self doubt, the dream killer
While in the middle of this post I said the following to a friend:
I have a self doubt blog in the works
It was hard to write because of….
Self doubt, lol
Oh irony you so funny
It felt apropo to rework my original post after this utterance. The original post was kind of stuffy, not entirely in my authentic voice, and seemed like it was withholding. My post about self doubt was full of, you guessed it, self doubt. Isn’t that cute? Self doubt is simply not believing in or having confidence in your abilities or even in yourself generally as a person. It is a creativity stifler, courage crusher, and as a result, a dream killer. It is hard to achieve goals when you don’t believe you can do it or that you even deserve to do it.
Self doubt can manifest itself in a lots of ways. The main mode of attack the dream killer is negative self-talk. I can spot someone else’s negative self-talk a mile away. I have been known to say “DON’T TALK ABOUT MY FRIEND LIKE THAT!” Well, I guess that is yelling and not saying, but I do what I what. We allow ourselves to say some pretty nasty and shady things about ourselves that we wouldn’t for a second allow anyone else to say. But you can’t really pop off at yourself for your punk-ass talking trash. So I’ll pop off for you. You’re welcome. In all seriousness though, stopping negative self-talk takes a lot of self examination and finding new ways to say things.
“I can’t write this, what business do I have thinking I could tackle this, there are way better writers out there” that I allegedly say all the time can be replaced with “This new writing project will be quite a challenge, but first time for everything, I’ll make sure to edit closely so I can be considered with those writers I look up to.” It’s all about a shift in your narrative, find a different way to tell your story, words are vital.
“I can’t believe I messed up so badly doing this new thing.” should be replaced with “Wow, I tried this new thing, that was brave. I’ll get it next time.”
In the beginning it may even sound a bit corny or goofy. After a while it becomes a habit.
Another manifestation of self-doubt is not accepting compliments about your abilities. This is DON’T TALK ABOUT MY FRIEND LIKE THAT 2.0. Not only are you talking bad about my friend, you are going to have the nerve to tell my friend I can’t say nice things about her? Meh. When you start really examining your narrative from a third person perspective, you’ll start to see how hurtful and nonsensical you are truly being. Being self aware is the first step on your journey of recreating your life’s script.
Right now, I am working on a novel. It made me face self doubt right in its beady little eyes. I have had to consistently sell the narrative to myself that my novel is needed, wanted, and will be amazing. After every paragraph, sentence, and character, I have to tell myself, “No one can tell this story but you, Alise.” Once I became keenly self aware that prior doubt had been holding me back, I work tirelessly to combat it. “Know better, do better” as the old heads say.
Some self-doubt is rooted in severe anxiety or even PTSD, those causes are not lost on me. I get it. I have plenty of years of therapy under my belt and this is a topic often broached behind those doors. So I do recommend that if this is a severe issue for you to seek help of a qualified person to help delve a little deeper into the origin.
Do you ever deal with feelings of self-doubt? What do you think is the cause? How do you handle it?