Failure – just what is a good definition?
A core belief I've seemed to have developed over 40 years or so is, as Ricky Bobby once said "If you're not first, you're last". And another, even more vexing problem for me, is that when 'first' is not definable (there is no 1st place), then I'm always 'last'. I believe that I fail in everything. When I have incontrovertable proof of a 'win', I dismiss it as an insignificant accomplishment.
As a result, a lot of little small, numerous, almost background noise like thought-comments go through my head during the day. And they're not nice comments. For about 40 yearsI haveberated myself and everything I do.
Hard to fit in society when you think yourself such a failure.
At this point I can detect some of the thoughts, logically and rationally deconstruct the criticism and come up with a more balanced view of myself or my actions. But I don't 'believe' it. And given the length of time I've beaten myself up, it's likely to take a long time and a lot of effort to really know I'm a decent guy with some good strengths, some limiting weaknesses and a whole lot of average characteristics in-between.
Today, as the therapist mentioned my 'intelligence' and my 'strong academic ability' I heard the word 'bull****' rattle in my brain at each compliment. I can agree her adjectives were true assessments of my abililty (I have lots of proof to show it)… I just don't believe it… yet.
And so I will have to 'fake it til I make it' as I work longterm on that problem, while dealing with its deleterious effects on my social and emotional growth.
I didn't mention it to her, but I recalled an incident when I was 16, after giving an impromptu speech in English class that made my classmates laugh at every funny thing I could manage to throw in my speech. Had 'em in the palm of my hand :). While waiting for my bus after class a girl in my class came up to me and complimented me on my talk with a big grin. I said 'I sucked' and she stood there dumbfounded as I boarded the bus. See, I had gotten a B+ or an A- on that exercise and had felt like I screwed up, I failed yet again; I should have done better than that.
So, I insulted her, lost out on a possible friend or even a girlfriend and beat myself up some more.
Anyhow, that's what I need to stop doing, and need to hear the little voice say 'good job, dude' or 'not too bad' or even 'oh well, guess maybe I wasn't meant to be a skydiver – too bad I had to find out after I forgot to pack my reserve chute – but everyone makes mistakes.'