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 – http://wp.me/p2RcFA-3Z
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 – http://wp.me/p2RcFA-3Z
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….