Have I achieved anything? Am I an underachiever? Am I an overachiever? I think the answer to all of those questions depends on someone’s perception of me. I would give my own answer on those questions, but I just don’t know what the answer is.
Most of the times in my life that I have actually achieved any level of success, I was surprised to have gotten there. Does that mean I’ve overachieved? Very often, I had someone telling me “you’re better than that.” Does that mean I underachieved? The voices that told me how I wasn’t doing well enough dominated the formation of my esteem. It’s made it very difficult for me to feel pride in something I’ve done because I’m not sure if it is ever good enough, or even good at all.
If you take what I just talked about and combine it with other aspects of my depression and anxieties, I’m sometimes amazed that I can even get out of bed in the morning. I have such difficulties in starting tasks sometimes. Is it because I’m afraid to fail? Am I afraid to lose? But, if I believe I’m constantly not living up to my potential, that should mean I’m used to failure and losing, right? And since failure isn’t a good feeling, maybe I just don’t want to feel it again. So if I don’t bother to try something, I can’t actually fail at it, right?
Over the past few years I have personally made significant improvements in my house. However, I’ve watched those improvements go unnoticed, unappreciated, and in many cases, undone. This pattern has made me reluctant to do any more in the house, despite my incredible desire to fix things here because of how incredibly unhappy I am here. Some people would suggest that if I’m so unhappy where I live, I should go someplace else. But that’s not financially possible. And that’s a subject I could go on and on about, and I’ve touched upon it before. But, like the household issue, every time I make financial progress, something happens and my progress goes away.
I ran seven 5k races in 2016. I’ve used my November blog in 2014 and 2015 to talk about them. I’m not going to give a full recap blog this year. My results were very mixed this year. I didn’t set any new records for myself. In fact, in all of the races I ran, I only improved upon one race vs. the year before, and that was by .33 seconds. Many of the results were some of my slower finishes. They were ALL under 30 minutes, which has always been one my goals. And while one race was my 2nd quickest finish and I kept saying that I did the best I could each time, I still have doubts that I didn’t underachieve this year. And I also wonder if I was defeated by my own doubts before the races even began, and that may be why I skipped one race at the end. I didn’t have confidence that I could do it in under 30 minutes.
The race scenario is just one example that I thought of because it’s a recent thing. Quitting isn’t something I do often. Once I am committed to something, I’m actually committed to it. But that’s really because I’m afraid to let someone down. The voices in my head often weigh the options, loudly. Big decisions don’t come easy to me, and because of my fear of consequences, even the smallest of decisions can become big decisions for me. Quitting isn’t the issue. Starting is.
It’s difficult for me to confront someone with issues I have. Even if I know without any shadow of a doubt that I’m right. Some people can make me feel wrong even in those situations. I don’t have the confidence in myself to do anything about it or to even make my case. Why is that? Am I afraid to offend someone? Have I been conditioned that being right isn’t good? Am I afraid that if I point out someone else’s mistake that it somehow poorly reflects on me?
Nature vs. nurture? Product of my environment? They’re both accurate with me. At 40 years old, is there still hope for me? Some would say there is. Others would say I should have figured this stuff out years ago. And that’s just it. Whoever would say those things to me may not even be around anymore, but I still hear them. My own belief is that it is good that I’m aware of these issues. That may be why I have this internal struggle, because I’m fighting my own programming and trying to make positive changes. Yes, it’s an uphill battle with lots of obstacles, but I have to keep trying, even if the voices tell me otherwise.