If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. Pema Chodron
I continued to read my new book about chakras and Jungian psychology and recognized a lot of the imbalances in myself, and the small and large traumas that can cause them. I have had a great life and am grateful for it, but you have to acknowledge your pain in order to process it and be well.
My childhood really wasn’t easy, being “over” intelligent, much taller than my peers, much earlier in puberty than my peers, and also obese. I felt like no one understood me.
I was very sensitive and didn’t take criticism well. Somewhere very early I somehow got the message, intended or not, that my achievements were what made me valuable, and I had to make up for being different by being great. Later, when I finally lost the weight, I felt guilty and ashamed of my talent in school and felt like I needed to excel in athletics to round myself out and have something I fought for. It didn’t really work, and left me feeling down.
I always had bookish, intellectual interests and I can remember my mom reading a fantasy book of mine and telling me she didn’t understand how I could read something like that. It wasn’t really a judgment, but sensitive as I was and am, I took it as just another sign of being chronically misunderstood and not really valued for my intelligence except when I was winning some kind of prize with it.
One of my core identities is the precocious child, and I continue to expect to be great at everything I try the first time, to doubt myself when things aren’t easy from the start, and feel bad when I”m not on the same level as “adults” with many more years experience from the start. When I fail to excel and exceed expectations quickly, I become discouraged and ashamed.
I think I overly developed the people pleasing, non assertive side of my nature to feel accepted when no matter what I did I was very different. As I’ve gotten older, I”ve found real peers, regardless of age, background, or personality type, but most of my adolescence was spent with similarly tortured overachievers. I really believed that if I didn’t get into a top college, it was a sign I wasn’t good enough and would never achieve as much as I could otherwise.
That was a myth my parents did try to dispel, but they didn’t really succeed in convince me, probably because my ambitions far exceeded what people in my family had previously achieved. Aside from a few doctors and main street lawyers, there was really know one in our circles who had gone to graduate school for instance.
There was not much I ever succeeded in doing to feel like I belonged. Because I craved achievement so much to validate my sense of self worth, I was both arrogant and insecure- still am sometimes- and hesitated to really experiment with anything. ANd when I did struggle and continue, I was so convinced I didn’t have enough talent to make it to the top and was innately outclassed that I often did worse at something after years of practice than as a beginner. This happened for both speech and debate and track.
I didn’t have anything like a close friend until I was in high school, but my first good friend in high school reinforced all my feelings of insecurity and that was generally the case for most of the people I hung out with.
I searched for intimacy in a relationship, eventually, but in the end we broke up despite promising each other forever and really meaning it for almost 4 years. Since then, it’s been hard to open myself up, and I have opened myself up too fast to the wrong people and haven’t managed to find the right person. I guess everyone struggles with this, but I find it particularly hard not to know from the start something has a strong chance of working out. What’s more, I want someone who has a similar level of achievement to mine, who won’t hold me back in work and life as my ex, who left college and stayed in a dead end job, would have. I feel like no guy will both respect my achievements and love me, and the better I do, the stronger and more impressive of a person I am, the smaller the potential pool of guys. And when I say, similar level of achievement, I mean at least having some kind of job. I seem to meet guys that recall my well-intentioned but ultimately immature ex. I loved my ex because he didn’t have ambitions like mine at the top just to be “best,” but because he had identified some passions and would only work when it suited him. Right now, I feel pretty bitter towards the multitudes of guys who have failed to launch, it was difficult for me to to make compromises and change my original plan but I grew up and did what I had to do. And now, thanks to my seemingly boring corporate job, I have some money and sense of security, a good working environment, interesting work, and of course the ability to live where I want. Which is huge.
I blame myself for my ex, for not having eliminated him out of the gate and for getting too close too fast. Sometimes I feel like I never really loved him, I was just lonely. He didn’t fit my checklist, so since then I have tried to stick with a checklist, which hasn’t really worked out for me either. In the end my ex and I didn’t really have the same values, but I think I tend to reject the right peoeple and end up with obsessing over the wrong ones since my value system is warped by my own struggle for self worth and focus on achievement at all costs.
Luckly, I have finally gotten out of this mindset largely, bu tit does rear its ugly head. By going to France, I defied it. SOmetimes that critical voice still comes and taunts me, and is probably the main reason why I have struggled since finaly achieving my dream. I have doubted its authenticity and shamed myself for having it, anything to go back to some kind of path where I can measure myself and feel good because I have exploited my “potential”
As it turns out, I am happy I have mostly escaped from that. The truth is, making my way to my personal more or less heaven forced my to confront pretty much all of my inner demons, and as of writing, it’s a lot better but still an ongoing process as you can see.
I felt mad at my parents when I realized all of these things, and especially about being taught to be docile and obedient to receive love for being good and not asserting myself, letting my sister get what she wanted to keep the peace, that my desires (and maybe needs) weren’t as important as avoiding conflict. But I realize they didn’t do anything on purpose, they wern’t really prepared for a child like me and it’s not their fault especially since all the neurosesmy mother has transmitted to me are ones she has hersel fot a certain extent. If they knew better, they would ahve donebetter. They may have done thngs that mae me believe I was loved on condition of being good, but I don’t think that was ever the case. In any event, moving to Franehas tested them and they have come through with flying colors I’d say.
Ofcourse, they are havin trouble finding the money to visit me because they are helpingeveryone else, not to mention the student loansthey took out for me and my sisters.
I feel like i should be a super child and take all their stresses, at least due to money away, but I don’t think that would really fix my feelings towards myself, nad I do feel like I’m called to be here. I do think I need to evolve beyond thinking one must be a martyr to show their love and give too much, which is a real problem. I want to be responsible and independent, and honestly, I reall y love my life and my parents are not strugglling that much. With my current salary I won’t be buying them a beach house to retire to, but they are taken care of well enough anyway and I have to live my life too.
Asfar as love goes, for the past week or two I’ve ust been trying to reconile myself to the fact that it may never happen. I did something a bit cowardly and started to just think to myself and plan as though it woud never happen, and while you can’t live for something in the future I don’t think I should lose hope.That is cowardly, and I don’t allow yself the luxury of bein g a coward. It is a sin against life to not be courageous. BUt hey, that’s another fvalue tahat I feel leaves me solitary sometimes.
Or at least, makes my Prince have to be a man of characterabove everything else.
I set high standards for myself, and don’t expect anything less from my person. Something ifferent, perhaps.
I met someone who has some of these same isues with wanting to be best at everything he does and all, and it wasn’t pretty. I becmae afraid ofhim and said good bye, also because he probably self sabotagingly fucked up a few times quite early in gettin gto know him.
So yeah, I am trying to konw obetter and thus do better, but ti’s not easy.But I do think I am getting better, and compared to last year I am positively joyous. I hope I start acting from my true self and a place of peace, and leave all my bullshit behind. SOmetimes I am afraid of doing that because I think I will just stop doing everything I don’t want to do and activing like a child, but actually what will really happen isI will dig in my heels and stop fleeing.
ANd just be ok to be here.