This week I was reminded of a very important lesson; STOP trying to prove yourself to others, especially when they DON’T care about you. It was a painful reminder, it wasn’t humbling, it was physically, emotionally, and mentally draining.
A few weeks ago I was feeling more anxiety than usual, I was always on the verge of crying, my sleep was almost non-existent, and I was ready to crawl into bed, cover my head, and ignore the world for a while. Thankfully I have bills to pay, and things to do, so that was a wish rather than an option.
What I was made to remember was this: Trying to prove yourself to others is emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting. Having to prove yourself to others takes you away from doing the things you love, it takes you away from being yourself, it stops you from loving who you are.
I realized I was spending the majority of my days doing things to prove to a certain group of people that I was skilled, capable, good enough, intelligent, and forgivable. What a waste of my time! I finally accepted this was a group of people who would never admit to my abilities, talents, and skills. They had made up their mind that I wasn’t deserving and were doing whatever they could to knock me down and ensure that I stay there.
My mistakes were all due to classic ADHD traits: overscheduling, taking on more than was necessary for one person to handle, not knowing when to say “no”, working on things late into the night, and forgetting the little things. Throw in anxiety along with lack of sleep and you have a hot mess, named ME! My schedule was go-go-go! I was “going” for everyone except myself.
It you’re ADHD looks anything like mine does, sometimes you spend a lot of time making up for your mistakes by trying to prove yourself to your doubters. If you do this long enough it is no longer about proving what you can “do”, instead, you start trying to prove your worthiness. You start trying to prove that you deserve another chance for having been late, for having forgotten an appointment, for forgetting something and before you realize it, you are trying to prove you are worthy of second chances.
If you believe you deserve a second chance at something, don’t spend your energy trying to prove your worth. Do what you are good at, do what you love, fulfill your responsibilities because that is who you are, not because you want someone to support you, accept you, or believe you. Even if you are excellent at something, or very dependable, you might never get acknowledged or recognition; but it doesn’t change the fact that you are excellent at what you do and are a dependable person.
I took a break and I changed up my schedule. I decided to spend less time around the group I needed to prove myself to and it made a huge difference in how I felt. I suddenly had more free time for the things I love to do and for people who didn’t require me to “prove myself”; these were people who already knew what I was great at.
My time with them wasn’t spent trying to prove anything, we spent that time together and I was free to be myself. My anxiety decreased because I wasn’t spending all my energy and thoughts on how to prove myself to others. My focus increased because I only had a few things on my plate, and those few things I did because I knew I was good at them, not because I needed to prove to anyone else that I was good at it or capable of handling the work.
Take a look at your life, your goals, and how you spend your time. Do you find that a lot of time is spent “proving yourself” to others? Is your self-worth wrapped up in trying to make up for some of your ADHD flaws? Do you spend a lot of time worrying about what others will think of your work?
Spending a lot of time worrying about what others might think or how others view you means you are not spending enough time being you, being yourself. Take time to value yourself. If you have done your best and all that you can or could do or were asked to do; take pride in that and give yourself a pat on the back.