I recently gave a presentation on dealing with the anxieties of being a blogger.
I gave what I hoped were good recommendations for building concrete behaviors that would help the writer feel calm. Feel supported. I talked about a positive self-concept. Avoidance of comparison with others. All of that helpful psychological stuff.
What I had hoped was that people would share their own anxieties. I admitted a couple of mine – one being that I yearn to feel a part of “the club”.
Now I don’t know what “the club” is. But in my mind, when I am getting stuck in my thinking, it exists somewhere out there. Some place where others fit and I might not. But want to.
I used my invitation to join the BlogHer Publishing Network as an example of how I had had to struggle with my original decision not to advertise on my website – and some pull to join this “club” that I perceived. (I did not understand that BlogHer Publishing was really about advertising when I got on its waiting list).
I felt anxiety over it until I realized that it was my old nemesis, and mental bad habit, that was getting me in trouble. That old fear of missing out. Of not feeling like I belong.
Some of you might admit similar issues. Old anxieties that creep up on you. Famous founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung called them “complexes” (simplistically speaking). They distort your thinking. Cause you to do weird things.
I did not join the BlogHer group. The anxiety vanished.
So I asked my audience of around 20 folks, who actually had been fairly engaged. Asked if anyone wanted to share their own anxieties. Or did they have any questions at all.
It’s not that questions weren’t asked. A very good discussion followed.
But no one spilled the beans.
No one, as we call it in the psychological biz, was “self-revelatory”.
Until afterwards. When people sought me out privately. That’s when I heard about vulnerability.
When tears came to their eyes in admitting their own fears. Hang-ups.
My husband was there. I asked him later if there was another way I might have encouraged folks to talk more openly.
“Margaret, people aren’t comfortable talking about themselves like that. You are just used to doing it“.
I felt like a dingbat.
Of course I know that. Even a group of bloggers. Who might share one on one. Or on their blog.
It’s hard to share vulnerabilities. We fear that others will see us as less potent. Less valuable or significant. And yet, if I am aware of those very vulnerabilities – can even put them into words – I perhaps have a greater probability of making sure they don’t govern my life. Or my choices.
It’s still difficult sometimes.
Brené Brown, in her Ted talk and her books, speaks/writes eloquently about the power of vulnerability. That it is only through admitting who you really are, to yourself and others, that true “wholeheartedness” will come. That you will feel connected to others in as deep a way as possible.
If I have learned one thing as a therapist, it is that we all have insecurities. Some people think they hide theirs fairly effectively. Look a little closer… there they are.
I am giving the same talk in another month. I will make a few changes here and there.
I will probably still ask the question. Just to be inviting to those who might dare to share. I will still talk about my “club” issue. (It actually helps me get over it to admit it.)
You don’t happen to belong to a club I could join, do you?
Oops. Slipped up there a little.