I’m prepping to talk to a counselor a bit, and thought it might be good to just have some thoughts written out for whenever that occurs. That is what this is.
One of the things that I viscerally hated growing up, was that nothing was ever good enough. Even when I did do something well or excelled at something, the credit for actually getting there had already evaporated and was no longer noteworthy, or was already demoted to being sub-par, or was attributed to someone else entirely, even before the next step or goal or task was even identified.
I’ve struggled to make sure to not be this way with my kids. This is not to say that I’ve perfectly avoided it. It’s just meaning that I’ve meant well. It was super important to me that my kids always knew I loved them and never felt unvalued, or that they had to accomplish any certain things in order for them to be important enough for me to love them, …. all of which was the exact opposite experience of what I felt growing up.
I’ve had conversations with my kids where they’ve told me, that while they do feel that I support them overall, and that they assuredly know that I love them, I’m definitely not a parent that will gush over every single action. It was important to me to have my kids be able, and actually be ok to have some sort of a relationship with me. For them to feel comfortable coming to me wither or not they thought I’d approve. So far they all still talk to me about misc topics at times, so perhaps I may have done ok at least in that regard.
That said… I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve come to a few conclusions.
Confession #1 I’ve realized that I still treat myself the way I’d been brought up.. The things I personally do aren’t ever good enough to warrant importance in my own mind as far as self value is concerned. Its always been the same old internal grind to not be worthless garbage. Whatever I’ve done, even if its something I should be proud of… it instantly doesn’t matter, and is forgotten as soon as it occurs, because if I accomplished it, it probably wasn’t that difficult or important.
Confession #2 I’ve realized that I wield a double edged sword when it comes to how I deal with others on the topic of “me”. While I never “expect” anything out of anyone else.. and while I don’t “require” them to even be any certain way to be considered “worthy” of decency. I’ll listen and mentally note and consider what they have said on all other topics, but the second they express anything positive about me, I internally dismiss the value of what they’ve said on that specific topic.
Some times I don’t even acknowledge the compliment, as if nothing was even said, as if that part of the conversation just didn’t happen. Partly because I don’t know what to do with it. Internally I feel myself recoil from the attention and because I don’t feel the same about myself, I instantly attribute it to them “just being kind” and that is all. I disable it from being any “real” sentiment —- which is not only unkind to myself.. but unkind to them as well, especially people who haven’t given me evidence to disbelieve them. I want to reiterate though.. it is only about the topic of me… anything else they say, I will totally accept as being what they believe to be true… unless their actions prove otherwise.
Confession#3 I assume people do not desire to have me in their lives long-term. When I was young, I opened up to a couple of adults about some of my insecurities, and they pretty immediately moved on and avoided engaging me any further. So I tend to put up roadblocks to try to not allow myself to be in that place where people moving on doesn’t hurt as much, simply because I’ve expressed hurt or an insecurity I have.
The odd thing is that it has this weird side affect of making me really appreciate when I do end up having actual fun times with friends. It makes me super appreciative of those times, because enjoyment is hard to find at times. I always half expect times of enjoyment to possibly be the last time they may give me the time of day. It makes me feel like I always need to take a moment to express to people appreciation over whatever time they spent with me when I’ve enjoyed it, because they may not be around to thank later. I always kind of feel like I need to let them know that I appreciated their presence.
But when you dive into that —- This honestly is sort of awful of me as well, but I don’t at all know how to combat it. I don’t know how to accept that people might actually “want” to be my friend, or believe that anyone would continue to want to be my friend in the future. Even if they say they do, and even if they’ve done nothing to insinuate they wouldn’t want to… even if they’ve been nothing but kind.. I still internally question.
Oddly enough, this poor attitude doesn’t seem to make me think I shouldn’t invest in others, if anything it probably spurs me into believing what I’d always been accustomed to… that if I ever stop, that if I ever don’t reach out to check on them first…. that it would be the end of everything…. because what purpose would there be in them reaching out to me if they don’t need something from me.
I really need to figure out how to “De-program” myself when it comes to allowing myself to accept that anything about me is worth anything.
There are literally only two people that I feel comfortable enough to occasionally open up to about things like this, and I try really hard to not do it too often because I still worry that if I do.. they will simply get tired of me needing time from them.
This is not to say that I don’t have other loved ones that I value.. because I absolutely do.. but the honest truth is that with the majority of people in my life, my words have to be measured against what I know of their own struggles. They are going through their own things, and they need me to be the “strong” one.
Most aren’t to the point where they are comfortable enough with themselves that they would be able to separate my difficulties with self worth, as being merely that… and instead it would turn into something they take personally as if it was somehow a judgement on them, or about them, or against them.
This is not a logical attitude I’m struggling against, its one I’ve not been able to totally “unlearn” despite me feeling like I know better. It truly is all a “me” issue when it comes to things having to do with me, and me allowing myself to have any self worth. Its an issue where I sabotage my own self.
It is a weakness of my own, and its hard to allow myself to be vulnerable enough to know that its something I desperately need to deal with, and come to terms with its truth that I need to talk to someone professional to help me deal with it.