Picture this, on the outside, it me. Happy-go-lucky, Ash. Free willing, ready to take everything on. A yes woman to anything thrown at her. On the inside, I’m sweating balls. I’m freaking out. I’m venting to anyone and every one possible that I’m not equipped to do XYZ. I’m angry at myself for saying yes or trying to “fake it to make it.” Why did I do this to myself?
Ooooh, yes. I’m talking about being validated. I’m talking about that thirst and need for wanting to prove that I am worthy and capable of doing anything that comes my way.
When I was a kid, I was terrified for asking for help, thinking that asking for help is like admitting I don’t know what I’m doing. Instead, I opted for figuring things out my way in hopes of getting praise for what I’ve done. Up until now, I’m still wired that way. And why? Because I live for that congratulatory ending. Ew, right?
It’s no secret that millennials are born to be given a gold star for everything we do. Maybe that’s what screwed me over, honestly. Those gold stars meant everything to me. It said that I was on the right track and doing things right. I was being noticed for my hard work. I thrived off those gold stars.
As an adult, you don’t get gold stars for everything. You don’t even get your share of thanks for your contributions at times. It’s an entire switch on everything you knew growing up. I was in for a rude awakening. I needed and craved that validation from my peers. I wanted (and still want) to feel like what I’m doing is excellent, meaningful work. That nothing else matters.
I recently read this article by The Good Trade that lit something up inside me to write about this. I’m a huge people-pleaser. *anyone else is more than welcome to raise their hand*
I’ve recently been meditating on the idea that no amount of external validation will ever make me feel good enough. Striving can go on forever as there will always be another person to please. But after a million spotlights and encores, I am only left feeling empty. And like I need to keep trying. When the lights come up and the audience leaves, only me and my voice remain.The Good Trade
We only need to please ourselves. LOL, as I write this, I laugh because I’m a preacher but not a doer of my own words. This obviously needs to change. Not overnight. Not the next day. But within time. I’m teaching myself to question or repeat some of the following things in my head:
The last one comes from me overthinking every time I mess up on something. “Stupid, stupid, Ashley. Why couldn’t you do it [insert another way]?” I know I’m not stupid. I see every day as a new day for learning. But a big screw you to those who look down to people still in the process of learning. The thing I hate most is the condescendingness some people have. I hate feeling stupid, but adding the fact I’m seen as ridiculous by someone doesn’t help either.
Phew, look. I know I’m not always somebody’s #1 choice, the person who gets it right all the time, the person who knows what they’re doing. I KNOW that. I accept that. I’m happy that my mind is definitely shifting. As with everything, #yeahillgetthere. Eventually. But I’m happy with my growth. That’s all I can ask for!