Wednesday, March 24, 2010

not good enough

Today, as I raced home from Staples, black toner in hand for the work Jon needed to print out this morning, I caught a glimpse of myself in a store window: funky brown vintage jacket, cool olive sneaks, big purple scarf, matte silver bag, good hair. From the outside, all was working. I thought about what's been going on the past 2 weeks: TV, interviews, skyrocketing book sales. Not too shabby. And then I thought about Iz in tears on the street at 8:03 because she forgot her sneakers for gym, glaring at me in frustration and disappointment as if I was supposed to magically make them appear in my hands. Jack, at 8:46, calling me out, yet again, for spending too much time on the computer, listing all the things in his life that he's miserable about and how most of them are my fault. I came home at 9:04 to find the printer not responding and having to screen grab a multi-page document so it looks awful but at least Jon can leave having his information in hand. The apartment, which had been pristine yesterday, is now trashed.

No matter what I do, it's not enough.

No matter how much effort I make, how much energy I put in, how much I juggle, manage, fix, placate, soothe, support, it's rare that someone's not disappointed.

Moments of contentment and appreciation are few and far between.

A super wise friend yesterday gave me a suggestion—she said to look at my life from above and see how these situations, these patterns, these people, these feelings, fit together. And perhaps then I could find when I relive certain things over and over. And then, learn how not to go there.

I don't think she meant for me to diagram it out, but I started a sort of map last night, focused first on my family. I listed traits, situations, feelings and saw, before too long, it was almost 100% negative. Whoa. Not necessarily negative traits about them, but how memories, frustrations, fears, insecurities that have been with me most of my life have brought me to this place

And here's what I came up with so far:

• no matter what I do, it's not good enough

• underneath it all, no one really cares very much about me

• I desperately want attention but am terrified of rejection

• I find comfort in the discomfort of righteous indignation

That's where my head is today folks. It's much easier to keep it bottled up and tucked away tightly in the way back of my psyche. But, I keep repeating the same destructive patterns that prevent me from moving forward.

Damn it.

I don't want to be here.

But I can't get to the other side unless I go through.


Zucchini Breath said...

Thank you. I think you just saved me a lot of time. I feel the same way but never saw it written down just like that. Nothing I do will ever be good enough. No one really loves me. I'm desperate for attention, terrified of rejection and my only solace the fact that "I'm right".

Alexis said...

I am so glad that you wrote this post. I am going through a rough time of feeling inadequate, incompetent, and completely unappreciated.

Nothing I do is enough for anyone, most of all for me.

Glad to know I'm not the only one!

LPC said...

Let me say something completely self-centered here, to which you are not obligated to pay any attention. You have to find a life you love because you have done what I want to do. You write. You have stayed married. You have a child. I can only lay claim to one of those. So. You owe me.

Not really. But perhaps it will motivate you. Perhaps I can provide that tweak. You deserve happiness.

Chelsea said...

I'm sorry you're having such a bad day. Self-loathing never helps anyone out though. For every bad thing you posted about yourself, post something good.
(ie. Personally, I'm too sensitive, I can't take a joke. However, if a friend needs to talk about something serious, I'm a great shoulder to lean on.)
See? Now you try!

Elissa Stein said...

To offset the wallowing I did this morning I'll say:

I bake insanely good chocolate cakes

My kids love me and are still happy to say so

I am grateful for all that is my life (even though sometimes the juggle makes me crazy)

I'm starting a new project and I'm doing it on my own

I went to the MOST delicious yoga class today

Amy Oscar said...

Wait a minute, this was not wallowing. This was honest self-reflection. It's okay to sink down into this place and look around. It's okay to rise over the map of your life and look at it with a critical eye.

That wasn't wallowing it was discerning - it was sifting, it was opening and examining.

Now that you've identified some of the themes that keep you in this pattern, take the next step. See if you can find the places in the pattern where a different choice could be made.

You want to find the places where you could pivot into a new pattern by making just one different choice in the way you think about and respond to a difficult situation when it, inevitably, comes up again.

We have four basic tools to work with in life: Thinking, Feeling, Choosing and Knowing. Tbe trick is to notice which thoughts trigger the bad feelings that make you react (choose) badly; You do this by turning to your inner "knowing" which is directing this entire process.

This inner knowing is what makes you realize that you want to change a family pattern and that you can.

Sharon D. said...

Success is an interesting entity. I too am in the grips of 'success', with a business growing, not beyond where I hoped, or still have yet to grow, but the practical application of it all simply couldn't be forseen until it HAPPENED! Is it be careful what you wish for or how well are you prepared for?

Life is different with success biting at you heals and it can be overwhelming. What I know is: my child has always thought of me as successful so this new 'thing' only distracts me and takes time away from her - that's what SHE knows.

What I am trying to focus on is WHY am I doing my business. Because I love it and to make a decent living for my family. I'm aware there are deadlines etc., however I am choosing to take the time to spend with the people who make me tick, including me, while I'm on this totally fascinating journey.

Success isn't fun without people to share it with and relationships are only as good as we make them.

There will always be another item on the list to do, but the best thing I feel is to take the time to spend with YOU, check out how this is all working for YOU and what you can either let go off or out source. The journey is as much a part as the end result and really where all the activity is. There will never be enough time to do it all - so we need to take the time to STOP.

In the middle of my busiest time yet, I took last week off - I was losing sight and even my vision of my business was getting cloudy in the chaos. I feel so much more focused and I needed the family hugs etc. I got back in touch with me! It's still overwhelming but the intensity is gone and motivation is back. Time well wasted!!

I think the question is: what is NOT GOOD ENOUGH? Who defines that? Good enough for what, who, where? At the end of the day, it's US who has set the impossible standard. My house is a little messier these days and I don't meet every deadline. I put one foot in front of the other and give it my best shot! I sleep better knowing I tried and that in the trying, I haven't lost touch with the people I love or why I'm doing it.

Can we ask MORE of ourselves?

Your probably achieving more than you give yourself credit for. I'm so grateful for you sharing this important aspect of success-there is very little written on what that means to one's daily life. There's a book in there!! :-)

All the Best