Many years ago, I was sitting in my living room, on my furry regal purple rug. I plugged my neon green earphones into my iPhone, took out a white sheet of paper and a teal pen and dialled my coach. I was in my first year of building my coaching business and drowning under punishing anxiety, caused by fear of uncertainty, and worn down by the "marketing grind", with a looming (but illusionary) threat of going back to a 9-to-5 jail cell.
I was always able to achieve anything I set my mind to. So far. So why was I "failing" and why couldn't I cash flow my business like the "Millionaire Mindset" and "Make $90k in 90 days" people said? I felt (even though it wasn't true) that my business was tanking, and tanking fast! "I could lose everything! This condo, this purple rug, these Bose earphones, everything!" I thought.
I started the call with a long deep inhale... then exhaled, “I’m not where I want to be.”
Then everything went pitch black and deathly silent. Wait, what? Did I faint? No... I'm still sitting vertically on my rug. Time passed. Not sure how much. Then I heard big clumpy tears fall on my white sheet of paper, splat, splat, splat. Followed by “I hate where I am... I hate being here... I hate being... me.”
When my coach articulated that we had 5min left, meaning I cried for a straight 45min on our hour-long session, I thought to myself, "Great use of time and money, you dipshit!" I would NEVER say that to anyone else, but I said it to myself. Years later, upon reflecting on this journal entry, I recognized, "Is this what self-hatred sounds like?"
And then in an instant, this conversation between my dad and I flashed before my eyes.
Me: I got my highest grade ever! 99%!!!
Dad:Where did the 1% go?
Me: I got my highest class average ever! 100%!!!
Dad: Were there no bonus points you could earn?
Me: I got 109% on my programming project!
Dad: Where did the 1% go?
Me: I got 150% on my graphic simulation project.
Dad: Doctors make more money.
Me: I'm starting my web design company.
Dad: Shouldn't you be studying harder to become a doctor?
Me: I'm going to study International Development so I can save the world.
Dad:Doctors save more lives.
Me: I completed a Bachelor of Engineering with honors on full scholarship fur you!
Dad: Doctors make twice more money than engineers?
Me: I put $10,000 of my own money to buy you guys a car that has heating.
Dad: Why did you buy a Japanese car? Damn Japan.
Me: I'm expanding my digital consultancy.
Dad: When will you get a real job?
Me: I'm using my technical expertise to help Action Contre la Faim (ACF) end world hunger.
Dad: Did you know YouTube sold for $1.65 billion?
Me: I put $20,000 of my own money to buy you guys a townhouse so you can retire comfortably in Vancouver.
Dad: How come there's no garage?
Me: I'm using my technical skills to help Doctors Without Borders (MSF) save lives worldwide. Look, dad, real doctors!
Dad: Did you know Microsoft offered Yahoo $44.6 billion?
Me: I bought my first home on my own dime!!! No trust fund, no inheritance, no loan from you and mom.
Dad: Why are you getting a mortgage and paying the bank interest?
Me: I'm leading a profitable coaching business to help entrepreneurs self-actualize!
Dad: But what about a pension? What happened to the real doctors?
This is how self-hatred is sown, how it grows roots, and how it invades and rots every fiber of self-esteem a child has. Not his fault. As Jung says,
The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of its parents.
When I returned from that flash, I heard my coach say, “I’m right here beside you. And you are exactly where you need to be.”
I had no idea that it would be another 6 years before I was able to purge all that self-hatred out. At the time, I didn't even know it was self-hatred!!! I fought this truth "that you are exactly where you need to be" for 6 years with raging questions such as, "I did EVERYTHING right: I got straight A’s, bought my parents a car and a townhouse, I had a brilliant career with the United Nations and and and! What else could you POSSIBLY want from me? When would it EVER be enough? When would *I* ever be enough?
Even though self-hatred has left my body, the answer to that last question can still sometimes be "Never." And that's ok. We are not our feelings. We are not our thoughts.
Can you relate? Tell me your version of this conversation. Was it with your mom, perhaps?