“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt” – William Shakespeare
It’s an all too common experience: the silent, yet incessant self-doubt which inhabits your mind, combined with the stream of destructive thoughts which accompany it.
The voice repeatedly commands your attention, while reminding you of your inherent weaknesses. The ceaseless inner dialogue knows no boundaries until it has completely overwhelmed you. In that very moment you have surrendered, knowing it has taken hold of you once more.
Welcome to self-doubt, the intimidating inner critic and modest detractor determined to undermine your success. Despite your best intentions to overpower the crippling self-talk, it seems futile as it sustains its hold on you. Why won’t it leave you alone, you often wonder?
You cannot remove doubt any more than trying to eliminate negative thoughts. Doubts are woven into our psyche during childhood as we learned to integrate into our surroundings. Similarly what begins as the voice of reason echoed through loved ones, soon becomes the doubtful inner critic given the passage of time.
Did you know that by the time you reach adulthood, you would have heard the word ‘NO’ repeated 50,000 times throughout your life? In contrast the word ‘YES’ is only heard 7,000 times. It is no wonder doubt manages to weave its way into our minds with such intensity.
We are notorious for falsifying inaccurate tales about ourselves. Doubt is one such story often repeated through adulthood. Whilst it is healthy to entertain doubt from time to time, being at the mercy of the debilitating thought is not conducive toward living a fulfilling life.
In a similar vein, doubt can become self-deprecating while wreaking havoc with your personal confidence if left unchecked.
“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear” – Dan Millman
It is worth repeating that self-doubt requires examination if it prevents you from living an enriching life.
It is apparent that a growing number of people are quite content to shy away from honouring their highest potential. They conceal their emotions deep within, hoping they will miraculously vanish, and no, these same people are not confined to the male class either.
Unfortunately as time passes by, the buried emotions may resurface in the form of illness, destructive relationships, addiction to substances or untoward behaviour, etc.
In his book Spontaneous Evolution, author Bruce Lipton states that 95% of our behaviour is controlled by our subconscious mind. In many ways our behaviour is reflected in the blind decisions we make every day without a moment’s consideration. Reflect on how much of your daily life’s decisions are automated – that is devoid of conscious intent?
In another example, author Michael S. Gazzaniga further illuminates this point in his book, Who’s In Charge: Free Will and The Science of The Brain. As a neuroscientist investigating split brain personality, he offers the following observation about the choices we make, “That you are so proud of is a story woven together by your interpreter module to account for as much of your behaviour as it can incorporate and it denies or rationalises the rest”
A great deal of articles, books and resources have been written about self-doubt in recent times. Most apply the term conquering doubt rather dismissively, likening it to overcoming a setback. It may benefit you to reframe doubt as an integrated aspect of your nature – since it resides within your shadow self. You needn’t deny aspects of yourself, for that which you resist continues to persist.
Overcoming self-doubt requires taking affirmative action while being attentive to the inner critic – that is, you choose to take action in spite of the doubt.
In a recent documentary highlighting the sport of accelerated free falling, the jumper was asked by a reporter if he entertained fear prior to his jumps. He reassured the reporter that fear was present during every jump and served to remind him of the inherent dangers associated with the sport. He managed fear by choosing to turn down the volume on it so as not to overwhelm him.
Which leads us to examine the purpose of self-doubt after all? Does it serve to mask a repressed aspect of oneself?
Take a moment to consider the spectrum of doubt inherent in your life. What tools or resources do you frequently call upon to navigate self-doubt when it emerges? It should be stated that doubt is merely a self-imposed speed bump in your life’s journey. As you know speed bumps are intended to slow you down, not halt your progress.
If self-doubt is wreaking havoc in your life, you may wish to reconnect with your vision or purpose. Your vision cannot be obscured by obstacles.
Attributing self-blame in relation to past failures leads to more of the same destructive thoughts. Instead, choose affirmative action with respect to your goals and attend to your doubts with self-compassion. It is your responsibility to reconcile them in a peaceful manner free of guilt.
Remember, your journey towards inner peace and fulfillment is lined with many detours. Embrace your challenges with attentiveness and enthusiasm.
You’ve heard it said that it isn’t the goal that fuels our desire. It is the journey towards whom we become that ignites our passion and sustains us in attaining inner victory.
Do you doubt yourself? How do you get rid of negative thoughts? What is your story of battling with your mind? Tell us below.