Since I’m feeling self doubt….
I thought I’d explore it again since it crops up from time to time for everyone.
I think it is part of being human, and is also an unexpected consequence of living in a world that presents most of us with so many choices to make. We used to live in villages or small bands where a good many things were predetermined, like your place in the world, who you would mate with, how many children you would be expected to have (if any), what kind of work you would do to support the collective good. Not so much now. These decisions have to be made by you, individually, and you have to live with the consequences of those choices. We can be riddled with doubt about these choices as we compare ourselves to others making similar decisions.
Self doubt also bites us when we have “forbidden” thoughts that no one likes to admit out loud for fear of social censure, like:
- I’d rather have a day to myself than spend it with my family/partner/kids
- Life would have been a lot easier if I’d never had kids.
- I’m not especially likable or appealing–I’m actually kind of boring
- I don’t contribute enough to this relationship, so why would he/she stick around?
- Or the opposite–my partner is a real slacker; I’m doing all the heavy lifting here
- I really don’t want to wake up tomorrow.
Guess what. Nearly everyone has those thoughts on occasion, and it is NORMAL to do so. This kind of thinking only becomes dicey of it is with you the majority of the time. Then it may be wise to seek out a caring friend, a pastor or a counselor who can help you manage those feelings.
And just about any quality you can dream up is a doubled edged sword. Self doubt can make you work a little harder on your goals or it can help you become more self aware of your effect on others. It can make you willing to ask for constructive feedback, because it really is difficult to see yourself as others do. And I’m not suggesting that we all need to run around desperately seeking validation.
Quashing self doubt can be done by recognizing you are enough, and that you have enough right now. This is actually quite difficult in an age where we are all constantly comparing ourselves to others via social media and the news. Humans have an instinctive drive to “keep up with the Jones” as a part of survival of the fittest. You can augment this idea that you are enough as you are by engaging in a little self appreciation whether this is journaling, keeping a file of the “good stuff”, or tapping into your creativity by using pictures, photos (of good times) or drawings (doodles count!) that record your positive thoughts, accomplishments, or compliments offered freely by others. Ask your significant other or a good friend to tell you what they like best about you. What attracted them to you in the first place?
And never forget the power of taking a walk outside, or doing your favorite physical activity. Get out into nature to allow yourself just to be, non-judging, just observing, and free from the judgment of others.
These are the things I do when the self doubts start snagging my brain, and waking me up at 2:00am.