DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. MY FEAR OF NOT BEING GOOD … ENOUGH

 
When I was young, really young, around 6 years old, I remember doing mean things. The memories are alive in me today. Pushing a special needs girl into a nettle bush, digging my nails into the skin of a classmate, dialling 911 and then pointing my finger at my twin brother when my father came bombing down the stairs in rage. I couldn’t explain why these things were happening. They happened and it was as though I was on the sidelines watching curiously my own behaviour, confused as to why I would behave in such a way.
 
I remember becoming quite introspective, even as a kid. I asked myself….why am I behaving like this? Could it be that I am a bad egg? Can human beings be born bad? Right then, the biggest wave of fear crashed over me and I put an instant end to my questioning and search. I was afraid to know the answer. I lived the rest of my life with this suppressed fear that I might be a bad person and it has shaped my life as thus.
 
Growing up, I was the perfect student. Hardworking library nerd who got straight A’s at school. I was always friendly and open to my peers no matter what social group they belonged to. I helped my friends with their homework and exam studies too, wrote university applications for my siblings and worked in the family takeaway when needed. Everything seemed to be on track for life. There was nothing more I could have done to prove myself good and worthy of this life.
 
I used to bottle my sadness every time I was told in some form or another that I wasn’t good enough. A suppression driven by a deep fear of showing my weakness, that I could be hurt, that I could be broken. I bottled it the time when the birthday card and gift I bought wasn’t good enough, I bottled it when being told my intelligence was less superior to my twin brothers despite getting better grades, I bottled it when my fashion sense was sneered at in comparison to my sisters, I bottled it when I was told I wasn’t good enough to apply for med school, I bottled it when my looks were put down, I bottled it when my decisions were made wrong over and over and over again. I was told that I couldn’t make a right decision about anything.
 
Sadness turned to numbness and numbness eventually turned to passive aggressive anger and rage. Over my sadness, I built a fort of false self reliability, self proficiency, self righteousness and a bitter belief that I did not need anyone or anyone’s love to be happy.
 
One Sunday lunch with my family, I completely lost it. When the critical remarks kept coming like knife attacks one after another, my ability to hold down my own pain and sadness was bulldozed over by the fury that had sweltered within me year after year. My whole body trembled and I stood up from the table and watched as my lips thrash out all the pain that had been stored up in me. I was only 16. I wasn’t in control of my words or actions when it happened. There was nothing I could do but watch this obscenity unfold. The whole restaurant was stunned into silence and I ran out in tears. As I walked and breathed, my sister came to console me and time helped to soothe my sorrow. My perfect image of myself as strong, immune and invincible began to slip through my fingers.
 
Throughout University I would find myself randomly releasing my sadness through bouts of anger, questioning and crying. I had entered into a relationship and community that offered a lot of spiritual support that allowed me to reconstruct my view of my suffering and approach my family with more space, acceptance and presence. It helped somewhat but not completely. The reactivity was still very much alive in me and I would tighten up everytime the critical and emotional attacks came.
 
My dad gave me a diamond ring on my graduation. I felt so loved and happy. Then my mum told me she had originally bought it for my sister but that my dad insisted on giving it to me. I died again inside.
 
When my spiritual master passed away in my second year as a doctor I began to really turn to the dark side. I put aside all my spiritual practice and curiosity about life and decided to give up trying to be good, give up trying to seek deeper meaning in life. I found it exhausting. I didn’t feel ready for it. I didn’t thirst for it anymore and I said to myself very vividly that I needed to experience ‘hitting rock bottom’ to get enough willpower to seek and practice again. From then, my life took a downward spiral for the next 4 years.
 
On the outside I ticked all of societies boxes. Passed all my doctoring exams, got my top choices of specialty and hospital placements. Inside, I was a rotting corpse, festering in so much fear, doubt, confusion, irritation, rage, conceit and numbness. My fear and stubbornness to prove my family wrong and prove that I was self sufficient, perfectly capable and good enough, wedged me into a life of deep suppression for my own feelings and overshadowed a deep seated need for self love. I lived only to prove that I was good enough. I didn’t know who I was or how to love myself.
 
In 2013 I cried for a whole year. The kind of crying that could create new oceans. I was thoroughly dehydrated after every therapy session. The same stories of woe kept coming up and I wondered if it would ever end. Thoughts of throwing myself in front of passing cars became comical to me. It was that year that I decided it was finally time to take up my spiritual practice again. I had finally hit rock bottom, and my own words of encouragement rang loud in my ears.
 
After a year of crying, catharsis, yoga and meditation, enough space had been created in me to overcome the huge fear demon of leaving my job, my ‘perfect’ identity. This fear had been brewing for 6 years, trapping me in my unhappy life, creating all sorts of rational ideas to pacify me and scare me into staying and finishing my perfect life and perfect self image. In the end it was my intuition that was finally shining through the crap, along with a huge dose of courage….and the endless migraines, indigestion, acid reflux and skin rashes that told me it was time to let go and to trust in yourself.
 
It’s been a wild journey of self acceptance and self love since leaving my old picture perfect identity behind. I’ve really lapped up the scenarios that have thoroughly challenged my sense of self worth and turned them into my biggest spiritual practice…. throwing the water if you will, over the final dregs of fear and all the whispers that have told me that I’m not good enough.
 
Scrubbing toilets and mopping floors at numerous volunteer centers have brought up some interesting images of my parents’ disapproval in my mind. Working on reception in Malta also created nauseating waves in the pit of my stomach. Working without pay, simply for the joy of teaching yoga has not been completely free of the feeling of guilt and inadequacy. Six weeks of silent meditation really exorcised a monster of fear, convincing me that I was going completely insane and that this whole journey had been a joke and that I was heading towards a psychiatric clinic. I cried through the night holding pictures of everyone who believed in me, it was all I could do to ride out the fear. Numerous relationships ending in devastation have brought up some of the most potent feelings of low self worth and fear of inadequacy.
 
When the perfect landing pad for these challenging emotions came about, I’ve managed each time in the past few years to really notice, acknowledge and accept them, giving them space to express themselves until they pass, unobstructed out of my consciousness, holding true in myself. I realise now that they are simply passing waves. Yoga and meditation and my own introspection has really given me the tools and know how on how to effectively dispel and transform my inner world and I am so so grateful for this path.
 
Despite the negative connotations from my story, I’m actually genuinely wholeheartedly grateful for every moment, every experience, every person, every lesson, for without which I would not be who I am today. It’s been a wild journey to get to this point of self acceptance and self love and I cherish everyone and everything that has been a part of that.
 
It is my firm belief that challenges come to those that are ready for it, as a mean to grow spiritually. If you are experiencing challenge right now, know that it is because you are strong enough to process it. The greatest suffering and hardship leads to the deepest of understanding, liberation and unconditional love.
 
Move forth with utter kindness and acceptance towards yourself, unswerving faith in the heart and the deepest joy in every expression of this mad life.
 
I love you all.
xXx

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