For years – well into my adult life actually – I believed other peoples’ criticism of me. Of course, this started when I was a child. I was “too slow”, “daydreamed too much” and “not good enough”. This from my mother.
“You’re definitely an introvert”. “Antisocial”. These from classmates in high school.
“You need to be social” this from an ex-boyfriend.
“You’re high-maintenance”. “Quirky”. From another ex-boyfriend.
“So sensitive!” from a coworker.
My whole life I thought I was deeply flawed because of all these things people said to and about me. I never felt like I fit in – I was lonely. Turns out – after much reflection, lots of therapy, and lots of reading – I am merely an empath. I’m deeply sensitive, I’m a dreamer, I’m an idealist, an introvert, and I was always good enough in ways that are unique and beyond the understanding of most of the human population. I am no more flawed than the next person.
But with every human mistake, I have ever made I felt like a failure. Because I already felt so flawed I didn’t give myself any room for mistakes. With every break-up, error in judgment, and time I was irritable I felt worse and worse about myself. I lived to prove other people wrong about me. That I was enough. That I was cool; that I was social. I spent a lot of energy being someone I was not – and becoming stressed, resentful, impatient, irritable, and eventually suffering from General Anxiety Disorder which often resulted in panic. Panic for days and weeks at a time. I was trying to be the “perfect” person to everyone around me. Eventually, this will catch up with anyone.
With the COVID-19 crisis and working in healthcare – things came to a scary point. Working with increased work volume, with a pandemic where no one knew what was coming. I began to feel even worse panic. With a couple of bullying coworkers and my sliding mental and emotional state, I started seeing no way out alive.
I ended up in the Employee Health services in the middle of a panic attack. I am now receiving counseling. I have connected with HR representatives about the bullying culture within my department.
Through all the criticism (both externally and subsequently internally) and through all the bullying I have somehow survived. I have turned up for work feeling like there was no way I was going to survive another day. With my innate emotional sensitivity and everything I’ve been through at work over 13 years, I am exhausted. But I feel hopeful for my future. I feel that I now have room for human mistakes because there is nothing really wrong with me. I am just a unique individual who never understood herself and how to cope with her sensitivities.
Yes – I am sensitive. Yes – I am an introvert. And yes – I am and always was – good enough!
I’ve learned a lot about myself through guided meditations over the last few weeks. Still using the Calm app. It’s uncanny how it just seems to know what will speak to me with the Daily Meditation. It has been about 3 weeks now!