When the Self-Doubt Holds You Back

So often – okay, literally everyday – I find myself making the decision to not do something because I don’t think it’ll work out, I’m not good enough to do it. No one is going to like it anyway, so why bother? I’ll be honest, hitting publish on blog posts many days is a challenge, and a great post will sit in my drafts for months and months because I fear it’s not good enough.

I have a hard time feeling good about anything if I don’t get validation from it. That sounds so bad and typing it was actually harder than writing it in my journal. If I don’t get likes and comments, I should just throw it away so no one knows it bombed. I’m a failure. Why am I doing this?

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Still Need a Resolution? 5 Reasons You Should Start Journaling!

  1. Your journal is a safe space to express feelings, emotions, opinions, etc. about anything and everything. Whether you choose to just do a daily debrief at the end of the day, a more structured journal experience with daily prompts, or a gratitude journal, it is all private writing that you never have to share with anyone unless you choose to.
  2. There are options: you can journal on a computer using any word processor, you can download apps for your phone/tablet, or you can go the old fashioned way and write with pen and paper. Pen and paper gives you an opportunity to decorate it to your liking, plus, a chance to break away from technology and blue light.
  3. You can choose any time of the day to set aside for journaling. If you’re a morning person, you can make a cup of tea or coffee, find a space, and write before you start your day. Maybe you’re a mid-day journaler – taking some time during your lunch break to debrief from a rough morning. If you’re like me, you can journal at night before bed as a way to wrap up the day and summarize your experiences and emotions that you had.
  4. For many, you are able to process things so much better in writing. I know for myself, I rely on ranting and venting to eventually get to the point of what I’m mad about, and in writing, I can do that without the judgement of others, and finally start to process what I’m actually feeling by the end of a page. I’m mad that _____, but actually I’m just hurting because ______. Journaling gives me the opportunity to really delve into my brain and identify triggers and feelings, so that I’m less likely to have an outburst out loud because I was unable to express my true emotions.
  5. After some time, your journal can serve as a reminder of all the good and bad times you had. For me, my therapist convinced me to read through my entries from this year to show all the challenges I pushed through and the growth I made. I didn’t believe her, and figured it would just bring up a ton of emotions I did not want to process again, but she was right. While I did feel some emotions reading through the entries, I also felt proud for all that I had been able to work through this year. 2020 as a teacher was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Too bad 2021 won’t be much different.
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2020: A Year of Self-Reflection

Even though I haven’t blogged regularly this year, I have had a post like this on my mind for the last week or so. I feel like I’ve spent many days of my Christmas vacation thinking about everything that has happened this year, for better or worse (mostly worse). 2020 was a hard year for everyone (my therapist reminds me weekly: “it’s not just you, Danielle”).

I actually spent some time yesterday rereading my journal (which I started regularly writing in in July). I had mentioned to my therapist I was afraid to read a lot of what was in there because it was so raw. There were a lot of emotions behind those entries…MY emotions. Rather, as she said (seriously how does she know everything), it gave me a chance to look back on all the challenges I pushed through this year and the progress I’ve made.

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Please Listen -a poem-

“Please get on meds.”
“Do you need more attention?”
Never before
have I felt such rejection.

People I’ve leaned on
have made me feel so small.
Maybe I’d be better off
saying nothing at all.

Suffering in silence:
that’s the strong thing to do
in a society that thrives
on loudly judging you.

It feels like everyday
more energy is depleted
and honestly I feel
so sad and defeated.

Who do you call
when those who are closest
think it’s okay
to say things so atrocious?

Saying “that’s the meanest thing
you’ve ever said to me”
with tears on my face,
they still refuse to see

that I’m just in need
of someone to listen.
I never attempted
to ask for permission

to be anxious,
frustrated, sad, and depressed.
The lack of support
just makes me more stressed.

I’m falling farther down
than I ever have before.
I just don’t know how
I can do this anymore.

Good Enough -a poem-

What is good enough?
Who sets the bar?
How do we know how much,
how big, or how far?

