I fell into the loop of “I do not deserve” badly from three months ago after many failures in job interviews. I doubted my abilities and my strengths so much. In the interviews, I always had great conversations with the interviewers and ended the interview joyfully. However, I did not receive any great news and any constructive feedback on the reasons for rejections. I wished the interviewers could at least tell me the reasons for elimination honestly and provide me with some constructive feedback for self-development. I doubted my own existence. I was confused by the interviewers’ words on me having many strengths that could be contributed to the companies. Eventually, I was convinced that I did not deserve to be accepted to fit into the market. I was the odd one. My optimism deteriorated after that.
In fact, the thought of “I do not deserve” in many aspects of my life. Significantly, I always feel that I do not deserve to feel good. I destructed my practice of self-love with this thinking. I harmed my health because I always pushed myself to the limits until I was emotionally and mentally burned out. I was aware of the dire consequences of this thinking when my frequency of mental breakdown increased. I started to ask myself why. Why do I have the thought of “I do not deserve”. I found that it relates to my perfectionist behaviour and my highly empathetic trait.
My Perfectionist Behaviour
Perfectionism is about the belief in achieving perfection or zero mistakes. I believe that many of you could resonate with this statement but disagree with the statement. The truth we are not perfect as we are humans.
I realised my trait of perfectionism from the honest feedback of my friends and mentors. They pointed out that I tend to procrastinate and waste many opportunities as I will only perform when I know that the outcomes will be “perfect”. I have many ideas and passions. Yet, I seldom executed the ideas and fulfilled the passions. Directly, I felt guilt and shame on myself and the thought of “I do not deserve to feel good” emerged. The thought was remunerating in my mind for years as I did not realise the harmful effect of my perfectionist behaviour on my study, career, and in my life.
To break the loop, I start to focus on execution and on managing my expectations. I remind myself of the vital learning I had – there is no perfect scenario; there is only best-fit execution. Also, focus on the presence to do things within my own capacity.
I am a Highly Empathetic Person
I am a highly empathetic person. It means that I could relate to people emotionally easily. I could sense emotions easily, either positive or negative emotions. I did not realise this trait of mine when I was younger. I only knew that I had always felt choking over my chest and throat when I was younger after listening to other people’s stories or conversations. Empathy is a skill that could be trained. Yet, a highly sensitive person like me tends to have higher empathy than others. The main hinder to a highly sensitive person or emphatic person is that the person does not know how to manage the emotions he/she received. I was in the scenario before.
In my early adolescence, I received many emotions as I started travelling to countries and places for volunteering. I met many people from diverse backgrounds. I met disabled people who survived the disastrous earthquake; I was touched by their resilience for surviving and felt emphatic about their marvellous act to help their community. I met a Sri Lankan refugee who was suffering from depression and PTSD; I felt terror and guilt from their experience. I had many feelings and emotions, but I did not know how to digest them and what to do with the emotions. Hence, I fell into the “I do not deserve” loop to feel good when those negative emotions arose. For example, I did not allow myself to have a rest when I was physically strained at work. I told myself: “I do not deserve to rest. Do you know there are so many people out there who are suffering for a living?”. I reminded myself that I had refugee friends who were suffering from much worse situations than me. The comparison made my condition worse.
Today, I have figured out what to do with the emotions, either positive or negative. I learned to resettle with the accumulated emotions: To do something or to let them go. I learn to be kind to myself. I have stopped comparing myself with other people and focus on “me”.
I took years to come out from the loop of “I do not deserve”. It was a journey to recognise my behaviour and my emotions. It will be a continuous journey for me as I have not entirely escaped from the loop. Most importantly, I see my progress through actions and my improved ability in embracing more intangible values in life.