‘I don’t know whether I should be doing this’

Your feedback has stirred up my insecurities and self-doubt. And now I don’t know whether I should be doing this.

I don’t know whether I should be presenting my perspectives on self-empowerment, given that in this moment, I do not feel especially empowered. What you said has led me to question myself.

It is no bad thing. If the effect of your comment was to reduce me so much, then I have some work to do.

As it happens, it hasn’t really.

But it isn’t water off a duck’s back, either.

‘Impostor’

What you said has activated my Impostor Syndrome.

Impostor Syndrome is the term for that feeling like you are a fraud, and that your incompetence will be exposed at any moment.

On the face of things, it appears to be a low self-esteem, or an undervaluation of self. But in a way, it’s also being too identified with performance as a metric determining worth.

Being attached to winning, or positive feedback, isn’t useful. It just makes us bad losers, and more likely to exploit failures as evidence of something significant regarding our abilities.

And not all failures are.

‘Qualified’

I don’t know whether I should be writing an educational blog. ‘Should’ stopped being an evaluative criteria for me ages ago.

There is nothing official that I can point to that makes me qualified to guide or teach you. I do not have a certificate, social proof, book sales. What I have is bravery, a tinkering spirit and stick-to-it-ness.

Qualifications do not always establish expertise. I once had the credentials for the thing I was doing, and I was more of an impostor back then. The fraud was against myself, because I didn’t want to be doing that.

I want to be doing this.

‘Uncertainty’

This might not work. I may not achieve objective success as a writer.

I’m not going to tell you I do not try really hard, or that I don’t give a shit about the quality. Of course I give a shit, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.

But being successful isn’t my motivation. If it were, I think I would have stopped.

My motivation comes from an internal ‘why’ I feel. Feedback likes yours makes me need to revisit my why. Like I said, it is no bad thing.

The poet John Keats said negative capability was when you are able to move forward, even though the thing you are moving towards creates intellectual confusion and uncertainty. Keats thought this was a worthwhile endeavor.

I agree. Resolving all uncertainties and internal conflicts in life tends to kill off possibilities, and create rote outcomes.

I’d rather keep moving forward in spite of how uncertain I am. Instead of allowing doubt to fix me into position.

‘Dissonance’

I have some cognitive dissonance about your feedback, by the way.

I feel both chastened and encouraged by it.

We’ve never met, and my writing found its way to you. That never stops being a wonder.

I needed to re-calibrate from your missile of your disapproval. But I hope to have more of them. Right now, I have the shelter of being an amateur.

But I’d trade that shelter in for a wider audience.

‘Needs’

I write because I think I have something to offer. But that isn’t the only reason.

I do it because my immediate needs and wants are taken care of, and I am freer from self-concern. I’m moving up Maslow’s hierarchy now.

I do not get paid for writing, I have a regular job. Being paid for writing is a privilege I may never experience.

Not getting paid doesn’t make me an impostor, it makes me pragmatic.

‘Improving’

Gaps in my knowledge do not make me an impostor, either. They’re opportunities to deepen my understanding.

Hunting the gaps is how we develop proficiency. They are how we become truly good.

‘Leading’

Without sharing my ideas, then a person Googling ‘How to Fall Out of Love’ might be deprived some comfort or help. That feels big.

Impostor Syndrome is a lose lose situation. You lose self-expression and self-leadership. Others lose by not benefiting from your authority, your experience and your wisdom.

If we can lead, let’s lead.

You’ve probably spent enough time following.

‘Amateur’

I’d love to achieve success.

But even then I’d stay an amateur. It’s the best attitude. Amateurs work hard, and they are light-hearted and humble. They don’t take themselves so seriously.

‘Missile’

What are you even trying to do? And who do you think you are writing this stuff?

I am attempting to serve a community of people that ask the same questions I do, and who experience similar challenges.

And I am a person with something to say.

So move aside, please.