Much of how we feel about ourselves pertains to how we were treated in our childhood. Many children grow up without love and support and struggle to show those emotions to others as they get older. Others grow up in an abusive environment, and though they feel anger and resentment towards the people who abused them, it’s very likely that the cycle will continue with them as adults. Often we treat ourselves the only way we know how. Today, let’s go back to my childhood, and examine the way I’ve behaved growing up and how that’s affected me as an adult.
I grew up believing that nothing I did was ever good enough; sometimes I still carry this with me today. As much as I know I wasn’t responsible for these attitudes and beliefs, I’ve had a hard time letting go of the limiting and negative beliefs that were created about me by my father. Understanding negative thoughts is essential to overcoming them, however, and it’s taken me awhile to understand that the negative thoughts of others has shaped my behavior as an adult.
Growing up, it was always, “Well, you got a B on this paper- why wasn’t it an A? Didn’t you study hard enough?” or “I wish you would be more like Scott. Scott studies four hours a night and plays basketball in his spare time. If you applied yourself like that you would be good enough to make the team in college.” There were times when I literally hated the people my dad coached because I resented them for being so “perfect” and I resented him for wishing they were his kids instead of me. My father will say he was hard on me because he wanted me to do better, but the truth is that he didn’t really know how to love. His dad was an alcoholic and abusive to his mom, and in turn his mom was abusive to him. This trickled down to him being verbally and emotionally abusive to myself and my mom.
“I’m proud of you.”
Those were the words I wished would come out of his mouth, but it seemed as if I had to work so hard to get there that I was always failing. Everything I did could have been “better” according to him. I was never trying hard enough and never good enough to “make it.” He tried to push me into careers that he thought would be good for me because he “didn’t want to see me fail.” At the time, I listened to him because I believed what he said- I couldn’t be an actress, singer, dancer or journalist. Those weren’t “practical” careers. Nor was I good enough to play college volleyball, basketball or win karate tournaments. Why bother practicing harder? I just wasn’t talented enough.
So here’s the belief I’m changing: Nothing I do is good enough. I’ll never be good enough. This has colored my entire life- in college I didn’t try out for the dance team because I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t go to that singing audition because I didn’t think I was good enough. I didn’t bother to compete with kids who were better than me because my best would never be good enough. As an adult, I’ve quit almost everything I’ve started- business ideas, good habits, exercises and new activities, random classes I’ve taken one or two of but not pursued a career in. All because I was projecting my father’s limiting beliefs on to myself. My ideas of perfection don’t come from me- they come from someone else. How could I possibly live up to someone else’s idea of perfection? There are many things I do well, but in order to make my achievements in those areas matter, I have to find my own definition of success: writing on my blog, getting sponsorships and ambassadorships, getting faster and stronger and challenging my perception that I won’t ever be “elite” or “pro” in the athletic world.
People hurt other people- it happens day in and day out. What I’m changing now is how limiting my beliefs are and how I let others perception of me color my abilities. There is no limit to what I can achieve- in obstacle racing and beyond- as long as I stick with it and pursue my passions.
As for my dad…he’s still at it today. We went to coffee several months ago and he asked about my career plans- then shot me down for the things I wanted to do. “You’ll never make any money doing that,” “Those aren’t established companies- what if they don’t stick around? What will you do then?” But I’m not letting those beliefs change what I want to do with my life, or how I want to live. I’m getting too old to let others tell me what success looks like. I’m living my life the way I want to- and that’s good enough for me.
Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.
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