Today’s Thought: We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions; that we’ll screw up royally sometimes. Understanding that failure is not the opposite of success – it’s part of success.
It’s hard to do this when so many aspects of yourself are in conflict!
I am hardwired to think I am only as good as my achievements or doing as well as other people think of me, therefore when things go awry, as they are naturally going to from time to time, I relentlessly beat myself up and wallow in the slime of shame.
This week, I messed up. I was too honest too soon. I met a new superior for the first time and they fired questions at me. I had failed to anticipate that this would happen and panicked. I couldn’t think straight; I stuttered, sounded unsure of myself and gave poor answers. I knew the answers were poor and apologised to my superior, saying ‘I’m so sorry, that was a terrible answer.’ They replied with a roll of the eyes and ‘Yes, it was.’
Shame crashed into the room like a tsunami, dragging with it the debris of every other embarrassing or humiliating moment of my life. The jagged edges tore through my composure, leaving it in tatters. I cried. More shame; I was engulfed.
I had shown my vulnerability and it was found to be unacceptable. ‘Do you usually cry?” they said, distain punctuating every word. I felt crushed, child-like and admonished. More shame.
On my road to a more honest existence, I had not anticipated the reality that not everyone wants to see the real me and that I actually have to be OK with that. I am struggling to accept that there are aspects of my daily life where I am going to have to put on a front; wear a shield and pretend. It’s hard for me as I feel this pretence is akin to not be accepted for who I am. What I have to do is consider that maybe it isn’t that at all; it’s simply that in some situations, it’s not acceptable to be the real me. It doesn’t me the person hasn’t accepted me, it means they want me to manage the situation differently.
In my job, I am required to present a particular image, give particular answers in particular ways. It’s how we ‘win’ in the ‘game’ we’ve been asked to play. I have always feared games; I lose games because I don’t always understand the rules. My role is something I fought hard to achieve – I thought it would make me happy and besides, I’d been told I would never achieve it so I felt I had to fight to prove to others that I could, that perhaps it would bring acceptance.
What I should have done was not fought; I should have taken the feedback of others less as a challenge; less as an assessment that I was unacceptable and more of an indication that my talents lay elsewhere. Right now, I feel I am in a constant battle to survive in my role; it makes me unhappy. I am unhappy because to be successful I have to hide my true self. Putting on a show feels dishonest and unnatural – it feels as though I am not being accepted, even though it isn’t really that at all. It’s just a role that needs fulfilling. I must learn to separate myself from the role and ultimately I must find another role more suited to my true self.
Whilst I endeavour to forgive myself for exposing my fragility to my superior, I must try to accept it as a step on the road to better things. I must remember that not everyone will appreciate an honest presentation of myself. I must accept that sometimes an honest presentation of myself is not appropriate. I must accept this, shield myself and move on.
I must choose courage over comfort (with thanks to Word Fandom http://wordfandom.wordpress.com).