My husband and I were talking about something recently that hit a trigger of mine. The thing is, I hadn’t realized it was a trigger until after this situation. I can’t even remember what we were talking about, but I remember the feeling I had. It was the feeling that he was saying something in a tone or in a way that made him come off as though he was all-knowing and that my thought or my lack of knowledge on the subject brought out my stupidity. I felt like he was telling me I was stupid and his thought was the only thing that could be right.More
Embarrassed. That’s how I have lived most of my life.
I’ve always been embarrassed for one reason or another. Why? Because I heard so many negative things about so many people, including me, that I was so afraid to be one of those people who prompted the negativity. I didn’t want to continue being the person people made fun of for anything and everything. I didn’t want to be the person that my parents talked so much shit about.
I tried and succeed at so many things in life, but I’ve still been embarrassed about them. Bachelors degree. Check. Embarrassed about it? You betcha. Master degree. Check. Embarrassed about it? Even more so than the bachelor degree. Being hired for a high paying job. Check. Embarrassed about it? Absofuckinglutely. Live in a beautiful house that we’ve renovated to make beautiful. Check. Embarrassed about it? Yup.
I can go on and on and on about everything I’m embarrassed about. Hell, in a lot of situations I’m even embarrassed about the quality of my marriage. Why? Why am I so embarrassed about all of these things?
Because in my parents eyes, I am too good for other people. I am the person they would incessantly talk shit about. I am living the life that my parents never could imagine actually having. They could only see it from afar and talk shit about it. When you are a young, impressionable child, that leaves a lasting impact. For me, it left a scar. For others, it determines how limited the child will become.
If I’ve been so successful so far, then why does this quote make sense to me?
Trent said this in one of his podcasts recently among a lot of other truths. This one, this one really stuck with me.
I am not more successful in my personal endeavors because I’m embarrassed about getting successful. I’m too embarrassed about what my parents would say so I hold myself back. Most people refer to what their parents would say about wearing a racy outfit or the like. My early life was spent hearing other criticisms.
So what am I going to do about it?
Put one foot forward. Remind myself that my success depends on me breaking the barriers and stigma that is so ingrained in my subconscious. I’m going to keep going. I’m going to keep posting these posts and posting my YouTube videos regardless of how few followers I have. I am going to keep working on developing my style of overlanding YouTube sharing. I am not going to give up because I am embarrassed. I am going to push through that discomfort because the only path to the success that I want is through the embarrassment and fear.
Remember my Imperfect Warriors, you already have what it takes, believe in yourself and crush
every failure on your way to your dreams. Let’s be imperfect together.
Most of my life, I’ve always diminished my successes when I am speaking about them. Alright, all of my life. I have also diminished my health or personal issues. When someone else congratulates me or brags about me with me around, I try to minimize the effect. Why? Because I haven’t wanted to stand out and be considered conceited.
Throughout my childhood, I grew up with extreme negativity surrounding any kind of accomplishment. My parents hated on anybody who was successful or in a better place than them. So, even though I knew I wanted more, I didn’t want to stand out for it. I kept myself hiding in the shadows.
Once it started, I kept myself hiding in the shadows for everything. I didn’t want to be recognized for any successes other than financially on my paycheck. I didn’t want to stand out because I have back issues, or any issues for the matter. I minimized anything I could about me.
I didn’t want to be noticed.
I was afraid that if I was noticed, I would either end up being just like my parents who used every ailment to suck the life out of others or that I’d be the one that people hated because of my successes. Now, I’ve minimized myself so much that I feel small and like the world is crushing me. I’m afraid to be myself. I’m afraid to celebrate.
I’ve been afraid to cheer myself on. I’ve been afraid to celebrate myself. I didn’t want others to do it. I’ve wondered why I feel so awkward in so many situations and I believe one of the reasons is that I’ve tried so fucking hard not to be noticed.
What is wrong with be noticed? What is wrong with standing out? What is wrong with being celebrated?
I should be celebrating myself. I should be noticed. I should let others celebrate me.
