“Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.”
I’ve been experiencing writer’s block lately. The words aren’t flowing easily like they used to. My mind is clouded. I feel stuck.
I thought maybe it was because I lost all desire to write. Maybe it’s just not for me. Or maybe it’s because my life isn’t so exciting right now. Then it hit me. It’s none of that. It’s because I’m telling myself things that aren’t true.
Nothing kills creativity like self-doubt.
I recently found out that someone I once cared about (and still do) got engaged. I saw the photo and thought, “Wow. They look like the happiest two people on the planet. And I’m not sure I can ever have that…since I’ve failed at it already.”
Then I saw a photo of another him with another her. Their smiles were enormous. The look in their eyes was one of hope. The love was oozing out of my laptop. I guess I wasn’t good enough…
At work, clients and colleagues had me questioning if I knew what I was doing. I imagined them talking about how incapable I was behind my back. Maybe I’m actually not good at my job. Or maybe it was because I wore those weird pants that one time.
I fell down a nasty spiral of self-doubt. Why couldn’t I make him smile like that? Am I not smart enough? Does everyone else have a book deal but me? Does everyone else have it figured out but me? I can’t cook anyway. No one reads my shit anyway. It’s just that I’ve been eating too much queso.
Change your thoughts and you change your world.
These negative thoughts affected my confidence, which affected my outlook. They affected my thinking, which affected my writing.
I struggle with this often. With the seesaw ride of appreciating my story and criticizing my story. But really, I have two options: Build myself up or tear myself down. The former seems like the better route, right? Because the alternative will only hold me back in life. And I’ve got things to do. No time for doubt.
The road not taken was not taken for a reason.
Reality check. The truth is, I have created a pretty sweet existence for myself. One full of laughter, adventure, love. I have this rare opportunity to do things over and I am. I have a zest for life and a desire to experience it in a way that I never have before. I enjoy writing and I’m finally doing it so who cares what anyone else thinks. And that life, their life, isn’t for me. THIS kick ass life IS.
It’s easy to get lost in a sea of self-doubt when we forget to take care of our own needs or when we compare ourselves to others. Especially easy when we don’t acknowledge the truth. Facebook photos only say so much. The life you are living now–the way you choose to live it–says more.
This past week, I spent time with a few friends who have known me for more than a decade. One reminded me that we all experience these negative thoughts and that I am not alone. Another told me to be more protective, edgier, with defending the life I’ve created…the Fi I’ve become. The other, who typically picks on me like a big brother, surprised me with, “If I had to bet money on anyone, I would bet money on you.”
Self-doubt can be a troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back. It can keep you from seizing your opportunities. It can make getting started on things or finishing them harder than they need to be.
Sometimes, the reassurance that you are not the only one who gets stuck or has moments like these can make all the difference. The key is being aware of these road blocks, stopping the backward dialogue, taking a break and saying “yes” to your power.
Most importantly, get out of your own way. The only person’s expectations you have to meet are yours. So be nice to yourself. Stand tall. Be the rock star you truly are.
Yeah…I guess I’d bet money on me, too.