Accepting My Quietness in a Noisy World
I’ve been learning a lot in the last few months as I’m ramping up my social media to find my audience and turn my writing into a business. I’ve created an accounting practice, but an online business is an entirely different game. Since I didn’t want to limit my writing to a niche, writing for SEO feels too restrictive. So I thought I had to use social media to find my peeps.
That led to a lot of pressure and anxiety for me in the last few months. I’m not good at social media and don’t enjoy constantly showing people what’s going on in my life. My Instagram account had nothing on it since I mostly used it for following Asian vegan bloggers. Following the advice of a business course, I woke up my account and started posting photos and writing snippets of my life and my thoughts.
I hated it.
Those posts weren’t bad, but they also weren’t me. I felt I was spending a lot of time doing things unrelated to what I wanted to write about. But I thought I had to keep up and make it work, or I would never be able to do what I love for a living.
I also felt like my work wasn’t good enough compared to others on my feed. I never took photos of my house because my home decor wasn’t pretty enough. Others had Instagram-ready desks (or I just thought they did), but mine was cluttered and full of sticky notes. I resented the time it took to set up a nice enough picture. Every post on my Instagram feed reminded me of what I lacked. I had so much anxiety I couldn’t stand to log on sometimes.
During those months, I lost the peace and centeredness I’d gained during my water-only fast last year, and I didn’t know how to get it back. My self-condemnation had gotten so bad, I had to do something. I started journaling daily, posting encouraging notes everywhere, and became more mindful of how I talk to myself. I made an effort to bring myself back to center if my anxiety started to me. It wasn’t easy.
I also had low energy during this time and little motivation to do anything. I wondered if I’d ever get my enthusiasm back again.
What ended up working for me was a gradual process of self-acceptance. I learned that lack of confidence is an unwillingness to be present with one’s actions, and I spent a lot of time thinking about what parts of myself I wasn’t present with. Parts that I did not own or accept. Parts that I was ashamed of and tried to hide.
I realized that my issues have always been around feeling different from others and trying to hide my differences and be more like them, which has never worked. I felt ashamed that my Instagram posts weren’t pretty enough, even though making things look pretty has never been my interest. I read the witty, insightful remarks that populate social media and felt bad that those weren’t my forte. Others I look up to share their knowledge with such confidence and authority, whereas I prefer to write about personal experiences than make generalized statements. I didn’t accept myself because I couldn’t see myself reflected in the world. How does a quiet, thoughtful, conscientious person compete in a world of noise?
The truth is, I have no idea. But I couldn’t believe the same old thoughts about myself anymore if I wanted to go into a line of work that didn’t offer immediate and obvious approval. I can only accept who I am and play to my strengths. Slowly I brought myself back to center, but it’s been touch and go. I’ve spent a lot of time showing the scared part of me that I am safe, my life is good, and I don’t have to prove myself to anyone (that’s a hard one). That part of me is terrified of uncertainty and is impatient to see results. I’ve had to help her feel safe even though I don’t know exactly where I’m going.
I recognized that there are many ways I can get the word out, connect with people, and share my work. I will have to learn about marketing and try different things. I will have to figure out what I enjoy doing so the work is sustainable. Most importantly, I will have to be more patient and not pressure myself, which makes everything harder than it has to be. But I trust that I will find a way.
Originally published at https://www.soultoworld.com on April 1, 2022.