When I was a child, I wanted to be like everyone else. But I could not, even though I tried hard.
I tried to prove I am like everyone else.
Then slowly, things changed.
After a while, what I wanted to prove was that I can do things that nobody else.
I wanted to prove I can win math competitions. — I did.
I wanted to prove I can code. — I did.
Then I wanted to prove I can get applied to the university. — I could.
There I had to prove that as a minority (girl) I can be “good enough” amongst the majority (boys). — So I did.
I had to prove that I can work AND study at the same time to survive. — So I worked hard, studied hard, and yes, eventually I got my MSc. while working almost full-time by that time.
I already came a long way but it was still not enough.
Shortly after I got my diploma, I also got an opportunity to speak at international conferences. So here was another thing to prove: I can be good enough even though my native language is not English.
I had to prove that I can be good enough as someone from a country far far away.
Then after a while speaking at events was not enough.
I started to work on international projects. And I wanted to prove I was good enough, even if I live in a country far far away, and my native language is not English.
And belonging. I wanted to belong so much. I have always been introvert, so belonging to the “cool guys” always seemed impossible.
But I wanted it so much. I wanted to prove that I can belong there.
My worries have always been that I am a girl/woman, I am from a crazy country far far away called Hungary, and I speak English as a second language. I was sure there is no way I can be “good enough”.
It might sound insane but at the same time, I did not know how to “belong” to somewhere other than family either.
I knew how to fight for my studies, for a job, for a speaking engagement… but one cannot fight for “belonging”, right? And since I was always busy with fighting for something, for getting the next step of my life done, I never learned or thought about how to belong somewhere.
And to be honest, I was also afraid to “belong”…
Of course, over the time, I met more and more introvert and like-minded people, and I am grateful to say that I even made friends.
But that crazy need of proving still was there.
After a while, I could not really tell anymore what I really should prove but I still felt the pressure.
And then something happened.
I am still not sure when but I started to feel that I need more “me time”. Which might sound counterproductive…
I started to work out, and I started to pay attention to my own well-being.
I thought it was important because of myself, and it was important because of my family, too.
But actually, it also had an unexpected side effect…
As I started to feel better, I started to have more and more self-confidence, too.
And this increasing self-confidence resulted in less and less self-doubt. And also, less and less doubt in others.
Now, I trust who I know I can trust but I was afraid to really trust earlier. I know who my friends are and I am so happy to call them friends.
Also, now I am not afraid anymore to think I belong to these friends of mine.
Apparently, I needed the self-confidence and to be able to accept myself first, so that finally I can believe the world accepts me for who I am, too, and I don’t have to prove anything, anymore.
This is such a liberating feeling!
Thank you everyone, who has been part of my journey! You know who you are.
There is still a long way ahead but finally I know I am on the right path.