Unfrenemy Yourself by Estela Caballero

“Things are too good.  It scares me.”  How could I be worried about something like things running too smoothly?  I had a vision in my head of what a good life would look like and now that it appeared I was in the thick of something good, I couldn’t stop worrying.  Why?

Unfrenemy yourself if it comes to it.  It’s a real word now and certainly a real thing.  Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy.  Procrastination, letting others put you down or being overly hard on yourself are some of the sneaky and mean things we do to ourselves.  Here’s a quick self test– how do you respond when someone compliments you?  If someone says, “Hey, I like your shirt!  You always look like you just stepped out of a fashion magazine” do you quickly tell them it’s your sister’s outfit and if they saw what your real style was like they would have to call the fashion police?  There is a difference between arrogance and being able to accept and acknowledge that someone wants to call out your awesomeness.  Whether it’s fashion or a job well done at work, how about responding with a thank you and throw that negative self talk out the window.  It can be uncomfortable at first.  Here’s my advice– practice. I’m pretty sure you deserve it!

After you’ve mastered the thank you, it’s time to start working on that list of things you started but always push off until later.  If something is really out of reach and the only option is to wait on it– wait.  If you find that you have an excuse for every thing on your list, what’s really stopping you?  For a while, fear stopped me dead in my tracks.  Sure, I was afraid of failing and what people would say or think– for a while.  If I was able to move past that, sometimes the fear of succeeding at something would send a thunderbolt of fear back at me.  I know it sounds crazy but I convinced myself that the familiar was just fine, even if I knew there was something more. I once talked myself out of even applying for a job I knew I was qualified for.  By the end of the talk with myself I was convinced I was nuts for even thinking about applying.  For three years, I put off taking an exam for a professional certification that could open up so many doors.  I had taken practice exams, studied and paid a non refundable deposit each year only to cancel at the last minute.  I took back my future from fear and then took the test.  I walked out of that building with my unofficial score– I passed the test. Self-sabotage is an ugly cycle but the good news is that it starts and ends with you.  You have a choice.  It’s your life.  Drive!

I was a young– way too young mother but I never really dropped out for long.  I quickly passed small milestones like getting my GED and enrolling in courses at a community college.  My transcripts could be the soundtrack to my life with their rise and fall—  sweeping silences for many quarters.  When I stopped going to school in 10th grade I received a letter from the principal.  I am surprised I opened it.  It was a letter that cemented my frenemy for many years.  The letter said that if I was unable to complete high school, what hopes did I have of ever finishing anything.  It went on and on and perhaps if the tone had been that of “How can I help you?” and less mightier than thou I would have called and asked how I could finish high school– I did just need a little help.  I was 16 and had a child.  He was the principal and surely had heard of the pregnant 9th grader.  Now before you go to far down the path of “Where were her parents?” and that this story is what’s wrong with society, take a step back.  That’s a graduation picture down there.  I pay taxes and have a great job as an HR Manager.  I unfrenemied myself but I needed some help.  I share this to you potential letter writers, like my old principal–  the pen is mightier than the sword.  Use it wisely.

It wasn't just my dream anymore.
It wasn’t just my dream anymore. That’s me with my mom and my grandmother graduating from a university!

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