Self talk.

PAST.

I’m no good. I’m embarrassed to even be walking the Earth. I want to get run over by a bus. I want to crawl under a rock and stay there. I don’t want to talk to anyone. Or make eye contact. Or talk to them. Or declare my presence.  I am an impostorAnxiety boils over in my head. I am extremely perfectionist. I am neurotic

Why bother investing in myself? Nothing will work out for me no matter what I do. I question and ruminate on every decision I make no matter how insignificant. 

I don’t love myself. Rationally, I know there are people who care about me, but I don’t  know why. I know I’m better off than many, but still feel awful about it. Truly, the world would be better off without me. I don’t matter. Or count. I’m useless. 

Things can’t possibly change. I’m too…old, set in my ways, don’t know what I’m doing, uncertain, indecisive, asocial…I am wrong. A mistake.

PRESENT.

I am doing more. I am in the arena a little more often. I have accepted my my introverted nature and understand more that it’s not a flaw, just a part of who I am. I am inching my way back up to feeling like it’s OK for me to live life. Doing something. Or at least trying to. I still don’t have a good direction to go in. I am trying to prevent career burnout by doing things for myself that are novel and new. And enjoyable. I am exploring slightly more. And through this blog, commenting on things through Twitter (my tweets made it onto the #Sciquester home page the AAAS had!), emailing people and asking for the things I need more often. I try to do something that will make me uncomfortable every day…I even succeed sometimes.

I am much more open to feedback. A friend of mine- @MalaChakraborti- who has been a huge support to me when I was in my deepest depression wrote this to me recently: 

“You have a pretty strong tendency to qualify your sentiments, and sometimes you go pretty far at the self deprecation part. The reason I’m pointing it out is because I think it no longer really represents your true opinion of yourself in that situation, but has become a habit from a time when the sentiment was stronger.”

I have noticed this myself. When I write, or speak to people, I still come from a perspective that I don’t have a clue and am not confident. While it’s true that I don’t feel I have a ton of confidence, I do try to have a more confident voice. I go back and edit things I write when I see equivocations in my writing whenever I see them. I’m sure I do a lot of that here in this blog (I’m doing it right now…), but this is meant to be fairly quick and informal writing. 

I am taking enjoyment in things a bit more. However, I am not engaged in my work. The idea of doing something else is still strong in my head (this economy scares me still- no more middle class apparently…). I am slowly being swallowed and stifled by my scientific career and feel I need something else to lead a meaningful life (having a significant other is a long standing goal of mine still). I just feel largely lifeless when I’m working. I like science, but the career prospects to stay in it are absolutely dismal. It keeps me up at night sometimes.

I am having more compassion for myself as well. Not that I feel like everything I’m doing is OK, but being kind to myself helps me recover from set backs.

Things I have done so far that make me uncomfortable are actually looking more into my finances, setting up a newish home network, learning and trying new things in the lab, talking more (even though my voice sounds weird when I am more extroverted…and feels like someone else talking entirely), I am using more tools to help organize myself- like doing a weekly review, using Evernote (awesome!), and Unclutter to keep my desktop clear.

I am continuing to learn about myself- reading about High sensitivity (pretty sure that fits me well) and learning more about will power/habit formation and trying to learn good ones. And continue to be more mindful. 

FUTURE.

I want to be bolder. Take more chances. Make more mistakes- and hopefully learn more from trying rather than reading theoretically about how something works. Not over thinking, which is still very much a habit of mine. I would love to just decide something and do it. Right then. And not be so afraid to spend money on things I want because I fear buying stupid things. And of course, I hope a major life change comes soon and I can truly announce the release of Ian 3.0.


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Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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