My Own Worst Enemy

Getting to know your self-critical voice…


Ever feel like you are your own worst enemy? Like the voice inside your head is always there to tell you can't or you're not enough?

 

I sure do! Often times the internal conversation that I am having with myself is brutal. I can be very self-critical and am so overly aware of this nagging voice. Before I started this journey of self discovery, I was completely unaware of the power and impact that this negative self-talk had on me and my life.

 

In my life, I've always strived for perfection. This has been helpful, for example in propelling my career, but I have an innate tendency to take it too far. Confession -- I hate mistakes, I don't like doing something unless I can do it the right way, and I often think right is right and wrong is wrong and oh by the way, my way is right.

 

So where did this voice come from? Why do I feel this need to be perfect all the time? It’s a way to cope with the fear of other's judgement and frankly - of my own! Growing up, it was fear of judgement from my parents and I always strived to be the perfect kid so I would be accepted and loved. I was trying to find a workaround for feeling accepted and love instead of doing the work to understand how I could accept and love myself.

 

Trying to live up to my own standards of perfection has resulted in a lot of anxiety and frustration in my life. No matter what I did, I personally felt it was never good enough. This need to be perfect has prevented me from doing and trying lots of things, I've declined opportunities for fear of failure or judgement. One specific moment that stands out, was during college as I was contemplating switching from a Finance to Entrepreneurship major. To pursue entrepreneurship, you had to have an idea or be willing to work on someone else's business, but I had an idea - I wanted to built an investment management/VC firm that supported and backed small women owned businesses. Whether or not the idea was any good is not the point, the point is that I ultimately didn't make the switch. After talking to my mom, she expressed concern that "entrepreneurship wasn't a real major and finance was a tangible skill set that could get me a good job". Knowing that switching majors would result in disproval and disappointment from my parents I chose to continue on with finance - at least I still had their approval right (faulty thinking 101)?!

 

Consciously or unconsciously I was preventing myself from fulfilling my purpose and becoming my authentic self. As I've come to know that little voice in my head, I've been able to acknowledge it and turn down the volume. On a good day that voice is muted, because I know I am driving towards something meaningful and I won't let fear get in the way of me becoming who I've always wanted to be - an entrepreneur!

 

When have you undermined yourself in pursuit of what you wish to become?