What is good enough?
At what point does being proud of yourself matter more than the pride others project onto you?
I just don’t know. Me neither.
I’ve been thinking about this post for a really long time, but it took a first check-in with a new client to decide to say yes and write it.
There are many of us that experience imposture syndrome. It’s common among Type A personalities, it’s also common among trauma survivors. Remember trauma is objective. Every individual has experiences differently and that means that even the same situation may be traumatic for one person, but not another.
Emotional abuse can be more harmful than physical abuse in some cases because physical wounds heal more easily. It’s not hard to identify a broken bone and to put a cast on it. Emotional wounds can take years to identify and acknowledge and work through before they actually heal.
We we’re discussing success and the feeling you get when you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished. She is filled with doubt, and I’m honest, so I told her that I have moments like that too and I explained I felt that way when she contacted me because I was in awe.
I ask everyone to fill out a questionnaire because I want to make sure that we’re a good fit. I want to make sure I understand their support system, their goals, the motivation behind their goals and their expectations of coaching. I don’t want to take on a client that I don’t believe I can help or one that doesn’t have the same expectations of the relationship. Like all potential clients, she told me that the questionnaire was hard.
It made her think about her goals and how they were connected. I’ve had a few questionnaires that have put me into tears, but I also don’t claim that I’m excellent at holding back tears.
Her goals aren’t about physical attributes.
Her short-term goals:
- Be more social
- Not over think/doubt myself
- Find what I am mean to do or be
She followed up these goals by stating that she wasn’t sure if these were actually goals of not.
Our screening lasted longer than they normally do, and we’ve already discussed extending out check-in times. This isn’t the first client I’ve done this for and as many of mine know, most of our calls are longer than an hour anyway. We were both in tears on the screening and I’m not ashamed to say I was in tears on Wednesday night when we had our first call.
Wednesday night we were talking about doubt, success and the influence of outside opinions.
I asked her the above question and she didn’t know the answer. That’s ok, she doesn’t need to and neither do I.
They’re competing ideas – be confident in your decisions and give zero fucks or seeking approval and never settled for your own satisfaction. There’s the alternative – being confident in your decisions, but then seeking approval as you reflect on the choices you’ve made.
When I stopped speaking to my family, it was easy to not reach out. It was easy to not call. Calls weren’t pleasant even when they started out well. They always left me defeated. When I finished my master’s program, I had graduated with a 3.947. I had received one A-. The response on the other end of the phone was “well, it’s not an MBA so it probably wasn’t that hard.” This is the only reason I remember my GPA.
I loved the program. I learned so much about program design and goal setting. It really is a lot of the basis that I use in coaching now. I connected with some of the most brilliant nonprofit leaders in the Boston area. I busted my butt and I was so proud because it was rigorous, and I hadn’t been 100% confident that I could do it. I try to hold onto the pride I had in myself because this was just an example of many that showed me how some people just can’t be happy for you.
I would be lying if I told you I never think about what the reactions of others are to my accomplishments and failures. I do, but I also try to step back and be objective about my own success and failures because if I can’t fill my cup on my own then nothing will ever be good enough.
I have to disagree with Yoda here. You can’t do something without trying. If I try to run a race, I’m still running the race, but there’s no promise I’m going to be capable of finishing, but at least I tried. You practice, and you keep trying and you move the needle over time.
I don’t know why, but I’ve had an easier time being satisfied and proud of my accomplishments and ignoring the opinions of those who actually know me. I think part of the reason is because they should know how I hard work and my backstory – I shouldn’t have to explain myself. There voices While, I know I should care less about strangers, those seem to be the opinions I struggle to brush off because I know they don’t know me and I feel like I need to explain myself.
In a world where we can connect with a click of a button, it’s hard to say, yes I am enough, yes my voice is enough, yes my opinion is more than enough.
This is something that I find myself working on everyday. I share my story and that’s considered “content creation” in the digital age. But for me, it’s not about the likes, but the impact. Am I making a positive impact? Do others feel that they can share and be authentic because I try to share honestly and be authentic?
I can’t control how others feel about me, but I can control how I feel about myself. So, again, it’s hard, but at what point can we be proud of ourselves and allow that to take precedent over the projections that others put on us?