Another year, another running thought about how much I haven’t written and how much I’m a failure at my own passion. I spend so much time fulfilling everyone else’s needs that I tend to forget my own, and then when I realise that I have pushed my own goals to the side, along comes the self-depreciative imposter syndrome, talking about how much I really suck at everything. It’s exhausting, so eventually I just don’t bother anymore and things that I wanted to learn fall by the wayside.
It also doesn’t help when those around you don’t have that shared energy for learning new things and pushing boundaries. I love the process of learning. You suck at something (because you’re a beginner) and then suddenly, somewhere along the journey, your brain just clicks. Everything becomes clearer and makes sense because that only happens when you’ve reached a certain competency level. You have to put your trust into this learning process and go through the motions of nothing making sense until it just does. Now you’re excited and want more. But those around you just don’t understand why you’ve got such passion for this thing you’re learning. It’s not because it’s shiny and new, it’s because of the personal satisfaction that comes with learning something and then finding these little pockets of accomplishment in it that builds your confidence about everything else. That learning energy, that’s contagious, but unless the people around you understand that, you won’t get a team of cheerleaders.
Unfortunately, most humans inherently don’t like others succeeding above their own station. This could be the smallest, most annoying of things, to life changing opportunities; and they don’t all immediately mean it. We’re all wired to be jealous, envious and fight to be at the top. It’s part of our survival skills but we can’t tear each other down publicly because that’s not very politically correct, so people tend to find little manipulative methods that will plant a seed of doubt and make you fall out of love with the new thing so that you don’t rise above their own accomplishments. Statements such as, “it’s good that you’re writing a book but so many authors don’t succeed”, or “I am really happy that you’re learning XYZ but <insert random excuse here>”. The thing is, if you’re happy for someone there shouldn’t be a but. There should just be the statement, without any caveats. “I’m so happy that you’re so good at writing but just remember that most writers are poor.” I can’t tell you how much I’ve heard that one.
Now what are you supposed to do when this happens with the people closest to you? Maybe your close friend circle? Maybe family? Does this mean that they don’t want you to succeed? Not necessarily, as they may not even realise what they are doing, but it’s important to remain vigilant in yourself and know that at the end of the day, you have to account to yourself and only yourself. Go out and learn the thing or experience life differently. Write the book (that’s for myself!). Learn the dance or the unfamiliar language. People can cheer you on but also tear you down unknowingly. Just be mindful and vigilant and live by your own rules.
March to the beat of your own drum!