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.