i feel like i’ve been hanging from an emotional bungee cord for the past few weeks: we are in the most idyllic living situation, but we will likely be kicked out in another month or so; i wrapped up an incredibly stressful week of work by basking in the glow of todd purgason of juxt interactive for free in a classroom with maybe thirty other developers and designers (for those of you who don’t know him, todd is one of the best flash designers in the business, and i’ve attended conferences in new york and seattle with hundreds of attendees where he was one of the keynote speakers); i’m one of a handful of students who is being invited to join the national history honor society (phi alpha theta), but am on the verge of failing one of my classes; and i am preparing to put my academic dreams on the shelf indefinitely so that i can support jana in her pursuit of a phd (two parents pursuing graduate degrees simultaneously does not a healthy home environment make).
the hardest thing for me to deal with in the past few weeks is that i have someone in my life who is critical and who works, perhaps unwittingly, to undermine my character in the eyes of others. i have the impression that they delight in my failure, and that nothing i can ever do will please them. this is my perspective of the situation, but i haven’t heard or seen anything to make me feel that this person assumes anything but the worst of me.
i’m not sure why i’m so dang sensitive to this negativity. perhaps it is because i have worked so hard to overcome the scars of the criticism and perfectionism that i experienced as a child. it is hard to encounter it full-force again in someone that i generally look up to. i think that this is also difficult for me because i am already hard on myself; my sense of self-worth needs some serious shoring up.
i feel betrayed and i am angry. jana, bless her heart, tells me that i am absolutely justified in my feelings.
i need to move on. i need to realize that this is all ultimately about the person being critical, and not about me at all.
i am extremely blessed in my friends, teachers, co-workers and especially in my wife and children. i am surrounded by people who see me both for who i am and who i can be and who shower me with love and support and assurance. i have discovered that i need this web of support to battle my own harsh self-criticism, my own negative perceptions of myself. in spite of this, i am optimistic that the perceptions of my loved ones will win in the end.
i’m spoiled. i know–partly because the statistics would say so and partly because of heart-to-heart conversations that i’ve had with some of you–that there are those of you out there whose self-esteem has sunk to lower depths than mine has–maybe yours has hit the dark, cold ocean floor. your greatest enemies may sleep just a few feet away at night, or they may sit in the cubicle or office next to yours. it’s hard, but turn a deaf ear to the shouts, the cacophany of scorn and derision of those who would bring you down low. let your feet catch up to your own internal rhythm, and listen carefully and continually for that faint, distant call that you know is right and true until it rings louder and louder in your ears and you become possessed by that spirit that strengthens and energizes you and drives you on towards the greatest heights::