Like many people, I have always been hard on myself. I grew up as a perfectionist. In my mind, I knew what it meant to be “perfect.” I needed to be the perfectly poised person who didn’t get her feathers ruffled easily and went with the flow instead of stressing out 24/7 like I actually do. I needed to be the person who was always relaxed instead of suffering from anxiety and worrying about things outside of her control. I needed to be the person I thought my friends or people I saw out in the world were—ultra confident. And if I wasn’t these things and more—which I never was—then I would be disappointed in myself, knowing I could do better. If I just tried hard enough, I’d always think, then I would be perfect. My flaws would no longer bother me anymore; my neuroses would disappear. I’d finally be happy, a “good” person, and my life would be complete.
But, of course, life doesn’t work that way. I have flaws just like everyone else. And frankly, I’m tired of pretending they don’t bother me, and I’m tired of being so bogged down by my flaws that they do bother me. Instead, I want to acknowledge them, the things I want to change about myself, and the infinite room I have to grow within.
I admit that I am often insecure. I doubt myself on a regular basis. Imposter syndrome is very real, and it is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. Insecurity is a natural feeling, whether it comes from comparing yourself to others or focusing on your flaws. As much as I don’t want to have insecurity, I do, and that’s okay. I am granting myself room to grow.
I admit that I have a lot of anxiety. I was always very anxious as a kid, and this has followed me into my adult life. I worry about what people will think about me. I worry I’ll say something wrong. I worry I’ll embarrass myself or think about all the times I have embarrassed myself and worry that it’ll happen again. I worry about worrying. I worry a lot. And though therapy, medication, and my own self-help rituals have helped ease my anxiety, it’s still there. That is okay. I am granting myself room to grow.
I admit that I’m not perfect. No matter how perfect I’d like to be, I never will be; perfection is a myth. There will always be somewhere I can improve in my life, and constantly trying to strive for my version of perfection will only drive me to exhaustion and a never-ending pattern of questioning my worth. Am I good enough? Am I doing enough? Am I enough? And the answer is no. The answer will always be no, because there’s always something else to find within myself that’s not flawless. I cannot simply break out of the thought pattern of a perfectionist, and that is okay. I am granting myself room to grow.
I admit that I am hard on myself. I am acutely aware of my flaws, and I often berate myself for having them. I almost always think of all the things wrong about me, everything I want to change about myself, and it leads to a thought pattern of self-doubt, even self-hatred, because I’m unable to magically change these things about myself. And when I realize I’m being too hard on myself, I beat myself up about being too hard on myself, and that becomes something else to fix. These all become never-ending cycles of negativity toward myself, and it only leaves me feeling miserable. I am hard on myself, and I am hard on myself for being hard on myself, and that is okay. I am granting myself room to grow.
I am granting myself room to grow in all these aspects of my life and more, because I deserve it. Everyone deserves it. We’re all doing the best that we can, including me. I would never berate someone else about their flaws and how they’re being hard on themselves because of it, so why would I do the same to myself? Too often, I get caught up in trying to control my entire behavior and who I am as a person, and, too often, I forget that I’m human. It’s going to take a lot of constant reminders to allow myself some grace, but I am working on it. I am granting myself room to grow, and I hope you are as well.