As I dive into a master’s program 12 years after finishing my undergrad degree, a lot of feelings of self doubt, impostor syndrome, and fear bubble up to the surface. Going to school in my late 30’s, I am much more engaged, excited, and grateful to be learning this time around but I also inevitably have higher expectations of myself. I’m noticing that I put a lot more pressure on myself to learn, digest things and hurry up and put them into practice. The same old stories of time scarcity, and performance anxiety creep up with every new ah-ha moment in learning.
I have a hard time enjoying the learning and discovery process without feeling like I have to show for it.
Our late 30’s in America are about being deep in a successful career and I have decided to switch gears right in the middle of it. Old programs of proving myself and perfectionism pop up with every assignment or paper due. I also have overwhelm and impatience from the deepening understanding of new subjects, but not yet the innate knowing that takes time to develop. It’s easy to be stunted by expectations that I can put on myself in this new path. Expectations of already being knowledgeable about everything if I wish to help others, to be a flawless expert in my new path, and to be ready to take on the whole world.
But this is fear. This is fear in yet another tricky, sneaky, shady version that creeps up in the best of intentions.
How is it that one can be so excited, well intentioned, (mostly) grounded, positive, accepting of my process and for fear to still find it’s way in? I guess it’s being human, and still everyday I have to remind myself that I am one. Being human means having a brain that overthinks, grasps on to thoughts and feelings that take away from my heart, makes reality from fears, and mirrors a societal norm of worrying and trying to think out solutions.
The plus side of being human however, means having a heart.
A heart that with a little reconnecting and practice, can lead instead of the mind. Being human also means that no one is perfect. It means having feelings good and bad, to struggle and thrive. It means that we purely exist to learn, connect and grow, not to perform, and succeed. It means that I get to be imperfect, real, vulnerable be connected to others in this human process. It means that I get to embrace the process and learn alongside everyone else, and not pretend that I have it all figured out in order to make a positive change in the world.
So I try to take this heart (literally) and take it day by day. Today as these feelings are felt at high levels, I aim to sit with them, honor them, sift out the fear from the truth. I aim to face fear and take step forwards anyway, and do so in line with the pace of my heart, not my mind. I know my heart will guide me to a path of more being and connecting and less thinking and performing. Thank you all for being with me on this process <3