I am not my parents and the world is not my parents. My parents needed help that they would never acknowledge or receive. That doesn’t mean I should diminish myself for people who aren’t even in my life anymore.
I am going to start cheering myself on. I am learning who I am and how to not be ashamed of me. I will let others cheer me on.
I will celebrate me.
I will be my own cheerleader.
I started listening to The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. I’ve taken the quiz before, in fact, multiple times, but I had not yet read or listened to the book. I can’t even remember what I determined my love language is. As of writing this, I can’t even tell you all of the love languages.
What I can tell you is what I realized about myself in the first hour and fifteen minutes of the book. Gary Chapman talks about all the different types of affirmation and provides amazing examples of each. He also talks about being able to provide others with words of affirmation.
I thought I was really good at giving affirmation until I heard Dr. Chapman explain it further. That’s when I had an aha moment. I am really good at saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ and extremely good at apologizing for everything. What I’m not so good at is complimenting or recognizing small acts.
One thing Dr. Chapman talked about that made complete sense to me was that those of us who rarely or never heard words of affirmation, don’t necessarily know what we aren’t saying.
I think I’ve touched on this before in another post or on my Instagram, but I am one of those people who pretty much never heard any words of affirmation. I wasn’t told that I was doing a good job in school, that I was pretty, that I had a great personality, that I was good enough just as I am, that I did a good job keeping the house clean, or anything similar. I was criticized and made fun of, even by my parents. I heard, at least graduate high school before you get pregnant; you are big-boned; look at that bubble butt; you are just afraid of needles; if you are going to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about; you are just like your Aunt K; stop being so bossy; and so much more.
I don’t remember my parents telling me they love me except for when my mom was begging me to give her money. I think my mom might have told me she was proud of me at my college graduation, but I didn’t want her there so I wasn’t in the mood to even talk to her. And I really didn’t.
I learned at an early age that I wasn’t going to get love from my parents so I wanted it from the people they complained about the most, their sisters and brothers and their spouses. I can look back now and realize that what I needed most during those formative years in my life were words of affirmation. I needed love through words.
I can think of a few friends who give me words of affirmation and I don’t know how to receive them. At the same time, I feel like an ass because I suck at doing the same without being prompted. I can think of instances where I could have given words of affirmation to many people, but I didn’t.
Regardless of other people’s love language, I want to be better at freely giving people words of affirmation. I don’t know if it will make someone’s day or if it will roll off their shoulder. What I do know is that there just might be someone out there that doesn’t know what they need to hear until it is said.
How often do you give words of affirmation? What about receiving words of affirmation? What was the last thing you remember being told? How did it make you feel?
Funny enough, one of the things I recently was told on one of my Instagram posts was that my eyebrows were on point. I remember that every day. It makes me feel so good.
How can you make someone’s day?
If you will not reveal yourself to others, you cannot reveal yourself to yourself.
Jordan B. Peterson
I have been hiding for many years. In fact, I have been hiding for so long, that I am only beginning to learn who I truly am and what I truly want from life.
I hid from everyone else because I’m ashamed of my childhood. I hid because I didn’t feel worthy of being known. I hid because I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone else. I hid because I was taught that my voice doesn’t matter. I hid because I wasn’t important.
I learned to hide at a very young age. I learned that if I hid, I wouldn’t get yelled at or blamed for this or that. I learned that if I hid, there was just a little less fighting.
Once we learn to hide, it is absolutely one of the most difficult things to learn to change. I didn’t start changing my need to hide until my husband pointed out that me putting everything aside to not inconvenience others is just ludicrous. Even with him pointing it out, change isn’t happening fast.
Why not? Because I hadn’t put a focus on trying to change. I just kept on hiding. It hurts to reveal myself. I feel like I’ve royally fucked up anytime I truly put focus on myself. I feel like I’m being selfish and inconsiderate by revealing myself and my desires.
