My whole life, I had been my worst critic. I was my own judge, jury and executioner. I strove for perfection, sought validation and felt that I have to compete for everything in order to deserve something. This is a result of people — most especially my family— criticizing me, telling me in many different ways how I was not good enough and how I need to be different and do better. Undoing that damage is neither easy nor quick. The solution was both simple and complicated but I am now peeling away the ugly layers that covered up my true self.
Growing up, I was constantly ‘teased’ about my flaws. My skin was too dark. My smile was too gummy. My lower lip was too thick. I was too skinny, too shy, too weak, too clumsy, too slow. There was a never-ending list of things that’s ‘wrong’ with me. And those were mostly from my own family — cousins, uncles and aunts, grandparents, siblings, and my mom. For who I was and whatever I did, I was simply not good enough. I felt like I could never measure up to standards set by those around me.
One of my first memories were of my parents broken up. I don’t remember them being together at all. Before my father died when I was 17, I remember seeing him only twice. I guess, this is where it all started, as a little girl asking, “Why doesn’t he want to see me? Am I not good enough for him?” That feeling of being unwanted by him didn’t leave me until I was about 18. Did I have daddy issues? Perhaps. I’ll leave that to the experts. But I honestly think that this is not the only culprit that eroded my self-worth.