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Are overachievers just trying to prove to themselves and others that they are worthy of love, life, and value in this world by their achievements? Is being an overachiever a gift from God that allows a person to push beyond limits and adversity in order to gain success in this world? I believe that it is a combination of both.

Growing up and then into adulthood I was always an overachiever. I was self motivated and self disciplined, and I always pushed myself beyond normal limits. For example no one ever had to tell me to do my homework. No one ever checked my backpack or my work at home. No one pushed me to sign up for the most advanced classes offered. I just did it on my own.

I studied in my room for hours at a time. I had other students calling me for help in Chemistry and Trigonometry and English. I even decided on my own to get special permission to take Chemistry and Physics at the same time my junior year of high school so that I would have more time in my schedule to take even higher level advanced placement classes my senior year.

When I started college my Freshman year I did not have to take Freshman English and I started out the semester taking Calculus instead of Algebra like most people because of all the work that I had done in high school. I did all of this just to “see if I could do it.” I pushed myself. I was a perfectionist.

I also pushed myself in dancing, athletics and in basically anything that I did. I would not wonder if my body could do something or not. I would just make my body do it no matter how painful it was.

I was constantly proving to myself and the world that I could do anything that I set my mind to do, that I was as intelligent as anyone, and that I had great skills.

I believe that this is a God-given gift. There is a reason that I am hard-wired to be this way. I am a limit pusher. I am a person created to break out of the box and reach beyond what the world may tell me that I can or cannot do, and that is a gift. I can use that to do something great for the world.

However I also believe that this gift can also be used to feed a deep down longing to feel worthy and valuable. I believe that for other over achievers and for myself this drive to do more and more than is expected or even believed possible can come from a deep inner feeling of unworthiness.

We have to continuously prove our worth by showing that we can be successful and that we can do more than others believe that we can do.

I remember having thoughts like “I may be tiny and I may be a girl, but I can beat this guy in a race and I can score higher than him on the Calculus exam.” And I would do it.

That is competitiveness that comes from feeling that others underestimated me and my potential. I do not know where these messages came from. Somewhere I got the message deep down that I was not seen as valuable or good enough in this world. For some reason subconsciously I felt unworthy. It was never a thought in the forefront of my mind. I never thought, “I have to prove my worth because I feel unworthy.” My actions were just showing that I carried this belief. And many times it was tied up in my being female.

There seems to be at the core of many people and especially at the core of girls and women around the world that we are not as good. We are not as valuable, as capable, as intelligent, etc, and I spent much of my life pushing myself to prove that wrong over and over.

And I did.

I do not want to lose the gift of being a person who can push beyond limits. That is at the core of who I am, but somehow I do want to lose the deep core belief that I am never good enough. I want to help other over achievers to see that we are worthy of love, respect, value, and everything good in life even if we never achieve another thing in life.

I am especially passionate about this for women because it is such a rampant disease among women world wide…..the disease of feeling “less than” no matter how much we achieve and how confidently we portray ourselves.

Girls are constantly getting subtle and sometimes blatant messages from our culture, other cultures, and even our own homes that we are at least a little lower on the totem pole than boys. Sometimes the message is more severe in that we are downright second or third class citizens or that we are property in a way or that we need men to guide us and direct us in the world.

I remember being in high school and being floored when I heard my good girl friends saying that they would trust a man gynecologist more than a woman even though I pointed out that a woman should know more about women’s issues than men. They said that men were smarter. And one of these girls had the highest GPA in our class! When I asked her to explain this to me she said that it was just because the boys were not trying! These kind and highly intelligent girls really believed these negative things about themselves! My blood boiled, and it still does as I see evidence of these negative self images in girls and women everywhere…..even in myself as I constantly feel the need to prove myself and my worth.

We are constantly bombarded with these negative images and ideas of ourselves from both men and women, and frankly, it hurts.

I have come to the understanding in life that when I am passionate about an issue so much that my blood boils then it means that I have a purpose surrounding that issue. There is something that God created me to do and hard-wired me to do to address this issue because I am extremely passionate about it. I do not know yet exactly how it is to play out, but I do know that it begins with me learning and truly believing in my deepest self that I am worthy, valuable, lovable and as good as anyone in this world male or female.

As I do the hard work to come to that truth within myself  I will then be able to spread it to others more effectively, and that is an exciting prospect. I will use my God-given gift of limit pushing to push beyond these horrible lies about female unworthiness and to spread the truth of who we really are.

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