I have struggled my entire life to believe that I am enough. To believe I am good enough, smart enough, brave enough or beautiful enough. Childhood damage is far stronger than I could imagine. I thought this past year I had made huge progress on self-empowerment and making peace with the past. I didn’t know that there are still so many emotions of mine.
If you have followed me for a while, you already know that I am trying to become a public speaker. So I can share my stories with more people, and encourage others to give their dream a chance. I have worked on my presentation for a while. The whole idea was to go back to where I was and take my audience to where I am now. Since day one, I started going back to those memories. I felt angry, shame, helpless and confused. It made me realize that those emotions are still there. Only my surface emotions got cleaned up.
I presented a PowerPoint to my mentor and another friend a few days ago. While telling my stories, I was uncomfortable. Somehow, I felt shame. I felt horrible thoughts of not being good enough so my mom did not want me. And that is the same reason my ex-boyfriend abused me. Of course, I know that was not the truth, but I had a hard time removing those thoughts from my head at that moment. When my mentor and my friend gave me feedback, I couldn’t help but feel offended. I was a paid public speaker while in China and quite proud of what I had achieved. But there I felt not good enough, again.
I tried controlling my emotions. No matter how much I tried, my intense body language and facial expressions still sold me away. I was quite shocked at myself, too. After all the hardships that I had been through, what could make me feel self-doubt again? But, as it turned out, I still can’t take any criticism. Now I understand why I always work so hard and often become an overachiever. It was because I thought, this way, people will give me less criticism. Now I can see how underneath this overachiever is a person still hurting from childhood damages… a person struggling with their identity and self-worth.
It was good to see the brutal facts about myself. Those few hours of presenting, I struggled with my emotions. Trying to hold it together, and get the task at hand done. It was not pretty at all, feeling torn apart by all the criticism. But, I was actually getting torn apart by my insecurity. My mentor and my friend were very nice to me, but all I could feel at that moment was the shame… a feeling of not being good enough. Now, I am feeling bad about making such a scene while they were trying to help me out.
At this moment, I am glad that I saw this brutal truth about myself. Also, understanding that I have a long way to go to reach full recovery from my childhood damage. Without fixing it, or accepting it, my confidence will be only on the surface level.
Photo credit: Grace Liang/@anstam
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