Possibly one of the most difficult things that I have had to come to terms with in recent times has been valuing my self worth. I was speaking with a friend last night as we looked out over the high tide running past the Point Depot on a balmy summer’s night when she said something to me that will stick with me for a long time to come: “I really admired you for doing that.”
She is a friend since childhood and we have shared everything since that time, the good and bad, the angry and the hilarious. We don’t share political values at all and yet there is a recognition of respect for each other’s ideas. I was telling her the kinds of things I’ve had to confront in recent times, on the couch and off it. One of these was a period of self-employment that went belly up after a short number of years leaving me penniless and facing a couple more paying off debts. This episode stripped me of a lot my self-worth, failing in the business taught me a lot about my own capabilities but also my limitations. One of the worst things that arose from it though was this sense that what I had to contribute to every job since wasn’t really that good.
I would minimise my contribution, take a backseat in meetings, not jump into situations which required a modicum of hard work and leadership abilities I know I have. To this day I find myself minimising my contribution to joint projects at work and then wondering how I lost control of something so interesting. At the risk of being conceited, I know I am good at certain things. Others see this in me and praise me for it but of course, praise is not worthy of me. I do not see it in myself. It is reflected in my dress, the way I approach meetings and other social situations and how I let me friends walk all over me sometimes.
Anger and frustration arise from these very situations where I feel I ‘lost control’ and so the spiral continues to unfold, away from me and into a pit of despair. Depression? Who knows? Call it what you will but it stops now. I am afraid to praise myself because I will become arrogant immediately, there is not middle space.