I was good. In high school, I got good grades, had a job, and volunteered at church. I went to one party in those four years. I went to a good college and knew exactly what I wanted to major in. I got the degree, graduated early, and also met someone great – so I got married two months after graduation. In our first year of marriage, I had a nice job, got a master’s degree with a 4.0 GPA, and got pregnant. We bought our first house when I was 23.
I never felt good enough. In high school, I felt alone and like no one liked me- and I always had this feeling there was secretly something terrible or gross about me that everyone knew but me. In college, I struggled with an anxiety disorder and had panic attacks in crowded places like the dining hall. I struggled to figure out where I belonged. Marriage and a really great lifestyle did not make me happy. I thought grad school would, or maybe a baby would. I cried almost every day of my pregnancy, and my baby and I both cried every day of his first 5 months of life.
I kept thinking the next accomplishment or life event would make me feel happy and fulfilled, and each thing distracted me for awhile, but then I would sink back into feeling terrible.
Several years ago, I started taking care of myself, following positive people, watching inspiring talks, and reading as many books as I could on positive thinking, personal growth, and leadership. Things started to change. Each new year that has gone by has brought me new lessons like changing the way I think, speak to myself, and improving my friendships.
I kept hoping that striving and achieving would lead to feeling good enough but the biggest lesson I’ve learned in the past few years is that fulfillment, confidence, and joy are things we create inside ourselves. Marriage won’t make you happy. A baby won’t make you happy. A new pair of shoes won’t make you happy. Doing what you are supposed to do won’t make you happy. Only you can do that. Here are the 3 ways I did it:
What you think and how to talk to yourself have incredible power. After over 20 years of negative patterns, this was something that I could not change on my own and needed to have my coach walk me through it. This is why I created Quit Talking Shit. Changing the way you think about yourself changes everything.
Technology has been total poison for our relationships with ourselves. We can distract ourselves all day, every day, so that we never have to face what is going on in our heads and hearts. Taking time to get to know and appreciate myself has been not only fun, it has given me a lot of clarity about what I want in life. I also took the time to identify my core values, with the help of a coach – this is helpful in decision making and recognizing what makes me unique. This is why I created The Roadmap. How are you supposed to make decisions or even know what you want in life if you don’t know yourself?
I got so caught up in striving and wanting more (so I could feel good enough) that I never even stopped to be grateful for what I already had. Do you ever just look around in amazement for what you have? Friends, family, health, shelter, everything working out… When you are on a road of personal growth, it’s so important to take time to really let yourself feel that wonder and appreciation.