Somewhere along the way I made up that in order to be loved or safe or to avoid disappointing others, I needed to do everything good or right. I believe kids without one of their parents grow up with a deep yearning for love and affection they miss out on. I sure did.
When I was a boy and up through my 20's the feedback was pretty consistent, at least in my own head. Do a really good job, work as hard as you can, do something well enough to earn attention (love) from your coach, teacher, boss or other people's parents that you wished we're yours.
I say "at least in my own head" because I'm the one that made the connection: better performance = more love and affection.
Believe me, this way of "doing life" drove me to get good grades (when I tried), to do well in the Army, graduate college, land a six figure job and make a few high school baseball teams.
Here's the problem: when you do life this way, you don't believe you are worthy to be loved unless you are constantly achieving or performing and of course, you have to do bigger, better and faster all the time, everyday, in every setting.
The two biggest impacts of "doing life" this way are:
1. You never get to be loved just for the special, unique gift you are to the planet and that is what you are. You are worthy to be loved because you breathe. The idea that your lovability is based on what you do is a source of perpetual misery.
2. Your performance will always have a ceiling and a breaking point. When your performance is driven by a will to please others, you lose your own creative voice. Fundamentally, you are controlling yourself into doing well and even the most controlling can only control for so long before you withdraw and self-destruct.
Take on this practice: The path out of this cycle is noticing, yep just noticing, whenever you are judging your performance and basing your lovability or value based on what you do and how you did it.
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