When I was a little girl, I longed to feel special. I was the third of three daughters in my family. And so by the time I came around, there was a real sense of…..been there done that….in the air.
I craved adventure. And in the white suburban neighbourhood I grew up in, my friends and I created our own high-stakes drama, biking from park to park, narrowly escaping the “bad guys” who were always hot on our tail.
I can remember shopping with my mom at Zellers one afternoon, bored out of my mind, when I decided to limp around as if my right leg was broken. I longed for sympathetic looks from strangers…..or better yet, an utterance of “poor girl” under someone’s breath.
I wanted attention. Bad.
And by grade 7, I can remember wanting to be “the popular girl” so bad, I got my mom to blow dry and style my hair every single morning….rollers and all…with a magazine cut-out of Jennifer Aniston taped to the bathroom wall, for inspiration.
In retrospect, I sometimes wonder how much I was looking for love and affection from the outside world, in order to battle the inner critic that lived deep inside me.
“You’re not good enough,” my own voice would say.
Over and over again. In a myriad of ways.
Having a daughter, I secretly fear having passed along the self-doubt gene to her, crossing my fingers that she never loses the unwavering belief she has in herself, as a super-hero.
I ask her the question, “what makes you feel loved, sweetheart?”
She thinks about it, then says….. “hugs and kisses from you, mom.”
Her answer makes my heart melt.
But then I start to think…..Uh-oh. What if she starts to rely on the attention and affection of others, in order to feel good about herself?
I quickly forget this train of thought as she finishes her answer with a light-hearted giggle: “I also reeeeallly love sleep.”
I’d love to say that upon coming face to face with my own personal negative nelly, I lived happily ever after, nary a “you suck at this” in sight.
That bitch is a persistent one. And she shows up at the party, already wasted, sweater slipping off her shoulder, smeared mascara…..just when you least expect it.
You want “I’m not good enough” at max volume?
Go through a break-up.
Ya. That storm is one that’ll have you doubting even the qualities you thought were your greatest strengths.
But something I’ve really learned over the past year is that we always have the opportunity to reframe, and it is our self-criticism and feelings of inadequacy that act as our own prison.
Apparently, Leonardo Da Vinci was extremely hard on himself throughout his entire career as an artist. He’d abandon projects half-way through, convinced that they were complete garbage.
Until it was recommended to him to look at his work in a mirror.
By looking at the reflection of his painting (rather than looking at it straight on), he could be much more objective, and judge his work as if he were seeing it for the first time.
And it’s the same with our own minds.
Sometimes we simply need to take a step back, and distance ourselves from our own thoughts in order to see them from a different perspective.
And so when Halsey’s Bad At Love is tormenting me, and I’m starting to doubt my own light, my own beauty, my own ability to love deeply enough…….I reframe.
I tell myself three simple words.
I am learning.
Calm rushes over me.
I am learning so much.
And I am giving myself time to strengthen my skills.
Patience is a virtue, they say.
And in this case, they’re right.
With each stumble, I am gaining insight into who I am, what I want, and how best to get there.
Whether it’s in love, in business, or in health.
We rise. We fall. We rise.
Imperfection is part of the game of life. As is the “Climb Mount Everest” square…..which I always found to be a little unlikely, even for Hasbro.
And so, as if looking at my life from the other side (and not in a creepy Stranger Things kind of way…..that shit is fuuuuuucked up), I try to let go of negativity as best I can.
We have the power and ability to change our thoughts.
And there’s no need to break our own legs to do it.