I've been struggling with a lot of self-doubt lately. I'm working thru it but overcoming it is definitely not an overnight sensation. However, while overcoming self-doubt won't happen immediately, finding some peace can happen relatively quickly.
I have found that the struggle mostly comes from the stories we tell ourselves. These stories tend to run on repeat, but we are not aware of it until we intentionally stop and pay attention.
So to give you a quick backstory, I recently became licensed to sell life and health insurance. I have no background in the industry - at least not the sales part of it, but I decided that I wanted to add it as another source of income.
Needless to say, there is a lot of learning to be had. And while I love to learn, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to learn and apply concepts quickly without making mistakes. That is an outrageous expectation!
I am still learning and I am still making mistakes but I am not placing such a huge expectation on myself at this point because I had to take a step back and follow some of the steps necessary to overcome self-doubt.
I will cover some of those steps, but first let's examine what self-doubt is and how it can affect your life.
The dictionary defines self-doubt as, "the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities." This definition is a good starting place, but it doesn’t fully demonstrate the problems caused by self-doubt. This is the case because everyone has different issues, different reasons for their self-doubt, and different problems in their life. You’re a unique person and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
There are many problems that can come from hanging on to self-doubt. If you suffer from self-doubt, it’s important to understand the type of damage you could experience if you continue to hang on to it. It has affected your past, is affecting your present and can devastate your future if you don’t deal with it. Here's why.
As you can see and may have experienced yourself, self-doubt can be dangerous and these are all good reasons on their own to work toward overcoming self-doubt and learning to believe in yourself.
Strategies for Dealing with Self-Doubt
Now, let’s go over some important ways to deal with self-doubt when it happens. Be assured that even the most successful person works to overcome self-doubt at times. Feeling self-doubt is not the problem. Letting self-doubt control you, make your decisions for you, and rule your life is the problem.
These strategies for dealing with self-doubt won't work if you don’t implement them. The issues with self-doubt are so serious that they can make you stuck in a life that you don’t want. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and that can spiral into a really bad situation.
If you really want to experience true joy in life, believe in yourself, and get rid of the debilitating self-doubt you are experiencing, start implementing now. Don’t delay or make excuses.
Your inner naysayer can be relentless. It makes you believe you’ll never measure up, and it holds you to impossibly high standards. Grant yourself some grace because the truth is, you’ll never be perfect, and we all have flaws. It’s important to embrace and accept failure if you’re to overcome that inner critic of yours. In order to do that, let’s look at some of the benefits of failure so that you understand it really is okay to fail and to make mistakes.
Learn Something New
Failure always teaches us a lesson. Even if that lesson is what not to do in the future. You’ll usually gain some valuable personal insight when you make mistakes. You can then take this information and put it to good use in your next attempt. Failure is a good teacher.
Fear can be paralyzing. It’s easy to become stuck in fear and not move forward toward your goals. When you try but fail, you learn that failure isn’t the end of the world. Messing up can actually help you to overcome your fears. Instead of staying stuck, you’ll give it a shot the next time an opportunity presents itself because you’ll know you got past your last attempt just fine.
Sometimes failure shows you what you don’t want. It can help you to get your bearings, dust yourself off, and try something completely different. When one thing fails, it might open doors for something new and better to come along. In the face of failure, you learn to get creative and to pursue new avenues.
Get a Second Chance
Failure is rarely fatal. It’s good to brush yourself off and try again. Sometimes, rather than changing directions, failing teaches us to get up and give it another go. You get a second chance to do it the way you wanted to the first time. You can take the lessons you learned and put them to better use.
Failing can solidify your resolve and push you forward to do better. When you make a mistake and things fall apart, your strength and resilience surface. You’ll see what you’re made of. This can be incredibly motivating. Failure shows your true character. Even if you give up on that project, chances are you’ll make the decision to move on to something else. You’ll see you have the grit and determination to continue.
Now you see just how beneficial failure can be. There’s no need to give in and let your inner naysayer win. Grant yourself some grace, it’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, great things can come from them.
So many rituals, routines and traditions take place as a way of welcoming and acknowledging life in a new season. These include clinking glasses to seal a toast, time change, but also celebrating holidays; raking leaves; pumpkin spice; pulling out the cool weather clothes, setting new year goals, etc.
