Spoiled. That would be one of the characteristics that some might use to describe me and to a certain degree, I must admit that is true mainly because I’m the youngest of 4 sisters and I’ve received a fair share of care and attention. I do not feel the same sense of responsibility, I do not feel the need to stand up for myself and I don’t feel the urge to fight for anything because I’ve always been given more than I’ve ever asked for and for which I will always be grateful. For as long as I can remember, I’ve lived in my sisters’ shadows. Not to take away from or underestimate the amount of love that I have received, but there was always an inner struggle to live up to the standards that have been set before me. To study as much, to be sociable as much, stylish as much, smart as much, successful as much. Whether it was directly said or insinuated, there have always been expectations on how I should lead my life and that by itself created the fear that not stepping up to those expectations would only set me back from being enough, successful enough, smart enough, sociable enough, stylish enough.
I will not blame birth order for my low self-esteem but I then entered the real world where I realized that love was not given freely, that flaws were not accepted, that trust needed to be earned and that basically everything was not only judged, but measured. I started seeking validation from every person I met, the need to be liked by everyone emerged as well as the willingness to withstand sadness as long as I was not the one inflicting it. I then started losing a bit of confidence with every rejection I faced, until there was close to nothing left. With every rejection, every heart break, every failed friendship and unsuccessful job application, I started losing myself piece by piece until I became overwhelmed by feelings of incompetence. And while I found comfort in repeating statements to reinforce my confidence in myself, “he wasn’t the one for me”, “he didn’t treat me as I deserved to be treated”, I didn’t meet the job requirements”, “I was overqualified”, “I don’t need negative people around me”, I couldn’t help but feeling not good enough at the end of the day. No matter what I fed myself, deep down it always came down to “what did I do wrong?”, “what could I have to done to keep him?”, “what should I have displayed more during that interview?”
I eventually found myself settled in my comfort zone, I developed an indifference to what is, and a fear of pursuing what could be. I no longer wanted to take any risks, nor put myself in another position to be rejected for not being… enough. I became a prisoner of my own fears. I settled for a job that made me miserable because the process of going through an interview terrified me, I pushed people away because the process of falling in love terrified me, and I kept my circle of friends small because the process of forming bonds terrified me. But worst of all, I became my own worst enemy. I judged myself for every mistake that I made, I criticized myself for every bad decision that I took, and I kept blaming myself for every disappointment that I encountered as a form of self-punishment. As much as people supported me, the voice in my head that kept saying that I wasn’t enough, was always louder than their own words of advice.
That fear almost became similar to mental paralysis, but the truth of the matter is, would a life lived being so reserved and afraid, be at all a life worth living? Yes feeling rejected is devastating… but look close enough and you’ll find that there is even beauty in that. There is beauty in imperfections, in opening a new page and starting over again. There’s even beauty in failing one time after another, because only then would you really feel proud of your persistence, your strength and your accomplishment. Just like learning a handstand, for example. You will fall the first time you give it a try and you will then keep falling, until you find a way to master your fall to minimize the hurt and then one day after many bruises, you do it, and it will all be worth it. Until you start believing that failures are lessons and rejections are only redirections to something greater, you will keep doubting yourself as I did myself. It wasn’t anyone bringing me down as much as it was my own insecurities getting the best of me. You cannot choose the events that will happen in your life nor can you control the people that will stay in your life but you wake up every day with the chance to become the person that you would like to be, and that person is entirely your choice. Live up to the standards that you set for yourself, not up to the standards of anyone else. Aim to achieve the goals that you set for yourself, not the goals of anyone else. Spend every day becoming a better version of yourself and not a duplicate of anyone else.
You will fail, get rejected, feel humiliated but you will also experience the best moments of your life for you are not defined by your failures, but it is through failures that you change, that you learn and that you grow. Because at the end of all of it, I hope you don’t look back and regret the chances you didn’t take because you were crippled by fear, but instead you will remember that nothing and no one was powerful enough to stand in your way, but even more so, that you didn’t stand in your own way. You are enough because you are human with all your flaws, imperfections and mistakes and I hope you find the beauty in all of that and that you silence the voice in your head that says otherwise. I hope you find the courage to take risks, in love and in life, no matter how far-fetched they may seem, or how disappointed you may get, because at any given moment and in any given situation, you just might be redirected to something spectacular.