Can I Have Empathy for Me? #1
I am afraid of good things.
I am not humble or modest. When there's something “good” happening for me, I shut down and I isolate. Any celebration or congratulations are loaded with shame.
Anytime I journal or blog, I write “I am not enough.” If I have written that out over a thousand times, it doesn't get close to the amount of times I hear that in my brain in a single day. I project this slogan “you are not enough” onto those around me. The cashier thinks I am not enough because I am buying the wrong groceries to be healthy. The passerby on the street as I walk my dog thinks I am not a good enough dog owner. My therapist is not watching the clock because there are more appointments to attend. No, he knows I am not good enough to help myself and take any advice for healing.
A text message, an email, all the modern day notifications on my phone are reminders of my inadequacies and failures. The glasses I wear are not rose-colored, they are polarized. They don't prevent eyestrain, they are polarizing in that they divide me from reality. I only see avenues for shame.
I found some relief in treatment through psychotherapy and EMDR. Meditation and journaling also helped to an extent. Each of those tools involve hard work and concentration. It is not easy to face the emotions I have avoided for 40+ years. Throughout my life, I have formed habits that feed the shame. Changing the way I see things, changing those glasses is incredibly difficult. It takes my full focus. As I shared above, I cannot walk the dog and remember that I was born to be enough. None of us are born worthless or inadequate. Yet, that is how I feel. I talk to myself as if I am a burden and without any worth.
Therefore, an award for being “Volunteer of the Year” at my regional Canadian Mental Health Association is not an honor. A new job is not an accomplishment. These are minefields for me. Did they make a mistake? Now, that they named me “Volunteer of the Year,” watch me make them regret it, because I will somehow. If I was hired to pet puppies all day, I am sure I would screw it up.
Alright, I suppose I challenged myself by naming my journal entry, “Can I Have Empathy for Me.” I am not sure how to tackle this because it feels more permanent than a tattoo. I am not enough, no matter what I do. This is not a narrative in my head or something I can medicate away. It feels like a fact. The truth. The only positive thing I have at this moment is..well..this moment.
Perhaps mindfulness and trying to be present is what I might focus on today. Somehow, I will have to try and quiet the evidence of failures in the past and the fears of future disappointment and just try to press the “OK” button on this post. Then, I have to deal with the next 10 seconds, and so on.