Whether I want to admit it or not, I need to feel of value, I need to feel needed and wanted and important and relevant. I need to be valid or validated. Is this an ego fetish of mine? Or am I that insecure?
Recently, I spent a lot of time and energy going after two different projects. Each was with a client that had known and worked with me before. Each was doing a project that I am completely qualified, even over-qualified to do and I felt very comfortable measuring up to the task of the presentation, the interview, the jury selection and the award of the projects. The problem was, they were in two different states and would require substantial travel and time commitment away from home, and would drive me crazy in trying to figure out how to do both of them at the same time - basically they had the same magnitude of scope and schedule.
My wife told me I was crazy to go after both projects. I really don't need the work, but I felt this overwhelming need to prove to myself that I was worthy of and valid as a professional by being accepted by these respective clients. Why is that? Why was it so important to prove to myself that I'm needed, and wanted, and valid? Why do I need constant validation to assure my personal worth?
As it turns out, I was awarded one of the two projects. Actually, I should be happy that I didn't get both, (and as it turns out, my wife's prayers were answered in my not getting both), but I immediately went into a withdrawal and emotional let-down over the project that didn't select me. Why wasn't I selected? What did I do wrong? Why was I not viewed as being "of value" or of "worth" to them? It was a real ego blow! I felt unwanted and unworthy.
Why is it so important to be "accepted"? Why does it hurt so much when I'm not? Why do I need such self-checks to "know" that I'm all right, instead of inherently just knowing that I'm okay with myself without external rewards or awards or recognitions?
We all need to feel needed and wanted and "of value" to others. We seek for grades and recognitions at school. We are trained from an early age to accept and desire praise and to be worthy of the love and admiration of others, of our parents and family, of our friends. We seek confirmation of the spirit to feel the Lord's love and praise and support in our lives. One of the YW values is "individual worth".
A couple of scriptures come to mind regarding "sparrows falling", or "hairs of our head being numbered" (Matthew 10:29-31) as well as "the worth of souls being great" (D&C 18:10). The Lord is constantly reminding us of our validity, of our godliness, of our potential, of our capacity to be like Him. And yet, I constantly feel like I don't measure up. Oft times, I fall short of the mark. Sometimes, I just don't get the job.
Again, I didn't need the job. Getting the job would have been the worst thing for me. I have no man-power to perform and receiving the job and then not being able to perform would be even worse. It would be detrimental on my health, on my family-life, on my spirituality. I know this - and yet, I wanted it - just to know that I was "loved" and "wanted" and "praiseworthy" of another client.
Now how sick is that?
Now how sick is that?
I've always tried to "measure up". I've maintained the list, and checked the boxes...
- I'm an eagle scout, not because I loved scouting (I hated it!!!), but because it was expected of me to earn the award.
- I'm was a straight-A student for the most part, not because I was smart, but because my parents expected nothing but the best from me and I felt a drive to prove that I was worthy of their respect and praise and did everything I could to "get that 'A'" not because I wanted to learn or loved learning, but because I wanted to please them.
- I went on a mission because I had a testimony, yes, but I also went because it was expected of me, and I didn't want to disappoint anyone, and I wanted to feel of value for doing what I should be doing. (Actually, the one time I really felt human and full of the spirit, and connecting to people was toward the end of my mission when I really didn't care what the mission president thought of me, or what leadership position I held, or how many baptisms I had, or how many discussions I taught, etc... it was when I just felt the spirit and did what my heart told me to do!)
- I married my one and only sweetheart because I miraculously fell in love despite my attractions for men (that were mostly hidden and non-cognitive), but I also married her because I was "supposed" to do this, and it would lead to other blessings and "acceptance in the kingdom", thus leading to validity as a man, as a priesthood holder. I wanted to be included, to be part of the team, a participant in the plan, taking the steps that lead to more validation... of family, of friends, of God...
- I was always an outsider, the different one. I wasn't the most handsome. I was the nerd. I was uncoordinated and always the last to be picked on the ball-team. I'm a home-body. I'm a loner. I'm an overachiever. I'm envious. I don't like myself. (I know, I know... time for a "poor Beck" shout-out!)
- Rarely have I been accepted by men. I have felt different and isolated from them, envious of all that they are and all that I am not. My eagerness to stay on the "straight and narrow" because I should be doing so as it was and is expected of me, may have suppressed my attractions at times, and allowed me to stay in the closet for so long, and allowed me to live a "straight life" as a married family man for as long as I have - all, for the most part of seeking acceptance, normalcy, honor, sustaining from the Church, from my family, from God.
- I am not accepted as a gay man in my daily existence. I hide it. I hide myself. I'm not included. I'm apart. I desire intimacy that I can't have. I seek for touch that is forbidden. I can't cross over because I'm "good" and it "wouldn't be praiseworthy".
- It continues even here. I blog, at times, for acceptance and validity and personal-worth from this blogging community. I seek inclusion. I desire comments and search for connections and self-validity as others value my experience.
It's all sick!!! This whole existence of mine, including this blog, my career, my family life - it's all for "getting the grade" or "checking the box", or "being obedient for the reward" or "receiving the project"! It's for others, for wrong reasons, for impure motives... all in the name of "validation"...
I should have gotten that job... then I wouldn't have worried so much about being so invalid...
When will I ever be happy with JUST BEING ME!