Self-Doubt

I recently wrote a post with the question of whether or not I am a toxic person.

Logically, I know that I am trying to be the best person I can be even though it doesn’t always show. What I didn’t know is that my self-doubt would increase tremendously since I lost the friend that forced me to confront this question. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I can understand it and realize that it happened and there’s not much I can do what happened in the past but I didn’t realize that it would follow me for months.

It’s not the first time I’ve been through a loss of some sort. It’s happened before and crushed everything I knew about myself. I remember feeling like I disappeared for a while. I had to really work hard to find myself. I went through therapy and really worked on myself and I became someone I liked and respected. After I entered my 30s, I thought I knew who I was. I had read enough books and really took a look at my life. I found things and people I loved and believed that I had settled into who I was supposed to be. I had accomplished some pretty cool things that I was proud of and moved forward.

There’s been a lot of changes since that point. It’s been almost 8 years since I turned 30. And somehow, I’m back in the middle of a bunch of questions. I have constantly been meeting new people through my kids’ schools and classes and through the dance classes we teach. And through it all, I thought I knew myself and had accepted the fact that not everyone would be my best friend. That was okay. I knew who my tribe was. I knew the strength of the bonds I had formed.

But now, I’m questioning the basic core of myself. Am I someone that people want to be around? Am I someone that my kids like? Am I someone that I can respect?

I have fallen back into the trap of questioning myself after every social engagement. I worry that I said the wrong thing or did something that offended someone. The logical grown-up in me knows that whatever happens happens and it’s okay as long as I tried my best to be a good person but the emotional anxiety in me has risen up immensely.

Do I have to go through the same work again to be comfortable with myself? How do I learn to trust myself again? What if no one ever likes me? (Oh man, that thought makes me feel like a teenager again.) How do I know that this won’t happen with other people?How do I know if I’m disappointing or hurting someone else enough that they will decide to stop being my friend as well?

How do I manage this self-doubt?

 

Stigma

Stigma.

According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, its meaning includes a mark of shame or discredit.

The Indian community takes stigma very seriously. If you do something that isn’t part of the community’s definition of acceptable, there will be some sort of stigma attached to you. If you don’t get married until you are older, if you don’t have kids by a certain age or at all, if you have a degree, if you don’t have a degree, if you have too many relationships, if you don’t have relationships with the right people, if you don’t speak your parents’ language, if you can’t cook and clean, and the list goes on and on, you probably have some sort of stigma attached to you.

There isn’t a specific definition of what is acceptable and what isn’t. It varies with each community.

Here’s my take on it: Who the f*** cares?

Why do so many people care about what someone else is doing? Why does it matter as long as the person is a good person and not harming anyone else? Why should it matter to me at all who is dating who or making how much money? It makes absolutely no difference in my life.

I didn’t think this way in my teens and 20s. Then, I wanted to fit the mold of what I should be doing. It wasn’t until I realized how unhappy it made me to do what everyone else wanted that I stopped. It did break some of my friendships and relationships. It did wreak some havoc on my life as I reoriented myself to put my feelings and desires first.

It sometimes still does affect me. I’m Indian so my programming is definitely towards the “what I’m supposed to do”mentality instead of the “what I want to do” mentality. And then I have to sit and really think and ask myself if what I’m doing is making me happy. I’m raising children now and I don’t want them to feel like they have to fit some predetermined mold. I want them to be able to make choices throughout their lives without feeling like they are doing something “bad”.

I’m glad I’ve at least gotten to a point where the stigma attached to me bothers other people more than it bothers me. I am who I am.

Who Am I?

Who am I?

I am a woman, a wife, a mom. I am a daughter, a sister, a daughter-in-law. I am an accountant, a former dancer, a choreographer, a writer.

But in the middle of all of this, who am I?

I am someone that everyone else also is. I am just trying to feel important, to be myself, to be special. I am someone and I am no one.

How many of us feel this way? How many of us feel like we haven’t changed in a while or that we are stuck?

There was a time in my life I was moving constantly. I had places to go and things to do. Life changes. I felt important and needed in a different way that I am needed now. It keeps going and sometimes, until we stop to take a look, we don’t realize that everything around us has also changed.

But we haven’t changed. We seem to be in the same place that we were.

How do we remain people that we recognize? Will we always be restless when we are stagnant? Or is it okay to be content with your life however it is currently?

Should we be putting in more effort to be interesting, to be challenged? Is being happy the same as being accepting? Or should we try to change our life to be what we imagine?

It seems as though, every few years, I have to reinvent myself to catch up with the times. It’s like I suddenly wake up and realize that I need to move forward as well.

What do you do to keep moving forward? What do you do to find your happiness?

Losing Myself

My sister sent me an article a few weeks ago about diversifying yourself. Meaning have different people and hobbies and interests in life so that if one part of your life isn’t where you want it to be, your whole self doesn’t crash with it. It’s definitely a good idea. It’s so easy to lose yourself without even realizing it, especially when you have a hobby that is a big part of yourself, a new significant other, a career that you are very ambitious about. New life events happen and things change and all of a sudden you don’t recognize who you are anymore.

How do I stay in touch with who I am? It’s not easy, especially when your priorities change with a relationship or kids. I think it’s important to remember what made you you before those changes and make sure to maintain those things after the changes.

Yesterday, I saw some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Without my significant other. As much as I love him, it felt good to take some time to remember what I look like on my own. This independence helps build my self esteem and keeps me remembering who I am. It’s important to remember that we are not defined by our relationship or our role as a parent or our career. We are who we are based on who we are as people. And that will change as we grow but as long as we can still see ourselves and make sure we like who we are, then we’re okay.

When I had a big fall several years ago, I had no idea who I was after. I had to rebuild everything slowly. I realized during that fall how important my friends and my passions are to keep me grounded. I don’t want ever any one aspect of my life to define me.

I’ve watched other people lose themselves. Not on purpose but just because it’s easy to get swept up in their lives and forget to take that time out for themselves so that they can see who they are. It’s when this happens I think that it’s most important to appreciate that we are humans who can enjoy so many aspects of life. We don’t have to be defined by a single role at any point. ¬†We can take a step to finding what we are missing in our current situation and introduce it back into our lives. I didn’t realize until yesterday how much I was missing my girlfriends until I was sitting right in front of them. I’m glad I recognized it though because I will definitely take the steps to make sure I’m getting that girl time.

Losing myself is not an option.