So, the first and most important thing we can do for ourselves is to speak kindly to ourselves, and speak positively. Get a self-worthy, uplifting mantra (affirmation) and speak it to yourself. EVERY. DAY. It could be something as simple as saying, “I can do anything I put my mind to because God made me exceptional, and I am exceptionally His.”
- Understand that loving yourself is not egocentric or selfish, but it is a necessary- even mandatory- part of being a healthy, whole individual. It is about having self-love and treating yourself with the same compassion, tolerance, and generosity as you would your best friend. You need to be your own best friend first and foremost. Again, it is important to recognize that God made each of us exceptional, and we are exceptionally His.
- Trust your instincts: or trust your gut. This is one I have the hardest time with. Drawing the line with well-intention-ed friends or family and taking their love, advice, words of wisdom to heart, but listening to your own heart and internal voice is what you should be making your final choices with. God gave us a brain and a conscience to use, not to lock away and depend on (or be led by) others.
- Analyze and re-evaluate yourself often. This could also be taken as “Know Yourself”. For us list makers or journal-keepers, this is an excellent time to weekly (or even daily depending on your personality) put down on paper questions to know ourselves better and to continually strive toward self-discovery and growth. Questions like:
- What skills do I have?
- What are my strengths/weaknesses?
- What do I want to be doing with my life? Am I doing this or taking steps to do this?
- What makes me feel fulfilled? Am I working on these things, or am I constantly working towards/on other’s fulfillment?
- What makes me happy?
- This last one is probably the MOST important one. One that I am almost certain that we all do the most frequently: stop making your self-worth contingent on other’s opinions!! I think that one bears repeating too, STOP MAKING YOUR SELF-WORTH CONTINGENT ON OTHERS OPINIONS. If we try to live up to others expectations of us, we will never be able to see our own expectations, AND, we will NEVER meet their expectations. (I have learned this the hard way). It is very hard thing to feel that you are letting someone down and their opinion of you down, but it is a shaky bridge to walk across, and without a doubt, that bridge will not hold you up forever. If a parent or loved one or even friends or teachers- anyone- who knew you as a child, their opinions of you are often skewed and it is not healthy to allow them to determine your own thoughts, actions, or self-worth. Their opinion is fine…it is their own, and it often has little to do with the person you are as an adult. Let their opinions stay their own and not affect who you are.
So, there we have it…my little attempt at a pep-talk to let go of the (my) green-eyed monster or help you build some positive self-worth. I hope that you can take something from this post, or that it helps someone out a little bit. Until next time, friends!
(originally published 10/30/18)