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I used to be competitive. I used to play games because I wanted to win more than anything else. I used to want to get the best grade in a class or to win elections or to get picked for chairman positions in organizations. I used to be the kind of person who saw others’ success and became even more driven to succeed.

When I graduated college and entered the adult world, that competitive nature started to lessen. In law school, I didn’t so much care about being at the top of my class. I still wanted good grades, but not in that driven, hyper-competitive way. I cared enough to get Executive Editor of the journal, but not enough to get Editor in Chief. And once I went to the big law firm, things really started to slip. I just didn’t care anymore.

The transition was complete when I became a mother. I’ve lost all my competitiveness. I won’t say I’ve lost my ambition because realistically, I do still have big ambitions, they’re just not in the corporate world anymore. But I have lost my drive to compete. And with it, I’ve realized, I’ve lost some of my self-confidence.

In the past, a peer’s success was just another reason to try harder. I was happy for my peer and I knew if they could do it, so could I. Now, not so much. Every time I see someone else succeed, I die a little bit inside. I believe more and more that I can’t do it. That I’ll never be as successful. I’ll never be good enough.

Every time I see someone I know or follow get published or have a post go viral or take amazing photos, I fall another step behind. I give up a little more. I resign myself to mediocrity, knowing that I’ll never be that good. The voice in my head telling me I can’t do it gets louder every time. It becomes almost paralyzing, pinning me down to the couch or into the bed. Why even bother trying? You’ll never be that good, so what’s the point?

I’ve dipped my toes in a lot of different waters over the last two years, trying to find the right fit. I can’t help but feel that nothing is right. Sometimes I just want to give up.

But god, I didn’t used to be this way. How can I reclaim the confidence I felt when I was a teenager? How can I get back to that place of limitless possibilities and no fear?

I’m sorry for the self-indulgence in this post. I guess I’m just having a bad day. Do you ever face this kind of crippling self-doubt? And if so, how do you deal??

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