I often find it hard to believe in myself. I’ll look back at things I’ve done and I don’t feel like I’m worthy of anyone in my life. I don’t know why I can’t force myself to just believe that I’m good enough, or even okay enough. I’d even settle for being considered decent. I don’t believe that I’m worth being proud of. I’m not proud of myself, so why would anyone else be proud of me?
I’m weird. I write better than I talk. I freeze up in the moment and don’t know how to answer questions. I stumble over my words, or they just come out in nonsensical answers. It always seems like I’m trying to redirect a conversation because I don’t understand a question. I’ll answer something the wrong way, and it looks like I’m diverting the conversation.
I react over-emotionally or with no emotion. I don’t know how to comfort people in the best way; I don’t know what to do when I’ve hurt someone. I’ll say I’m sorry, but I don’t know how much I’ve hurt them until much later. I know it hurts them, I know, but I don’t know what to say to fix it. I don’t know what I can do to repair a broken friendship or repair a sentence I made.
I work myself until I’m sick, but then I’ll keep working. Work is a solace to me because it’s the only thing I think I can do right. It’s the only thing I feel any pride in. It’s an empty kind of pride, though. It lasts for a few minutes, then when I’m off the clock, I don’t know what else there is to me. I drive myself into studying for classes—I have to get those perfectly too.
If I don’t get things done perfectly, I feel like it’s not good enough. I’ll beat myself up for hours. No, I’ll beat myself up for days. I wish I could rewind and hit a redo on everything that I do because I never think it’s good enough. If it’s not perfect, how can it be good enough?
It’s irrational. Perfection is what I strive for, and I know it’s impossible. There’s no such thing as perfection, and it drives me crazier. I need to make sure my work, my schoolwork, my relationship, my friendships, everything is perfect. I don’t understand how it can’t be perfect.
The other day, I was told that I wasn’t Atlas—it’s not my job to carry the weight of the world on my back. Some days it feels as though I am. I carry everything I can; I try to make sure everything is happy, everyone is happy. If they’re not happy, it feels like it’s my fault. I need to do better.
In my striving to do better, I hurt the people I care about. I know they’re hurt. They make it very clear, and I don’t know how to fix it. By the time I’m very aware that they’re hurt, I don’t know what to do anymore. I freeze again. Fight, flight, freeze. I’ll freeze, but then my frozen behavior turns into a fight. They can be messy fights, and I don’t know how to repair them, or if they’re even repairable.
I’ll snap at people that don’t deserve it when I’m under too much stress. I stress so much that I’ll make myself physically ill, and I’ll be out of the game for a while. By the time I get back, there’s a whole new rulebook. I need to learn all the rules to be perfect at this too, don’t I?
In reality… no. I don’t. I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t need to make everyone else happy. I should be able to focus on me, on my happiness. There are a select few people, very few, that deserve the time and energy that I exert into everything else. I haven’t given them the right amount of time or energy. I haven’t given what they need.
I don’t need to be perfect for them, either. They don’t care about perfection. They don’t care if every single thing I do in my life is just right. They care about me, my mental health, my well-being. They care about the way I live my life. They want to see me succeed; they want to see me physically healthy and happy. They’re the people that genuinely care about me.
It’s taken years to realize this, but I am NOT Atlas. The world doesn’t belong on my shoulders. What matters is my happiness, safety, and well-being. If I’m not there for myself, if I’m not proud of myself, I shouldn’t expect others to be. I need to be proud of who I am and what I know I can do. It may not be perfect, but it’s real, and it’s me.
When I’m real with myself, and I’m real with what I know I can do, my life will be better. It will be happier and safer. I need to be here for me and believe in me. When I do that, I can be better for the people that matter most in my life.