Insecurity, Growing Out of It
I want to share this personal story, because I see many people around me experiencing the feeling of never being good enough. This was something that I grew to live with for the past 25 years and was only recently that I finally stepped out of it. If you feel it too, I don't think there's a deliberate way to snap out of it. However, I believe your moment will come too, probably in the most unexpected way...
Growing up with this...
I've had people complimenting me, but that was never enough because deep down I didn't feel that way. I never saw what they saw in me. And I certainly didn't believe myself to be more than what I thought I was. I saw myself as something stupid and inadequate.
No matter how great your external environment is, you will always feel crappy if you're internal being was a piece of mess.
For the most part of my life, I didn't have an opinion. Even if I had one...I would doubt myself if someone said a contrasting comment. In school I never said much, I was always the wallflower. Looking back, I didn't have much friends from my teens.
I didn't feel better when others said something nice about me, but I always felt unreasonably horrible when a negative thing was said.
I seek validation from those around me, because that's how I adapted to live with myself. I let other's opinion determine my self worth.
The moment I snapped...
It was a normal day, I had two client meetings - first one was a high net worth client where I packed my expensive jewellery to show her, the other a large company that I regularly supply gems in bulk to. After my first client, I went to meet the second at her office.
It went as usual, signed the invoices, handover the goods. I maintain good friendly relations with all my clients and occasionally we talk about our experiences and hobbies or new goods. So I asked her, I am carrying a box of extremely high value jewellery, these are pieces that you can only find with private collectors and auction houses, do you want to see them?
She was so excited! She marveled in awe as I took them out...
Five minutes later, her colleague walked by and she waved at her to come that a look. This other lady has worked in the company for a long time and would have been very familiar in the jewellery trade even though she was in the manufacturing. But when she saw it, all she commented was about the design. Some could use a few more diamonds, and there was a stone 'that was dull'. That stone was an Alexandrite, they don't exist in bright colours... She took a brief look and walked away.
The box in front of her was worth more than 3 million! That was more than what she would ever make in her lifetime. She did not recognize it and could only comment on the most superficial thing; design. I had a huge awakening at that moment. I wasn't angry, but now I felt sorry, that she could never see more than what she believed. And then sorry for myself, that I never saw the same value in myself.
Even if they seem to be professionals at it, or wiser by virtue of their age, often they don't know better. And it's important to know who's judgement you should take into account of.
There is a famous meme going around at how a grandfather told his grandchild to take his antique watch to the pawnshop and then to a vintage collector. The pawn shop valued it cheap at $20, then the vintage collector at $200,000. I've read that a few times and it was meaningful, but it didn't fully resonate with me until this encounter.
Since then, I've been reflecting on certain events in my life, little knots in my heart that I now try to untangle. Now I'm actually really proud to say that I no longer seek the validation of others, and do not need their attention to feel loved. It's a really wholesome feeling.
Also looking back, now I realize I used to condemn myself so unnecessarily as if I was the problem when things didn't work out...
I used to think maybe I did something wrong. I've always tried to be nice to people even though I never expected anything in return. I've been cheated, betrayed, taken advantaged by people I used to call my best friends - and I really ask myself why. Why me?
People don't have to be nice to me, just don't be nasty. Even neutral/indifferent is fine. But now with self love, I learnt to cut these people out, permanently.
It's really not always my fault. Some people are just shit, no matter how good they are. It's difficult to identify this toxicity in a person, but trust your gut. And what can we expect from shit? Foul smelling, shit particles that will stick on you and make you feel shitty afterwards. No matter how nice you are, it's difficult to change someone's shitty core values and morals.
Now I surround myself with people who are genuine and I'm so fortunate to able to grow with them and help them with whatever I have. It's a really good change, and one that I'm thankful it came early. I'm so relieved and I hope I can positively influence the people that I care about :) Living like how I used to was like barely breathing, and it took that moment to finally get out of it.