So an odd thing has happened. For over a week I have been full of resolution and combativeness, determined to retrieve my reputation at work, and wholly free from defeatism.
I can identify some reasons. A couple weeks ago I doubled my dose of antidepressants, back up to the middling dosage prescribed for me a few years ago. I got a frankly bad performance review at work. I've been reading books that showcase resolution and gallantry. And I resumed my Ngondro practice. I'm inclined to give that, sporadic as it's been, most of the credit.
With this change, some things have come into focus. How much the psychological center of my life has been a desire for approval in the real world, and a conviction that it's unavailable. I've grown very skeptical about the existence of this world, over the years, let alone its claims to superior reality, but that hasn't stopped it from cowing me. I have fled from it at every opportunity, seeking distinction in all sorts of alternative worlds, but hoping only to avert disaster in the real one. Now that a minor disaster -- that of losing a job I have not much liked for the past five years -- looms, it has suddenly lost its terrors. I don't really care. What I do care about is freeing myself of this incubus of self-doubt. I am determined to fail honestly, if I do fail -- to fail because the work is beyond my capacity, and not because of procrastination and diffidence. Failing that way would be a victory anyway.
I don't for a moment suppose that my struggle with self-doubt is over, any more than my struggle with my eating habits was ended by my apparent triumph over them last year (the last time, incidentally, that I was regularly doing my Ngondro practice.) But -- as with the eating habits -- knowing that this self-doubt can be defeated makes a great difference.
Blogdom being one of those alternative worlds in which I've sought distinction in order to avoid struggling for what I want, and believe I can't obtain, in the real world, I will probably be reading and posting less often. But when I'm here it will be because I want to be here, and not because I'm escaping from somewhere else.