I had a meltdown on the side of a mountain. I went skiing in Utah and on the second run, I ended up on a slope that was way out of my league. I fell 4 or 5 times face first, and then I froze. I was exhausted and paralyzed with anxiety and I had no idea how to move forward. I wanted to give up. I wanted to lie there for the rest of my life and just be done.
Anyone looking at me from the outside would have thought that I was acting crazy. I was stuck on the mountain in the middle of the path with a lodge just a few hundred feet away. And by the time I finally got down, I was practically in tears. To be honest, I’m still working through what I was thinking and feeling. It puts a knot in my stomach just thinking back to that moment. But what I do know is that the voice in my head kept saying “I can’t, I can’t” and part of what I was feeling was that I wasn’t enough. Not just that I need some lessons, but a feeling of deep inadequacy within me that said my very being wasn’t enough. That I was never going to be enough.
I’ve felt this feeling before, in another situation where I felt stuck - though it was a much more metaphorical stuckness. It was several years ago when I had just quit my job and was staring a new career. Just like on the mountain, fear and anxiety would take over and I would feel paralyzed with indecision. Unable to see the road ahead, and feeling like I had no control, I felt I wasn’t enough.
But this is just the story I’ve been telling myself. The story is so strong, that by the end of that run, even safely in the lodge, I was ready to quit skiing – an activity I’ve done since I was a kid. Sure, it was a completely irrational thought. But the story of not being enough runs deep.
Of course, that feeling of not being enough is false. Of course I’m enough. Like anything in life, sometimes you fail. Sometimes you fail a lot before succeeding. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get better, right? I eventually calmed down and decided to take some lessons. I got my confidence back pretty quickly.