Behind every genius idea, act of courage, work of art, budding love relationship and step into the unknown, doubt lurks. Following an ahha moment where the clouds of confusion part and we see with clear awareness, there often comes a time of questioning.
Self-doubt can make you feel as if you are inwardly divided and at odds with what you know to be your truth. Your creative, inspired and intuitively insightful spirit and your cautious, fear based ego mind seem to be at war with one another. Which one you listen to and act from, depends in part of your past experiences and your self-awareness.
Doubt traps us in a small and dark corner.
A form of judgment, doubt arises when we expect certain outcomes. For years I wanted to write a book. I had a lot of ideas but whenever I started to write them down I doubted my abilities. I would torture myself with questions like: What if I failed? What if I spend months and maybe years writing a book and I cannot get it published? What if no one reads it or likes what I write?
My expectations were high. If I wrote a book I wanted it to be published, read and successful. Doubts plagued me.
Lacking the conviction that I could be a successful writer, I turned my attention to other areas. I devoted myself to becoming a better and more accurate intuitive and medium and increasing my clientele. I also worked part time as an art therapist at a treatment center for troubled youth.
It was in this unlikely environment that my fears and anxiousness about writing was transformed.
A large part of my work as an art therapist involved creating stories. To keep the young people engaged and participating I had to creatively dig deep. When they enthusiastically engaged with one of my tall tales, usually an outrageous and ridiculous one, I quickly wrote it down. Hopeful that the next class would also find it as interesting,
I began to write without noticing that I was writing. No longer feeling pressure to perform and be successful, my relationship to writing changed. Writing, I realized, helped me to feel alive, vibrant and full of energy. It was a transcendent experience where all of me came together with passion and purpose.
The dread of publishers, others opinions and my own perfectionist self-judgment began to fade and be less important. Writing was no longer felt like a choice. I wrote for my soul, it was the elixir that I needed to feel fully alive.
If doubt is plaguing you here are a few suggestions:
- Take a break and get away from the project or issue that you feel doubtful about.
- Do something that helps you to feel confident and happy, It doesn’t matter what it is. Go for a walk, play your favorite sport, listen to music, watch a good movie or go to a museum.
- Be honest about your expectations. Ask yourself the following questions. What are my expectations? Are they realistic? Am I expecting too much of myself?”
- Be with others who love and encourage you.
- Share your feelings with someone that you can trust and who is supportive. Be careful not to confide in those who may have their own doubts and a negative perspective. Learn how to take care of yourself and share your dreams with those who have followed theirs.
- Be with those who uplift you and will love you for who you are.
- Listen within, for what is right for you.
- Spend some time alone. Listen to your heart and your gut. Ask yourself: “If I knew that I would succeed and that everything is possible what would I do?
- Make plans and take baby steps.
- Write down a plan for what you would like to accomplish and experience. Break it down into manageable steps. Give yourself small daily and weekly goals. Celebrate your progress.
- If you begin feel doubt take a time out.
- Refocus on what you have accomplished and what your next steps will be.
- Give it your all and remember that choosing the safe sure thing does not necessarily mean that you will be happy, successful or better off. You cannot control outcomes but you can choose to participate in what brings you joy and what feels right for you.