you are your own worst enemy.

Self-doubt. I’m sure at some point in our lives, we’ve all dealt with this. I am someone who’s been struggling with it for a while, and unfortunately, as I grow older, it only seems to be getting worse. The same thoughts flood my mind every single day…

Am I good enough?
Will I ever be successful?
What am I doing with my life?
What is my purpose?
Why isn’t there one thing I excel at?
I feel mediocre.
Sometimes, I wish to cease to exist.
Why can’t I just be outgoing like everyone else?
Why is it that things that come naturally for others, are challenges for me?

But I’m not here to make myself the victim or complain about how much I suck at life. I just wish I could get over this irrational fear of failure because that’s essentially what this is. I think I’ve always been afraid to admit it, but I do, in fact, have a fear of failing. As a result of that, my life has been affected in so many different ways. I’ve missed out on opportunities. It’s prevented me from moving forward in life. It’s stinted my growth as an individual…and just reading that makes me cringe.

I know that there’s no such thing as perfection, yet I’ve somehow convinced myself that I need to be perfect. If I don’t, I feel like a failure (not to sound dramatic, but I don’t really know how else to explain it). Life’s supposed to be about challenging yourself…going beyond your comfort zone. My problem is that I’ve become too comfortable in my comfort zone and I don’t like change. I like routine. When I see or hear the word challenge, I automatically think of failure. The only way to grow in life is to make mistakes. So why is this so difficult for me? How did this get to be so bad that I’ve now become the only person standing in the way of myself?

The only answer I can think of is my shyness. I hate being described as shy, but it’s true. I’m not the most outgoing person. I get embarrassed very easily. I care way too much about what people think of me. I’m always monitoring what I say and how I act around people. I always knew I was the quiet one, but as I grow older, it seems to stand out more. I notice that in group settings I don’t say a word. If I have an idea, I don’t share it, because I’m afraid of rejection. But as long as I blend in to the background, how am I supposed to get anywhere in life.

Sometimes I feel like my life’s one big catch 22. I don’t want to appear stupid so I don’t speak up, but then my quietness is sometimes misinterpreted, therefore giving people the wrong impression of me, which leads me back to the point of caring what others think about me. I’m getting a headache just thinking about all of this…

It’s easy for someone to say, “Well, just speak up. The worst thing someone can say is ‘no.'” But those who can relate to my situation know that this is no easy feat. To be completely honest, I think most of this is genetics. It stems from personality traits. I can’t think of a situation I’ve ever been in that would have “traumatized” me and made me change my behavior.

I have my moments here and there. Sometimes I surprise myself. But it still takes me twice as much effort to talk to a stranger than it does for someone who’s more outgoing or extroverted. It’s a constant tug-of-war between wanting to push myself beyond my comfort zone but not actually following through with it.

I am my own worst enemy. I look at a lot of people and see how charismatic they are. They are great public speakers, exceptional team players, and embody all the right leadership qualities. Sometimes I feel like as much as I want to be the leader sometimes, I’m always going to be the follower and that makes me sad because what does that say about myself? I don’t want to continue living life with this negative image of myself. It’s easy for people to say, “Well, if you don’t like where you are in life, do something about it.” Well, that’s the problem. I don’t know what to do or where to even begin. Sometimes I feel like there’s something really wrong with me because of these thoughts I have and how much they consume me. It literally affects my everyday life, and, like I said, the older I get, the more pronounced it becomes and the more I notice it (which is bad because then I just focus on it more).

Again, I’m not writing this for the sake of complaining and victimizing myself. My hope is for other people to read this and know they are not alone…because sadly, sometimes I feel like I’m alone and that no one can relate to what I’m going through. So if anyone out there is struggling with self-doubt, I’m right there with you. I know life’s not supposed to be easy, but sometimes, I feel like it’s harder than it needs to be (and it’s my fault for making it that way). I just want to get to a point in my life where I’m happy with myself, the self-doubt is not a magnified issue, and I can just life my life. But I know that the only way for that to happen is if I make a change.

-beautifuldarkmystery

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don’t force what’s not meant to be.

So I was sitting here just thinking and all of a sudden it hit me…for someone who’s always been a planner, my life has almost never gone according to plan. Things didn’t happen the way I had imagined or hoped. I’ve always been the type of person who needs to know what happens next. Uncertainty freaks me out. But the more I go through, the more I see that things happen for a reason, even if they don’t happen the way you want them to.

