Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Holding Yourself Back

There are few things in this world I dislike more than people telling me to "just do it" or give me inspirational quotes when I'm feeling down. Hate it. I already feel crummy hearing 'tried and true' phrases like "everyone goes through this" or, "Just power through it" or, "you'll get there." They're all nice phrases. People mean well when they say them, and lots of writers need to hear them and are heartened by them. But not me. I'm weird like that.

I think I find them annoying because so many people use them. Kind of like when friends talk about a movie so much that it makes you hate it and never want to see it. But this isn't about how much I hate phrases. Today I want to talk about an epiphany I had recently and it's sort of rocked my world. And then shook it. And then kind of pancaked me and poured syrup ontop to lessen the blow.

A phrase that people say often is, "You're the only one holding yourself back."



You can say these phrases (and that particular phrase) to yourself all the time and never actually believe it.  Or feel it. Or feel it and believe it. I once took a counseling class on how to counsel through grief, anger, and depression.  And my teacher said a profound thing that I keep in my mind every day:

People don't go to you with problems because they don't know what to do. They go to you with problems because they know the answers and they just want to make sure that what they're thinking or the decision their making is valid or right.

Mind. BLOWN. You're never going to be ready to hear advice that you get because you're not ready to hear it. I know I wasn't. Its why those phrases annoyed me so much. But a few nights ago I had this epiphany. It wasn't that I hadn't thought the thought before, but I happened to be in the right frame of mind, and so it sank it more powerfully, and moved me. It literally shifted my view of myself in the blink of a sentence.

I was tired of saying I was 'okay'. I was tired of saying 'I hope I'm good enough'. I don't want to think that way about myself. I know I'm a good writer. I know I'm better than most (and that's not from being a egotistical jerk. I have proof!). Am I better than the greats? Heck no! But I'm better than most. And every time I put myself down, lowered myself, told myself I wasn't good enough, my confidence and self respect sank down faster than the titanic. I'm holding myself back.

So here's the good news and bad news for all you writers that have the same problem as me. The good news is someday you're going to have this epiphany about yourself. You're going to wake up one morning, or be doing something as mundane as drinking vodka, and its going to hit you. You're tired of talking down to yourself. Your tired of being in your own way. And it'll change you. I already have this....this sense of self and self respect and confidence that I've never had before.

The bad news? I can't make you believe this. Just like how well meaning friends and family couldn't convince me. You're going to have to do this on your own. You're going to have to find this out for yourself, and only when you're ready and in the right place both in your mind and your life. It won't just magically happen. I wish it could! It would have saved me a lot of time and self destructive behavior. But, at the same time, because of that behavior, it made me reach this enlightened and new version of myself. So....not so bad??

I hope that if you have my problem, that this helps in some way (I know, how hypocritical right!?). I want you to know you're not alone in how you feel. Just know that you can stop feeling that way.


Bet you feel as awkward as Jane now, don't you?

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