There will always be those instances that you can’t help but feel disappointed in yourself, and for me one of those times is when I disappoint others. As much as it’s trending to be the “powerful woman” who can “say no”, stand up for herself and choose not to care what anyone thinks about her…I think this message is sometimes misconstrued. I don’t think being powerful means losing all sense of sensitivity. While I can admit I have a bit of “toughening up” to do yet, I don’t think my emotions or the fact that I care is an inherent weakness. I think many of our weaknesses come from someplace, and while I don’t think these weaknesses should be allowed to cultivate and worsen, I think understanding what they are and where they come from is incredibly important.
Can I separate myself and choose not to care when someone says something catty, or critical via social media? Mostly. Can I brush off the rude comments from girls I went to high school with? Um yeah. Shake it off right?! But when it comes to feeling inadequate to the people I love, unfortunately it’s a feeling I can’t shake.
I’ve never felt more disappointed in myself than in the face of disappointing other. More often than not when I break down and cry over seemingly little things (in high school forgetting my homework, more recently overwatering some flowers) it’s an indication of a bigger issue. Will my teacher think I’m irresponsible or don’t have any potential because I left my homework on my desk today? Will I leave only the impression of the items I ultimately messed up as opposed to the pieces I handled correctly? When you put time and effort into any job or task it hurts to feel like your hard work isn’t being recognized if you don’t reach the standard of perfection.
I think we all have at least a few issues revolving around feeling inadequate no matter how confident we are. In truthfulness we are all inadequate in some way shape or form which therefore makes us all equally adequate. My feelings of inadequacy undoubtedly stem from my familial relations. My relationship with my parents has been a little wacky from the start. Growing up my parents struggled with their own addiction issues (a topic I tend to avoid on this platform). As a child I was always aware of my parents’ issues, for better or for worse I wasn’t sheltered from the truth of the matter, however, my interpretation through the eyes of a child isn’t the same as interpretation through the eyes I have now.
My natural fallback into sadness was feelings of inadequacy. Why wasn’t I good enough or important enough or compelling enough for my parents to get their lives together? I obviously realize as an adult that addiction is a powerful force and their struggles had nothing to do with whether or not I got good grades, or did my chores, or told the truth. However, when you’re young and living in a very adult situation it is hard to decipher the world around you through a clear, unbiased lens. As a child you see your parents making bad choices and your parents are telling you not to make those same choices and your teachers are lecturing the class on not making those same choices and at the end of the day you lay in bed wondering why you aren’t as important to your Mom and Dad as the other kids are to their Mom and Dad. It’s a belittling feeling.
When you try and talk about these feelings with adults as a child you are often reminded that the adults struggling with addiction are battling their own demons, and these demons aren’t caused by you. While I agree with this rational…I don’t think it helps much. As much as I truly understand that I never pushed my parents towards drugs, this explanation provides little to no relief. As much as you can understand external issues it doesn’t change that you as a person aren’t enough of a driving force to cause the offenders to seek help.
I’ve gotten a little off topic here, this story isn’t meant to be a pity party but rather as a background story providing the roots of my feelings of inadequacy now. My deepest desire is always to please those around me, to be good enough, to be compelling enough…to be anything and everything “enough” not to be placed as second or third or last priority. It’s this deep rooted sense of hoping to be good enough to deserve love, to deserve forgiveness, to deserve a home that leads me to mini breakdown sessions over the teeniest criticism from my family.
I think the greatest gift you can give to someone you love is demonstrating that they can mess up and you will still love them. I know one of my biggest emotional scars comes from this lack of security and as I grow up it has become a huge obstacle in my sense of happiness both with my own family but in relationships as well. I can’t cry over spilled milk or dirty dishes or over watered plants, it’s just ridiculous. Yet, I continue to do so because in this sense I’m still broken, but I’m trying to mend the pieces back together.