I had a free Saturday today, after a fun but busy munch last night. So, since I didn’t have any specific plans, and I didn’t feel like doing anything too mentally taxing, I decided to go for a hike.
As I walked through the woods, listening to the gentle sounds of birds and enjoying the feeling of the sun on my skin, I reflected on how simply happy I felt. Content. At home in my own skin.
This made several things line up. On a recent date, the other person remarked how much more at ease and grounded in myself I seemed. At the munch someone asked about my plans and I replied that I’m happy where I am. Sure, I have hopes, dreams and aspirations, but at the core I’m content.
It just struck me what the common thread is: I no longer feel like I’m constantly failing. For years I always felt that whatever I achieved, I should have achieved it earlier. I should be “further along”, more succesful by this point.
I recognise that now as my old friend “not good enough”, that shows itself in so many aspects of my life. The direct result of being constantly critisised, but praise generally amounting to “We expect no less of you.”
I had internalised that and raised the bar to impossible levels for myself. It wasn’t until I went to therapy that this changed. My therapist made me list my achievements (now there’s a form of torture for you!), and then proceeded to weigh those against the challenges of being both neurodivergent and traumatised. When we got to the end of the list she very dryly concluded: “You have far exceeded what could be reasonably expected from anyone, let alone from someone with the challenges you face. Yet, you feel like a failure. Can you see the inconsistency there?”
That was my “ton of bricks” moment. I reeled. It took me several days to let it sink in, but I could not fault her logic. If I pretended it was about someone else instead of me, it made perfect sense. It was only when I put myself into the picture that suddenly I felt that I should have done more.
What this “more” entailed? That was pretty diffuse. Just “more”. Since the criteria for success were so vague, I managed to transmutate any success into a failure. I literally set myself up to fail.
Today I realised that the message has finally sunken in, at least for now. I’m doing fine. Hell, I’m doing more than fine. I’m doing pretty great! This is enough. I am enough.