What Am I Doing Wrong? (or, You Can’t Outrun Something That Hovers)

This is a thought that is sprinkled in some of my days like corn syrup is sprinkled into the average American diet. It’s not the centerpiece by any means, but as soon as you start reading labels, you realize it’s everywhere.

It’ll come up for little things, like when people un-like my page on Facebook. Yeah, I notice those things. I have just a hair over 100 people, so it is obvious when it shrinks. What am I doing wrong?

Some people have lives that seem to make logical sense. They never have a problem with their reflection in the mirror, they sing without fear, they have dogs without socialization issues, what am I doing wrong? They remember to call their grandmas, they drive around to places whenever they want, they make all the money they need, they don’t get shy. What am I doing wrong? During one day or another, one of those things will be more important than the rest.

I started thinking about the question in more detail. What is the question itself made out of? If it is preserving my mindsets like corn syrup will preserve a muffin? Can I choose to eat an apple instead?

I feel like the question will have a subtly destructive effect on my mental health day by day, like corn syrup would have on my pancreas, until there is some full-blown problem that could have been avoided if I simply weeded it out and learned to live without it.

Let’s face it. Things with corn syrup are delicious until we stop eating them and realize they were addicting us with their illusive charms. What am I doing wrong may have a similar strength to keep me addicted without letting me realize how much I wouldn’t miss it if it was gone.

Maybe I think it helps me grow. Does it?

I don’t think that ever once that question has led to a productive result. It’s not an inspiring first step. Instead it seems useful to start with:

Why Do These Goals Matter To Begin With?

Values. It’s all about the values, isn’t it? Why do I have the goal of having a successful blog? Why do I have a goal of accepting my reflection in the mirror, singing, calling my grandma?

There’s a different answer for all of these. I’ll stick with the blog thing. My goal is to have a successful blog because I value the feeling of offering useful things into the world. I am fed when the people around me are fed, literally and metaphorically. If they are sitting by a tea tree lake in Australia, even better.

I value the feeling of writing somethingΒ real. Of being comfortable with vulnerability.Β  I can’t control the success of my blog. But what I can do is realize that when I add things that I find useful, when I keep putting out the thoughts that have inspired me, I feel nourished. Then I can choose what to do next, and it will come from me feeding and following my values rather than trying to outrun my fears or self-criticism. Those things don’t even have feet, they just hover. You can’t outrun something that hovers.

Just some thoughts for a Thursday evening.

Can you relate?

I welcome all thoughts below!

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31 thoughts on “What Am I Doing Wrong? (or, You Can’t Outrun Something That Hovers)

  1. Yep. I think what you’re “doing wrong” is comparing yourself to others. We’re all too different for that to work. Like you say – we need to change the question.
    Would I like to be more like this person?
    What is it I admire in them and why?
    Rather than starting off negative.
    And be a success by your own standards in all things. “cultural standards” have become shallow and materialistic.

  2. I like your blog and I like your facebook and I LOVE your cornsyrup and mirror reference. This post hit all too close to home. Perfect. I need to learn lots from this. It’s an easy trap to fall into.

    • πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I love it when they feel like that! As yours often do to me. I also love that I made a corn syrup and mirror reference. Sentences like that make me realize that perhaps my life is right where it should be πŸ™‚

  3. The third paragraph, the one that begins “Some people have lives…,” is precious. I nodded through it, and grinned the whole time. Because it describes all of us–we’re all convinced that everyone else has everything figured out and we’re the only one scrambling to make life fit comfortably. Not so. But I think you’ve absolutely nailed the antidote: do what nourishes you–and replace your fear with gratitude. Thank you for the timely reminder. I needed it.

      • “we’re all convinced that everyone else has everything figured out and we’re the only one scrambling to make life fit comfortably. Not so…. you cannot feel fear and gratitude at the same time”

        I love reading this blog, and these little insights like those above. Wonderful truisms we so often take for granted and sometimes just need to be reminded. Thank you for sharing ❀

  4. Really enjoyed this post. I liked the way you spun the initially negative connotation and made it into a positive reflection. Perhaps instead of thinking what you are doing wrong, you should focus on what you are doing right. One can never successfully garner the attention of all – I learnt that during a marketing campaign. I sent an e-mail to 12,000 people in an attempt to alert them to a poetry competition and not one of them entered – only older generations decided to look into the competition, whilst people of my age decided it was not worth the effort.
    Everyone has their advantageously beneficial traits, and comparing yourself to others who are totally amazing will only give you ulcers. Everyone is successful in their own way and by prioritising the audience that will enjoy your work is the best way to be successful at it. Funnily enough, I don’t need to be saying this to an individual with (more often than not) positive ideologies.
    Also, forgive my ignorance, but what is a tea tree lake? I live in Australia and I’ve never seen one.

