I had dinner with an old friend last night. We caught up on life, love, and plans for our respective futures. She reminded me that there have been some pretty significant accomplishments over the past year that I have not taken the time to cherish! I published a book, started a company, gave up a traditional job altogether for my own academic and professional passions, as well as continuing to work towards a doctorate. I also managed to turn thirty-five. All of those are big things and I did feel my heart swell as she reflected them back to me with her kind words and pride.
And yet…that little voice was there. That quiet, insipid, monstrous voice that I think I am not alone in saying is the downfall of many an awe-inspiring moment with sweeping crescendos of music in my head. What, you don’t have a soundtrack running to your life in your mind too?! Weird. It’s that little, and sometimes enormous piece we all have called self-doubt. Can I do this? Am I worthy of this praise? What will it be like if/when I fail? What if everyone I know says nice things about my writing to my face when I know they are snickering behind my back?
Here is what friendship can do though. True friendship and connection helps us quiet that voice. As I assured my friend that her fabulous idea for a new business endeavor would be a perfect match for her talents, I realized I was saying all the things I needed to remind myself of over the last nine months. Her praise was the exact thing I needed to know that there are other people out there applauding my efforts. Sure, they will always be naysayers (that’s an old school word for haters, younger demographic). Being able to offer that same praise for budding talent made me realize the power (yet again) of connection. Holding space with someone by nurturing their hopes while lifting one another up is my favorite way to spend time with others.
P.S. She’s not an old friend, our friendship is. Since we are both now thirty-five, I can say we dames are just getting started with the things we will cheer each other on in doing.