“Who the hell do you think you are?” Says the voice in my head over and over.
Why would anyone care what you have to say?
What makes you think you are interesting enough to follow?
Other words that can be swapped out for interesting are- smart, pretty, influential, original, creative……)
Ever since I decided that I was making a shift and starting this blog, the spiritual warfare has been rough. The self doubt has taken over and I have been stuck in my own head a lot.
Starting a personal blog is a very vulnerable thing to do, and I happen to be doing it at a time in my life that I am feeling especially fragile.
I just read (okay, listened to. I am an audio book/podcast junkie) Big Magic: Creative Living Beyong Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. I highly recommend it for anyone who considers themselves to be creative (which, by the way, should be everyone). In the beginning of the book, she lists off a bunch of fears that creative people tend to have and that keeps them from pursuing their dreams and passions.
“You’re afraid you have no talent.
You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or worst of all…ignored.
You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity and therefore no point in pursuing it
You’re afraid somebody else already did it better
You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark
You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously
You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life
You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing
You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back at your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort and money
You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline
You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space or financial freedom or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration
You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree
You’re afraid you’re too fat (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list for good measure)
You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack or a fool or a dilettante or a narcissist
You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal
You’re afraid of what your peers and co workers will say if you express your personal truth aloud
You’re afraid of unleashing your inner most demons and you really don’t want to encounter your inner most demons
You’re afraid your best work is behind you
You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with
You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back
You’re afraid you’re too old to start
You’re afraid you’re too young to start
You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again
You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life so why bother trying
You’re afraid of being a one hit wonder
You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder”
If this list resonates with you at all, you may or may not find yourself crying in your kitchen while trying to put groceries away, and then a puddle on the floor. Oh, just me?
Every. Single. One. Nail on the head.
I know this isn’t unique to me. I have to sometimes get out of my own head and look at myself and my current situation objectively. I understand, of course, that someone who has recently gone through a lot of change (a move, closing my business, kids out of diapers for the first time in 10 years, littlest babe starting preschool) would question their place and identity in the world, and along with that comes all kinds of doubt. If you don’t know where you are, it’s hard to understand where it is you are going.
I have been spiraling in my own head since closing up my handmade shop that has identified me as “business owner” for the past eight years. I’ve lamented about it and whined to all of my friends, I’ve talked Husband’s ear off. I’ve decided it’s all too overwhelming and gone to take naps. But the truth is, every single new thing you could do in your life is vulnerable.
Showing up is vulnerable.
Showing up to the bus stop with my girls felt like the most vulnerable thing I could do when we moved here. Walking into a new church full of strangers is uncomfortable. Going to coffee or lunch with someone I have just met…better yet, ASKING someone to have coffee or lunch that I have just met opens me up to rejection. It feels easier sometimes to stay in my house and hide, or only interact with my tried and true friendships, instead of trying to start new ones.
When I know I’m reacting out of fear of the unknown, author Glennon Doyle’s words come to mind, “Just do the next right thing one thing at a time.” We don’t have to look at all of the big scary change all at once, but what is the one step in the right direction?
For me it can be as simple as making my bed, folding laundry, taking a shower, putting on makeup, turning off my social media, doing one helpful thing for my family or going for a run outside.
What is the next right thing for you?
What does showing up look like in your life?
What thing or things are you avoiding in fear of judgment or rejection?
What fear or obstacle do you need to overcome to live as your true self?