Life is disappointing and that Fact will never hurt any less
You are a fraud.
You do not know what you are doing.
People look at you like you’ve got it at least
a little sorted so often that occasionally you can even trick yourself into believing it to be true. But it’s not. A mixture of luck and lies has landed you in your shoes and soon someone is going to figure out that you have no right to anything in your life. Everything will crumble when you are found out.
So. Let’s talk about your self-esteem. You already know that you’re a pretty alright person, things are actually starting to look up for you. Things certainly have been worse. You just need to be reminded that life isn’t always going to look up. Life is disappointing and that fact never hurts any less with each harsh reminder. And you are reminded, will be reminded, often. For every peak there is a trough. Like all cyclical ways of being, our conscious experience of existence isn’t linear in anything but the most tangible of terms. There will be ups. There will be downs. You know that.
This isn’t a column about how you should just buck up and carry on. It often strikes me that if you’re in the kind of situation that coerces a “Just harden
up” from an on-looker, then exactly the opposite is usually the truth. This is about accepting those moments of despair
and hardship when they come. It’s about acknowledging those thoughts and letting them pass. It’s about not beating yourself up for beating yourself up. It’s also worth pointing out that this is not a column about proper clinical depression. If shit is really bad, if your self-doubt is getting in the way of living your life, seek help. Seriously.
Life would be so much easier if you would just tattoo across your brain the fact that most human experience is much more universal than anyone is willing to let on. Just as most ideas have already been had by most people, the human brain’s incredible latitude of feeling means that all the complex emotions you are so acutely aware of, ashamed of, are, I guarantee you, not solely limited to your warm little mind-cave.
But that does not change that the most malevolent fact about your self-doubt is that it separates you from others. In those lows, when you hate yourself and everything you have produced, you are also the only person to ever make a mistake. The only person to ever be as disappointing as you are right now is you right now.
When we are happy we are together. When we are sad we are alone. Well, we feel we are alone. I have spent quite a few words in this column telling you to trust yourself, so it is very advisedly that I have to tell you that the one the time you should never trust yourself is when you think you are alone. You are not the only person to have ever doubted themselves. Everyone does.
You are not special. That includes your troughs as well as your apexes. When punching your heart in the balls with doubt-fists, you have to work as hard as you can to remember that you are not the only person to have felt this. Other people have survived it. All the people you think are preternaturally fine, all those bastards who seem to have sorted their whole fucking lives out to such a hideous degree that it seems like they’re doing it just to mock you personally, they have had just as many dark nights of the soul as you. We need to work to let our doubt unite us, not divide us.
Everyone is a fraud. No one knows what they are doing.