“Are you being kind to yourself?” This question stumped me over dinner as I ranted about my dissatisfaction regarding my professional career. The question took me aback because that isn’t usually one of the follow-up questions I am used to when discussing my personal and professional growth. Immediately, I knew the answer- absolutely not. I was not being kind to myself. I hesitated before responding aloud.
Once I said “no” out loud, the next question was, “Why?”
Why are you not being kind to yourself? That one got me. I felt a teeny tiny knot, wanting to creep its way into my throat. Why wasn’t I being kind to myself and allowing myself the grace I so willingly give others? I am always my cruelest critic, and up until that moment, I felt underserving of kindness and compassion.
Recently, my sister sent me an audio. It was a scripted phone call to your younger self in Spanish. That broke me. I pulled out a picture of baby Analucy, and I could not fathom saying she should be better or work harder. I couldn’t bring myself to say I was disappointed that we weren’t where we wanted to be. Instead, I only wanted to hug and tell her how proud I was of her unwavering strength and ability to navigate hurricanes and tornados. At what age does it become acceptable to self-deprecate and treat yourself with such disrespect?
In the past two months, multiple people have told me I should be easy on myself and give myself grace. I am stubborn and sometimes blinded by my tunnel vision -I felt that I should be further along in my career, have a higher income, and have accomplished much more than I have done until now. I rated myself at a five when asked to rate my perception of accomplishment on a scale from one to ten. The thing about comparing is we always compare up. Naturally, we see those in our circles or our day-to-day environments, and we are quick to feel dissatisfied because we think that we should be doing more, that we should have more. More of what?
That is when I started thinking about the metrics I used to measure my success. I was basing my success on a capitalist scale of wealth accumulation without considering all the obstacles, hoops, and discrimination I have faced. How can I compete when I cannot compare? My journey has been anything but easy, and it also has been everything but linear. Nonetheless, it is extremely hard to see others doing well and not wonder what am I doing wrong?
Truth is, sometimes you can do everything right and still end up with a less-than-desirable outcome. That does not mean your time will not come; it just means that your preparation has yet to meet the right opportunity to catapult you to the successful path you’re working for. I do believe success is when preparation meets opportunity. I have struggled and continue to struggle to find the right fit for me.
My parents’ definition of success varies tremendously, so I need to pause sometimes and remember that their definition of success is not mine. From now on, I will look back on that image whenever I feel undeserving or start being unkind to myself. Deep down, I believe I am worthy of all great things and will achieve my goals. I need to treat myself with so much love and kindness throughout every part of my journey.