You either walk inside your story and own it or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.
Hustling for worthiness, that’s what I’ve done for as long as I can remember. Never good enough, only visible when I got high grades or was “a good girl”. Always trying to be perfect so others would like and accept me. Always trying to stand outside my story, because I was ashamed of it, of myself.
For years now, I’ve been working on myself, trying to learn how to deal with things differently. I’m making progress, but I realize that I still haven’t fully owned my story. I tried to leave out the most important part, love and empathy for myself. Because deep down there I still feel I’m not worthy of love and belonging.
But you can’t truly live when you’re always wondering what someone else will think. Besides, it’s not the example I want to set for my daughter. So, it’s time to own my story.
The concept is quite simple, the execution is slightly more challenging. I’m a perfectionist, because perfectionism is safe. It keeps you in your comfort zone to minimize the chance you screw up and get rejected. Because, what’s not to love when you’re perfect? Except, I’m not perfect. No one is. Imperfection is part of being human. And it’s only when we can accept that, that we can start owning our story.
But people are creatures of habit, especially if it’s safe. Of course, I know perfectionism isn’t healthy. But it’s easy, it’s safe and I’ve done it for so long that it has become my default setting. I will have to reboot my entire system.
But, where to begin? Honestly, no clue. I’ve been thinking of what might help me. The best I could come up with was going back to therapy and creating some new, healthy habits. Not too much and not too long, because I want it to be sustainable, it needs to last for the rest of my life.
Since I’m someone who needs structure, I decided to mark it on my calendar. It’s not so much that it needs to be done right that second, but this way I get a reminder. For me that increases the chances of actually doing it. I decided to start with two new habits and set a timer for a small amount of time every week day. This time is mandatory, if I decide to do more, that’s fine. I just want to create a habit by doing it daily.
The first thing on my list is to meditate to start my day. I will set the timer for 10 minutes. This forces me to take some time to relax. Sometimes it comes easy and I continue after the mandatory time. Other times, those 10 minutes seem to last forever. And that’s fine, just as long as I do it.
The second thing is to take time to write every day for at least half an hour. If it’s not on my calendar, I will only do it when I feel like I have inspiration. If I ever want to become a writer, I will have to start making it a habit and above all, practicing. It’s my first step in getting out of my comfort zone. I’m terrified that I will never be read, that I will never make it to the point that I write an actual book. But if I ever want to get there, I will need to take risks. Ironically, I’m trying to teach my daughter that failure isn’t the end, but a starting point. It’s a start from where you can begin to learn and grow. Practice what you preach.
Not a daily habit, but something I’m trying to be mindful about, is what I tell myself. When I notice that I’m having negative thoughts about myself, I will replace it with more helpful thoughts. The other day I met some people and when leaving most of them were talking to one another. I just felt so socially awkward that I just left silently. At that moment, I beat myself up for being like that. When I noticed that, I acknowledged my feeling of having wanted to do something differently, but I also let myself know I am ok. I went there to meet those people in the first place. I could have just not gone there. So, instead of focusing on the thing that I wish I had done differently, I focused on the big thing that I had done.
Like Brene Brown says: “If we own the story, then we can write the ending”.