In my case, hiding means I get to stay in a safe zone. I get to stay where it is comfortable. Hiding is the easy part. Even if it hurts that people walk all over me.
I know that I have a lot to do to be able to fully reveal myself. I know that progress takes one step at a time. I know that as I slowly continue to reveal myself, I will have to work through the uncomfortableness that has prevented me in the past. I know that I will start to change. I know that not everybody I associate with will be understanding or accepting of me revealing who I am and becoming a louder presence. I know there will be setbacks. I know specific situations will be more challenging to get through.
Regardless of all the difficulty of learning to reveal myself and pushing through the uncomfortableness, I know that I will have a more fulfilled life on the other side. The progress I’ve made so far is laying the foundation of where I’m going. I’m going to rewrite my story. I’m going to retrain my mind and body to react differently when I make myself known. I know that I will be a better person for myself every step I take.
I know that hiding is not how I want to live my life forever. Today is the day to take another step. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
Feelings are something that I’ve had a love/hate relationship with for my entire life. For most of my life, I haven’t wanted to feel. I just wanted to be. I built up walls so absolutely strong that nothing could break them down. Until they did crumble.
At some point during my childhood, I learned how not to feel. Not to feel the pain of losing my nephew. Not to feel the pain of parents who didn’t outwardly care about me. Not to feel the pain of the bullies at school. Not to feel the so-called friendships I had. Not to feel, just to be.
I built my last wall in late 2009 when I left my ex-boyfriend. That wall went up so damn quick, it was like it had always been there. Over the next few years, I lived an existence of not caring and keeping people at an arm’s length. I let a few friends in, but only a couple have weathered the years. I passed my idle time by partying hard. I was of the mindset that I would do whatever I wanted and would answer to no one. It felt good at the moment. But I was lonely. I wanted connection. These were some of my most lonely years. I made a lot of mistakes.
Then the walls started crumbling.
They crumbled faster than I could have imagined. Faster than I was ready for. So fast that I couldn’t prepare myself for all the feeling that I was starting to do. It took one weekend and one guy to cause my walls to crumble. I never had a chance.
For the past eight years, I couldn’t see what the destruction of those walls did to me. Others probably saw a mess of a woman. I could not handle anything emotional. All the feeling that I prevented for so many years rolled into every emotion I felt. When someone would normally expect to have a small reaction, my emotions reacted dramatically. I had no clarity. I didn’t know what was happening. I felt so alone and so lost. Something was so wrong with me and I couldn’t figure out what it was.
I blamed it on the way other people treated me. I blamed it on my hormones. I blamed it on the IVF treatments. I blamed it on how I believed other people felt about me. I blamed everything that wasn’t directly my handling of my emotions.
I started to do the work on myself, then I went deeper into an emotional hell with infertility and IVF treatments. I stopped working on my personal growth for a few years and it showed. I was a mess. I have been a mess.
Then I stopped drinking this summer. This was a game-changer. I had already committed to working on my emotional well-being, but this made the difference. When I quit drinking, I gained so much clarity. Clarity I wish I had had years ago.
I have found clarity to help me deal with feeling. Clarity to help me learn how to feel into my emotions. Clarity to help me have the internal check-points on each feeling. It may take me a few days or weeks to really understand something, but I know that will improve.
I’m flipping my story. I’m looking internally to see how I can change the blame I’ve dished out for so many years.
I blamed it on the way other people treated me. I let them treat me that way. I need to set boundaries on how I let other people treat me. I can’t just expect them to see that they are hurting me. Are they really hurting me? I have to ask myself this and so many other questions. Is it them or is it me? Is it both?
I blamed it on my hormones. In my opinion and experience, my hormonal roller coasters are affected by alcohol. Hormones have played a big role in my emotions and feelings, but they were exacerbated. Now I am letting my body heal from the alcohol before I re-evaluate my hormones.
I blamed it on the IVF treatments. Yeah, these were fucking hell. They made what was already a hormonal, emotional mess, even worse. I was not emotionally prepared.
