You all have been nothing short of AMAZING since my ‘confession’. I was terrified of putting my dream, myself really, out there for you all to see, and the love, support, and encouragement that you all of sent my way is nothing short of empowering. Most of you, though, did ask me a question: Why? Why did I feel like I needed to keep this a secret? It is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, most of you were not surprised at all that I wanted to write a book. I even got a couple “It’s about time!” comments.
That “Why?” is a great one to ask. Where did my self-doubt come from? It happened to be asked of me around the same time as a similar topic of conversation was had at my work. It was about self-esteem and when we started to lose ours. The question was asked “Do you remember one specific moment in your life when someone else made you doubt yourself?” This was another hard question for me to answer.
I don’t ever recall one specific moment, not even a small one, of anyone telling me that wasn’t good enough, didn’t look good enough, or wasn’t smart enough. Saying that, I am sure that there were in actuality many, MANY times when those things were said to me, or about me. I simply chose not to listen to them. The credit for this strong sense of self goes straight to my parents, who have done a great job of raising me to be strong and independent (I’m sure there were times that they thought they were doing too well of a job, also!), and to my expanded family, who never once allowed me to think that I couldn’t achieve anything that I set my mind to.
So, back to the original question; where in the HELL does my self-doubt come from? It has really made me think, and I’ll admit, threw me off my game for a few days. One of my co-workers during our self-esteem discussion said that any time she began to doubt, the voice of her step father would sound in her mind, a man that had abused her mentally and emotionally since she was a young girl. So, what does the voice of my self-doubt sound like? Who is it hanging out up there in the shadows, waiting for a dream to stroll by so they can jump out and chase it away, all while laughing like a crazed maniac?
Me. That voice is mine. Mine, mine … mine. Unfortunately, I found that answer quick and easy. What wasn’t so easy was the follow up – Why? (I’m noticing a trend, are you?) This one is what I’ve been hung up on for a few days, at least until this morning. The answer popped up front and center while I was sitting down to write.
Of all of the things that I’ve done, all the goals that I’ve chased, the situations I’ve dealt with, the dreams that I’ve followed, writing a book and having it published is the ONE thing that I don’t know that I can succeed at. That’s right. I know that I can write, I can put words on paper and most of the time they flow together in a way that is entertaining and pleasing to some. What I don’t know is if this book will get published – which is what I really am dreaming about. To see my book in a book store on display – that would just be mind-freaking-blowing! And that is completely, 100%, out of my control. I can write whatever I want, but someone has to like it enough to take a chance and put it out in a store. But I can’t let the “What if no one likes it?” be the catalyst for my self-doubt anymore. Nothing will get accomplished that way.
Realizing all of the above, I am so glad that I’ve finally turned around to look my self-doubt – me, really – in the eye and say, “Self, I realized that there are many times that your doubt has kept me safe. Like the many times you have stopped me from driving too fast, or jumping off of something way too high when I was a kid. It is probably because of you that I can say that I have never broken a bone or been seriously injured due to my own stupidity. And I thank you for your attentiveness. But I really need you to back away from my dreams. I know there is potential for me to get hurt emotionally, but we both know that I am strong enough to deal with that when the time comes. I can’t get a book into a book store without writing it first, and write I must! Even if it doesn’t get into a book store, even if everyone hates it, the book needs to be written. So, again, I thank you for your attempt to help, but in this area, I don’t need – nor want- it.
And to think that I said all of that without actually realizing that I did … that is a subject matter for another time.
Happy writing, and happy dreaming~
PS ~ Please, go tell your own self-doubt to protect something other than your dreams for a while. Life is too short to let yourself protect you from yourself. Love.