Readers of this blog who don’t know me well may think, based on my posts, that I’m always positive, happy and spiritual. While I am a “glass half-full” kind of gal, I am also plagued, like most people, by self-doubt, fears and anxiety. My experience in middle school and early high school did serious damage to my self-confidence for years, something that still afflicts me from time to time. I know now that my experience probably wasn’t much different than many other girls – it’s a hard age, and girls are especially tough on each other! But common or not, it made an impact on my psyche for years.
My Aunt Kate actually put a name to one of the things I struggle with – she calls it “The Imposter Syndrome.” Andrew Peterson, my favorite singer/songwriter, Christian or otherwise, wrote a song called “I’ve Got The News,” that has a line that describes it perfectly: “So you think…that you’re the only one who’s scared they’ll all forget you when you leave.” I’ve spent years re-introducing myself to people because I was sure there was no reason anyone would remember me from one meeting to the next.
I doubt. I doubt all the time. I doubt my abilities at work. I doubt my decisions. I doubt my choices in clothing. I doubt my cooking skills. I wonder if I really mean it when I say the prayers at Church and I sometimes wonder if they work anyway - if anyone’s really listening and cares about my little life. Why would they – I’m an imposter, right? I doubt, I doubt, I doubt.
I have anxiety and I’m lonely sometimes. I struggle with things that are too personal to post here in a public forum.
I’m not any different from anyone else.
That’s the thing - I’m just like just about everyone else. We all have fears and anxieties. We all wonder if we’re doing the right thing. I’d bet that most people who consider themselves at least spiritual, if not outright religious, struggle with doubt all the time. It’s easy to get bogged down with all this doubt. And what it can do to a person’s outlook can be isolating.
And so call me Pollyanna, but I try to see the silver lining and find joy wherever I can. Friday afternoon, in the midst of the grey clouds and cold I looked up into the sky and saw a small patch of blue sky. This reminded me of a grey summer day when I was a child, standing with a neighbor and looking up at the sky. “Look” she said delightedly, “there’s a patch of blue big enough to patch a Dutchman’s trousers.” Not a prophetic outburst, to be sure, but one that apparently made enough of an impact on me to allow me a smile on a grey day 40 years later. That was my silver lining – a childhood memory that gave me joy.
I get joy from a text, out of the blue, from one of my girls telling me that they love me. I get joy from my cat rubbing his face against mine as he tells me in his own way how happy he is to see me.
I try to balance out the doubt and disappointments of normal life by finding positives wherever and whenever I can. One of those positives is writing. The intense feeling of success when I hit “post” to this blog can keep me going for a good day or more. And Sara coming into my room last night to tell me what a great mom she thinks I am – well that’ll last a good long time!
So if I sound like one of those people who are always happy, please know that isn’t completely true, but also know that given time, I’ll find something good around me. And maybe my positive outlook can help someone else see good too.