We all have preconceptions of ourselves. I recently heard an interview with writer, and creative writing teacher Zhana, where she explained that buddhists refer to this as "Fixed Self Image". The general idea is that we tend to see ourselves only in the now, and have difficulty seeing what we can become.
I had a certain image of myself as a kid. I had always seen myself as meek, and timid. I didn't believe I had any agency to direct my own life. I did eventually change when I discovered martial arts, but the image I had was still flawed. This image was recently challenged when an old friend brought me a picture.
You can see the picture of me, shirtless and flexing muscle, at the top of this post. I was about 8 or 9. Now, ignoring the most obvious reaction, which is of course how handsome I was, what struck me was that I looked confident.
Looking back I did not remember feeling confident.
A few years after this picture was taken my father died of a heart attack. He was 43. The trauma that this inflicted shaped how I viewed myself and the world. Now, as an adult in my forties, looking at this picture makes me wonder what I had thought of myself. Would I have been able to envision the man I would become? Those few short years later, when my dad died, what was my self image then?
This self reflection has made me evaluate how I perceive myself now. I want more than anything to be a professional writer, but internally I feel like I'm holding myself back.
Self doubt causes me to procrastinate. My "Fixed Self Image" is of an aspiring writer, and I think this makes it difficult to see what I can become if I put in the work. The possibilities. The opportunities that I will have by just finishing the work.
By putting myself out there I can become what I dream about, but allowing self doubt to dominate my actions only holds me back.
It's time to throw away what I think I am and work towards what I want to be.
I am a writer. First publication pending.
Remember to stop back, and follow my progress.