Self-esteem is a tricky beast and to my mind, less of a constant, more of an ever changing variable. No sooner do I feel confident in my self-worth than the universe gives me a swift karmic kick in the butt and reminds me that my self work ain’t over yet.
See, I might know that my books are well-written, even though they challenge many with their subject matter, but that little voice inside my head still asks,
- Why aren’t people buying more copies?
- If they have bought them, why aren’t they reviewing them?
- If they’re reviewing them, why did they choose 4 stars instead of 5?
- If they’ve given 5 stars, why haven’t they bought a copy of the other book?
- If they’ve bought a copy of the other book, why haven’t they liked/commented/shared my blog…
And the answer comes back from the bowels of my mind in a disembodied snarl.
It’s because you and your writing are rubbish…
Those questions of self doubt it seems are endless but for me it’s not the questions which are interesting (even if they might help with my marketing efforts), it’s that my mind has one definitive answer to them all; instead of more logical answers, like no time, no money, no inclination, actually having a life of their own and any other answer which is perfectly plausible and more likely!!
Why after all this time do I still have that voice in my head? If I’m to hazard a guess, it’s because it makes me feel safe. It’s because just in case people do not like my work, I haven’t set my expectations too high and my identity tied with my achievements, will not be destroyed.
And yet, I’ve noticed that as my self-worth has grown, success has followed. Success makes me feel more confident and drives my self-esteem higher. It’s a double edged sword and I must constantly remind myself of the dangers of tying my self-esteem to others’ validation of my work. I am not my work. My message is not me. My books, whether well received, or ignored do not make me any less worthy as a human being (even if continuous criticism may mean my writing doesn’t resonate).
Luckily as usual I find a highly positive outcome from my introspection. The perfect excuse to go and re-watch Fight Club (and call it work)…
You are not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You’re the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.
Tyler Durden ~ Fight Club