Self doubt

We all go through bouts of  self-doubt.  Did I handle that right or  did I behave the way I should have for my  moral compass or belief system.  It’s part of being human, it’s  part of growth and  maturing.   Even the most confident of people have these moments, though  a lot of them would never mention it.  The exception  is probably true narcissists but I’m not going to  waste my  fingers ( well maybe one of them) on  them. This is post is for/about  the rest of us.

Since as long as I can remember ( so at least 2 weeks) I   have always  been gifted with  hindsight… it’s like  fortune telling,  only  in reverse. I can’t do it for other people,  just myself.  From my years in the military, to  racing cars and raising kids and critters, hard and heavy  as a firefighter/EMT.  I would  tear apart every  call  afterwards to  try to  put it into context of what I had been taught  or what I had learned, what I did well, how I could do it better next time.  I honestly don’t think there was a single call  out  of those 13+ years that  I actually  did everything “right”  at least not in my mind.  Most went  fine ( from a procedural perspective),  some went terribly wrong. I learned from them all for sure, but  many will forever haunt me.  But  this post isn’t  about  what-if’s or shoulda, woulda, coulda…  this  post  is about self-doubt. It’s  not about  learning from your mistakes.  I am an expert  in that arena I think , because I make a LOT of mistakes, always have, always will and that’s fine with me, it’s how we  learn and grow,  I have even been known to make the same mistake several times to pound that lesson home.

This post  is about: Self-Doubt  – lack of confidence in oneself

I don’t typically suffer from that too often,  I  have morals and  values – and a code  that I live by and  I clearly know the difference between right and wrong,  occasionally an ethical  question may  come up and I will  chew on it for a bit and  then make a decision.  I occasionally will consult with  trusted friends or family,  but I really  trust my instincts.  But like every human, I am fallible. I don’t say I’m not perfect anymore, because I am  perfect. We’re all perfect as long as we are  honest with ourselves, we’re our perfect  selves. I am fallible.    I am also confident in who  I am and  the way that I am.   To  do some of the things I have done,  you have to have self-confidence or you will hurt (or worse)  yourself or others or animals. There’s a time and place for  self-confidence  but I do believe there’s also a time and place for self-doubt, it  doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  If it makes you  reflect and improve your future self,  great. It can  also be destructive though if you let it – please don’t let it.

Before I get to  my  recent  moment of self-doubt, I feel the need for a bit of a disclaimer.

As you may  know,  I am really big on  giving,  in  paying things forward,  being kind etc… that’s   just who I live to be, it’s me.. it’s not for everyone but   I really am not trying to preach, it’s  just who I am and what I like to do.  It’s  part of that code I mentioned before: Stay Safe, Be Kind, Keep the Park Clean, Pay it forward, Make a Difference and One Love  –

I publish or post on social media about 1/10th at the most of what I do to  live by that code.  I am not interested  in praise or atta boys, bravo zulus or  feeding my ego, if you really knew me in person, you’d know that (I hope….eeek  there’s that self-doubt  a’creepin’ in).  I  love to  help and serve other beings…I love kids and  animals … I don’t like  big crowds. I love to listen to people  rather than talk much myself.  I know that probably  seems strange knowing who I am “on line”. One of the benefits  about the internet and specifically social media is that it gives introverts (Myers Briggs INFJ all up In da hizhouse yeah yeah!) like me  the ability to  be social  (and ramble/blabber on and on haha)  without having to  go anywhere. I love being at home or in nature.  The exception of my crowd/people avoidance   is Seahawks games or races and  the fact that I enjoy being in front of a crowd.  If I am  talking or teaching or something  no  problem at all, love it. So  whatever,  I’m weird I know and that is OK, I do like myself. “I’m OK  – You’re OK” OK?   Anyway  just wanted to put that out there and say that I’m not  some narcissistic egomaniac that craves attention, glory  or praise, I do value constructive feedback though.

