The Battle Against Self Doubt
What is Self-Doubt?
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
-Williams Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
-Sylvia Path, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
I know a lot of beautiful people with broken dreams. I know it is the “in thing”, now to claim, no one regrets anything. Regrets are for people who never traveled around the world visiting diverse countries, learned different languages; who never planned to party only saw the opportunity to kiss the girl or guy at the club and took it, or drank until they passed out.
Nevertheless, we all fall down the same well, at some point, in our lives. Some of us remain falling. Plunging helplessly down an empty well, as the growing shadows envelope us and the hands of darkness stretch to close the light at the top. Self doubt though it has no face it stares back into our desperate eyes, knowing our desire to cling to our safety and security will inevitably lead to regret. Like, I said, I know countless people, beautiful people heart and soul, with so many dreams, sitting in the corner, dusty and unused. One friend wants to become a nutritionist, fund raise a nutritional program to educate and provide healthy alternatives to urban families and inner city folk. Another friend desires to create wonderful, authentic products for pregnant women, children, and to make life better for others. Another friend desires with all her heart to be of service to God, to listen to people: their problems, their heartaches, and to aid others, but she doesn’t know where to start. None of them are doing what they are dreaming. Why?
What is Self Doubt?
In short self doubt is a person not believing they are capable, this person cannot fathom their ability to achieve their dreams, because they believe they lack the capabilities, knowledge, or the skills necessary to fulfill it. Self doubt is negativity at its finest. If self doubt was a painting it would be Van Gogh’s Starry Night, a well known art work everybody knows, has seen, looking at the dark blue sky, and swirling stars are mesmerizing and we all think different thoughts, dragging us inward. Self doubt is the “I Can’t Do It,” whenever you try sky diving for the first time, learning how to swim, walking down the aisle, or having an important job interview, fearing the absolute worst. Self doubt cuts short our experiences, it promotes our fears over our faith, inhibiting our ability to live, over stimulating our fears.
Self Doubt and I
I believe I am a current victim of self doubt. For a long time, I struggled with blogging, not because I couldn’t write, or didn’t know what to write. I struggled because I didn’t believe people would want to read what I had to say, or have written. Especially, since I am a Christian, I love writing Christian posts and inspiring people, bringing the light when the darkness is so close. Daily my doubts clawed at my mind, they shredded every post I made, every attempt to ask for support. What made it worse was I had a solid following on Instagram and Facebook, and I kept battling this demon, every single day, in prayer, in the bed, in my sleep, brushing teeth, at work. Eventually, I could not take this special kind of agony anymore, the pain and the clout was growing at an alarming rate, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I concluded:
Obviously, this is not for me. I keep crying. My spirit is giving me mixed responses, maybe God wants me off of this platform.
So I quit. However, as often as I quit—I kept coming back to writing. I desperately needed an outlet, fiercely to communicate how I felt, what I been experiencing and it is through writing I understood myself more. My Instagram followers were messaging me, consistently asking me if I was okay, I was getting sick. My mental health has always been unstable, it is truly the grace of God who has kept me, from going over board. I feared if I did blog I was being disobedient, unfaithful to staying in God’s corner for me. Self Doubt really had me wrapped around its finger like a newborn baby. Finally, the back and forth I couldn’t take it any longer. I deleted everything: A Meeting at the Well Instagram, the page, and my content. I said my Christian blogging is not God’s will—I am going to be a good obedient girl—isolate myself from everyone and be quiet.
But I couldn’t be quiet. Something in me wanted to live, a driving force full of fire and passion desired above all to fight these fears. Something yearned above else to overcome, this mountain was meant for me, it is when we overcome, we lead others to victory as well. Facing the mirror, other faces I loved and known, brown faces, white faces, mixed faces, pretty or plain, slowly appeared beside mine. Downcast and trampled, I was only another fallen soldier in this spiritual war, I was no different than those before me or after me.
It is truly my hope, as you guys read this, many of you will become empowered, strong, break free, or take strides to move forward and fulfill your dreams. You see, Self Doubt is easy to understand, the definition is not hard to comprehend. What makes self doubt difficult is admitting we’ve been victims of self doubt.
Admit You Are a Self Doubt-oholic
(Remove Self Doubt culture, everyone has done it)
Before I move any further in this blog post, let me explain: Self Doubt is prevalent in society, it is not a rare disease, everyone doubts themselves on some levels. There is a stigma where admitting to your weaknesses whether you are insecure about your weight, career, your financial status, or if you’re embarrassed by your past, looks, then humanity must judge or shame for you it. Embarrassment feeling out of place, outcast and shame’s thick coat excavates your wounds, this is why no one admits to having regrets, having fears about the future or their spouses, or about who they are, because we’re afraid to look weak. For self doubt to be such a giant in millions of peoples’ lives, we pretend it is something so tiny and inconsiderable.
