I have spent so much of my life feeling like a failure.
- Musician: failed
- Housewife: failed
- Finances: failed
- Resilience: failed
- Beauty: failed
- Weight: failed
- Recovery: failed
- Life: failed
So many more. So many daily micro fails when I make a mistake, get a speeding ticket, can’t do a chin up, have a messy house, don’t cook dinner, stop communicating, say the wrong thing, wear the wrong thing, eat the wrong thing.
I am the wrong thing.
But I am working really hard at the moment on trying to recover…
- from major depression ✔
- from self-harm behaviours ✔
- from anxiety ✔/✘
- from my eating disorder ✘
And I am regularly reminded of the importance of acknowledging my progress and successes. My natural inclination is to seek the best in others and the worst in myself. I hold myself to a standard that is impossible to achieve. I grew up in an environment of hyper-criticism and married a man with the same trait. I am used to being told what I’ve done wrong and have spent my entire life searching for validation of my worth.
But recovery is dependent on acknowledging not just my failures, but also my successes. I am like all the other coins in the world – I have two sides and need to start focusing on positives and not just the negatives.
I am fortunate the man I married is not only hypercritical, but also loving and genuine and working on his issues. I am fortunate I have a circle of friends who do validate my worth and give me the courage and belief to keep going. I am fortunate in so many ways – health, financial security, love and support. And despite the many issues I need to work on, there are many successes I have had in life.
I am reminded of this poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson – a poem I have had printed out and displayed on the wall in our toilet for over a decade.
What is Success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by
a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.
So I would like to acknowledge I have indeed succeeded at many things.
I have laughed – a lot! Not so much recently. But there has been a lot of laughter and I feel this is slowly returning.
I have amazing, intelligent friends who do respect me. And I have always had a wonderful, affectionate relationship with children.
My circle of friends and family are honest critics – I cannot bear false compliments! I trust the feedback – good or bad – from my close circle. I have certainly been betrayed by false friends and I’m still here. So I guess I endured. Although those betrayals still really sting.
I do appreciate beauty and have always sought the best in others.
I may not leave this world a better place through redeemed social conditions or garden patches, but I have bequeathed the world with three amazing young men.
I desperately hope one life breathed easier because I lived.
This is my success.