This situation is normal for some people, especially those of low self-esteem and lack of confidence. It is likely to come about for the following two reasons:
- In your teens, you did not have all the EXPERIENCE of life and responsibilities you have now. You were carefree then, allowed to develop to suit your personality and dreams. However, what is likely to have happened is that you got a few disappointments since then, knock-backs, obstacles you thought you could overcome, but didn’t, which would have dented the confidence and the certainty you had about life. You have gradually discovered that you didn’t know all the answers, and your trust has been lost in some people, which have made you doubt yourself and a lot of what you believed. In the process, your sense of invincibility has been crushed and you started comparing yourself to others who have appeared more worthy, the more disappointed you feel.
- The effect of all that is most noticeable on your self-efficacy and feeling of competence. It has nosedived so that everyone now appears better than you are. You are also focused on your weaknesses instead of the strengths you nurtured and enjoyed when you were a teen, being blind to the goodness and talents within you. Your setbacks have been blown up to look like immovable mountains instead of just taking them in your stride, bouncing back, and carrying on with your life, more knowledgeable and resilient. You don’t trust your judgements or beliefs any more, so, IN YOUR EYES, you are just a plodder who is worse than anyone else. However, people cannot treat you better than you treat yourself, and you need to give yourself some slack, acknowledge and accept that no one is perfect, that BOTH good and bad are part of our lives, and MOVE ON, more competent and confident than before.
You need to allow your mistakes, allow your bad days, remember how optimistic and smart you were when you were younger, and recapture those times. Forget the disappointing experiences and remind yourself that everything is only ever TEMPORARY. Nothing lasts forever, so to use your past negative experiences to control your actions and thoughts will only deprive you of an enjoyable, productive and satisfying future.
Life is a journey of ups and downs. Don’t make it into a dead end to suit your fears and disappointments. Only you can change your current state through ditching the negative thoughts, the comparison with your old self, and the need to be perfect. Begin the process of LIVING instead of just existing in a void controlled by your past. No one else can do it for you.
Remind yourself, DAILY, of the awesome person you are. The only difference has been your experience, which should be used to enhance you, not make you feel worse. Moreover, you cannot compare yesterday with today because you would have changed in age and experience in the meantime. Ditch the need for perfection, accept yourself as you are. Keep out of the past and appreciate your life NOW, as well as your loved ones, and go for it!
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Great post. Keeping this in my back pocket as I navigate the transition from kid to adult!
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Good luck with the transition! 🙂
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