There is this app a student introduced to me – The Pattern. I like fiddling with new apps, because it helps me see/feel what is the frame of mind youngsters are up to these days. Initially, it was just out of utilitarian needs – it was weird having thirty youths sign up for the oldie WhatsApp, so I’d rather just one oldie sign up for Telegram that is already the playground they were all comfortable in. Turned out to be fun, and I never turned back! (Turns out that every other oldie is getting onto Telegram now too! 😀 )
Today’s post will just be a documentation of this pattern reminder from the app, that looked like a perfect summary of what I have been blogging about. Anyway, I’m not paid to advertise this, they probably don’t even know I exist. I’m sharing because the reminders are always so timely. And encouraging. I like anything that’s encouraging these days, there is just too much doom and gloom everywhere, but there is much hope lingering in corners and spaces if we have the eyes to see them.
28 Nov 2021 9:00am – Feelings of Inadequacy
Source: The Pattern App
It hasn’t been easy for you.
From an early age, you may have thought that you weren’t good enough, or believed that something was inherently wrong with you – which set you apart and made you feel deficient. To be on par with others, you may have felt you need to compensate and prove yourself worthy.
As a kid, you may have felt pressured to succeed or achieve. This pattern is often associated with people who are successful, but it could easily make you feel blocked from reaching your full potential.
You might have felt shut down and burdened, unable to take a break from the heaviness you felt. Or when you did succeed, it might have been difficult for you to enjoy it no matter how hard you tried. Even now, if you do everything right and check off your goals, it doesn’t change the fact that you may feel like something is missing from your life.
Your self-esteem could get tied to what others think. You often feel criticised and judged by other people, but most of all by yourself, becoming your own worst critic. This dynamic may have been stronger when you were younger, or it might be something you still struggle with.
You may be defensive, anticipating you’ll make a mistake, so you work to “fix” yourself or “do better”, striving for perfection. But that creates a burden you can’t possibly sustain.
When you’re unable to live up to your standards, you might act on feelings of guilt or shame and beat yourself up. This lingering sense of being less than others may dominate your life, bringing on anxiety and depression.
While it’s often hard to see or understand, there’s an advantage to this dynamic: it gives you drive, discipline, and the capacity to work hard. Without this influence, it would be difficult to achieve on the level at which you’re capable. It makes you more practical and grounded – you understand the realities of life and can navigate them effectively and within reason.
But there’s a fine line between this energy crushing your will and it helping you channel your gifts in a productive, balanced way. In response to this pattern, you may feel unable to go after what you want or fully commit yourself to something you enjoy because you don’t think you deserve it.
You want to trust yourself, but that impulse might immediately be followed by doubt. And if you actually do follow your gut, it may seem like there are always consequences – from your perspective, you can’t just take action effortlessly.
As a result, you may be reactive or critical of others – but your built-up anger can only be contained for so long. Suppressing your incredible force could build resentment and anger. Your anxiety could wind up being expressed in passive-aggressive ways – with all the tension lying just below the surface.
You may hold a parent or authority figure responsible for your insecurity, believing that their judgment is what keeps you down and their validation is your path to happiness. You might think that if you prove yourself in their eyes, and get them to say you’re good enough, you’ll be released from your struggle.
Or, you might project this sense of deficiency onto a goal or purpose, driving yourself harder than others in an effort to show your worth. You might be highly ambitious, believing that if you reach your objective, you’ll receive some reward and finally feel a sense of relief – but when you do get there, you often can’t enjoy it.
If you’re motivated from a place of feeling unworthy, even if you do exceed your expectations, it won’t change anything. You could spend your whole life striving for something that’s ultimately unattainable.
This is the most painful part of the process: discovering that even when you achieve ultimate success, it isn’t enough to fill the void and relieve the heavy pressure you continually feel. Nothing external will deliver the self-love you’re looking for – only you can give that to yourself.
There is no finish line or ultimate destination – there’s only you and the way you choose to respond to this dynamic in your life.
It isn’t personal – you’re not flawed and you haven’t done anything wrong. Rather than see this pattern as punishment, think of it as a process that you need for your personal growth.
While frustrating, the intention of this energy is to force you to break through and love yourself unconditionally. You’re learning to cultivate a sense of self-worth that doesn’t rely on outside validation.
There’s no logical connection between effort and reward. It doesn’t matter how hard you work or how “good” you are because perfection isn’t enough. The sooner you can let go of this concept, the easier it will be to deal with this energy, and the less you’ll be affected by it.
If criticism does exist from friends, family, or your culture, see it as an opportunity to empower yourself by rejecting the negativity. If you believe the judgments and react from that place, you’re giving your power away. Self-consciousness and doubt only continue for as long as you accept them.
Make friends with your critical side and the voices in your head so you can quiet them. No one is judging you as harshly as you judge yourself. Don’t let guilt or “because I should” be a reason for anything you choose.
You have the opportunity to channel this pressure in powerful ways, and take advantage of it. Not everyone is driven in the same way you are.
It’s hard to achieve in the world without the kind of ambition you innately possess – because of it, you have more capacity than others to manifest your goals and get results.
Take pride in the fact that you’re highly capable, but make sure you’re working hard because you enjoy what you’re doing.
This pattern can make you feel old when you’re young, but the older you get, the younger you’ll start to feel. Having played by and learned all the rules, you can now use them to your advantage.
Forgive yourself and accept the person you are, not the person you one day might be.
They really have great writers. Makes me want to hire them!! haha.