April 17, 2015 § Leave a comment
For a while in my life I did not think of myself as hard-working, persistent or diligent. I was a wild spirit, just doing my own thing. But in fact, I really was a loving, hard-working, persistent and diligent young woman. I went into different competitions, some of which were way beyond my skills and comfort zone at the time. Most of the times I succeeded – winning that public speaking contest, getting into a special school for talented students, winning a place on the debate summer camp in Duino, graduating valedictorian at Uni and others… It really gives me a smile when I look back at myself 15, 10, 6 years ago.
When I would hear the good news, I would stop for a second, smile and move on to the next goal. I never celebrated and never gave myself a pat on the back. What is worse, I berated myself for any big or small failure. I have always given it my all to put myself down, never really looking at my true self.
I have carried this weight with me for a long time. I used to have a deep admiration for the ambitious, the high achievers, the ‘never settle for less’ kind of people. Heck, the first thing that drew me to my current fiancé was his brain (and this continues to this day, although now I see much more beauty about this man). I loved to be surrounded by brainiacs, people with a special talent, and see in them something I could aspire to.
The point is: I dreamed big, I worked hard, I achieved a lot. But in my heart of hearts, I always spoke badly about and to myself. I never looked at myself for who I really was – good and bad, a person like all others. I have always fought with the demons of self-confidence which could only be defeated if I achieved that next goal. In the words of my boyfriend, I have always put enormous pressure on myself, saying ‘yes’ whole-heartedly to the craziest of demands at work and putting up with a lot of other bad stuff in my private life. I was raised to think that ‘love yourself for what you are now’ is stupid. Instead, I believed whole-heartedly that my self-worth was contingent on how much I could take and endure, how much I could achieve, how far I could go.
Today I know better. I still very much admire brilliant, talented, hard-working and determined people. I will always be in awe of someone’s endurance and always inspired by it. I will never settle by mediocrity. But I will also never again equate myself with my successes or failures. Instead, I am only just now beginning to learn who I really am; hopefully one day I will be able to have a balanced, perhaps even loving relationship with myself.