Some people more than others claiming they don’t experience it, may actually doubt themselves the most. My point do not think you are alone, suffering from low self esteem or self worth. You are not sitting alone in your bird nest, watching all your cousins and friends, fly, knowing you might fail. Nobody in this world wants to be perceived as a failure or nobody. This is why saving face is so crucial to humanity. We’re always trying to make our image look good and social media is perception, but it is not the truth. Opponents like fear, self doubt, rejection, mistrust, and betrayal must be met head on and a wonderful antidote to these illnesses is first transparency.
I am a victim of self doubt. I am a giant self doubter. I am a habitual self doubter. I don’t only doubt others, but I also doubt myself (insert clap). I know one of the ways to overcome self doubt is to admit when your experiencing it. Throughout this year, I have truly learned people will admit and be transparent to a lot of things, but self doubt is not one of them. I’ll give you a perfect example. My mother and I were driving home from a large assortment of errands. We were on the topic of beauty and appearance, so pulling up at our house my mother stops, turns to me and says, “Tory, do you think you suffer from low self esteem?”
My mother is perceptive. She is not book smart but people smart, sensing other people’s emotions observing my brothers and I behavior. It only takes a fragment of a second for her to notice something is wrong with us. I turned around and looked at my mother, appalled.
Did she not whom she was speaking to? Did she think I truly abhorred my appearance? I wondered what would cause her to think I was not proud about the way I looked or carried myself. I knew I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am pretty and if no one else believed it. I know it is true. This isn’t the first time, my mother questioned me personally or to herself about my feelings regarding myself and how I looked. She determined and knew beforehand, I am not happy with the way I looked and I often professed I was fine with who I am. Sometimes, I would tell myself and my mother I was focusing on the inner woman, I wanted my inner light to shine, but the woman I was becoming was not matching with the girl on the outside. That moment stuck with me and after thinking this summer and dreaming and journaling I realized I truly do doubt the way I look.
Like any average woman, I have my insecurities about my looks, sometimes my job, and where my life is headed. As much as I love reading novels, life is not linear, of course, we all follow the same inevitable path: birth, journey, death. Nonetheless life is freaking complicated. Life is delicate, dainty as a spider’s web, glimmering radiant translucent colors in the sun. Life is disastrous. I never knew at what point my life began accruing layer after layer of finding a career, learning how to drive, paying my phone bill, intimacy with God, talking to my administrators, barely avoiding work gossip, mishandling old wounds from the past, soul searching and contemplating my existence, am’ I single or a turn-off, each new fold not seamlessly coming together, but football piling on top of me.
Interweaving themselves in our circumstances are our emotions whether positive or negative, self doubt lurks, grasping us at our lowest moments. This is why confession is crucial, we already have too much clutter in our lives. Admitting to yourself allows our souls to have the opportunity to claim the gift of honesty for ourselves. Near the end of this summer, I claimed the gift for myself, not only as a person, but also as a child of God. As a Christian, I believe what God says is true that I am: fearfully and wonderfully made, that God thought me, my brown skin, melanin hydrated, spunky self, before Earth was even formed and the foundations of heaven were established. However, I have yet to embrace it, I brush it off, and say this applies to everyone not knowing how much loving myself and the way God made me, could revolutionize the way I treat myself.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” (Psalms 139:13-14)
Finally, being honest with myself about my self doubts and how I don’t always feel pretty the majority of my life, or how I feel unworthy or purposeless, actually opened doors for me. A giant load of responsibility and pain fell from my shoulders, because pretending to be okay, when you’re really NOT okay is hard. Pretending to lie to yourself while feeding unhealthy habits and self destructive patterns is even harder—I came to realize I suffer from self doubt when I go through another cruel cycle of moodiness, irrationality, tears, and depression. I consistently felt myself dying on the inside, not a good dying to myself where I know sin is dying, but life is abysmal, death is around the corner dying.
This is one of the major reasons why I stopped blogging and writing and drawing, if I couldn’t believe in my value, why should I convince others they had inner worth as well. You see how I am Self-Doubt-oholic, I hit this bottom everyday, and still I rise! So I encourage you, if you suffer from self-doubt don’t lie about it, because you’re only hurting yourself.
Why lie to yourself, you’ve got to be your own best friend, cheerleader, and lover! I cannot express this enough, life will continually accrue more layers, and if you’re not careful, you will suffocate underneath the dog pile. It is my hope and prayer you were inspired by this blog post, motivated to consider how self doubt constricts your ability to live! To stir the pot more, I listed a few questions for you to think about, exploring your mind and spirit. Also, if you enjoyed this blog post, please share it, write comments below, and tell me what you think!
Next week we will examine why Self Doubt packs such a punch, sending some of us straight back into depression and how to battle it out.
- What is your definition of Self Doubt? What is a specific example in your life when doubted your capabilities to do something?
- What is a dream or desire planted in your soul, you would want to see fulfilled? (Don’t hold back)
- Explain to yourself why do you think you cannot accomplish this dream, what are the limitations you’re placing on yourself? Are they real or imaginary? Circumstantial? If they are real and circumstantial what are the steps you can take to realize the fruition of the dream?