One of my routines when the cooler weather comes is sitting in a warm bubblebath, surrounded by lit candles, with my window open during late night hours so that the warmth of the water meets the cool night air, creating a steamy, misty cocoon of comfort.
Last night was such a night for me.
At around 11pm, I drew my bath water adding my favorite lavender bubble liquid and some lavender and vetiver essential oils. As the water was running, I lit the candles that lined the bathtub and the bathroom vanity and opened the windows.
After about 20 minutes of soaking, I decided that I would follow the advice of my coach and practice doing nothing for 30 minutes. You might think that taking a bubble bath is doing nothing, but that is not the case for me. While in the tub I will read, watch a movie, catch up on emails, talk on the phone, etc. My coach says that for 30 minutes each day, we should practice doing nothing. No scrolling instagram or email; no talking on the phone; no anything.
"30 minutes", I thought. Maybe I'll just set my timer for 15 minutes and meditate. However, I realized that I wasn't in the mood to just sit there in quiet meditation. I probably really needed too, but I wasn't in the mood for that, yet I still wanted to sit still in meditation. I decided that I would meditate on a question that had been on my mind for the past few days.
Now this wasn't exactly a prayer to God but an actual question to the ancestors and any other spiritual guides there to help and watch over me. For me, this also includes God by default because God is always there, and because it is my conscious intention to go to God whenever.
I won't get into what my question was in this blog post, that may come at another time, but I can tell you that I received an answer that was a surprise to be because of it's definitiveness as well as the way it was revealed.
I was taken back to a time when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I don't mean that I was physically transported back in time, but it was a visual transportation. It was like watching a replay of that day and I was on the outside looking in, watching and remembering. That day I was getting the news from my Dad that my grandfather (step) had just passed away.
Being an adult, I can now put words to what I was feeling that day. I wasn't sad about my grandfather. There was a knowing that I had about death and this knowing was that death wasn't a bad thing. I understood that it made the adults left behind cry, but us kids didn't cry about that. We cried because the adults cried. We cried because the energy within that environment was sad, and heavy. And when we cried the adults accepted those tears as sad, grieving tears; and when we cried the adults were there with open arms to show their love and protection for us. We felt accepted, wanted, loved.
During my meditation, I also remembered a conversation between my grandmother and my dad about me. She was very concerned about me and my "shyness". I was perceived as being really shy and too quiet. She wondered if maybe I was mentally challenged. I remember feeling/thinking that I wouldn't be accepted or loved if people thought that I was mentally challenged or not smart enough. That thought and feeling eventually developed into an overall feeling of being "not enough".
The question that I mediated on, (I guess I'm going to reveal it now after all), was "What is holding me back from being my best self?"
Like many of you I have so many ideas. Good ideas. But often I don't react on those ideas. I let them come and go, or I start to implement but don't finish.
There are times when I don't volunteer to answer a question, even when I know that answer. I tell myself that I may be wrong. The underlying feeling is a fear of rejection. If I'm wrong people will think I'm not smart (mentally challenged). I'll be rejected for not being good enough.
I avoid being noticed, especially in groups. I may not fit in or I'm not good enough.
You see the theme here.
Obviously the thing that is holding me back is my fear of rejection, but I never put the pieces together this way before meditating on my question last night.
Obviously I've left out some details because this story would go on and on otherwise.
The gist of this is that I've been holding myself back because of my underlying fear of rejection, my limiting belief that I am not enough. Intellectually, I know that I am enough. This is what I have to remind myself of and make it a mantra - I am good enough.
If you have been dealing with low self-confidence, imposter syndrome, feelings of worthlessness, make meditation a part of your daily practice so that you can be still and trace back where those feelings and thoughts originate.
At the end of my meditation the message I received was: Don't fear rejection, it's a good thing. It's there because You Are Enough. Rejection is for your protection. It weeds out those things and people that are not for your good.
As I said, I was surprised by this message or maybe more surprised by the way in which is was delivered. Maybe I was surprised by my feelings and where and how they originated. Nevertheless, I was surprised. But, I'm grateful and I'm moving forward.