I blamed it on how I believed other people felt about me. The keywords here are ‘I believed’. I made assumptions that may or may not be true. I have so, so much work to do here.
I blamed everything that wasn’t directly my handling of my emotions. It couldn’t be my fault. Life was happening to me. WRONG! I let life happen to me rather than taking control. The control I thought I had was such a lie. I wasn’t handling me. I wasn’t working on me.
Life happens. Horrible shit does happen in our lives. It is how we deal with that shit that determines our life going forward. I was not dealing with any of it. I was not working through it.
I let all of the years of not feeling, of not caring, come crashing down on me once those walls crumbled. When I feel something now, there is so much baggage behind it. I feel that baggage as I’m writing this. It is a weight that I could have never known would come back to haunt me later.
I have so much work to do that it is overwhelming. I need to let myself feel into the baggage and pain. I have to stop running from it. I have to stop running from feeling.
I recently came to realize that I have a, ‘it’s me/us against them’ mentality. I’m not exactly sure what brought me to this realization, but it happened and I’ve sat on the thought for a while before wrapping my head around sharing it. I know where it comes from, now I just have to do the work to recondition myself.
This mentality stems from my childhood. All I ever heard was ‘me/us against them’ references from my parents. They were always comparing how hoity-toity and stuck up their siblings were compared to how great they were. My parents were always comparing the ways their siblings lived compared to our lives. They always compared the earning level compared to ‘poor me, they need to take care of us’. It was always our family against everybody else.
I grew up hearing how awful my aunts and uncles were because they lived in better houses, traveled, drove better cars, blah, blah, blah. I also frequently heard about how selfish they were not to take care of our family since my parents couldn’t make enough money. I grew up thinking that all of our extended family were assholes and hated us.
Us against them.
I still struggle, even today, with feeling less than my aunts, uncles, and cousins because of what I heard growing up. I never feel like I’m enough or will ever be enough to be loved by them. No matter how much internal work I do, or how much I hear love come out of their mouths, I still struggle with this mindset. I’m happy my ‘me against them’ mindset is different than my parents, but it still isn’t good.
I have brought the ‘me/us against them’ mentality into everything that I do and every relationship that I have. I see it in my interactions and reactions with Eddie’s family, with our friends, and even at work. It is almost first nature to feel this way with people.
When this mentality takes over, which it does so quickly in almost any situation, I make myself small. I’m going to say that again. I. Make. Myself. Small.
I do it.
They don’t. This mentality is what is fucking up my relationships. This mentality is what makes me make myself small.
If I can learn to identify when I’m feeling the ‘me against them’ mentality and starting to feel small, I can remind myself that I’m doing this to myself. Nobody has that kind of power over me.
I don’t know how I’m going to overcome this mentality, but I will. And I will share the progress and process with you. This is big. This is something that I wish I would have realized years ago. It would have saved me so much heartache and embarrassment. It’s okay. Now is better than never.
Side note: When I hit the seventh paragraph, I didn’t know where I was going with the post. That paragraph hit me like a ton of bricks. That realization that I’m the one who makes myself small literally only happened while typing this post. I am physically in a new place of realization and hope, eagerness to find a new way to combat the mentality and how I react. Eager to stop making myself feel small and blaming it on others.
We all make mistakes. Small mistakes. Big mistakes. Mistakes that later become the best decision we could have made. Mistakes that others don’t even see as a mistake.
The problem with mistakes isn’t the mistake itself. Well, sometimes, but not always. For me, it is definitely living in fear every day, every hour, every minute, every second, that I will make a mistake. The fear keeps me from allowing myself to just live. The fear keeps me from reaching higher and higher in life. The fear literally runs my life.
But how did I get to this point? How does anybody get to this point?
I can tell you that I battle with this fear because of my upbringing. I was constantly getting yelled at for almost everything I did. My parents were always yelling at each other for the littlest things. I would get in trouble for everything my sisters did that was wrong in my parents’ mind.
