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All I could hear were thoughts, as loud as a jackhammer, chipping away at my good mood while repeating, You are such an idiot—a fraud.
I received an email from an editor about a piece I’d written that could possibly be libel (given the nature of the subject), and they were removing it from their website.
After thanking them for letting me know, I put down my phone and proceeded to mentally beat myself down. What was I thinking pretending to write and pouring my heart into written form?
I caught myself and immediately rewrote the script rolling in my head:
>> What happens if I am not a phony?
>> Maybe I am so new to this I am trying to find my voice, my message?
I thought about other writers, other artists, and others in general who took the chance to start somewhere on something new. I know they, too, had their fair shares of no, try again, or sorry not for us. And they kept right on going, working toward their purpose. But not me, at least up until now.
After this mental moment, I started thinking of other areas in my life that I have given up on too easily.
It’s not because I am scared to do the work. I embrace that challenge, but it’s the fear of what’s on the other side.
For example, years ago, I quit my job at a sports company to take care of my mother who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I needed a job that could give me the freedom to get my mother to and from her appointments and an income that could keep my lights on.
I decided to start my own house cleaning business, and by the end of the first month, I had five accounts. It was growing, and I was making great money. But then my ego kicked in and told my logical self how irresponsible I was being.
You are working off the books with no health insurance, and that was where my house cleaning career ended. I went back to “corporate life” after my mother passed.
My friend and I still talk about that venture of mine, and he always reminds me how I was killing it and could have really had a booming business—but that kind of life wasn’t in my cards.
Besides the job thing, I see this sabotage process play out in other areas of my life, most notably in my current romantic relationship. Again, it’s not because I don’t want to do the work to be a dynamic partner to him. But given past experiences, it’s easier to play it safe.
Safe is predictable and comfortable.
Given the past experiences of my relationships, it has been easier to play my version of safe and “get the heck out of dodge” when things get uncomfortable.
Lately, I have noticed after talking about my feelings (or a recent therapy session) with him, I immediately search for discomfort in his face and body because speaking my truth has never been safe for me.
When the faintest appearance of discomfort comes, I look for ways to pick a fight or force him to tell me he wants to leave and no longer loves me. Prior to him, I have never had a successful relationship.
They’ve all ended with lying, cheating, or just growing tired of my anxiety. But this man keeps sticking around, and it irks the living daylights out of me. The sabotage is what I know, and it wants to put this relationship out of its misery.
Up until this point I have never been able to cross over with someone and experience that full-throttle love and commitment.
I have been trying—really trying to stop and tell myself to stay right here in this present moment and savor what is happening. Don’t poke holes or look for a hidden message in what he is doing or saying—just be.
It’s a ton of work to break a thought cycle that I’ve programmed myself to believe, but if I stand in that moment of what may seem uncomfortable, the reward is delicious.
Since yesterday, when that email arrived about my writing, I can’t believe how much I have been thinking about other areas of my life that I have just given up on.
I see the pattern: right when things can get really sweet, I stop myself and change gears. I put my wall up and step 10 inches from my original direction because greatness wasn’t meant for me.
Well, I am believing that was yesterday’s record. Today I got up, wrote something new (you’re reading it), and told myself it’s now or never.
I can keep moving inches over and never know my true potential, or I can put my helmet on and run through that wall and see what magic really lies on the other side for myself.