It’s Okay

When you go for years being told that it’s not okay, your brain gets wired to believe that it’s really not okay.  That whatever I’ve done, said, experienced… it’s not okay.  And sometimes, even, that I am not okay.

I’ve been struggling these past few days with how difficult it is to live with(out) disappointing others and disappointing myself.  I think I’ve loosened up a bit over time but I still classify myself as a perfectionist of sorts.  I don’t like making mistakes and I especially do not like it when those mistakes affect others, because I’ve inevitably let them down in some way.   I also have a hard time saying the word ‘no’ when I’m asked to do something.  Saying ‘no’ does not seem okay.

It’s an awful feeling to not allow myself to make mistakes.

It’s also awful having to admit my limitations.

I’m still learning how to say, “It’s okay” to myself.  And I’m still mustering up the courage to say, “No, I will not do what you’re asking me to do”.  It’s really hard and it’s a slow process.  But I think I’m making progress.  Someone recently told me, if I cannot say ‘Yes’ with integrity, then my ‘Yes’ doesn’t hold any value.  I’m pretty sure this is why I feel compelled to be gracious to myself when I disappoint others.

I’ve also noticed that when I have disappointed, I feel the need to prove my self-worth.  Maybe to defend myself or something.  When I start to feel that way, I know I have to put it to rest and just say, “It’s okay”.  But it’s hard in the moment.  Then in my usual manner of digging, I end up asking myself, why do I care so much about gaining other people’s approval?  What is my sense of self based on?

I’ve discovered recently that it really helps to have someone around who says, “It’s okay”.  I’m really grateful to have someone who says that consistently, generously and genuinely to me.

Maybe one of these days I might finally believe it.

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7 thoughts on “It’s Okay

  1. Like I tell Bandit, it’s okay!
    “I’ve discovered recently that it really helps to have someone around who says, “It’s okay”. I’m really grateful to have someone who says that consistently, generously and genuinely to me.” That’s me right?

      • @J and @Shanella – she was talking about me, obviously. come on now. =) jk jk.

        In all seriousness – thank you for this post Cate! i find this to be a challenge in my own life as well. i’ve been told for so long that it’s NOT ok to make mistakes, and that it’s not ok to say no.

        Sometimes, it’s good to be reminded of the fact that it IS ok.

  2. We may have had this conversation before, but I think it’s a culturally influenced thing, being taught to never say no. Especially for Asian-American women, you’re taught always yes, always meek submission and waiting to be noticed and praised. I think your observations are more about life, but I had to learn how to say NO in the workplace because I was getting absolutely creamed! I’d say yes to everything and be the only one left in the office every night at 9pm. But once I learned how to say no at work it began to apply in other areas of my life too, to the point where now I wonder if I say no too much…

    Anyway, you’ve got my vote of confidence! It’s definitely okay 🙂

  3. Pingback: My Best Decision (Part 3 of 4) | Lyrics of a Caged Songbird

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