Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Tell me if you've already heard this one...

I suppose it's something we all deal with now and then, those feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, when we feel like nothing we do is right. For some of us, those feelings happen more often than not. We try to fight them. We try to master them. We try to stifle them, bury them, live as though they are not there. And then, just when it seems that, finally, we are free from their grip, we feel the icy painful squeeze of phantasmic humiliations, and we are reminded of the prison we are living in.

And so it has been with me, for as long as I can remember. I do not recall any time in my life where I've been able to think, "You know, I'm really not half bad. I'm actually pretty good at this thing I've set my mind to doing. I'm adequate, I'm able...I feel like a real, worthwhile human being."

Of course, I suppose only characters in bad novels actually self-talk like that, but you get what I mean. I don't recall ever once, even for a fleeting moment, feeling the security blanket of confidence wrapped around me, keeping me safe, keeping me impervious to the monsters hiding in the closet.

I have often wondered what it would feel like to really feel that confident. And then I think, despite all the hype about the importance of confidence, I wonder how many people actually possess that quality? That singular characteristic that surpasses all others and makes them capable of doing nearly anything? I do not know of many truly confident people.

This is the part where, as a Christian, I am supposed to talk about how my relationship with Christ weighs in on this crisis of confidence. I am supposed to talk about the joy I feel in knowing my worth in Christ, and that I am of immeasurable value to the Creator of the universe. I am supposed to mention, at least briefly, that I am victorious over this ongoing struggle to be, simply because of my belief in Christ. And, in a rather distant, abstract sense, I do believe all of those things. A part of me knows they are true. Yet I cannot seem to bring those truths to my day to day struggle for a justified existence. They are words in a book, a thought, the stuff of someone else's experience.

So here I sit tonight, feeling stupid and inadequate, wanting to crawl into a hole and remain there until I somehow disappear altogether, or am forgotten and can start over again with no reminders of past failures in the faces of those who know me.

I realize it is unlikely I would ever be able to disappear, although I do often daydream about packing up my things, moving some place where nobody knows me, and just starting over again somehow. But I suppose that sort of thing only works in fiction. Your past always catches up with you, and runs up behind you to kick you in the arse when you least expect it.

It is on nights like this when I feel especially inadequate that I wish I still had a problem with alcoholism.

I'm reading your blog backwards from your third post, so I know that you confessed to having a pity party. But I just want to encourage you not to minimize your feelings. You have some great thoughts that are worth thinking, questions worth asking.

It's a slam to the soul to feel inadequate for feeling inadequate. We put expectations on ourselves for happiness as we imagine others have it, and kick ourselves for our lack of it. Ultimately, at the core of it, I think it has to do with a sense of helpness, a need for control. Or, at least I see that in me.

I'm far from having it all together, but as I grow through experiences and cling like mad to God, I'm learning to accept God's mercy for me, and to see myself with different "Eyes."

I'm glad you wrote this. Thanks for your honesty.
Thank you, Pat. Your words have encouraged me.

For better or worse, I've always been very in touch with my feelings, and have always felt the need to express them honestly...good, bad, or ugly. My primary choice for self-expression is through writing, and I have filled many journals over the years. :)

I appreciate your insight regarding the core of the feelings of inadequacy...I had never really thought of it as a need for control, but I can see how it could be that. Something to mull over in my skull, anyway. :)

Thank you for reading.
You know, I'll clarify "control" because it really gets overused these days. What I'm talking about is what happens to us when we're afraid; we remain inside ourselves for safety, and from that fortress we try to figure out the world so we don't get hurt. In cutting ourselves off from the world, we internalize everything. That may not be what happens with you, but it's familiar to me.

On a happier note, I really, really like your blog!
I think I understand what you mean now about control. I tend to seek control in relationships by being very guarded in how close I allow people to get to me, especially in moments when I feel hurt. In the moments when I should probably be allowing people to "bear my burden", I keep people at a distance, because I feel too vulnerable and I do not want to risk being hurt any further. Strange thing is, I do end up experiencing further hurt simply by internalizing so much, not really gaining a healthy perspective from those who care about me and can give me honest and objective feeback about whatever it is that is hurting me so much.

We are all so incredibly self-destructive at times.

You like my blog? Aw shucks! Thank you!!
You're welcome. And yes, precisely.
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