I understand that I have an ego problem, and I know that i need to leave it behind when I climb, but I don't know how to start and am hoping that some others out there can help me.
My story: The last time I can remember climbing for me and for the joy of climbing was almost a year ago. My problem is that when I climb, I feel like I am climbing with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don't know if this is a woman's problem, or just my problem, but now, I feel as though if I'm not pulling hard climbs that the boys can't climb than they (other climbers) don't respect me. I think this is stemmed from the fact that my climbing partner (who is my significant other) and I climb about the same grade (although there are noted differences in the types of climbs he and I prefer),but when we encounter other climbers at our local crags, more often than not I feel as though they talk to him rather than to us.
This used to not bother me since the routes they were asking about I hadn't climbed so I had no input anyway. But then, something happened and the climbs they questioned my partner and I about were climbs I had done and he had not. I would try to give some beta, and sometimes they would give me this strange "What are you talking about" look that made me question my ability. My partner tells me that in most cases when other climbers are talking to us (they are usually male...this is a male dominated sport remember) they usually focus on him because it makes them more comfortable. Most guys in this area don't know any women who can climb harder than them, thus I make them slightly uncomfortable. But this has put me into a state of questioning my own ability. This problem of male climbers talking directly to my partner is a problem that I have faced as recently as last week.
Now when I climb, I feel like I am climbing for all the women out there who don't get spoken to at the crag, all the women who are working to be the best that they can be, but just aren't there yet, all the women in the world who's ability is questioned because they are little. When I'm up climbing now, I feel like if I don't climb route XYZ than I am just like all the girls out there who get carried up routes to appease their boyfriends. This ego problem used to only come up when other's were watching, particularly women because I felt like I had to show them that they CAN climb 5.X, they just have to want it. Now, it is part of every aspect of my climbing, even when it's just my partner and I at our local crag.
Does anyone have any insight as to how I can start climbing for me again and stop climbing for respect?