I don’t even remember the context of the conversation I was having, but I was talking with my friend Jack via Facebook messenger a couple of weeks ago, and as part of the conversation, he said “I’m a fantastic therapist.”
Knowing Jack, I don’t have any reason to doubt him, or think it was just empty bravado. He’s an accomplished therapist who is doing great work in his field. I’ve heard him describe how he works, and he does sound fantastic. Getting to know him, it is quickly clear that he is very good at what he does, and loves what he does.
What struck me was that he said it, just like that. Creative people, and/or people in my social circles, are so often haunted by imposter syndrome and self-doubt. This ranges from beginners, who might have reason to doubt but who shouldn’t let that stop them, all the way to incredibly accomplished and skilled individuals – people who might be better at what they do than I am at anything.
We spend so much time rehearsing and repeating how we are inadequate and not up to the challenges we face, or only get where we are through luck, or whatever. It is what is expected of us, what we expect of each other. To hear something else is jarring.
My friend Jack is a fantastic therapist, and he simply said so in a matter-of-fact way. It was a weirdly radical act, surrounded as I am by fellow self-doubters and imposters.
At what point, when one of us is good at something, do we just say “I am good at this thing” and leave it at that? Why does that seem like such a huge thing to say?