I like to think that I’m a fairly confident person. I know my strengths, I know what I want, I know who I am, and if people like me great, but if they don’t, I’m not horribly fazed. I like to think that, anyway. The reality is a bit more nuanced. You see, I love positive reinforcement. I love compliments (doesn’t everyone) and being noticed and praised. I’m like a damn puppy in that sense. I want to be told “good job” and patted on the head or something, but without it being condescending. And I need to get over this need for praise.
It’s not that I even mind trolling or hate. I work in an industry where trolls and haters are so common, I almost feed on them in a sense. If someone is trying to bring you down, it must mean you’re doing something to get them jealous, you’re doing something that makes them think you’re above them. So it’s not about haters or negativity. No, it’s that I have to know that I did a good job at something, especially if I care.
This probably isn’t a particularly unique trait. We all like being told that we’re good at something that matters to us. But it’s hard for me at the moment because I’m diving into stuff that’s very self-driven. I mother in a unique way (I think). I blog here. I’ve started making videos. My work successes aren’t as visible as they used to be because of the nature of my changing role. The reality is that I won’t get told: “wow, good job” when I babble away with my kid, or write a blog post, or do a Facebook Live video, or land a cool deal at work. I need to just find that confidence and know I’m doing well, be proud of myself.
It’s just hard sometimes because I wonder and bring myself down. Not all the time, mind you. Often I’ll sit and say “yup, that was solid, I did well” and I can move on smiling for the day. But, as with so many of us when we try something new, there are times when I waver. Do I really know what I’m doing? Will people notice that I’m totally making it all up as I go along? Sometimes that imposter syndrome rears its ugly head and the only way I can overcome it is by begging for compliments from my husband, which we all know is a recipe for disaster. I love Dean and he has many amazing qualities, but the population of people who can give the exact right compliments on demand is very small.
So I need to get over it, I think. I need to realize that I do know what I’m doing. I’m a great mom. I’m a fantastic wife. I know what I’m doing most of the time, and I fake it well enough the rest of the time. Besides, this Neil Gaiman anecdote about imposter syndrome helps, too.