For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this ultimate goal: be successful. In whatever I want to do. As long as I made it to the top, it didn’t matter what it was. I’d dream about the day I finally get to be a winner. That goal pushed me to work harder; but it was unforgiving. It inspired me, but loomed over me like a heavy burden. Then I realised I wanted it all for the wrong reasons. I wanted the world to accept me. And I wanted to spite all the people that didn’t believe in me.
This caused me to take another look at some of my other goals and my bucket list. The underlying theme to all of them was to prove everyone else wrong and come out on top. In reality, all it’s done is turn me into a bitter, judgemental person with a sad heart. I’m exhausted from trying to fight everyone else and desperately prove my worth to people who would either love me as I am, or not give me a second thought. So why was I letting other people’s success, happiness, and opinions keep me up at night?
Social media became a breeding ground for these negative thoughts. I chased after what everyone else had, without ever truly knowing what I wanted. Standing up for myself wasn’t an option when I was younger and now I’ve turned into a real people pleaser with no off switch. I’m used to hiding aspects of my personality around certain people, and pretending to be happy when I’m nervous. I’ve worked bad jobs I never even wanted to apply for all because someone insisted it was a ‘really great opportunity’. Some of my interests are a secret because others thought they were stupid. I’ve abandoned hobbies altogether because they were seen as a waste of time.
For years I’ve put the needs and expectations of others above my own. My anxiety is through the roof, as well as a crushing sense of self-doubt. Who am I? What do I want? What do I value? Am I doing this for myself, or to gain someone’s approval? And why does their approval matter?
I feel sad for every social gathering where I couldn’t be my honest self. Angry at every person who made me feel bad or lesser for not fitting their criteria. Mostly, I feel annoyed at myself for letting them get to me, for believing them, and being a doormat. I’ve got so many personas that I don’t really know when I’m being authentic.
I don’t ever know when I’ll be comfortable and happy with myself, because I don’t know which life is my choice. Do I want to travel around the world and live out of a suitcase? No, I like stability too much. Settle down and have a big family? Not interested in that either. Will success bring me fulfilment, or will I still feel the need to prove my worth? Who knows. But I do know that I’m sick of people making decisions for me. I don’t know who, where, or what I want to be. And right now I’m learning that it’s okay to not ‘be’ anything.