Most of the time, my life in the real world (as opposed to Internet world) is divided into two parts: work and the rest of life. When I am at work, I am strong, confident, and assured. It is the kind of attitude that can only come from being good at your job and being the smartest person in the room. (Sometimes I also struggle with modesty, obviously.) When I’m not working and just experiencing life, I am often quiet and awkward. Why? Because I have the smartest most amazing friends on the planet and they dwarf me with their intelligence, wit, and accomplishments. So I sit in a room of my favorite people and the inner monologue goes something like this:
Why are they even hanging out with you? You don’t belong here. You’re lucky they’re nice or else they’d stop inviting you to stuff. Seriously, the group doesn’t need you. They are so much smarter than you. You bring nothing to this group. Just try to say something smart or funny enough that they think you belong. At least don’t say anything stupid.
And on it goes.
For the record, this has nothing to do with my friends. They are beyond amazing and kind and loving. This is my issue. The more I talk to people in the Internet world, the more I think it is not only my problem. You see, when you combine a person with a past of self-esteem/introversion issues into a group of phenomenal people; doubt grows. It grows and grows and before you know it, you aren’t enjoying your friendships because you are too busy worrying about them.
So here’s my advice to myself (and you):
Stop. Just stop. Trust that the people whose opinions you value so highly on every other matter are right about this too. Take their friendship as a constant reminder that you are enough. You are a one-of-a-kind constellation of light and stars and ideas and the world needs you. Stop hiding and shine bright, little star.