In my last update I alluded to minor sweater disaster and how that impaired my sense of inspiration. I was touched by how many folks responded to commiserate and also to share some quite practical tips about staying motivated. In the end the lemonade that was made out of that batch of lemon sweaters may not have taken the form of some extra-awesome-mega-coat, but rather in the illuminating exchange of sympathies. (The sweaters I made are all fine by the way…twice as much work as they would have normally taken, but, thanks to some serious steam ironing they are still respectable.)
I had pretty much dusted myself off and moved on from the whole experience, when a surprise package arrived on my porch. Inside were lovely wool sweaters. And chocolate. And a sweet note thanking me for inspiration, and offering the sweaters as consolation. My heart did a little flippy flop. Oh my goodness, how nice of her! Someone saw that I had a bad sweater day and wanted to cheer me up. Aw! Sweet….
And then another package arrived, all decorated beautifully and full of sweaters. Oh my!
And then ANOTHER box of sweaters with a note written in silver: “You have been sweater bombed.”
I feel so happy and lucky and a little weepy with gratitude. Sniffle.
Then underneath all that warm fuzziness there is this little voice inside me that says, “But you don’t deserve this.”
I want to tell that voice to shut up so I can just enjoy my chocolates. But I think it is worth asking, why does that voice exist at all?
Often I feel like I don’t deserve to have such generosity pointed my way, when I am already so lucky. Other people deserve it more. I am hogging more than my share of niceness in the world, and it is given on the false pretense that I am somehow worthy of it. I feel like I should embroider a big banner that proclaims to the world, “You are giving me too much credit!”
Why is it so hard to let people appreciate us?
It is so easy to bitch about feeling UNDERappreciated, but being just plain appreciated is tricky too!
There is a commencement speech by Neil Gaiman that has been making the rounds for a few month. If you haven’t heard it, you should watch it
If you take away nothing else from this blog post, watch that video. Please.
The reason I mention this speech here is because there is a part in it where he says, ” The first problem with any kind of even limited success is the unshakeable feeling that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It’s Imposter Syndrome.”
It was so comforting to hear. HE thinks he is an imposter too? Well, that is a relief! At least I am in good company!
Now, PLEASE don’t misinterpret the reason I am musing on this…Yes, I am insecure enough to feel like I don’t deserve all this unsolicited kindness, but I am not SO insecure that I would blog about it in hopes of instigating a bunch of reassuring comments. ***I am not looking for validation here.**** In fact, if you all responded with a shower of flattering comments to offset my sense of non-deserving, that might rather ironically set off and even greater shame spiral of non-deserving, so…hold up! I do have enough good sense to ultimately accept and cherish the kindness that the world shows me, and use it as motivation to “pay it forward”.
So, to all the ladies who sent me adorable packages: Wow! Thank you! Oh my gosh! You are amazing!!! *gulp* – I accept!
I just think that the “imposter syndrome” is a curious thing that deserves mentioning. I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
Maybe feeling like an imposter is necessary because the opposite would be insufferable. Imagine a person who held out their hand to accept such generosity with a sense of entitlement. Someone so jaded by success that they felt they deserved the attention. Ew. I wrinkle my nose at that person. Team Humility all the way!
I suspect that life is more satisfying when you think like a pauper and are genuinely grateful for the miracle of each crumb.
Or wait, is it better to be all new age and empowered by affirmations like, “I DESERVE THE BEST!”….(shudder)….?
Or some combination of both?
As I sit here I can tug at so many threads of this idea. But then I am also like, shit, i have a lot of sweaters left to sew before Tuesday. And *of course* my stupid computer crashed in the middle of writing this, so everything I had written got deleted and I am scrambling to re-articulate this thought that was never quite clear in the first place. gah.
So, I guess I will go sew now and just ask YOU….. Do you ever hear that voice too? What is your take on it?
Oh, and, if you watch the Neil Gaiman video (please do!) he echos some advice given to him by Stephen King at the advent of his success, which was simply: Enjoy it.
Oh….right. Good idea.
Enjoy I will.
Tags: blog, imposter, katwise, neil gaiman, sweater bomb