I have failed so many times. Public failures. Private failures. I’ve been called a failure; I’ve called myself a failure. I’ve given up so many times. I’ve been energized, and I’ve watched my energy dwindle. I’ve fallen in and out of love with others and with myself.
Do I trust myself? Honestly, kinda. Kinda is not the best answer by far, but it’s damn better than where it used to be. It’s an improvement, and isn’t that what we should all be striving for?
So how did I get from nope to kinda? I started building a record of credibility with myself. Let me explain.
The word trust often comes with the word building. We are building trust. We have built trust. Trust has been built. Building is an act of construction, right? One block at a time, one experience at a time, we build trust.
Now let’s apply that building to ourselves.
Think of our memories as a credit bureau. Every on time payment is recorded. Every missed payment or late payment is recorded as well. Then it’s all taken together to create a score. In life, the banks say, “I trust you” or “Get the hell out of here and come back when you’ve got your shit together” or “I’m going to give you this chance, but I’m watching you closely and putting you on a leash.”
We feel pressure to perform well for the credit bureaus. There’s things on the line– the house, the loan, the car. Credit is king, as they say. But what about in our own lives? In other words, what is our record with ourselves, and how seriously do we take it?
Often, when we doubt ourselves, when we fear failure, when we don’t take a chance, it’s because we have bad credit or no credit. Let’s get more specific.
Good credit. I say I’m going to do something, and I do it. I say I’ll be somewhere, and I’m there. I say I’ll change my attitude, and I change it.
Bad credit. What I say to myself is often thrown out the window when it’s no longer convenient or pleasant. I tell myself I’ll wake up early and then I don’t because I’m tired. I tell myself I’ll complete this task but I don’t because my friend invited me to happy hour. I say I’ll leave a bad relationship and I do until he apologizes or I get lonely or it’s just too hard. I say I won’t yell during arguments, but I do because he’s an asshole and he isn’t listening to me, or she started yelling first.
No credit. I make no promises to myself. I take no chances. I refuse to fail. I refuse to try. I stay where I’m comfortable. I have no goals.
Raise your hand if you’ve found yourself in any of these scenarios. There’s a reason why there’s so many people with bad credit. It ain’t easy. And I suspect that if we start asking people what their dreams are, we’ll find that many are working on no credit. They want it, but have taken no steps to achieve it.
Of course, life isn’t black and white. Most of us, just like with financial credit, have some successes and some promises we fell short on. But imagine a 25 year old with bad credit saying, Oh screw it. There’s no sense trying to fix my credit since it’s already screwed up. We’d look at that person like they must be joking or fucking crazy, right? But oftentimes, when we fail to live up to our own expectations, we start allowing the stream of bad experiences to take over. We expect to fail because we have a history of failing, so we don’t try as hard, or worse, give up altogether.
If we’ve built up a poor record with ourselves, there’s something to be done, and that something is doing something. Do something big or small that you’d set out to do. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get done. If you say you’ll go for a run tomorrow during your lunch break and at lunch you were pissed off at your boss and just wanted to sit in your car and vent to a friend, okay, you broke your promise. When you go home you’re going to walk straight into your bedroom, change into some workout clothes, pet the dog and go for that run. So long as you’re alive you’re still in the race.
I know it’s clichéd, but every day is a new day to continue building trust in ourselves and repairing past damage. With trust comes increased motivation to go for the things that we want. Have you ever said you were going to do something and simultaneously in your mind said that you knew good and well you weren’t going to do it?
Our voices of doubt may never fully go away. I know no one who is without any doubt in themselves; however, that voice does get quieter the more we prove to ourselves that we will follow through. Life isn’t a romantic comedy. It’s not just big sweeping gestures that make an impact. It’s the little promises that we make to ourselves every day, the ones that we fulfill; it’s the little chances that we take and the excitement we feel; it’s seeing that the world doesn’t end when we fail and trying again and getting a little better– those are the ways that we build trust in ourselves.
No one can do it for us. The world can tell us how much potential we have and how talented we are, but it won’t mean a thing to our doubtful minds if we don’t go out there and prove our doubts wrong. We can be encouraged, but our doubts can’t be talked away. It’s up to us to prove them wrong, to shut them up, even if it’s only temporary. Those little wins, those little actions build trust, which builds courage, which leads to more action.
Footnote: This post is as much for you as it is for me. Tonight is the next open mic night and I promised myself that I’d get back on that stage and try stand up comedy again. I’ve been freaking the fuck out all week. I was hoping to be more prepared, but this month just flew by and I didn’t give my sketch the time that I intended, and I’ve been giving myself all kinds of excuses not to do it. I’ve thought about waiting until next month and being more disciplined about practicing up until that time. My first performance was so last minute that I didn’t have time to think too much, and it was my first time so any suckiness was kind of excusable. But now I’ve had time. If I suck, it’s all on me. I legit feel nauseous. I might be developing a psychosomatic fever. My fear is that I’ll do a terrible job and never want to get back on a stage again. I fear public humiliation and disappointing everyone. I fear not being as good as I think I am and having my little dream die.
When I write these posts, ladies, I’m not just regurgitating some advice I’ve heard for the sake of likes and readership. I know how hard it is to go out on a limb. I know that there’s things you want to do and you’re terrified. I know. So am I. That’s why I want this blog of mine to be a place of encouragement because we all need it.
Now let’s encourage each other by sharing thoughts and experiences in the comments.
Also, if you found this post helpful and think that others you know may also benefit from it, please share it where you like to share things.
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?