If I create the line,
then where does it stop?
Because I have so much trouble
with needing to be on top.

I struggle with lowering
the expectations I have set,
and if I miss out on something,
I’ll be stuck with the regret.

Everyday I find myself
more and more stressed out.
Everyday I’m closer and closer
to a full breakdown.

I never feel I’m good enough
for all the praise I get,
but I’m recognizing more
that it’s a flaw in my mindset.

I have to find a goal
that I can strive to achieve,
then NOT move the bar up again.
Only then, will I believe:

I am good enough.

If Your Mind Was A Mansion -a poem-

If your mind was a mansion,
who would you allow to rent the rooms?

Sadness? As you process
the latest loss in your life:
another family member gone too soon.

Anger? You’re mad at the world
for constantly cutting and cutting
you down until you’re two feet tall
and can’t take anymore.

Fear? That things will never get better
no matter what you do or try or
change.

Anxiety? The constant thoughts
taking over your mind, shouting,
“worthless; unworthy of love;
how can we make this worse?”

Depression? Because all of the other
roommates drag you down until
there is no more sunlight peeking
through the windows.

Happiness? Bullied into the basement
by the rest, wondering when
they can come back upstairs
to turn on the lights
and show you that

you –

you get to choose who rents the rooms
in the mansion of your mind.

Writing Through An Emotional Journey

After a long hiatus from writing regularly, I am (at least at the moment) back on the grind again. While I haven’t started contributing to my bigger writing project (I’m Not Ok) as of yet, I have been doing my best to write everyday.

Most days, it’s just a journal entry. But as I wrote the other day (When Your Main Character is Really Just You), sometimes when I journal I make these huge self-discoveries that maybe I knew subconsciously, but it didn’t really HIT me until I wrote it down.

When I was younger, writing was all I did. It was all I wanted to do. I was blessed to be 1-to-1 with a laptop through high school, and I would avoid doing classwork because I was working on a story or National Novel Writing Month (sorry mom and past teachers). It was so much simpler back then to find the time to write.

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Feelings Buffet -a poem-

I’m not a poet, but when the urge strikes, you follow it. First draft, enjoy.

Feelings Buffet
They say you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Well – you also can’t overload a full plate.

I mean, you can try,
but you will pile and pile
and pray the plate holds

until a plop, crack, crash to the floor,
food strewn for dogs to lick
until they’re sick and you –
broken into pieces like the plate
you thought could hold it all.

It couldn’t,
and neither can you.

Empty the plate first.
Ask yourself – is there room for more
inside? Do I need more? Why?
Isn’t one plate enough?
You’re stuffed.
Stop acting so tough.

Full plate, empty cup
enough is enough.
Wake up –
stand up straight.

And for the last time,
stop overloading your plate.

Does Every Story Need A Happy Ending?

While brainstorming a basic plot line of my current WIP “I’m Not OK,” I was faced with an interesting decision at the end. It’s not a decision I’ve never had to make before, but it felt more difficult to make this time for some reason.

See, I’m Not OK is very emotionally dense (as I outlined in this previous post). The main character Mariah is facing such huge mental health issues. The novel kind of follows her descent mentally, with the true breaking point coming at the end. I pondered for a long time if the story would be best with a happy ending, or if I could pull off a more sad ending. With a title like “I’m Not OK,” would a sad ending be that surprising?

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Have I Made a Mistake? -a poem-

–this is rough but I found this in my journal dated November 2019; wanted to share–

Have I Made a Mistake?
Why else would I feel this way?
Years of trying, deciding,
this felt satisfying – like a cool breeze on a warm day.

And yet, lately, it’s felt like a slow fall into a volcano.
Hot, panicked, awaiting doom.

Have I made a mistake?

At home, I’m so calm.
Here, I’m so not.

Heart racing, mind chasing thoughts and fears,
face full of tears as I hide
in the bathroom once more
to avoid the weakness I carry in my soul.

I thought this was it.
I thought this was where I’m meant to be.
My thoughts instead say:

“Hey, have you made a mistake?”