I Don't Have the Right to Exist

Working with unworthiness is difficult.

It's slippery. You think you've worked on it enough, you think you've already tackled it, and a deeper, more confusing version rears its head. How the fuck, you think, will I untangle this one?

Many of us have issues with unworthiness, with not feeling good enough. Our individualistic, capitalist society is built on it. They come up with something you're missing; then they sell you the solution. The not-enoughs are endless. Not thin enough, not muscular enough, not young enough, not smart enough, not spiritual enough ... you are not enough.

Then let's add ancestry and good ol' DNA. Our parents issues are passed to us. Whether you believe it's nature, nurture, or an energetic transference, if you have two insecurely attached parents with survival and money issues, you're going to inherit those issues, in one form or another. 

Lately I've been struggling with deep self-judgment. I can't seem to turn my brain off. It's either future-focused ("am I going to make enough money? what can I do to be better?") or past-focused ("who do I think I am to write, and to share it, and to expect people to still love me? why am I writing about this stuff that's going to make some people hate me?").

I went to a two-day self-compassion retreat three years ago, bought the book, and I really thought that was enough. I slowly stopped beating myself up over how my body looks; I stopped being harsh to myself when I cry. These are big steps, and I acknowledge them. But it seems the judgment just sort of hop-skipped to other areas of my life.

It seems that in times of transition, the self-criticism monster comes out full-force. Though I just transplanted from a city I hated, with no friends, to one I love, where I'm surrounded by amazing women and spiritual resources, the transition is still bumpy. I've switched from employment to self-employment; I went from living alone to living with my partner; I started talking to the whole wide world about weird sex stuff. 

Not only am I freaking out about everything I just listed, I apply secondary judgment to being critical (meaning I'm upset with myself for being self-critical ... oh, the downward spiral). Being self-critical is leaky. It makes me tense and pissed off. It resides between my shoulder blades and up into my occipital ridge. The body pain feeds the shitty mood feeds the pain. I snap at my partner. I surprise myself with the quick strike of my anger. 

I mentioned the self-judgment to my Neuro-Linguistic Programming coach, and she uncovered the root belief I'm carrying around, within moments.

"It sounds like you don't feel you have the right to exist," she said.

This means that every time I post a blog for the world, every time I get a new VA client—these moments that seem to call for celebration—I retreat into myself instead, scared that everyone will find out I'm a fraud. Scared that someone will say that my information is wrong or stupid. Scared that I really don't know what I'm doing at my job.

And not just "scared." More like slowly moving from from "Pssh, those thoughts are silly, I'm awesome," to "Holy fuck, I'm deeply broken and I'm going to be homeless by next week." 

My coach called the reflex my evil twin. We talked about how my twin is protecting me—she's collected evidence that I will get hurt if I exist. So she does her best to shield me. 

As long as I close my eyes and can't see you, maybe you can't see me. 

We went back into my earliest memories, pre-birth, and into the hearts/souls of my parents. I was asked to draw a scene of my pregnant mother in my mind. I did, and what I saw was a young couple, fighting, scared to death. Unaware that the unborn child was soaking it all up—the grief, the anxiety, the fighting. Unaware that this child had her hands over her head, already aware of the pain she seemed to cause, already ready to go back where she had come from. 

Already feeling despair over existing. 

We moved forward to memories as a child—some happier, some sadder—and then into my teenage experience. I experienced a crushing amount of pain as a teenager. We went back to this tender girl and inserted the support and wisdom of future-me (me at age 40 rather than me now). I sobbed for myself then, for not having an adult who could be with her emotions and teach her how to navigate the intensity. 

So here I am again, writing. The NLP helps. It rewires memories and inserts support when you needed it. I have an intuition that meditation will help, so I'm starting a 21 day program tomorrow, to help instill the habit. I know I need my head to quiet. I know I need to stop reaching externally, to all the things our world tells me will help (trying to make more money, taking more courses to be absolutely perfect in what I can offer the world). 

Usually I post blogs after I have the answer, but right now I don't. I have exhaustion, reactionary tendencies, and deep fears. All the human shit. All the fertilizer for the next beautiful upswing, which I will welcome with open arms. But for now, struggle. For now, a bath and cuddles with the dog. For now, I sit still, looking to the silence and the mystery for answers not yet spoken.