For many of us, the biggest thing that holds us back from more authentic self-expression is self-doubt. Will I say the wrong thing? What will people think of me? What do I know, anyway?
Self-doubt paralyzes us, leaving us sitting in inaction. But, what is it really doing? Is it just this irritation getting in our way that we should toss aside? Yes, it's irritating and getting in our way, but in truth, it's trying to protect us. Our self-doubt protects us from all of the things that could go wrong. It's only trying to keep us safe.
So, what if we faced the possibility of things going wrong head-on? What if we sat with all of those possibilities? What might we discover?
What I often discover as I take a chance to sit with the doubt, is that the worst case scenario isn't actually so bad. Or, I'm able to build an answer to that scenario - if X happens then I will do Y. I'm able to remind myself of my resilience, of how I am equipped to handle it.
Below is something I wrote a while back to capture my relationship with self-doubt at the time. What's your relationship to self-doubt? What is it protecting you from?
I would also encourage you to check out Sas Petherick. She is a self-doubt researcher and has a lot of great information and tools to support you.
Sitting with the liar called self doubt
She seeks to cripple my legs
To turn me against myself
To make me stumble
She doesn’t know that even in my stumbles, I grow and learn
She forgets that I love how she looks out for me
For it’s truly her fear that drives her
Fear that we will disappoint
Fear that we will feel out of control, lost
Fear that we will discover we aren’t who we thought we were
That’s the rub
The worry that the beliefs we hold about our gifts and our calling may be the lies we’ve been following
An unexpected path
To a destination yet discovered
And a deeper truth
What’s to fear in that?