Everyone faces self-doubt in varying degrees. Most people have been accumulating LAYERS of self-doubt for decades. Imagine going to the North Pole. You are outside in extremely cold temperatures, and you have dressed to stay warm which means you have layer upon layer of clothing from head to toe. Now imagine that you wear these same clothes when you sit on a St. Lucia beach. People with layers of self-doubt tend to never shed a layer no matter what circumstance they are in. Their voice-over is "I am not good enough", "I cannot do this", "I am not smart enough", "I have never done it this way", "I am not pretty enough" and so on. These voices speak throughout the day to them as they face a variety of what appear to be daunting circumstances and prevent people from "doing the work". Negative thought patterns can be difficult to purge.
When you are on that St. Lucia beach with those North Pole layers, no one can see the real you - you are hiding in what you perceive to be a safe place. The truth is that 'safe place' is downright miserable. You are uncomfortable and afraid inside. That 'safe place' is a place where your potential stays buried, your true emotions remain hidden, your friends and family remain distant, and your actions are determined by your fears. You act out of fear.
Self-doubt is the fuel of fear - a fear of self! And self-doubt resides in your mind - in your thoughts. When you doubt self, you allow fear to dominate you. You dramatize situations over and over again and constantly try to encourage others to validate your fears so you can feel comfortable in the fear-dominated decisions you are making in your life. You know that you are paralyzed and are infinitely far from realizing your purpose and fulfilling your potential because the obstacles in front of you seem like they might as well be permanent. You believe this because it is safe and comfortable; change is too hard! You are always uncertain and hesitant inside. Over time, you begin to surround yourself with people like you. You doubt yourself to the point that you make decisions based on what others want for you and not what you want for yourself. By doing this habitually, you often second-guess yourself and the "self-pity" mindset becomes debilitating.
“By fully experiencing and going beyond an emotional block - through the layers of doubt and fear - you experience the emotion of who you truly are.”- Stephen Richards
Let me offer a new approach. In this approach, you are in control and you are responsible for yourself.
1) Begin a gratitude journal. For 30 days, decide to be consciously grateful and document this throughout your day (words, photos, receipts, etc) as you feel positive emotions. Stop drowning in self pity by focusing on what you lack - CHOOSE to focus on what you do have and what you are accomplishing and foster the feeling of gratitude. Describe why you are grateful for people and things. Write slowly and feel and savor each word. As you build this habit, expand your awareness and really experience the world you are living in. Most importantly, keep it positive. You can print shorter statements of gratitude to carry with you to reference in moments where the layers of self doubt are prominent. Continue your gratitude journal as you progress through the next steps.
2) Document the areas of self doubt and associated emotions. After you have developed the habit of identifying areas of gratitude, you're ready to start some of the hard work. Take one week to write down areas of your life where you notice that qualities like hatred, bitterness, envy, jealousy, resentment, self-pity, and suspicion (lack of trust) are present. These are the layers of self doubt. As you document the areas, be sure to write down how this affects you and how it makes you feel. This is your reaction to the layers of self doubt.
3) Set goals. Now that you have identified the areas of self doubt and the associated emotions, take another week to write down action statements to turn those areas into venues of joy, forgiveness, humor, courage, hope, and self-confidence. This is the first step to removing the layers of self doubt. Outline goals to match your action statements. This is you identifying your range of work.
4) Determine which goals you will pursue. You know what work needs be done, but are you ready for change? Take a day to go somewhere quiet and peaceful. You may have a lot of goals and pursuing them all at once can be daunting. Use this day to determine which goals to pursue. This is you identifying what work you are willing to do.
5) DO THE WORK! P.C. Cast said “I seek strength, not to be greater than other, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself”. Doing your work is you removing the layers of self doubt. There are no excuses. If you get off track, you can always jump back on track! Remember to continue the gratitude journal. This is you filling in your new layers of self - confidence. You are on the beach in St. Lucia in a swimsuit...everyone can see you -the real you- and you're thrilled and comfortable with that.
Ms. Bhakti Mary
I am an optimistic, positive, generous and driven author who is passionate about self-improvement.
The essence of who you are does not lie in the past. What matters is what you are willing to do NOW. You are the presence.