By JOANNE EDOUARD | Jun 3, 2021
Have you ever thought to yourself, damn I am enough, or am I worthy of these opportunities that are presenting themselves? Am I worthy to be in this relationship, or am I worthy to be with this person? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions then you are certainly not alone. I have come across many people who have dealt with these thoughts. At some point in my life, I have dealt with many of the things that I have proposed.
I can remember being really young and thinking that I wasn’t enough. This feeling would plague me for some decades. The feeling of not being enough led me down the path of being an overachiever. My parents immigrated to America from Haiti, and if you know anything about Caribbean parents then you know they work a lot. So a major part of my younger years was spent alone while my parents worked. Now that I look back at it, I didn’t feel seen so I overcompensated. I remember being in the first grade and studying so much for a spelling test, like who does that…me apparently. I aced the test, and my parents were so happy. So at that age, I correlated that if you get good grades and do well in school you’ll get praises. That confirmed to me that I needed to continue to do well to feel seen by my parents. Don’t get me wrong doing well in school is not the issue. In fact, if I wasn’t an overachiever then I don’t know if I would be where I am today. The issue is that I thought being an overachiever would make my parents see me as worthy.
This feeling of being seen would follow me through my friendships and romantic relationships. All I wanted was to feel seen and worthy so again I would overcompensate. I would try to be the “perfect” friend and “perfect” girlfriend in order to feel worthy. When I felt like I wasn’t being seen I would do more in order to feel more love. This got extremely tiring and actually hurt my self-esteem. I equated that in order to feel worthy and loved I would have to go above and beyond to receive it.
Unworthiness infected different aspects of my life. It started seeping into my mental health. I would get extremely anxious. I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough or I wasn’t doing the right thing. This led me to continuously second guessing myself, and I combatted these feelings frequently. Not only did it affect my anxiety, it also led me to depression. I constantly felt unworthy and that would directly affect my mood. This battle would continue throughout most of my adult life. Until I got so tired of the toll this was taking on my life, and I knew that something had to change. But if I am honest this was an extreme habit to break. I had to unlearn so many things that I had once believed in. Therapy and journaling played a big part in unlearning these beliefs. I was able to unpack the root of this belief and change my thinking. Journaling allowed me to express how I was feeling day to day and I could gradually see the paradigm shift. It took me awhile, but I now know that my validation does not come from others. I do not have to win others over by the things that I do. I can show up exactly as I am and know that I am worthy.