A lot of people would consider me confident. I am confident, but sometimes I feel small, weak and inferior. Often, when I ask for things from the people I love the most I feel the worst. I feel like a burden, I feel scared and I feel straight up undeserving. I used to blame these feelings on the unexplained phenomena that makes a person whose life is relatively good, force themselves to find an issue with their relatively good life.
But, after a discussion about heading into my last year of college, and after projecting a lot of my negative feelings I conjure up onto my mother she explained a few things to me.
(DISCLAIMER: my mom is a school psychologist, keyword psychologist.)
Often, she helps me understand myself better, but for some reason I still end up shocked when she does so. Long-story-short she explained to me that I’ve been trying all this time to convince myself to feel deserving, and to make people feel like I deserve certain things that I ask for. She explained that I have feelings about things from my childhood that have resonated with me and shaped me to work so hard for an approval that I may never receive. She explained to me that out of the one person that tends to make me feel undeserving and small there’s 50 people out there that do believe I deserve things, including herself. But, because of my childhood and because of the need to have approval I disregard all the support I have from the plenty and hone in on the support I don’t receive from the few. She explained that I don’t have to feel undeserving because it’s a choice, and sometimes I forget who exactly needs to be reminded of my worth, which is only one person, and that person is me.
It began to click as she listed things I’ve done, decisions I’ve made, and situations I’ve dealt with in certain ways to try and receive the approval that could lead someone to believe that I am deserving. Now, that’s not to say that all of the things I have done and accomplished have specifically been to make certain people want to support me, but it’s definitely something I seem to have subconsciously been doing for a very long time. It took a serious discussion to realize that I am deserving of a lot of the things I receive and that I don’t need to prove to anyone that I’m worthy and deserving of receiving help.
With that being said, since I’ve been to college I was the committee chair for Student Activities Council (SAC), which lead to me running for Vice President of Promotions for SAC, and eventually (by a slim chance of happenstance) lead me to being President of SAC. That turned into me being on the Executive Board for Student Government Association (SGA). I was a resident advisor for my sophomore and junior years of college. I’m an active member of the African American Student Union, I’ve written for the school newspaper The Source, and will serve as the managing editor this upcoming school year. I’ve organized community wide protests to highlight injustices at my school, and made the front page of the local newspaper, The Bradford Era, not once, but twice. I’ve taken opportunity to travel the world through studying abroad twice as a student. I’ve worked for the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Union since 2013. I was an event intern at The Franklin Institute in 2015, and I just finished up an intern with the DNCC. My list of accomplishments is both extensive and thorough, and I know that.
But even when you know you’ve done a lot sometimes you’re just looking for that one person’s approval and respect. I’ve decided that from now on that one person is going to be myself. As long as I go on I will remind myself that I am deserving of nearly all the things I ask and wish for. I mean, ya girl isn’t out here asking for a white Range Rover or even a pair of Christian Louboutins. I’m just asking for approval, respect and love from the people I work so very hard to make proud.