This post is kind of a ramble, but I had a personal epiphany last night after my accountant (Hi Brittany!) shared an Instagram post about how women describe their businesses versus men and it hit me in the chest like a ton of bricks. I woke up early to write this blog post to get my feelings out of my head and onto the
paper screen because I was up in the night thinking about it. I included some articles I found while Googling this topic at 5:00am.
This was the post (via @brittanyratelle):
The confidence gap is real and I do exactly this all the time! When people ask me what I do, I often say oh well I used to work in marketing but now I run a blog and Instagram account. Mind you, I haven’t worked full time in marketing for 7 years. So why do I feel the need to mention that? Well, because on some level I’m still embarrassed by my work.
Back when I started blogging, before the days of Instagram, no one knew what I was talking about when I said I was a “blogger”. These days, the influencer industry makes billions of dollars a year and has proven itself over and over again to be a legitimate business. But there is still a stigma around the word “influencer” because there are a lot of them out there who abuse the system and make the rest of us look bad.
The fact that I started my own business with a blog, newsletter, social media presence, and online marketplace, and can work flexible hours while making double (sometimes triple) the annual income I ever made in my corporate jobs is actually unbelievable if I look at it with that lens. My goal this fall is to own that and be proud of what I’ve done and not feel like I’m less-than because I don’t have a traditional job.
If I weren’t a “minimizer” I think I’d lead with the fact that I’m a cookbook author. But because of imposter syndrome, I don’t. Someone will ask how the cookbook is going and I’ll give a swift response and quickly change the subject. Given the fact that it has been fairly all-encompassing lately, that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sometimes I still feel as if I got this book deal by accident and it’s all going to go away one day. But we all need to own our success.
Another area where I minimize things is with my emotions and anxiety. This summer has been a major struggle for me anxiety-wise but when people (including my family and husband) ask how I am, I’ll say stressed but fine. I think I say this because life is good on paper so things should be fine so I’m weirdly embarrassed about my feelings. There is not one specific thing making me anxious so it feels hard to talk about it.
I also think I do this because I don’t want to be the one in a group bringing everyone down. I know logically that my friends and husband will give me the support I need when I need it, but I don’t want to be the person who needs support if that makes sense. I found an article about minimizing our emotions that explains exactly what’s going on here.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m a woman or because I’m an anxious woman or what but I am overly self-aware about being negative and complaining even when I really need the space to vent. The same goes when I have successes in life. I don’t want to brag or come off as showy.
So to summarize, my epiphany was that I realized the following… When things are bad I make myself smaller. When things are good I make myself smaller. And this has to stop! I’ll work on this in therapy and report back on any insights. But I wanted to share it in case anyone else does the same.