I’m speaking to you.
The one who keeps pasting a brave smile on over her anxiety.
The one who speaks confidently, but if you look closely, she taps her foot and nails are bitten to nothing.
The one who stares at the floor uncomfortably when complimented.
The one who seems able to find the value and worth in everyone but herself.
I know your mistakes are weighing heavy on your heart right now. I know that your inability to stand your ground has you questioning if you will ever be the truly confident person you have always wanted so badly to be. I know that you judge yourself with razor sharp criticism and unrelenting perfectionism. And I know that makes you tired and sad.
I know that you swore you’d be farther in life by now. I know you feel at times you look back at your life and see a trail of missed opportunities and self-destruction. I know you hold yourself accountable for things that didn’t have a damn thing to do with you. I know you sit alone sometimes and compare yourself to everyone else, and come up short.
I know that the frustration of dealing with your insecurity has become almost as exhausting as the insecurities themselves. I know that you understand somewhere on an intellectual level that you are good, and you are loved, and you are unique, and important, but that you can’t seem to make it stick down deep in your heart, where it truly counts. I know sometimes you can’t make yourself believe you will ever overcome them.
I know you wonder why everyone seems to be able to see what a gift you are except for you. I know you feel like a fraud sometimes at the sound of kind words, and that compliments still make you cringe. I know you wait sometimes to be found out, because surely they can’t be right.
I know you feel beat. I know you feel defeated and foolish. This wasn’t supposed to happen to you. Not to the person who has survived it all up til now. I know you are ashamed of yourself and questioning your worth.
Well, I need you to hear this now.
Your worth was never in question. Not for a second. But you don’t see it because you have been looking in the wrong places. And every time you caught a glimpse of it, and grabbed a hold of it for a fleeting moment, you got scared of its weight and what it meant, and you handed it off. You put it in the hands of the wrong people and things. And they always, ALWAYS dropped it. And then you were left completely without it, along with the burden of failure that you had entrusted its care to yet another bad decision.
Your mistakes, your perceived idea that you are behind the pack…these things are part of your story. Every place you have been, every person you have met, good or bad, every dark day and squandered chance, every lost love and broken heart, every humiliation, big and small, every moment of grief for a loved one, every hit you took that you were sure would be the one to do you in… all of that shit is YOU. And if you are reading this, not a single one of those things managed to do you in. So think about that for a moment. Your survival rate over the shit you were sure would destroy you is 100 goddamn percent.
Let go of the crushing perfectionism. You hold nobody else in the world to those standards, and you should not be expected to be infallible any more than you would expect it of others. Shut down those haters in your head and be patient with yourself. Even if you live to be 120, you will still not know shit when you die. That’s life. You just keep learning and stay humble and hope for the best. So take that bar you have set impossibly high and re-evaluate things. I’m not telling you to settle or to stop trying to be great. I’m telling you to allow yourself to be a beautiful, flawed, imperfect human being. Not only to allow it, but embrace it. It is all we really have as people.
The truth is, all the things you have always wanted for yourself are there. They are inside of you, quietly waiting for you to put down your arsenal of self-deprecation and self-doubt to see yourself for what you truly are. If you can do that, and you can get within shouting distance of those things, you may want to turn and run. The reality of becoming what you have always wanted to be is nothing if it is not terrifying for a moment. Because if we do become that…we can lose it. If we become that….we have left our comfort zone. If we finally, actually become that….well, we have to put down those well-worn fears and insecurities that feel like a part of us.
But the beauty in that is that when you leave something behind, you make space for something better. When you land on the floor in pieces, you get to rebuild yourself even better.
So get up off that floor.
You have living to do.
Jessie Monreal currently works at a treatment facility as a clinical case manager. She holds a degree in addiction studies as well as a CADC. She has experience and education in both the mental health and substance abuse field. Jessie has been in recovery for over four years, and is passionate about reaching out to others who may be struggling, as well as educating the public and breaking stigmas. She is working on a book currently writes a blog on these topics at www.wontstaydown.com. You can also learn more about her at https://www.facebook.com/