What have you doubting about yourself that it actually stopped you from doing what you really wanted? Is there a self-doubt that you have held for so long that you believe it to be true? Yes, I know you have experienced that. Perhaps you are in the midst of doing something right now but self-doubt is plaguing you. It is tough. That’s for sure. You end up believing that you can’t do it or that you are not the right person or not attractive enough or not….. (what is it that comes to your mind?).
Self-doubt, if not challenged, pushed way or constructively dealt with, has the potential of being a self-fulfilling prophecy, a negative or even toxic one. This can be a vicious circle. It is an unusual person who has not been plagued by self-doubt at some time in their lives. So you are not alone. That means, that self-doubt is a pervasive issue for all of us. It can even be dangerous!
I can’t do that!
Others do that better than me.
I really don’t have what it takes.
I need to have more experience before I can do that. I’m just not ready.
These are some of the comments I have heard from women that I know to be incredibly competent, capable, talented, determined. Each of these comments might sense reasonable, logical, even factual… but when partnered with the negative emotion and disbelief that you can, then it is an ugly self-doubt that has the power to sabotage you. What is behind these types of comments that reveal self-doubt?
This month my blogs will focus on self-doubt. In previously the themes of confidence and success have been the focus of my blogs. But neither success or confidence will grow or even turn-up if you are dominated by self-doubt.
What underpins self-doubt?
The common belief is “I am not enough”.
First things first – the 3 words you need to push through self-doubt
You ARE enough!
If you ever doubt that, please read the sentence before, over and over, aloud. Listen to your voice, repeat it throughout the day and weeks ahead. Whenever you feel self-doubt rising within, gently speak to yourself and say:
I AM ENOUGH
Because you are. In the following weeks we will check out how to successfully deal with self-doubt.
The enemy within
Here is how self-doubt has been spoken about. I share these quotes in order that you realise that self-doubt is intimately known to almost everyone. You are not alone. But there is good news. You can learn how to manage your self-doubt for your good. It just takes some practice and a change in your mindset. ,
The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
Yes, self-doubt can be viewed as an enemy but one of the most famous creative people advocated that you do it (whatever that ‘it’ is, eg. painting, photograph, writing, speaking) to move through that self-doubt. Here are the words of Vincent Van Gogh:
If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent van Gogh
The torture of self-doubt
Our loved ones can fuel inadvertently our self-doubt, for the seemingly best of reasons, but with a lasting effect on our self-esteem. Loved ones may be fearful that we will embarrass ourselves or have some kind of negative impact, so they are trying to be protective. But it is important that you don’t let the fear of others fertilise your self-doubt. I feel the pain from Tennessee Williams when he wrote:
I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.
Don’t let others tell you what you can’t do. Don’t let the limitations of others limit your vision. If you can remove your self-doubt and believe in yourself, you can achieve what you never thought possible.
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Roy seems to suggests that removing self-doubt is a matter-of-fact action, not difficult. But we all know that it may take far more effort. But what is true is that that effort is worthwhile.
Seek strength, push through self-doubt
The battle within yourself initiates self-doubt. It often relates to a need for you to prove to yourself that you are enough. Strong enough. Smart enough. Talented enough, and on it goes. You are all of this and more. I want for you to feel your strength and your confidence when self-doubt is relegated to the backwaters of your thoughts.
I seek strength, not to be greater than other, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself.
Cast the fear of failure aside
I really resonate with Suzy’s comment below because I am a staunch believer that failures are learning opportunities.
Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
However in my younger years the fear of failure had a hold on me. We are schooled and parented and raised with the expectation that failure is a really, really bad thing because it supposedly tells the world that we just simply aren’t good enough. Gosh, that is so NOT true. It is absolute rubbish.
If you still hold onto a fear of failure I would urge you to let it go. Please know that you are enough. Yes you will make mistakes or things won’t work out from time to time. Heck, that still happens to me and all of us, most likely on a regular basis. But change the way you look at it. What lesson/s did it give you. There is incredible value in those lessons.
Don’t follow the haters of this world
Have you come across people who just seem to hate on the world and most people within? It seems that nothing or no-one is good enough. Often though those that project hate, contempt, heavy criticism on others are actually reflecting how they feel about themselves deep, deep within. Understandably it is easier for them to put the rest of the world down, rather than face what they fear within themselves. Steve expresses it this way:
Most haters are stuck in a poisonous mental prison of jealousy and self-doubt that blinds them to their own potentiality.
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
Raw honesty takes courage. You have that.
I love the raw honesty of so many. By being open about their self-doubt it allows all of us to realise that this is a shared experience, not something that we should be ashamed of. Instead it is an aspect of ourselve that we need to nurture and gently addressed by knowing that we can choose to see it as temporary, and not as a road block to our future. Thank you Nina, for allowing us to recognized ourselves in your words:
I could keep going forever, listing all my flaws in order from the most innocuous to the least. I am afraid of spiders… I fall in love too easily… I have fierce spells of self-doubt.
Nina LaCour, Everything Leads to You
Good advice is simple, yet powerful
Sometimes the simplest, or most obvious advice is the most powerful. Don’t focus on the negative of self-doubt, instead recognise, build and celebrate your strengths. Listen to Rodolfo:
Erase self-doubt by working to build your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses.
Rodolfo Costa, Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mistakes
Whatever may have resonated with you as you have read this today, there is one thing I want you to take away and it is this:
Believe in your infinite potential.
Your only limitations are those you set upon yourself.
Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential.
Never let self-doubt hold you captive.
You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for.
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
How have you overcome or addressed your self-doubts? We would benefit from your learnings if you shared in the comment box below. Please do.
So the 3 words to carry forward with you from today, to push through self-doubt? Go on, say them:
I AM ENOUGH