A while back I read an article in Sunday Life by Kerri Sackville about imposter syndrome, perfectionism, and self-disparagement. All good topics. I’ve written about perfectionism before and have been thinking about writing on imposter syndrome because lord knows I’ve had my fair share of that. But today I wanted to write about the act of disparaging oneself.
I could empathise with a lot of Kerri’s examples (exemplified by my consistent head-nodding and “Mhmm!”-ing as I read) and found the article stayed with me long after I finished it. The more it sat with me, the more disturbed and angry I became. So many memories flashed before my eyes of times where I’d played down my contribution to something good or shied away from compliments and praise. I thought of other people in my life that did the same and saw a definite difference between men and women. Broadly speaking, it seems women are taught, perhaps implicitly, to be self-disparaging. To not own up to being good at anything. To downplay our strengths and abilities. Because if we spoke up and owned up, that would be seen as conceited and self-righteous. Well, guess what?
Fuck that shit. I’m a chronic self-disparager and I’ve had enough. In a bid to remind myself to not be so hard on myself, I had a think about some things that I’m actually good at. I encourage you, reading this, to do the same. Everyone has something.
Here, listed below, are a bunch of both little and big Things I’m Good At:
- Figuring out what words mean based on their structure/etymology.
- Reading lots of books.
- Baking delicious sweet things for other people (and myself) to enjoy.
- Being creative and crafty.
- Explaining things.
- Being organised.
- Organising other people.
- Colour co-ordinating my outfits.
- Singing along to the Mary Poppins soundtrack (chim chiminy chim chiminy chim chim cher-oo!). And the best of The Corrs.
- Finding bargains in op shops.
- Taking photos.
- Buying/making gifts for other people that they love.
- Wrapping said gifts!
- Growing succulents.
- Checking in on people I care about to see if they’re okay.
It was a great deal easier to compile that list than I first thought it was going to be. The tricky part came when I was reviewing the list and my little inner voice kept saying “Hmm, writing hey? You’re only sometimes good at that. Put “sometimes” at the end of that dot point” or “You’re only good at explaining some specific things…it’s really quite limited”. Resist throwing in those (largely unnecessary) qualifiers and just say it like it is.
And don’t get me wrong, there are things I’m definitely not good at – and this is okay too! I’m not very good at writing concisely or letting go of grudges or being patient with slow drivers. But I’d much rather focus on what I am good at and slowly work at getting better at the things that matter.
So, tell me, what are YOU good at? I want to know!