JOURNAL // One : My Inner Critic
If you've been following me on Instagram, then you know that I just went on a mini social media break - but what many of you don't know is, why.
I have been struggling with finding motivation, inspiration and excitement to create content on my platforms.
You know that little voice in the back of your head that tells you that "you're not good enough, you can't do this ... look how much better everyone else is at this ... why did you think this would be a good idea?" - yes, my inner critic has been living LARGE lately. I've been overwhelmed with self doubt - and that inner voice inside us all has become too loud for my creative brain to function successfully.
I had originally started Jess Undecided as a creative outlet as I started my second university degree. People always ask me - "why undecided"? It was initially because when my sister and I were coming up with blog names, we actually could not decide! But as my blog grows with me, the more relevant the name seems. There are so many things in life that are uncertain, and making decisions only get harder with age - adulting is hard!!
The truth is, that I never thought this blog would become my business and that I would have a career as a creative freelancer.
Growing up, I was taught that I should have my life mapped out in front of me for the next foreseeable decades - which meant I should find my career in some sort of established "profession". I went into university at 17 years old thinking I was going to live my life as a physician - and looking back now - I wish I had took a gap year off to learn more about myself. Taking a year off before university was just not an option for me back then - if you weren't graduating and going straight to university , you were immediately labelled as "unsuccessful". But if I were to given the chance again - I know I would have benefited with some time off to figure out somethings for myself.
So how does any of that have to do with what I've been feeling lately?
I've found that I have been devaluating my own work because of those expectations that were set by myself many years ago. I would have either been in medical school, or starting my residency by now if I had followed down my original path. But now, I'm a freelancer - blogger/content creator/social media specialist. Nowhere in the realm of career paths I saw myself in. For some reason, my inner critic still values that profession over my current creatively driven career choice. I'm not saying I regret my choices. I am extremely in love with the work that I do, but every so often when things are uncertain, I find my inner critic questioning, doubting me, and telling me I should find something more stable.
*What if this whole business falls a part in the next couple years? What am I going to do then? What are my chances on getting a good mortgage / or will I ever be able to own my own place?*
Those are just few of the many questions that my inner critic has been yelling at me about.
My inner self critic has been especially prominent lately as my main business platform (Instagram) started to change their algorithm and I began to see my engagement fall. The voice in my head only keeps getting louder and more critical.
I found myself constantly comparing my work with others, looking for reasons to explain my sudden decline, and eventually found myself falling down a mental spinning spiral. Why wasn't my content good enough? What was I doing differently? What do my followers want to see? What should I change? Why do I keep doubting myself? How can I find my confidence again? Why am I not proud of the work I have already done?
My inner critic was working around the clock, whispering self doubting thoughts in my head day and night. It started effecting my sleeping pattern and even my ability to connect with my family and friends because I couldn't get myself out of that funk.
I knew I had to get a grip on my self doubt and quiet my inner critic.
So I took a couple days off to try to distance myself from my business + inner critic. The difficulty with working in social media, is that there is never a "break" mode. Any time you take a break, someone else is creating more content and you can very quickly become irrelevant. But I knew that it was time for me to take a step back. I couldn't think without letting my inner critic get the best of me.
I took those couple of days to jot down my negative thoughts and took time to reflect on why they were able to get so loud. Then I made myself write down all the things that I am grateful for. Things like my family, Travis, my friends, having the freedom to be a freelancer, and the fact that I have my own brand that I love.
It took some time, but my inner critic has quieted down a bit. I have been trying to focus on myself, and my own work - that is the only thing that I can control. I still catch myself getting caught in a comparison spiral, but I've been trying harder to catch myself before it gets too far.
I am sure that one day soon my inner critic will once again rear its not-so-nice head, but hopefully by then I will have developed some new strategies to deal with it.
I'll be sharing my journey to find best practices to deal with your inner critic + self doubt as I discover them myself - so stay tuned my lovely friends!
PS. The Journal - is a new space for me to share my more intimate/personal thoughts with you all going forward. I thought it was about time that you all got a chance to know me better - so here's to opening myself up to be more vulnerable and here's to personal disclosure. Also, please feel free to share any experiences with me if you find that you connect with my thoughts as well.
And once again - thanks reading + following along. It really means the world.