“You can’t do it.”
“You’re not good enough.”
“What you’re doing isn’t important.”
You’ve heard it at some point in your life: that voice at the back of your mind telling you that your idea is stupid. That stupid voice has resurfaced to remind me that I’m incredibly incompetent. It tells me that there are other people writing about more important things. I am always just a blogger. I don’t deserve readership. I’m not making a difference.
I hadn’t heard from this particular voice in a while so I wondered why it was making a comeback. It was supposed to disappear along with teenage angst, but here it was again trying to leave scars worse than teenage acne.
Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who knows exactly when I’m not feeling a hundred percent.
He asked me last night if there was something bothering me. He said he noticed that I hadn’t published anything on my blog lately. We got to talking and he seemed to know what I needed to hear even before I opened up to him. He reminded me of his struggles about leaving his corporate job and finally get into business.
I knew this story. He sought advice from his dad, the brilliant Gerry Bacarro, and he was told to put a face to the nay-saying voice in his head. For whatever reason, Jim saw a certain person he’d known all his life. I know the guy. He’s definitely not an evil person per se, but he’s the typical bully who laughs at your dreams and aspirations while he’s blowing his parents’ money on bottles of vodka ~*in da club*~.
Papa Gerry then asked Jim to imagine himself in a room full of the people who cheer him on. I was there. His family was there. Our band was there. The room was full. Then he was told to imagine that bully in the same room. His taunts were inaudible and Jim barely noticed him. Did the guy — a guy he only saw once in a blue moon at reunions — really matter to Jim? No. Because the people who matter would never laugh at his dream, even if it was different from their own.
Last night, I identified the voice I’d been hearing.
The girl was somebody I’d wanted to impress. She’s so smart and funny but she’s critical of practically everybody. I didn’t want to be a basic bitch in her book. I was always giddy when she’d laugh at my jokes and when she’d praise me. She’s unimpressed with everything but I can make her laugh!! But then I realized — this person had always been so negative and unhappy. She’d let it slip more than once that celebrities are unimportant and undeserving. She could be one of the smartest, funniest persons I know but she’s also the loneliest. Insecurity doesn’t look good on anybody — I guess that’s why she loses friends quickly.
Jim told me to imagine my room full of my best friends, my family and his, my idols, my blog readers — all rooting for me to win. I don’t always have to post something life-changing or Pulitzer Prize-worthy. It’s when I don’t publish anything that I let that whole room down.
It’s Not You
“Silence your inner critic.”
“You are your worst critic.”
We always get these pieces of advice and it’s helpful, no doubt. But now I know that more often than not, it’s not my own voice telling me I can’t achieve something. It was probably implied by somebody and the seed was planted in my head. Very Inception. Let this blog post serve as your totem. Wake the F up.
As for the owner of the voice messing with my self-confidence — I’m sure she never actively meant to hurt me. I’m not mad at her at all, I’ve just decided that I don’t need to try and impress her anymore. Instead, I pray she finally puts a face to the voice telling her she’s not all that. I wish she kicks that party crasher hard out of her room. “NOBODY INVITED YOU, YA LITTLE BITCH.”
We may never be able to silence that voice completely, but we sure can drown it out with a room full of cheerful voices. Let that choir sing and please allow me to be in your room (as creepy as that request may sound). Here’s a gentle reminder: you can do it.