Aces Full of It: I am my Own Worst Enemy or The Perils of Self DoubtDecember 7th, 2016 by Justin Buchanan
Fair warning…this one isn’t going to actually say much about poker. But that’s okay. If the people who set me up with this blog aren’t okay with it, you’ll never see this anyway.
I know I’ve said that it’s a terrible thing to succumb to self doubt, most recently in my Top 10 Worst Mistakes A Poker Player Can Make series. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. That doesn’t mean I’ve really succeeded.
I mean…I don’t know how many of you have read my blogs since last year, but I made heavy use of self-deprecation. And when I put a stop to it, I self deprecated my own self deprecation to do it! That’s some particularly messed up Inception shit, there. But the thing of it is, believing in yourself, really believing in yourself, is a lot harder to do than the inspiring stories which tout it would have people believe. As for helping you all deal with it, well, my plan is to start by sharing my own experience, and see if any of you give a heck about what I’m saying from there.
I wasn’t one of those people who kept getting told “no, you can’t” by parents and authority figures. That’s probably the most common way self doubt starts, but I had the opposite problem. I was told “yes, you can”…but then I DIDN’T. Right now, I’m 27 years old, still living with my parents, no real prospects for a proper job, and this despite a freaking college degree.
I can’t even get hired by my nearby Burger King for fuck’s sake, and the fact that they seemed to show some interest the latest time I applied to them only made it worse. Several times, I’d say about a half dozen in the past five years, I’ve been in a situation where I’ve thought yes, this is it, I’m finally going to get off square one of the game of life! only for it all to go wrong. If I’m putting ALL my cards on the table, this blog is the only thing I have right now to so much as slightly ease the burden of my parents still paying for the damn roof over my head, a burden I feel I have no right to have them take on.
I put on a lot of confident airs, because I want to believe in myself. I really want to. However, I’ve reached a place when anything tries to come my way that seems like it’ll take me out of the gutters. I’m only not in by the grace of my family, even when I try to pin hopes on it, something in me just isn’t convinced that this can possibly be happening. Something in me goes so far to make sure it isn’t happening, because there’s no way a loser like me can possibly be anything else, that I wind up sabotaging myself in so many small ways. Some days…I just can’t believe in myself.
I can’t possibly think that anything I’m doing to try to escape this situation will be anything more than futile. I can’t give myself credit for what little I do accomplish. Last night, I came in 3rd in CardsChat’s freeroll, and I was actually happy with how I played. I started to feel hope that maybe my plans involving poker really could lead to my final escape. But then this morning I had the thought, What? So you get all full of fire and raring to go when you actually get ITM, but if you enter tomorrow and don’t cash, you know it’s going to be back to “oh, I’m so uncertain, I’m not ready to try to play with a real bankroll, I need to polish my skills more!” You need to have actual confidence darnit!
I wish I could. I really wish I could. And I’m trying. But every time the world smacks you down, it’s harder to get up again.