Listening to Myself

Yesterday was indeed a hot day. I managed to keep the house relatively cool with fans and thankfully, I fell asleep at night okay, which is usually the biggest challenge in the oppressive heat. My day went fine; I wasn’t overly lonely, and I was satisfied with how my therapy went. My stomach wasn’t as bad as it had been the previous afternoon, so that also made for a better Monday.

Today, I have a psychiatry appointment, which will be the typical 15-minute whirlwind it always is. Other than that, I have some interesting work projects and a book that’s beckoning me to discover the story within its pages.

After meditating this morning, I was thinking about this time last year. I recalled that this was about the time that I started up my foray into the podcast world with The Chin-Up Podcast. Tackling that venture was simultaneously stressful and exciting for me. On the one hand, having to put myself out there and reach out to prospective guests and then actually engage with them during phone interviews was terribly daunting for someone so shy. However, it was also exciting to build something myself that could be reached by people worldwide and to imagine that by trying to share stories that help destigmatize mental illness, others struggling with such issues would feel less alone and possibly seek needed help.

I believe I produced one podcast episode a week for four months. In that time, I became a lot more comfortable asking questions and discussing tough stuff with people I didn’t know (or hadn’t connected with for quite some time). Learning about other people’s stories was intriguing, and giving them a platform to share their ideas and experiences was gratifying.

With that said, the podcast ran its course and my interest dipped so much toward the end of those four months that I was happy to unplug the recorder and call it quits on my venture. I remember being nervous to admit that I had had enough after a seemingly short stint; I figured people would judge me. However, I listened to my own needs and desires and pushed those self-conscious fears aside. I remember feeling so relieved when I decisively announced the cessation of my project.

I mention all of this because I think that was one of the first times I stuck with what I wanted and didn’t let my perceived concerns about what other people would say dissuade me from doing what felt right for me. Like many people, I struggle with worrying what others will think about me or what I do, which isn’t an easy behavior to eradicate. The lifespan of my public project was a good example an improvement in this realm for me, but it’s still something I struggle a lot with. I do know where this desire to please others originated in my life, but how it has been perpetuated a these years after childhood remains more of a mystery. I can only surmise that after engraining the maladaptive thought and behavior pattern as a child for so many years, it became so programmed into my psyche that it didn’t fade away as I grew up and out of the home. It’s something I’m going to start working harder to dismantle, so that I can feel more free to proudly be me and less governed by the imagined (or real) critical scrutiny of others. My life is hard enough; why deny myself the self-respect of heeding to my wants and needs. It seems nothing would be as potent of a self-esteem toxin than being afraid to be yourself and prioritizing what other people might think about you.

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