“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” — William Shakespeare
Tame The Monkey Mind
It’s an all too common experience – the silent, yet incessant self-doubt that occupies your mind, teamed with the stream of destructive thoughts that go with it.
The voice commands your attention while reminding you of your inherent weakness. The ceaseless inner dialogue knows no boundaries until it overwhelms you. In that moment you surrender, 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 is futile.
Why won’t it leave you alone?
You cannot remove doubt any more than trying to eliminate negative thoughts. Doubts are woven into our psyche during childhood as we learn to integrate into our surroundings. Equally, what starts out as the voice of reason echoed through loved ones, soon becomes the doubtful inner critic after the passage of time.
Did you know by the time you reach adulthood, you will have heard the word ‘NO’ repeated 50,000 times? In contrast the word ‘YES’ is heard 7,000 times. It’s no wonder doubt weaves its way into our minds with such intensity.
We are notorious for fabricating inaccurate tales about ourselves. Doubt is one such story repeated through adulthood. Whilst it may be normal to entertain doubt from time to time, being at the mercy of the debilitating thought is not conducive toward 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
Stop Feeding The Doubt
It’s worth repeating: self-doubt must be examined if it prevents you from living an enriching life.
It’s clear a growing number of people shy away from honouring their potential. They conceal their emotions, hoping they’ll vanish, and no, these same people are not confined to the male class either.
Regrettably as time passes, the buried emotions resurface as illness, destructive relationships, addiction to substances or untoward behaviour.
In his book Spontaneous Evolution, author Bruce Lipton states that 95% of our behaviour is controlled by our subconscious mind. Our behaviour is reflected in the blind decisions we make every day without a moment’s consideration. Consider how much of your daily life’s decisions are automated – devoid of conscious intent.
In another example, author Michael S. Gazzaniga further illuminates this point in, Who’s In Charge: Free Will and The Science of The Brain. As a neuroscientist investigating split brain personality, he states, “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 rationalizes the rest.”
Overcome The Inner Critic
Many books line the shelves espousing ways to overcome self-doubt. Most apply the term conquering doubt dismissively, likening it to overcoming a setback. Doubt is part of your nature, integrated into the shadow self. Its role is to keep you safe, yet that safety net can turn on you if you’re unaware of the negative messages. You needn’t deny aspects of your character, since that which you resist, persists.
To overcome self-doubt requires affirmative action while being attentive to the inner critic – that is, you take action in spite of the doubt.
In a recent documentary highlighting the sport of accelerated free falling, the adventurer is asked by a reporter if he felt fear before jumping. He reassured him fear was present during every jump and reminded him of the inherent dangers associated with the sport. He managed his fear by turning down the volume on it so it didn’t overwhelm him.
Which leads us to examine the purpose of self-doubt.
Is it masking a repressed aspect of oneself?
Take a moment to consider the spectrum of doubt in your life. What resources do you use to navigate self-doubt when it emerges?
It should be said that doubt serves to help you overcome self-imposed restrictions. The key to overcome self-doubt is to venture beyond your comfort zone and try new things often. Each time we meet a minor victory, we gain confidence, thus weakening self-doubt.
The purpose of speed bumps is to slow you down as you drive, not draw you to a complete stop. Therefore, adopt a similar approach to overcome doubt by not allowing it to overpower you.
If self-doubt is wreaking havoc in your life, reconnect with your purpose instead of allowing the obstacles to get the better of you.
Attributing self-blame to past failures leads to more destructive thoughts. Instead, take affirmative action with your goals and attend to your doubts with self-compassion. It is your responsibility to reconcile them in a peaceful manner free of guilt.
Your journey towards inner peace and fulfillment is lined with many detours. Embrace your challenges with attentiveness and enthusiasm.
It’s said a goal seldom fuels our desire for success without the accompanying struggle to accomplish it. Afterall, it’s whom we become that ignites our passion and sustains us in attaining inner victory.