With that said, I was “called out” online  the other day, by a  “facebook friend” … not one that has ever actually met me.  But  really I have a lot of  friends online that I have never met, that I really enjoy , love even and  have never met  and I consider them true friends. One of my very best friends for over  ( How long is it now Kitty? 15 years?).. that  I’ve never met in person!  This wasn’t one of them.   The comments were enough though,  to   make me question myself, specifically  my online self…   Do I come across online as someone who needs  constant praise and attention? Or as someone who likes to  brag about “doing good”?   That  is the last thing in the world  I want from my  social media time.    I feel like  online  I am able to  “listen”  and read and pay attention to little things with my friends and family  and  offer funny comments,  kinds words,   show empathy,  offer condolences,  be genuine and sincere, things that may be hard to say  verbally I do better with  writing more so than talking.  I don’t  feel like I  brag about  what I do as far as giving, paying it forward etc….  though I do hope that someone sees something I have done and says hey if he can do it I can too and make the world a little better. There are  many people that do  post everything they do, from what they had for lunch to  they  gave a homeless man  a dollar,   or bought a veteran a coffee or beer…   there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s who you are  and what you want to do  and  see how many  “Likes” you can get that’s cool, you’re still making a difference so  great!  I’m not judging you for that, I would even click thumbs up  for those things, I often do… hey if it gets  someone else to do a single positive thing  by you  saying that you did a positive thing then both acts are great and it’s worth it.   Again, if you  knew me  in person and saw my  “real life”  you’d know  that  I’m not a fake online person or a glory hound, I  just am who I am. A fat guy in a little coat… (very self-deprecating…  I’m working on that too though not very hard…)

And I want to make one thing  really clear  – Christy and I are NOT financially rich by any modern western/1st world  standard. We both have jobs and work full time,  I drive a 13 year old beater truck, we’ll probably never be able to truly “retire” and we’re OK with that (well I am, she may not like that so much  haha)  we prefer to live and work and share whenever we can. We have a wonderful home that we worked hard  and saved for 9 years to  get  the downpayment, and used my VA loan that I earned to get it and I hate to admit this but we still kinda live paycheck to paycheck…  we have some savings for emergencies  and good credit because we pay our bills and live within our means mostly, I fix my own stuff and do my own  property maintenance etc..  So please don’t think that we’re this rich couple financially who just throws money around, we’re not. We are rich with love  and that is how we want it (though  we wouldn’t mind  being rich , like most folks, but we’d use it to start our own charities!! So if YOU are rich financially  and want to hook a fella up  I’m your  guy! I really  am trying to start my own 501c3  so  really  if you’re rich  and want to help  contact me! The hardest part /hurdle for me is to  get the initial capital funding!)

Ok sorry for rambling..  but hey this is Mikey’s  ramblings after all..  but I’ll get to the point. When  Christy and I do some  big  charity thing, like the  “big climb” for  cancer, or a big walk or  something , well yes I want to post that  because it’s OK to be proud that you participated in a large event that  benefitted a good cause. I do not  feel badly about posting that nor should I or anyone else for that matter.  It is   SOCIAL media…  if we were talking face to face in a general  social conversation I’d probably mention it there just the same and I  doubt anyone would bat an eye other than to say “cool”

So a little while back  we  participated in a  poker tournament  that raised a ton of money  for  the organization that provides food to all our local food banks.   And I posted about it.  I didn’t think  twice about posting  that we were doing something good  that was also fun.

The post got a few likes and  some good luck comments and that’s cool…. It’s what I expected.  But I also got, indirectly, what I perceived to be, a negative comment  that basically said  why do you have to brag about doing that type of stuff,  the bible says ( Oh here we go right? This person REALLY  does not know me…)  that you should do charitable things without being noticed or thanked and that God  knows and sees what you do… some other person chimed in after liking the other comment that I needed to read a bible and  that they would pray for me…  Any of my  real friends know how I feel about that. Well,  I have read the whole Bible  (and the book  of Mormon, the Pearl of great Price, some of the  Torah  and Talmud and some of the Qur’an.  I have on my  personal to-do list to  read more of the Hindu, Taoist and Buddhist books)… If  the prayer were sincere  I would appreciate  the sentiment but  in this case  not so much.… Though I could  have really used  that person’s book  to my advantage, I could talk about Luke 21 1:4  and how I have given nearly  everything I had at certain points in my life  to help others… and whatever happened to Matthew 7:1 the whole judge not lest thee be judged? Instead  I chose to  simply ignore the comments.  But this isn’t  a theological discussion, so  please  don’t  comment that the person who wrote that  wasn’t a “true” Christian. In that person’s mind they are, that may not be the same brand of Christian as you are but that argument doesn’t have any  weight  with me  and is not germane to this conversation ( please refer to John 17 20:23, as well as  Paul’s  letters if you need   more info on  the “different versions of  Christianity”  that  need to all come together if it is to be  any kind of “real” to be believed thing)

Words have power. Whether we believe what is being said or not. Words  CAN  hurt – that sticks and stones thing  is a load  of  polar bear poo ( it’s  cold and  it stinks!)   and yeah  you can say:   “only if you let them”. Well I don’t know about you but  even when I say it didn’t hurt me, it usually still does. We’re taught the  “sticks and stones”  phrase as children  to help us learn to cope with  animosity and cruelties that as a species we all  participate in at some point.  We learn to  control our emotions and  measure our words as we grow  (well some of us do)  it’s funny that we  tell  children that words  can’t hurt you, but then  later  when that same child says  something  hurtful, we use  “remember when so and so  said  something hurtful to you? How did that make you feel?”  It seems to me like a  contradictory or even hypocritical  lesson there.  Let’s maybe teach our children that words  can hurt, so  just be nice…   I know  that’s  really simplistic but   it’s  something to think about for those with young’uns.

