Achievers and Self Worth

I have come across many men and women who are high achievers or perfectionists (type A personalities as they are called) in life – who are always striving to be better in everything they do, seeking perfection out of everything including themselves. A lot of times the deep rooted emotion is of low self worth. A person with low self worth constantly seeks to achieve point A and once reached there its not good enough so the new goal is A+and then A++ and so on. This is not a generalization but my observation in working with many client over the years and also personal experience (since I am one of those high achievers who had low self worth earlier). Many times the root cause of this low self worth is highly controlling and disciplinarian parents (that was not true in my case but there were other reasons) who want the best for their kids and their kids to be the best.


A age 50 yrs is a very successful professional. He has a very good reputation among his peer group and is doing very well for himself. He doesn’t know the meaning of relaxation – he is a workoholic and used to take pride in the fact that he works 7 days a week. At times he would work non -stop from Tuesday evening to Friday morning and still feel he was strong like a horse. Physically he is very fit – doing gymming, yoga (physical asanas) etc and looks healthy and fit. He loves his work a lot.
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However he is struggling with an auto immune condition called Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer), Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), insomnia. All are stress driven life style ailments. Upon talking to him I realized for him everything was about “fear”. He was afraid of what people will think of his condition, Fear of being ridiculed about his past karmas to have brought upon this on him, Fear of how he will look due to the skin discolorment, Fear of what will happen to his career and life and his dependant family and lastly Fear of what will happen if cancer spreads – to life itself. Everything for him was about fear – and mostly outwardly driven. Somewhere I sensed he was constantly trying to do better – again driven by fear of being unsuccessful


During the regression session we went to his childhood where he was brought up very strictly by his parents who wanted him to study well. Beatings were a constant feature and at times in front of guests. Being humiliated all the time was how he was growing up. Parents of course thought they were helping him by pushing him to do his best…and they probably succeeded – but at what cost they couldn’t comprehend. Even A’s conscious mind probably justified the parent’s action upon growing up and attributed all his success to his hard driving parents – but never realized the impact it had on the small child that he was then. The constant need to outdo himself, the need to be acceptable, to be better and better outwardly are all rooted in this upbringing – deep inside the feeling of not being good enough and constant pressure on ownself to do better.


Once we did the transformation and inner child work he started feeling better…but we have a long way to go. In one session itself he started feeling he was able to let go much more than before, he was able to accept a few things not going his way and still let it not affect him much.


He also realized he was doing the same to his kids and was having same standards of expectation from them. He is trying to break that pattern now.


Of course in this case there is a huge need to work on de-stressing, teaching the person how to relax the mind and body, how to breathe and use the breath for calming the thoughts and how to alter the lifestyle to respect the body and mind. Yoga therapy and Mind based therapies (Hypnotherapy, Past Life Regression Therapy etc) both are required and the journey continues….


The reason for sharing this is that we all need to be aware of what is driving us and to what ends. We may be thinking being the best at work, having the best house, car, social life means we have achieved it all – but just one such ailment can shatter it all. If you had parents who were abusive and demanding or if you recollect a childhood of discipline, beatings, humiliation and have justified all along as being good for you, then u may want to change ur thinking. Are you doing same for your kids? If you ask any therapist they will tell you how damaging these beatings and punishments are for the psyche of the children – esp when done on a regular basis.

Unfortunately the abusive pattern continues over generations – unknowingly! You may want to revisit those events with a therapist and let out the blocked energies you may be holding as the traumatized child – which may be causing some of ur present day problems – even being a perfectionist and over achiever is a problem in the long run!!

Children growing up like this find it hard to love themselves – they always think they are not good enough – and at times this is cleverly disguised under a mask of high confidence and charming personality. Inside they find it hard to love others as well and find relationships very painful. And from my experience a lot of these low self worth individuals appear extremely confident, impressive and suave on the outside – being the cause of envy of many!!

Ririi Trivedi
p.s. this write up is not so that you start being judgemental about every achiever you see – its to open up our minds and hearts to check within – and correct some misconceptions we may have about our own selves!