A common piece of advice is to prove that you can do something - to yourself, not to others. At some point, I must have internalized it. The problem is, it doesn’t work. In fact, it’s actively harmful.

Well, okay, it does - only up to a point. Until you get to the edge of your abilities. Then failure starts to become more frequent. Your self starts to berate you. It tries to trick you into trying harder by telling you that you’re no good. That worked in the past. Now you start to believe the lies. It starts having the opposite effect. You start to avoid failure to deny your self the opportunity to scold you. You want to be safe. You stop trying. Your self has transformed into the “others” that you so desperately wanted to avoid proving anything to.

How can you get out of this rut? Start by attempting to understand what your self means. Maybe you don’t have to prove anything to it. Maybe you don’t have to listen to it. Maybe you can ignore it. Maybe you can begin to understand the real Self.