It took me a long time to write this post, mainly because it was so hard for me to articulate how I was feeling and why. The past few months I just haven’t felt myself and I’m sharing this because I know there are a lot of you out there that have gone through or are going through the same thing. A feeling of unease, constant worry and stress about the future, lack of self-confidence, and a general unhappiness. It’s a little thing called self-doubt, and it’s a real downer. It can also sabotage your success, relationships, creativity and productivity.
If I’m being honest I don’t know exactly what brought it on, but I think it was a combination of things. Graduating was incredibly exciting and probably one of the biggest achievements for me, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility and stress (financially and otherwise). At the same time, I was struggling with a bit of burnout and general lack of motivation to begin my first job post-graduation. I was stuck in a funk for months and only now can I finally say I worked my way out, and I have some tips if you’re finding yourself in a similar predicament.
IDENTIFY THE SOURCE
This was the hardest part for me. It basically took me writing this post to start to understand where my feelings of self-doubt were coming from. Once you know the trigger, you can start to identify the why and pick apart those feelings. Try writing in a journal or if you prefer talking to someone, find a person you can trust to help you get there.
Welcome to the rabbit hole of comparison. Ugh and Yuck. I’ve found myself doing this over and over again the past few months and it’s so bad. I am usually not one to do this type of thing and it’s a terrible habit to get into. I’d like to blame it on the nature of my work and now trying to get more into blogging, but I think we all do this at one point or another. Social media is a real mind-altering tool with this stuff too. Social media is the place where, for the most part, everyone puts the best version of themselves. Most of the time, it’s not telling the whole story. I know this because a huge part of my job is creating content to put on social media that is, if we’re being honest, not 100% always the full story.
It’s imagery I’ve created that has taken time, thought, energy and sometimes hours of work. And yet, I was still in a constant state of comparison, whether it was likes and followers on Instagram (how sad), a brand partnership or some other place my mind would take me. And then I remembered what I usually tell friends when they come to me with the same thoughts and feelings. You have no idea what’s on the other side of that image. You don’t know what that person is going through, how they got that collaboration, or that vacation, or that bag, or all of those followers. The number of likes on a photo does not define anyone’s self worth. This doesn’t just apply to social media: it applies to life in general. When you stop comparing and start recognizing all the incredible opportunities, achievements, and good things in your own life, it will open doors you have never imagined.
I got into this terrible habit of being on my phone ALL THE TIME. Guess what, I know I’m not the only one. Look around next time you’re in public and see how many people you notice are on their phones, it’s a lot. Nothing is more sad to me than going out to dinner and seeing an entire group at a table and everyone is on their phone. But this isn’t about everyone else, it’s about me and my utter lack of awareness. When I started work, we have a no phone rule and not being able to take out my phone when conversations turned slow or I was bored felt constricting. Now, I’m beginning to realize how much more aware of my environment I am without my fingers on my phone. Put your phone away and be present. Not just when you sit down at a meal, but when you’re out for a walk, doing errands or just being lazy on the couch. Allow yourself to experience the world around you.
TAKE A BREAK (AND TRAVEL)
Everyone needs time off. I always make excuses for never taking a break. Taking time off is scary. Every minute I’m not working I feel like I’m either a) losing money b) missing out on an opportunity or C) not growing my blog. The truth is, if you don’t take a break you burn out. And that’s what happened to me. Just having one weekend of relaxation or even a day where you just enjoy the city is SO nice. Traveling is another great way to get out of a rut. You don’t have to go far. Take a day trip, visit a museum, go somewhere new to clear your mind and get inspired.
CONNECT WITH THOSE WHO LIFT YOU UP
It may sound surprising, but I’m an introvert. I’m pretty good at pretending, but I prefer being alone or in a very small group. I am re-energized by spending time solo. That said, there’s nothing like being with people who make you laugh and remind you of what’s important. Keep those people close and don’t worry about the rest.
REMEMBER SUCCESS IS NOT IMMEDIATE
It was this article Caylin shared in Click. Read. Love. that reminded me success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Achieving goals takes time. Don’t dismiss your accomplishments either. I have this thing where I downplay EVERY, SINGLE achievement. You can be humble and proud of your success at the same time. Enjoy the small (or big) wins, work hard, hustle and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Have you ever dealt with self-doubt or are you currently? Let me know in the comments and please share any other helpful ways you’ve confronted it.