I presented last summer on the anxieties of blogging.
At a blogging conference. For bloggers.
I gave what I hoped were good recommendations for building concrete behaviors that would help the writer feel calm. I talked about a positive self-concept. Getting support. Avoidance of comparison with others. All that helpful psychological stuff.
What I had hoped was that people would share their own anxieties. I admitted one of mine. That being a strange yearning to feel a part of “the club.”
Now I don’t know what “the club” is. But in my mind, when I am getting stuck in my thinking, it exists somewhere out there.
I used a recent invitation to join the BlogHer Publishing Network (bloggers who advertise on their websites or maybe promote a product) as an example. How I had had to struggle between my original decision not to advertise on my website – and some pull to join this “club.” They had asked me to become a member – how could I turn it down?
I fretted. I worried. I ran it over and over again in my mind.
“Maybe I could advertise a little… what’s the harm in that?”
Until I realized that it was my old nemesis, and mental bad habit, that was getting me in trouble. That old fear of missing out. Of not feeling like I belong.
Some of you might admit similar issues. Old anxieties that creep up on you. Famous founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung called them “complexes.” They distort your thinking. Cause you to do weird things.
I did not join the BlogHer group. I didn’t want to accept advertising. Plain and simple.
My anxiety vanished.
So I asked my audience of around 25 folks if anyone wanted to share their own anxieties. How might they be affecting your writing?
Questions were asked. A very good discussion followed.
But no one spilled the beans.
No one, as we call it in the psychological biz, was “self-revelatory.”
Until afterwards. When people sought me out privately. That’s when I heard about their secret vulnerability.
My husband was there. I asked him later if there was another way I might have encouraged folks to talk more openly.
“Margaret, people aren’t comfortable talking about themselves like that. You are just used to doing it.”
I felt like a ding bat.
Of course I know that. Even a group of bloggers. Who might share one on one. Or on their blog.
It’s hard to share vulnerabilities. We fear others will see us as less potent. Less valuable.
And yet, if you become aware of those very vulnerabilities – can even put them into words – you have a greater probability of making sure they don’t govern your life. Or your choices.
It’s still difficult sometimes.
Brené Brown, in her Ted talk and her books, speaks/writes eloquently about the power of vulnerability. That it is only through admitting who you really are, to yourself and others, that true, “wholeheartedness” will come. That you will feel connected to others in as deep a way as possible.
If I have learned one thing as a therapist, it is that we all have insecurities. Some people think they hide theirs fairly effectively.
Know that you can talk about yours. With trusted friends. It will enhance those relationships.
And you can accept yourself. As you are.
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