The only mistake I couldn’t make was doing okay in school and graduating. I did better than okay in school, until college. Then I did okay. But that wasn’t a mistake.
Because I was always yelled at, I fear doing absolutely anything wrong. I had a few good years where I just didn’t give a shit. Alcohol enabled those years. I drank entirely too much. Most people would call that a mistake. I don’t. I was able to live almost carefree and just enjoy life. No, I wasn’t true to who I am as a person, but it was freeing to not care.
Once I came back to real life and started to care, my fear ballooned. I wish I could tell you that I’ve overcome this fear and I can tell you how to as well. But I haven’t.
What I can tell you is that I push the fear everyday. I push it so I can see that what I might think will be a mistake, isn’t. I push it so I can grow. Living my life in fear of making mistakes makes living a rewarding and happy life very difficult. To help overcome the fear, I work on my mind and beliefs.
I have a lot of messed up beliefs about life and how things should be. That gives into my fear of making mistakes. So, I listen to self-help books on audible while I get ready for work in the morning. I read self-help when I pick up my Kindle. I embrace those cheesy positivity quotes. I even share them. And I come here to share with you my experiences.
Fear is not easy to overcome. Fear is engrained in all of us. It’s how humans have survived so many years. But our fears do not evolve as we get older without work. Fear will not resolve itself as we coast through life.
Don’t let the fear of making a mistake hold you back in life. Challenge yourself. Break yourself.
Have you ever considered how often you talk to yourself? I do it ALL the time. Seriously! There are times that I am thinking about something and I’m in a public bathroom and find myself audibly thinking about it. Yup, random people just caught me talking to myself. Embarrassing right? For me, not as much as you would think. I mean, I probably won’t ever see these people again. I have to admit though, I haven’t always been able to shrug that embarrassment off.
But that isn’t the kind of talking to myself that I want to talk about here. I want to talk about all the negative shit I have ingrained in my mind to tell myself. I am probably one of the biggest offenders of telling myself how stupid I am. Yup, I do that ALL the time. But why? Why did I get started talking so horribly to myself when I wouldn’t even imagine telling someone else they are stupid?
We all have things we tell ourselves that aren’t exactly the nicest and we need to stop. Ha! But that is easier said than done. Am I right? Of course I am! I’ve been struggling with this for as long as I can remember. I’m sure if you are still reading this, you are as well.
So many of us blame our self-talk on the circumstances of our upbringing. Again, I’m an offender here. I was not raised in an encouraging household. In fact, there was more fighting and bullying than there was love. But my parents never looked from the outside in to see what life was like, they just kept living and talking the way they always had – negatively. I learned that life was shitty, our circumstances were the fault of everyone else, that my extended family hated us, that only the spoiled rich people made it in life, that all I was expected to do in life was graduate high school before getting pregnant, and that my good grades were nothing to be excited about or rewarded for.
Now, I’m not saying I blame my negative self-talk on my parents. I’m saying that is where I learned it. No matter where I learned it, I have continued to do it. Not only have I continued to do it, I very often take whatever I say to the extreme. Why? I don’t know, it just happens. I’m very critical of myself (that is a completely different topic for a later time). I mean VERY. In fact, some of my most recent negative self-talk would include things like:
- I’m so fucking stupid, I can’t even cook bacon without dropping it
- My family can’t even trust me to get decorations that they get the caterer to do it
- God, I’m so ugly, my hair is out of control
- Family doesn’t want to be around me unless I am presentable and done up
Do any of these sound familiar?
Those all came through this mind in the past couple of weeks. Look at you, reading this and thinking “damn, that girl is harsh!” If you stop and think for a minute, you may not say these same exact things, but you might tell yourself something similar, right?
We seem to constantly criticize ourselves using some of the worst self-talk. It is really difficult for some of us to be understanding of ourselves and not criticize ourselves every turn we make. But how do we get get that point? How do we get from happy kids to being over-critical of ourselves?
For most of us it is learned. I think I learned negative self-talk before I learned how to be supportive of myself. Learning how to switch from negative self-talk to positive self-talk isn’t easy.
