Recently I was driving in my car, having an awesome day and feeling great about myself. I was happily singing along to some One Direction I think, when during the quiet in-between songs I had a thought come through my head:
“You are a loser, why are you so happy about today? It didn’t go that well and you are dumb to think it will happen again.”
Suddenly my mood was gone, I went from this happy feeling to this feeling of sadness and depression.
I wish I could say this was an anomaly, not a normal occurrence. It would be great if I could say that I decided to not let that happen again, and focused on being positive ever since. But that’s not my reality. My reality is: that kind of negative talk is all too normal for me.
It's like subconsciously I don’t think I should be happy and I need to remind myself that I don’t deserve it. It happens not just daily but multiple times every day and it has been going on for as long as I can remember. So much that when I hear that voice I don’t even think that it is wrong or bad.
Like I was Icarus flying too close to the sun and those words are the sun burning my wings and sending me back to the ground. "It is my fault for thinking too positively about myself. It’s just gravity bringing me down to stop me from getting too high.”
On a daily basis I hear these voices:
“You are a LOSER.”
“You are pathetic.”
“You are stupid.”
“You are a sad excuse for a person.”
“You have nothing going for you, and you have nothing of value to add to that person.”
“Why do you even try when you know you are not good enough?”
“You deserve to be alone.”
“No one needs a pathetic person like you as a friend.”
“Everyone knows you are an idiot, and that you don’t know what you're doing at work.”
I could go on.
Sometimes I will just be laying there watching the clouds pass by and the thought “You are a loser” comes to my mind, and then it is gone. Like just for a second I forgot that I have no value. I wish I could remember when this started, but when I try to remember I just draw a blank; I can’t remember a time without these thoughts.
It was the same thing back in high school when I was a quiet, shy person. When I would try to talk to other people at a party I would just hear, “They don’t want to be bugged by a loser like you. Why would they want to stop having fun and talk with you?” So I would sit in the corner hoping I would see someone I knew and could bother them.
This voice has been like a reality check for myself. Maybe not the reality of others around me, but it was the "voice of reason" for my perceived reality. In my perceived reality I had no value, so when I begin to steer off the road of negativity and move towards something positive for myself, that voice was there to help me find my way back to where I thought I belonged.
Every time I tried to address myself I decided that it was too messy and that it was Future Brandon’s problem. I put on a happy face and ignored the voices until I was back home alone with my thoughts.
Well here I am, Future Brandon. Maybe it's finally time to dive in.
When thinking about this, one quote always comes to mind. It’s from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." (I am guessing most of you know where I am going with this):
This has always resonated with me from the first time I heard it. But the more I have thought about it, the more I have come to realize it goes deeper, (at least for myself.) It’s not just that we accept the love we think we deserve, it’s more like:
We accept the life we think we deserve.
My perception of myself was not just that I was pathetic and unlovable but that I was a loser in all aspects of life and I didn’t deserve any form of happiness. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this mind set was holding me back in so many aspects of myself.
I would sabotage myself when trying to date, so I would go after girls I had no real connection with. When I would meet one that I did connect with, my mind would race with worst-case scenarios. My thoughts and imagination would run like Wild Horses, out of control until all I could see was failure.
At work I would get opportunities and not take them, or avoid them because my perception of myself was that I did not earn it, or I was not good enough for it. So I would take steps back instead of steps forward. If I messed up at work, I’d kill myself even after my boss told me I did a great job.
I’d feel unhappy with my body, my lifestyle, and where I am at 29. Instead of being happy for all I have accomplished, my perceived reality was that I was a screw up, and a failure, living a pathetic life, which was all I deserved.
So many times I have looked at people, places or objects as my solution to this issue.
I would try and find that one thing that could come down and save me. “Maybe this girl can show me I have value, maybe this promotion can, maybe this new wardrobe, or this new apartment can save me..."
But as you can guess none of that worked. The only one who can make me happy, is me.
Yes other people or things can help me, but until I make the choice to stop listening to those negative words and thoughts, I am stuck.
I wish I could wrap this up with a nice bow and say that I made this great break through: I came to this realization and now I am moving forward. But that is not the case. I thought many times about not writing this blog because I had not figured out how to get past this. I thought that if I can’t give a solution, this entry has no value.
Instead I decided to share with you where I am currently in my journey. We shouldn’t always just write about the good times looking back at the struggles. Sometimes we should talk, write, and discuss the struggles we are going through and feel OK with it.
I share this to hopefully help someone else know they are not alone in the struggle, and it’s okay to ask for help. If the shoe was on the other foot and I heard a friend say all these things, I would do whatever I could to let them know they are strong, loved and more valuable than they could ever know.
So why should I be ashamed to share while I am at this feeling of zero?