Shortly before the 21 day fast began, I participated in a meeting held by one of my Big Sisters and realized something about myself I had never been aware of. I was filled with insecurities. I mean, I knew that at times I acted insecurely and have often overcome a lot of insecurities, some of which I’ve shared in this blog already, but I had this deeply rooted insecurity and I didn’t realize, till that meeting, how much it was paralysing me – my need for acceptance. What a heavy weight this need for acceptance placed on me. I ended up doing the right things, but for the wrong reason. I was a people-pleaser and gave so much of myself to friends and people around me, because I fed on their positive reactions. While they believed in me, I believed in myself. While they were happy with me, I was happy with myself.
Because I believed so little in myself, I went on a path of self distraction, though not consciously. I didn’t set out to destroy myself and make wrong choices. I was simply living up to the expectations I set for myself. See, when you don’t believe in yourself, the bar you set for yourself is pretty low. When you make a mistake, instead of rejecting it, you internalize it. You define yourself by that mistake, because it reaffirms what you already believe about yourself – that you are not good enough. And, of course while on that path of self distraction, the acceptance and approval of my friends, the acceptance that I fed on for so long, wasn’t there anymore. How could they approve of the wrong choices I was making? Instead they were correcting me, instead, they were pointing out things in me that needed changing. All the while, inside of me I was falling apart...
- Please love me so I can feel worthy again!
- Please accept me so I can feel complete again!
- Please congratulate me, so I can feel good about myself again!
- Please choose me, so I may feel worthy again!
- Please don’t judge me by my mistakes, so I can feel forgiven!
- Please, I’m begging you, someone just please tell me that I good enough!
Yet, nothing! No matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard I pushed myself, nothing I did earned me the acceptance and respect of my friends. Now, please listen carefully, I’m not writing this blog to feed your self pity. If you are feeling comforted by this in a way that encourages you to be angry at those who rightfully tell you that you need to change, you are missing the point of the blog. Please do not fill the blog with comments of how horrible your mother or father or sister or friend is, because they believe you can make better choices for yourself. They believe you are better than the choices you are making right now. The issue wasn’t that my friends didn’t accept me and were mean to correct me. They had to correct me, because first of all they stood for what was right and secondly, they cared for me. They were used by God to bring me to the right path. The issue was me. I placed too much of a burden on them, at times a burden unknown to them... the burden to accept me.
Well, dear friend, I’m happy to report that I’m finally free of that need of acceptance! Each day I wake up so happy with myself, even knowing that I still have a lot to learn. If you are in anguish inside of you, battling feelings of unworthiness and a need of the acceptance of others, look out for my next blog post, because I will tell you exactly how I broke free of that imprisoning feeling. Oh, what a day it will be when you do too!