Obviously if  I  am writing this much about words that some relatively  random  person  that I don’t really know wrote to/about  me it then  maybe  those words  hurt me more than I  think, or maybe it was  the whole religious thing that bugged me… the holier than thou stuff….  I also  don’t like the  give all the credit to  God  stuff,   if something good happens or you do something good, it wasn’t you, it was God? But the  reverse happens and it’s your fault?  If that is your  belief that’s  fine for you,  but it’snot for me, I take my own responsibility for my actions good or bad and I think that  whatever your beliefs you  should do the same, freewill works both ways.  If  I  (or anyone else) is posting  something they  are proud of – such as raising money to feed people in need – where does that fall on your religious  deadly sin  scale for Pride?  I don’t see it as hubris,  or putting myself before others, I see it as  sharing  a positive, making a difference and telling people about it to set an example for my children  or  anyone else who may  be interested. Doing that  occasionally doesn’t  fall into the  deadliest of  the deadly sins  category  in my book. But that  comment  sure made me wonder, am I coming off online as the  humble, kind and  generous man  that I  really believe and want myself to be? Or am I coming across as a  rich prick who   is condescending and  every now and then does some  good thing but ruins it by bragging about it?   Honestly  as I reflect on  it   I  believe that the  former is how I come across, but maybe you see it differently,   if you know me in person and online both,  consider giving me some feedback so I can learn and adjust if needed…. I can take  and truly appreciate honesty  and criticism if it is constructive and will help me be a better person. Obviously there are certain things  where I do come off as a jerk,   sometimes even intentionally   to prove a point ( Separation of Church and State is one  that comes to mind  – I occasionally have to be  less than polite or act as a the Devil’s advocate  as a last resort to  get  my point across). But in general I try to be  a voice of reason and  diplomatic.

So my moment of self-doubt on that issue  has passed and  I will continue to  do my thing, be myself , post what I want , when I want and share things that  may  have a chance of inspiring someone to  do something to make a difference,   NOT to get  a pat on the back, NOT to get anyone to  say  OOH  look at him  he’s so  cool… I’m not….  I am not cool, I am not talented,  I’m not  inspirational, I’m not a hero  that is understood, the only redemption I can offer girl is beneath this dirty hood (Thunder road).   I may be  a jack of all trades  but a master of none much  like my  father.  I’m not an  expert in  anything..  and as  Albert  Einstein said “ I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious”   I am passionate about a lot of things, but these are the things that I am most passionate about:
Stay Safe, Be Kind, Keep the Park Clean, Pay it forward, Make a Difference and One Love  –

I’m not  posting this   “post” on my  Facebook page but if you  think it’s worthy of a share, you’re free to  do so.

I’m going to  keep  doubting myself , but I prefer to  do it on my own  terms…

Peace and love  to you all.


P.S.   maybe this post was really just to see how many  self-X words I could use in a single  post… and it was totally self-serving… thoughts to ponder as I wander yonder….


3 thoughts on “Self doubt

  1. Mike, you and Christy are two of the most giving people I am proud to call family. So what if you take a different path than others? We all have our own story to tell and journey to take. That to me is why we are here on this earth…to learn! I love you both unconditionally.
    Auntie Shelly

  2. Mike, we haven’t communicated in a while and I’m so glad this drifted across my path. I have observed your “you-ness” and you are definitely not a self-serving prick. You are the warm, generous individual you strive to be every day. Those words of others can hurt for sure. Something I have learned, and have to remind myself of constantly (because, like you, I do the best I can to be kind to others) – when someone unfriends me on Facebook, or rants at me, I remember that what they’re saying and where they’re coming from is all about THEM, and has nothing, really, to do with me. All I did was write some words or say something that triggered something in them and they reacted. As much as I want everyone to get along (and to love me!), they won’t, because their journey is not mine. So I take a deep breath, touch my heart to remember who I really am, and bless the journey we are both on. Blessings to you and Christy, and I look forward tor reading more ramblings!

  3. You bragging up what you do? Yes I only know you guys via the internet, but both of you seem like very caring people. To me it seems you were getting the word out that there are activities to “earn” money for good causes, not bragging, but encouraging others to get out and do it too. Don’t ever doubt how you write or your topics, you do a great job. Sorry i read this rather late, guess I hadn’t gone in my e-mail for a bit.

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