I Will Promote Myself
I am bad – like, really bad – at promoting myself.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to sit alone, make a cool drawing or build something with Lego, and then immediately hide my creation away. I’d stow the drawings. I’d take apart my Lego builds. If an adult saw what I’d made and tried to congratulate me, a wall would come up inside my brain and their words of kindness would bounce off. Any praise I received would be meaningless because I myself would always find something to dislike in what I made.
And I made a ton of drawings, and Lego builds, and eventually I’d make music and photos and such. None of it was good enough. None of it was noteworthy for me. I wasn’t the happiest kid, and in fact I was downright sullen a lot of the time. Even my Mom will tell you: she worried about me.
Well, don’t worry, Mom! I’m still exactly the same.
Eh, maybe I’m not sullen anymore. But I am still perpetually unsatisfied. And it sucks – like, really sucks – because it just makes it so hard for me to believe in myself. Logically, I know with conviction and fire and every fiber I have, that I am good at things. And that the things I’ve made and done have made others happy. I have proof of this in my inbox – clients telling me that they’ve framed and hung the photo I made with them. It’s actual proof that I am good at this.
But I just can’t let that sink in. There’s still that wall inside of me that blocks the kind words of others. And I’m always asking, “Where does this wall come from?”. Is it from my upbringing? Is it from a singular event in my life that I can’t recall? Is it genetic? Is this just who I am?
At this point I think it’s a personality trait that has been reinforced through years (decades!) of cognitive bias. And it’ll probably take just as long to break that reinforcement down.
BUT. Like I said. I’m not sullen. I’m just accepting. I’ve accepted this, and over the years I’ve learned to use it to my advantage. Because at least I’m not just perpetually unsatisfied, but also chronically hungry… to improve. I’m aware that there is much still to learn, and that I just might be capable of learning it, because I’ve learned a lot already. I am capable, and good at things, and I will take that to heart.
SYKE! I won’t take those things to heart.
But I’ll keep them in mind.
And one day, I won’t be grasping for a truth that’s just out of reach. I’ll wrap a fist around that truth and punch a hole through the wall inside me.
I’ll unfurl this truth inside me and let it grow. Because the truth is that I am worthy, and good, and skilled. I am capable of more than I know.
I will get there, and when I do, maybe – just maybe…
I will promote myself.
A huge thank you to the Roberts Family for letting me be who I am on this beautiful morning at Waialea Bay, an area of immense history and power. And thank you to you, for reading!