I remember as a child, then a teen, then as a young adult, thinking that I could accomplish anything. I had high expectations of what my life would look like as an adult. I assumed that no matter what I did, I would end up being a big deal.
I started to hit my stride in my late 20s. I had married young, I already had beautiful children, and I was just starting to make a name for myself in my chosen career.
Then it all came crashing down. I got divorced, then I only had my kids half time. My highest priority, being a great mom, seemed impossible. I was a wreck financially, and suddenly sure I would never be able to support myself.
But that was not the worst thing that happened.
The worst thing that happened was I started thinking, then believing, that my failures meant I was a failure.
I remember one day, I was still lying in bed around noon, (because that’s what I did when my kids went to their dad’s). I had the thought that I had learned something new about myself. The new thought was that I couldn’t trust myself to take care of my girls and myself. That even if I could find a job that paid enough to support us, I wouldn’t be capable enough, or that I wouldn’t be able to manage my time between the job and parenting. That even though I was talented and driven, I’d never figure out a way to turn my skills into a stable way to support myself and my kids. That I would always be dependent on someone else.
That thought seeped into my brain as a fact, as if it was something that had always been true, but I was just now noticing it.
I justified that thought in all kinds of ways. I told myself it was because I prioritized my children and I would never put them before making money, and that I was above making “being rich” and “having nice things” a priority. I told myself I didn’t have the luxury to think up ways to earn money because I was so focused on just making rent that month. I blamed the system for punishing moms who had chosen to raise kids rather than focus on their careers (and while this is a very real problem, it was not solely responsible for my plight at the time).
I allowed this belief to permeate my core, and I operated from that belief for the next several years. To me, it was simply a fact that everyone around me would agree with.
As a result, feelings of shame, embarrassment, and fear fueled my actions and interactions.
I stopped believing I was going to be a big deal someday. I hid myself away. I started telling myself that I’m just a private person, and I didn’t want to share my failures with the world. My mind went through all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify why I was a failure, then I would seek out evidence to prove my belief that I had failed. I showed up as a failure, made poor choices as a failure, and felt guilty as a failure. It was exhausting.
The worst thing that happened to me is that I gave power to thoughts that were not only not serving me, but were damaging me. My relationships suffered, my health suffered, and obviously, my career suffered. How could a prospective employer believe in me when I showed up already knowing I would fail?
My thought, that I was a failure, resulted in my failure, which confirmed my thought. For years, I allowed that cycle to continue.
I’m excited to share how I was able to stop the cycle. It still feels like the best thing to happen to me!