From the time I was about five years old up until my freshman year of high school, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grow up, that was my answer. I wanted to be a teacher because I always liked the idea of helping others. Growing up, I had teachers who inspired me and helped me. I just wanted to be that person for others. But I didn’t go to school to get my teaching credentials. I went to school for film, something on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Never thought that would happen.

I always knew I was going to college, no questions there. But I had no ideawhere. Even up until my senior year of high school when I had to start applying to places, I had no clue. My friends and peers seemed to have it all figured out and here I was, blindly picking from a hat (not really, but you get the idea). Ultimately, I chose the school I went to because that’s where my dad went and I didn’t really have anything else to go off of. I never had a “dream” school like most kids. I know that I would have made friends regardless of where I chose to go…but I wouldn’t have found the same people I did at my college. I made some of the greatest friends there and if choosing that school meant crossing paths with those people, then it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

During my undergrad years, I knew I was going to grad school…until I graduated and had no idea what I wanted to do. Suddenly, I wasn’t so sure of myself. The hesitancy came from not knowing exactly what I wanted to pursue in film, or if I even wanted to continue pursuing it at all. I began to ask myself so many questions, which led to self-doubt and I ended up overwhelming myself. Since then, I’ve calmed down a but. I realize that it just takes time. I believe that, for right now, I am where I need to be, and I’ve been provided an opportunity that could lead to something else. But if it doesn’t, that’s okay too! I’ll just pick another route and see what’s behind door #2. To be honest, I thought that I’d have my life figured out by the time I graduated college. Nope. That’s not how this works. Some people do, and that’s great…but it’s not like that for everyone. I can’t even begin to express how much anxiety this has given me, but luckily, I’ve surrounded myself with people who have kept me sane and grounded…people who talk sense into me when I need it most. That’s what friends are for, right? Sometimes I don’t know how they tolerate me. Bless their souls haha.

I always thought my first relationship would be like the one you see in movies. He takes you out on a date, he buys you flowers, he tells you how beautiful you are. Well, sadly, it was anything but, to be honest. I remember feeling so frustrated that things were moving so slowly. I begin to question his feelings towards me, which didn’t make me feel all that great. However, at the time, I didn’t know that he was going through some things…things I couldn’t even begin to understand. He didn’t open up to me until after we broke up, and that’s when the fighting began. I remember I was so mad at him. But now I’ve finally reached that point where I can genuinely say that I am happy for him. It took a while, but I got there. Looking back, I see that he had to go through what he went through in order to get to where he is now. At the time I didn’t see it because I was so frustrated, but I was that person who offered him stability. I was the first person he chose to confide in, probably because A) I was the first person who deserved to know, and B) I was his best friend. So even though things didn’t work out the way I had planned, I can see that things worked out for the better. No, we weren’t meant to be together, but we were brought together for a reason. Our relationship/friendship served as a stepping stone in order for both of us to get to the next part of our lives. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen each other in about three years, and we talk only once in a while, but from what I can tell, he seems very happy and that’s all I can ask for.

What am I getting at here? Life happens. Most of the time, it doesn’t go the way we want or imagine. It’s great to have goals and have something to work towards. At the same time, it’s also important to allow things to happen the way they’re supposed to happen. Don’t force something that’s not there because you’re only wasting your time. You go through the things you go through so that you become a better person. You go through these things because life is preparing you for something greater. If the universe is giving me all the signs, I need to take the hint. Continuing to fight what’s not meant to be is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. It’s just not going to work.

Life is a mystery and I’m beginning to embrace the beauty of that. It’s exciting and a little scary wondering where I’ll be in ten years. I can tell you where I want to be, but it doesn’t mean it will happen. But that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that I KNOW that things will happen for me. They may not be on my watch, but that’s okay! As long as I have faith that I will have a job, I will work for a great company, and that I will get married, that’s all I really care about. If it takes a little longer for me, then so be it.

I may never be able to change who I am because, well, this is who I am. I like to plan things. I like to know what’s going to happen next. But if there’s anything this life can teach me, it’s that I need to be a little more open to the ambiguity.  As much as I may not like it at times, this is what makes life so interesting.