I’m the kind of person who judges herself pretty harshly. Often I see my life as a journey that’s never quite a success and myself as a woman who is never quite enough. That’s an easy thing to have confirmed by the natural wear and tear of life… and it’s a heavy burden to carry around. When life nibbles away at you as it’s wont to do, that feeling of inadequacy can be overwhelming. Yesterday was one of those days. It just hit me sort of suddenly… I got quiet… and sad. I could feel my heart just sink down to my toes. I felt like I was standing in the middle of the room with all my self-perceived failures swirling around me.
No wonder, I thought.
For a moment I let all of the negativity in – all of the actions of others or circumstances out of my control that cause me to feel hurt, unworthiness, and sadness. I stood there silently and I validated all of my greatest critics in my heart. No wonder this… no wonder that… and one by one I allowed the people who hurt me most to gain temporary control of me. It’s something we all do, I think. Inner strength is always a goal of mine, but I feel so weak when it happens. I think – I hope – that every once in a while, it’s human to be overwhelmed by the emotions you carry.
Toby listened as I let all of it out. I told him how inadequate I felt in just about every aspect of life – how the struggles I’ve faced and the negative feedback I receive on those struggles have left me feeling so much less than successful. I admitted that all I’ve ever wanted to do is to positively affect the people I love… to make them proud… to truly matter to them. How could I possibly be doing that when I’m not successful? He touched my cheek and reminded me softly but confidently that he and the kids see me as a success. And even if the entire outside world can’t see that, there’s no possible way that I haven’t made a difference. It was exactly what I needed – someone who sees me, someone who hears me, and someone who can be strong for me when I can’t be for myself.
This morning I feel a little silly for letting those feelings get the best of me… I know that there are people out there who love me. I’m not sure they’re always proud of me and I don’t blame them. I fail all the time to live up to my own standards. The successes I have in my life are not always conventional or obvious. My journey has taken a lot of turns that most people take great pains to avoid. But this morning, I feel a little more peaceful. At the end of the day, I have a husband and two kids who think I’m doing a pretty good job at life… What better kind of success is there than that?