Moving Beyond Self-Doubt
So, I wrote here a couple of weeks ago about how I have some new resolutions for this year. Mostly, I want to start back up in college, but I also want to bring order back to my life in a big way too. Last year I took the leap and started offering professional designs services for the first time. I have to admit, it was something that I was afraid to do. Not so much because I didn’t think I could do it, but more because I thought that I couldn’t possibly be worthy of charging for my services. A likely side affect of the inferiority complex I sometimes backslide into as a result of growing up in an impoverished family. It’s also part of the reason that I felt “safer” putting off college with only a few credits left, rather than finishing. I don’t know how to explain it exactly, because I don’t “fear” success, but I do look at success as being one of those things that only certain people deserve to attain. And that’s not me talking…society sets us up to believe this.
Maybe I have self-sabotaged at certain points in my life…well I know I have…but not because I wanted to . Have you ever done that…gotten so close to success that it made you feel uncomfortable, worried and waiting for the house of cards to fall? That’s how I feel when I get close to something good. It’s how I felt when I contemplated college while in high school, it’s how I felt when I met my husband, it’s how I felt when I was almost at the end of my degree in college, it’s how I felt when I started this blog, and how I felt when I started my own business. All of those things were scary, sometimes they’re still scary, but I’ve learned something from each of them. I’ve learned that by the time you reach the end of your goal, the one that you’re fearful of failing at, you see how truly small that step was. Not that it wasn’t a powerful step in it’s own right, but it shows us that our fears were more irrational than rational…more mind than matter.
This year, I don’t want to let my mind get the best of me. I don’t want to make mountains out of molehills, as my father would say. Instead, I want to build a strong foundation and support network to create my own personal change. The last few months I’ve been thinking a lot about what that means. How can I create a solid foundation? What tools are needed to prepare? How can we escape this self-doubt, this overwhelming feeling of inferiority?
I’ve talked countless hours over the phone this year with a number of friends and other bloggers who have the same fears. We all remember the messaging from our childhood. We remember people telling us “You’re not the college type” or asking “How are you going to pay for college when your parents don’t have money?”
I remember the stares when my mother counted up our food in line and pulled out her book of food-stamps. I know what it feels like to be marked as a lesser than…one of those lazy people. One of those people who can’t do for themselves, who have no choice but to take from others. And I believed it too. For the longest time I believed that I couldn’t make my own dollar, that the people who gave me a job were doing me a favor by hiring me.
It wasn’t until I started my internship at Social Security working alongside middle class folks (for the first time) that I realized I had something to offer. Our district manager used to pull me into her office to tell me how hard of a worker I was and how efficiently I handled everything in her office. She made me see that I was doing as much and sometimes more than the B.A. graduates and middle class earners. I could do the same work they could, and that surprised me. In college it was more of the same, I was an A and B student, while many others from more privileged families couldn’t (or chose not to) keep up with the work. I was making it. I was doing the same work as them and excelling. I was the college type. I really was. That was a revelation for me.
I still have a lot of self-doubt and I still hesitate and over-plan every step in my life for fear of failure, but I try not to let those feelings overtake me. The fact that I have been blogging for two years and doing my design work for over a year shows me that I’ve taken leaps, however small.
This year I want to take bigger leaps though, I want to resolve to move beyond self-doubt, and I ask for your inspiration. How do you defy the naysayers? How do you overcome fear and jump with both feet into the deep end? I would love to hear what inspires and motivates you to dive into the unknown.