I have a huge list of topics I want to cover, but decided to start with one not on my list: confidence in paganism.
It seems to be a common refrain as of late… “Well, they all know so much more than me.” “I don’t feel like I have anything to contribute to the conversation.” I struggled with the same thoughts, before signing on to write this column. It was a lot of “who am I to think that anyone wants to hear what I have to say?” in various forms.
This is why I decided to cover this first. It seems to be a prevalent attitude that we don’t have anything of value to add, so why should we try? It’s not something that is restricted to paganism, of course, but due to the fact that it’s the community that I am the most involved in, it’s where I see this the most.
Even a friend of mine, who recently went on a retreat felt the same way. She hadn’t met any of the other participants in any way other than through their online community before she went. Upon getting there, she spent most of her time listening to everyone talk, rather than saying her piece as well, as she felt that everyone else there had way more experience than her.
Well, I am here to tell you…. SO WHAT???
Yes, okay, maybe some people have more time as pagans. Maybe some people have spend more time in study, or have a more active practice than you. Since when does that really matter?
Each of us grew up in a unique set of circumstances specific to us. Each of us comes to the table with something new to offer, even when we don’t think so. We all have different experiences, different views, different methods. It’s a big part of what makes our community so great! We all come here from different places and it adds strength to the community.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid to add in your two cents! You always have something of value to add to the conversation. And who knows, maybe, just maybe, what you have to say will actually help someone else… It can open the eyes of everyone else there…
I struggled with this. I really did. “What if no one wants to read my posts?” “What if my writing style isn’t good enough?” What if, what if, what if….
Finally, I told that inner voice where to go. I decided to go ahead and do this, because I can. Because I want to. Because I have a unique voice, and lots to say.
Paganism prides itself, as a whole, on our ability to bring unique thoughts to our practices. The most common label I see is “eclectic.” We all have some element of personalization to what we do. Each of us has to find a way to fit our practice into our lives, and we have that experience to share. We may all read the same books, blogs, or websites, and be a part of the same groups on social media, but we still bring an element of ourselves to what we do.
What better way to see that than to share our experiences? We all bring something new to the table. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got years, months, or only days of it. What matters is that we keep contributing to the community. That we keep adding our voices. That is the way to the strongest community we can create.
©Lauren Michelle 2019