Unfulfilled expectations weigh heavily on my heart. The pressure of being “enough” is crippling at times. My shining moments became fewer and farther between. And my value has been willingly placed in everyone else’s hands and tossed around like a hot potato.
My Dad used to use the phrase, “that went over like a lead balloon”, when he described moments of failure. My need for acceptance and appreciation is like that heavy lead balloon that will just never get off the ground.
My self-worth has always been wrapped up in all the wrong things. Maybe that rings true for you too?
I would measure my value on the reactions of others. Sometimes I still do.
I determined my level of lovability by how others treated me. Sometimes I still do that too.
Somehow I thought that if I was smart enough, impressive enough, kind enough, adaptable enough, approachable enough, or just plain good enough, then I would be valuable. And I wanted to be valuable. But my efforts so often ended in disappointment and frustration and sadness.
My role as a step-mom has always been something I have taken seriously. I wanted to be a positive influence in their lives and a trusted advisor to them. I was willing to give my heart and my love but my generosity was rarely acknowledged and even more rarely returned. I love them, but I’m not so sure they loved me back. They didn’t show it, and that must mean that I wasn’t enough.
My career has been so important to me. I wanted to work hard and be recognized for my accomplishments. But sometimes my strengths couldn’t support successful outcomes and I felt like I didn’t measure up. To me, not measuring up meant not being the best. And not being the best must mean that I wasn’t enough.
My friendships are key relationships in my life, but occasionally I have felt left out. When I would overhear plans that I wasn’t included in or jokes that I wasn’t part of, I found myself sinking deep within myself. I must not be as fun or as exciting and that must mean that I wasn’t enough.
Waiting for someone else to validate my value is the ultimate soul sucker. It may never happen. And no matter how much you do or how hard you try or how wonderful you are, there are times when it will go completely unnoticed and unappreciated. That can rock your world if you are clinging to those reactions to make you feel worthy. The absence of the feedback I was seeking completely squashed my spirits time and time again.
But my value is not determined by those things. My value is greater than the reactions of others. The next great thing I do can’t increase it, just as the next mistake I make can’t decrease it. It is constant. It is within me. It is in my imperfections. It is in God’s grace. And I am enough. Always have been and always will be, exactly as I am.
Recognizing that my worthiness is independent is a revelation many years in the making. It has taken countless tears, multiple failures, and disappointments aplenty. But I am learning to let it go and lift myself up despite it all. And that my friends is sweet release.
Linking up for Five Minute Friday hosted over at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog. Today’s topic is “release”.