I find myself looking for someone else to tell me what I’m doing is good. Is important. Is valuable. I keep trying to convince myself I’m intrinsically motivated, but I don’t trust my own opinion enough. I’d like to be. I want to be. But maybe only because I’ve heard other people say I should. I wonder if there’s a right way to do anything. If there is an answer to, “What should I focus on? What should I pour attention into?” I wonder if there is ever an answer to a “should” question at all.
Even now. I’m spending all my time writing. Reaching out and connecting. I’m doing the hard work. I’m growing and I find it fulfilling. But when I get home at night I still look at Mason with puppy-eyes and hope he’ll agree this is significant. I still feel like it doesn’t count if people don’t share the stuff I write, don’t comment, don’t hit “like”. As if what I get out of it is somehow tied to what you get out of it.
I wish I knew why that is.
Why just enjoying something, just liking something, just creating something isn’t enough. Me seeing value in it does not count. Someone else has to tell me it’s deserving. Someone else has to identify what it is. Digging through piles of rocks and never trusting myself to know which ones are gems.
I don’t know how you learn that. I don’t know how you learn to give yourself more credit. To accept that you’ve always done the best you could in any situation. To start believing.
So much of what I am proud of now hinges on the idea I used to do fewer things I could be proud of. Hinges on the idea I used to be someone only worthy of shame. I’m different now so I deserve my own respect, my own encouragement. The belief there is only strength in my ability to change discredits all the work I’ve done. All the surviving.
It’s easy to look at the things and habits I’ve used to cope throughout my life and see the problems with them. Harder to admit that doing anything to cope is something to be proud of. I didn’t have to cope at all. I could have given up. I still could. Every day I get up and decide to do something. Anything. I decide to take another breath. And another. That’s something to be proud of. No one has to tell me that. No one has to understand what a big deal that is.
This one is between myself and me. I’m sure I’ll figure that out when I’m ready. I’ll learn to believe it only has to matter to me. All these things I do. All these things I create and new habits I make. They only have to matter to me. A daily practice in receiving my own validation. Amazing how hard it can be.
8 thoughts on “Extrinsic”
“Every day I get up and decide to do something. Anything. I decide to take another breath. And another. That’s something to be proud of. No one has to tell me that. No one has to understand what a big deal that is.”
you hit me in ALL the feels today.
LikeLiked by 2 people
That’s a tough one, for sure.
i liked my own comment trying to like your post
SUCCESS ALL DAY
Just click every “like”. You’ll get the one you were looking for eventually. 😛
Yep gotta agree with MV above. I even highlighted this before I read her comment:
“Every day I get up and decide to do something. Anything. I decide to take another breath. And another. That’s something to be proud of.”
It reminded me of a poem from a young girl battling depression, how even the “smallest” things are huge some days.
I struggle with external validation too. It’s hard, especially for writers. Awareness is a good first step though. I write a lot more stuff “just for me” now. Stuff I post, I try to picture myself releasing it like a bird. It’s not “mine” anymore…”mine” was in the writing. Once I’ve released it then I try to just imagine it free. I can’t control the actions or reactions of others, and what others think of me is not really about me anyway…it’s just their own projections. I hope that makes since.
That makes a lot of sense. I like the idea of putting things out there as letting them go.
Mase and I have a 5K coming up on Saturday and he was talking about training for it. I told him that we’ve already done all we can do, now we just have to run it. I guess it’s the same for writing. Once you post/publish if you’ve already done everything you can. You just have to let it go.
That poem is incredible. Thank you so much for sharing it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Good luck to you both on your 5k! Great analogy on the training/writing.
Had to laugh at my phone not having much “since.” It’s not as “smart” as it thinks it is!
(RoS and I are the same Christy as I’m sure you’ve surmised. I created another identity last year for all the poetry/words posts, but tend to use them interchangedly now.)
Happy Thanksgiving! So glad I found you!
So glad you found me, too! ❤