Dear [True] Self,
I owe you an apology.
Last week, I got very angry with you when I got the news of our dear friend’s accomplishment. You were full of joy for them, but I was full of jealousy. I saw them accomplish the same goal I’d set for myself, only they did it first (and probably better).
–Hopelessness instantly flared up in me.
Despairingly, I decided all my efforts were pointless. “Why keep trying? Accomplishments only matter if they make you unique – the only winner. I didn’t even realize I’d been seeing myself in competition with them, until I felt insignificant for not accomplishing it first, – until
I felt the dream I had for myself float away into a meaningless nothing.
At times, I am afraid we will fade away into a meaningless nothing.
What I mean is, I still, at times, fall captive to the belief that doing more than other people makes me worth more than other people. When you slow down to prioritize our needs over my goals, it can feel like a giant waste of time. It often feels like there is no love for the ordinary person, only the extraordinary achiever. I get scared sometimes that if I don’t point out all the ways I think we could be better or if I don’t push us to try harder, then we will fall behind in life. It often feels like those who fall behind get left behind. No love for the incapable straggler.
Ironically, I almost treated you, my True Self, like the incapable straggler.
Because I forgot that our worth is inherent – already firmly established; it cannot be diminished. I lost sight of the truth, that you are the inherent value inside of me – not what I achieve externally.
I judged you for slowing down to take care of our needs, accusing you of being weak when really you were being authentic. Forgetting, the extraordinary is within me, not something external to attain.
And the truth is, underneath all my anger was something else: I was feeling lonely.
When it feels as if others are thriving and I am being left behind, I want to blame you for not agreeing with me that we need to accomplish more. I try to convince you that those who do great things never have to feel lonely; they are too busy being revered. I get afraid that maybe we will be less important and thus more alone, than I want us to be.
I’m sorry. I lost sight of the truth:
Loneliness is not the result of being behind in life; it is the result of being disconnected from you, my True Self, and from other people.
There is no amount of effort that would prove or improve what is already foundational to who I am. You, my True Self, are the substance of my value and worth.
You tried to tell me the immediate thoughts and feelings I had were a product of the culture and family I was born in. You tried to remind me that my biology has wired me to want to survive – by out-doing others, but when I connect with you I don’t just survive, I thrive, in any and every environment. At first, I didn’t listen.
But, I am listening now.
Therefore, instead of pushing you past our needs and our limits, I will protect you. I will respect our needs and limitations regardless of what I want to accomplish.
Instead of blaming you for my disappointment, I will listen to you. I will stop asking you to recount our accomplishments to prove our worth to me.
Instead of giving up on you, I am going to give in to you – to celebrating who we really are. I’ll set aside the impulse to compare, and I will strive to better recognize the beauty and worth of our unique Self.
I promise to be the one who loves you no matter what.
Your [Gradually Healing] Shame