Don’t Listen to What the Mind Has to Say.
Self-doubt and I have been buddies for a long time.
It admittedly has not been the healthiest relationship, but it has served its purpose in trying to keep me small. Self-doubt likes to pop up at the most inconvenient times.
I recently got accepted as a columnist to elephant journal and one of the first things I heard my mind say after, “Awesome,” was, “Who do you think you are?”
The cleverness of self-doubt—why it is so convincing and sneaky—is because we are the ones who initially created it. Since we know ourselves the best, we also know the softest places in ourselves to poke.
The question self-doubt asked me got me right in the gut and made me want to hide under a blanket somewhere.
I am not what you would call a professionally trained writer. In school I studied social work, yoga, meditation and community counseling. However, I still hope that through grass roots writing I can build a deeper connection with the world by sharing honestly my experiences of it, in hopes that it might touch and be helpful to it.
My self-doubt had something different to say about this and it took me for a little bit of a ride.
It lured me into the darker recesses of my mind where its other buddies, failure, inadequacy and self-sabotage liked to hang out. It lured me here and after it got me where it wanted me, it plunked itself right down beside me.
There I sat deposited for the next three days, muddled in my own despair, on a camp-out with the least desirable companions I could imagine. We had quite the long weekend tea party of self-flagellation, where admittedly I ate too much, drank too much and didn’t want to get out of bed.
What I learned about self-doubt in these three days though, was profound. I learned that it was one of those friends that I could never win an argument with, but I also learned that—like an over-protective parent who doesn’t want their child to grow up—self-doubt thought it was here to protect me.
I had created it, along with its committee of self-sabotage, inadequacy and failure, too. Staring at each other for three days I discovered the birth story of self-doubt. It told me everything I wanted to know. Apparently it was conceived by my two old beliefs; that good girls stayed quiet and that it was safer in the world to go unseen.
With this kind of upbringing behind it how could it in good conscious let me shine?
At the end of the third day of our bender together I had had quite enough of its old-school beliefs. I turned to self-doubt and I looked it straight in the eyes and I said, ‘thank you for the past 32 years of thinking you needed to protect me. It is actually my job to do this. You’re fired.’
Self-doubt couldn’t be argued with, it just got stronger and brought out it’s support team of self-sabotage, inadequacy and failure. It had to be fired and since my beliefs were the ones who created it, I was the human resource manager to do it.
“Fuck off Self-doubt, I don’t need you anymore.”
I gave it a pink slip and I promoted myself to its position.
Nothing needed to protect me from growing shinier nor was I going to remain quiet or small.
I am now looking for new applicants for a new committee in my head. The requirements are boldness, positivity, faith, honesty and joy.
These are the qualities of the team I will have on my side.
Author: Sarah Norrad
Editor: Erin Lawson