I used to believe that being on television was going to save me. No matter how messy my life got and how much I hated myself, my career in television gave me a pass into the party. Yes, my finances were in the toilet, I drank too much and my relationships were in shambles but I was on a television show so I must be worthy of your time, right? That's pretty twisted thinking. My self-esteem was really low and I thought a successful career could save me.
This isn't an uncommon story. I've counseled many people desperate to stay in unhealthy relationships, obsessed with becoming the most successful in their field or striving to be the most attractive person in the room. A lot of the time our "need to succeed" blossoms from an overwhelming fear of failure. Why are we so afraid to fail? What does it mean when things don't go as planned? It's in the willingness to ask these questions that you learn a new approach to goal-setting.
I thought that if I could maintain a successful television career I would be worthy enough to be loved. Making goals from a feeling of unworthiness crossed over into most of my professional ventures. If I wasn't a success then I didn't know what I had to offer. I would fantasize about my friends and family rolling their eyes in disappointment (but not surprise) by my failures. It was a great motivator. The only problem was all the anxiety and frustration I experienced in the process.
When it was made clear that I believed I had to earn other people's love, I stopped in my tracks. I instantly drew a line and connected all the dots from the past. The competition and comparison, the 7-day work weeks and everything else I pushed aside in the name of "work" came to the surface. I denied myself so many fun opportunities because I didn't believe I was worthy of them yet. The need to prove something had become a way of life and I was exhausted. And unfulfilled. And resentful.
This is when I started to get clear on how I'd like to feel and who I'd like to be while moving towards goals that felt inspiring. I gave myself permission to have more fun and I started to acknowledge all the successes that I've already had. Today I keep my attention on where I'd like to go and do my best to stay flexible and fluid. I incorporate gratitude practices into my routine because it helps lifts me up and reminds me of what is really working in my life. The more I focus on all the good stuff, the more it multiplies.
Most importantly, I stand in a commitment to love myself unconditionally. All the positive qualities that I in-joy are byproducts of my willingness to practice self-love and care. My Spiritual practice helps a lot. I've noticed that the more I incorporate Spirituality into my life the more expansive the vision becomes because I know anything is possible. Healing the wounds of unworthiness didn't cost me my drive, it enhanced it. When you realize that there's nothing to lose it's hard to be afraid. And when you love yourself you understand that there's nothing to prove.
Jesse Brune-Horan is a Spiritual teacher and whole living expert. He's the co-founder & Spiritual director of Inspire Spiritual Community, a non-profit organization supporting the LGBTQ+ community. He's the host of the podcast "LGBTQ+ and Spiritual", and co-host of the lifestyle series "Super Easy with Jesse and Alison." He lives and Loves in Los Angeles with his husband Christopher and their family.