When we talk negativity with or to ourselves, we impact our quality of life. Have you sat and thought about how difficult your life feels? Have you ever connected how you feel about life to how you talk to yourself? Probably not. I hadn’t. A lot of us think that our life is so difficult because of our circumstances – how we were raised, the education we received, the way our family is, etc. Changing from blaming my parents to taking ownership for the way I speak to myself has been a long time coming and is consistently a work in progress.
We are a product of the way we think and the way we talk to ourselves. I know, I know, the way we were raised has a big impact in and on our current life, but we can change how it impacts us. The way we describe our feelings and circumstances affects how we deal with our life each day. Think about this simple situation, the weekend versus Monday. Most of our world hates Monday. It is ingrained in our society. But what if you didn’t hate Monday? How would your life improve?
The feeling we put into our thoughts and self-talk determines our every move. When we are more critical of ourselves, we bash on every single misstep we have. But if we are forgiving of ourselves, dropping bacon while cooking isn’t that big of a deal. Do you see what I’m saying?
Self-talk isn’t something we can fix overnight. I PROMISE. I did some heavy personal development for a couple years and I was rocking and happier than I’d ever been. Then life hit and my drive to read/listen/watch personal growth outlets dwindled as my stress level went into overload. That was definitely the most critical time for me to continue, but I didn’t. I let the irrational thinking back in my daily life. I let negative self-talk rule me. It didn’t help that I was going through infertility treatments that kept not working. Those hormones and treatments are seriously life changing, even without success.
I took that opportunity to tell myself how much of a failure I am since I couldn’t even get pregnant and there was no medical reason preventing it. Enter the harshest self-talk I think I’ve ever had. Completely irrational. I didn’t realize the residue I was leaving in my subconscious every time I called myself a failure. That residue can be subtle, but it adds up and becomes completely dis-empowering.
All that negative self-talk adds up. Even the simple thoughts of not having enough time. I am a repeat offender on this one. I put so much pressure on myself and am ALWAYS telling myself I don’t have enough time. Even writing that sentence spurred anxiety of not having enough time. Negative self-talk is everywhere and applies to absolutely EVERYTHING we tell ourselves. Seriously, everything.
As Gary John Bishop says in Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, “We create our own reality with our minds.”
I have created the reality in my life that I’m worthless, a horrible person, lacking for time, not good enough, and more. It doesn’t matter that I heard a lot of that growing up. I was ALWAYS in trouble for not being of service to absolutely everyone. I was taught to put myself aside to make sure everyone else had what they needed. I was taught that since I was born in a poor immediate family (yes, in my world, that needs clarified), I would never be good enough to be successful. Success was tied to be raised with everything you needed and being handed everything in life. Oh how my parents were wrong.
I have a long way to go to overcome the lies I keep telling myself and that I reiterate from my childhood, but if I try a little every day, I know I can change the way I walk to myself. I can change the way my life is (not that it’s bad, but there are days I feel like it is). Notice, there is a lot of I going on there.
I don’t need to find the answer to all of these things I tell myself. There is no answer out in the universe. The answer lies within me. I am the answer. I am the change my life needs. I need to retrain my brain. But I have to be willing.
But being willing doesn’t give me action. Saying “I will change” does nothing. I have to actually do it. I’m not talking about reciting affirmations every morning that are pre-baked. That works for some people. But for some, it does not. I’m talking about shrugging off dropping a piece of bacon or not giving a shit what my family thinks about if I put makeup on or not to go to the aquarium. I have to own who I am, flaws and all, and not speak negatively to myself for every little thing. Is it going to be easy? No. Am I going to change over the next couple hours or overnight, no. Am I going to regress sometimes? Oh absolutely.
We have to make a decision and follow through changing our self-talk. How am I going to do it? One step at a time. One day at a time. One minute at a time.
Are you with me? If so, let’s have a conversation. In the comments below, tell me what are your biggest negative self compliments. How are they shaping your every day life?