    • Ohh I may be misremembering the tea tree lake. My friend at Heart Mama mentioned something about a lake with Tea Tree around it. But I may be mis-remembering the type of tree! In my head, it turned into tea tree πŸ™‚
      I am really loving the feeling of exploring what and why certain things feel “right” instead of wrong or too uselessly stressful. Thank you as always for your engagement- I think that our generation is definitely one that sometimes spends minimal effort on some things like that poetry competition, but at least you tried! πŸ™‚

  5. I think as humans it’s natural to compare ourselves with others, question the un-likes (the old, “Is it me, etc starts it’s cycle).The think that we need to really stay focused on is we are each necessary & valuable therefore we are each worthy and special. Easier said than done, but it’s a mind set we all need to strive for.. I’m older than you and still keep walking in that direction. Your self-questioning means you are growing..

    • Thank you for coming by! πŸ™‚ I think you’re right that there are so many parts of this process that are simply natural. And then there’s ways of sometimes stepping out of the patterns that aren’t serving us, or at least, getting used to the feeling of stepping out of them, so that it ends up using less and less time in the future because even if it’s natural, it doesn’t need to keep happening. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for πŸ™‚

  6. Comparisons and expectations are the faux sweeteners in life. Much like the corn syrup, once it’s gone you realize how much better off you are. It’s so easy to get drawn into that game, but it’s one you feed yourself. If you were to talk to yourself as though you were your own best friend it would like be a different story with different outcomes.
    Awareness is the first step. Thanks for noticing what hovers.

  7. This is a beautiful, wonderful post! I adore your style of writing, and can also completely relate with the desire to offer something that matters – and you do! Thank you so much for this truly inspiring post, getting me thinking about my goals as well. And may I add, I love your blog!

    • I’m so glad you love it! You would probably love the book I’ve been reading called The Happiness Trap. This is heavily inspired from that- they get you to think about the underlying values of your goals, and it really does shift the whole perspective πŸ™‚

  8. Great analogy with the corn syrup, Jennifer. I’ll tell you what you are doing right. You are putting your heart and soul onto the page and sharing it with us sugar addicts. I love how you realized that you can’t control public opinion, but you can control what you give to the world. Thank you for the gifts in this blog.

    • Thank you so much for engaging with these thoughts! Haha I like thinking of us all as sugar addicts, we all have a similar hovering thing above us, don’t we? πŸ™‚ I am so glad that you enjoy this blog!

  9. “You can’t outrun something that hovers over you.” Great insight. Could it be that the something that hovers over you is the self that you are portraying to the world instead of your true self? That’s what it could mean to me if I weren’t working toward growing and recovering from the abuse I endured. Sometimes, I get stuck in all of the “things” that I am “supposed” to do instead of focusing on the beauty of the world around me. I would prefer to discover that what is hovering over me is really me Higher Power (I prefer to call my Higher Power God) watching over me, there when I need Him (Her,) and guiding me way.

    Nice post! πŸ˜‰

    ~N

    • Yes, yes, yes! That is SUCH a great thought. So many things hover; I think I meant more that there’s a sense that you can’t always out-run some things, you have to just face them or do something else. But the idea of something protective hovering in a wonderful way can be such a nourishing thought, and I do feel that way. It’s nice to sort of envision these hovering energies, remembering that even as the difficult things happen or arise time and again, there is always that protective presence as well. Thank you for your input! πŸ™‚

  10. I clearly recognize the self judgmental thoughts. It’s one of my survival strategies, too. But it doesn’t work in the long run. I only think it does! Your post reminded me of a book by Debbie Ford, “The Right Questions” … one of those questions is this: “Am I looking for what’s right or am I looking for what’s wrong?” Beginning the practice of looking for what’s right (particularly when I catch myself looking for what’s wrong!) has made such a difference in my life. Now the trick is to remember to do it! Thanks for the insightful post.

    • That sounds like a cool book! Yeah, the trick is to remember to do it, isn’t it? Haha, it’s like I have to keep my brain entertained with new ways of doing it ALL THE TIME or else the same one doesn’t work very long πŸ™‚ which makes me a consistent blogger! πŸ™‚
      I’m so glad you came by πŸ™‚

  11. Yes, fears, self-criticism those things don’t even have feet, they just hover…. I can relate to what you’re saying completely! The whole story is about continually looking at it and saying, what is going on here?

  12. Greetings and Salutations Jennifer,
    Having the goal to have a successful blog is in you because you want to express ideas, subjects and thoughts that matter to you, and you want to provide those opinions effectively, which means having an audience. If you want success research how to have a more popular blog, and yes it pays to advertise. But my thoughts on it, is to just be open, if you visit and network with other bloggers, you are spreading your name around, and that is what makes a blog popular (in the long run). By the way, great metaphors written in this post, very poetic at parts. Keep on writing and smiling is my motto! Cheers ~ (β—•β€Ώβ—•βœΏ)

  13. Love this post and I can relate. I do it all the time and you are absolutely correct, it leads nowhere. It must be how we know to gage ourselves and it is comparing. It should be that we are just different and our internal need is the driving force, but that is a difficult mindset to maintain. I like your rephrasing of the question. I have to constantly remind myself and once again it is nice to know I am not alone.

    • thank you so much for reading, and I agree- it’s good to know we aren’t alone! It would be awesome if simply knowing that made the question go away, haha why aren’t things just logical? I guess the more we remember to intentionally examine it all, the better πŸ™‚ thanks again for reading!

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