Do you Suffer from Self Doubt?
We’ve all experienced self doubt, in fact it’s probably fair to say that it’s common for lots of us on the daily. There’s two types of self doubt which I come across in people, chronic self doubt, long standing doubt where your default is to second guess yourself and then there’s acute self doubt which is usually triggered when life throws you a curveball or you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Acute self doubt makes us feel totally overwhelmed, in over our heads and like we have no idea of what to do. You get that sinking feeling wash over you and a warm wave of holy shit in slow motion. You can feel small, lost and out of control, it’s really debilitating and stifles the connection you have to your wise and brave self.
You have to stop what you’re doing when you are in acute self doubt, get some space, breathe, slowly and deeply, sit it out and experience what is happening to you.
The most important thing to know is that self doubt is completely normal and an expected response when something happens that’s out of your control or that’s bigger than you feel ready for. We are so unrealistic with ourselves and don’t really give ourselves permission to be human. We’ve made acute doubt a weakness when it’s actually an appropriate response in certain circumstances and the truth is, that none of us actually know what we are doing, we didn’t come with a manual, we are all figuring it out as we go, hopefully becoming wiser with each challenge life throws us.
First thing first, you’ve got to call it out, we’ve all got to get comfortable acknowledging what we feel. You need to say to yourself or those closest to you that you are having a self doubt attack. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.
Then it’s time to give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling, to experience your feelings. This is done alone and please do not avoid this by trying to fix anything just yet. This is definitely the hardest part, feeling and embracing your vulnerability. I’ve helped many people do this now for many years and it’s incredible how many people really struggle with intense emotions and not being able to fix things. We need to allow our feelings to wash over us, lean in, sit with ourselves, feel, allow ourselves to fully experience this. Let the thoughts and feelings keep coming, don’t move, be receptive to all that you are thinking and feeling.
The aim is to not react to any of your worst thoughts or fears, not believe them, not think too far ahead, stay as current and present as possible and just keep leaning in and breathing, it really works.
After you’ve got them all out it’s time for some healthy distraction, you definitely need to go off topic and distract yourself. You need to know what will give you some relief in this moment, never try to solve a problem when you are in fear or overwhelmed. Always get in alignment first and then come back to your situation with a clear mind. To get in alignment you are going to need to do the thing that gives you the most relief in your current circumstances. That might be going for a walk or a run, meditating, reading a book, having a swim in the ocean, whatever it is that makes you feel good and that you have the capacity to do. Then, you are going to need to choose a different response and different thoughts, you are going to need to choose thoughts and language that are self-supporting, calming and kind.
You’ll need to break the situation down into small and manageable parts and just do what can, if you start to feel overwhelmed again breathe and take a break and repeat the process.
There is nothing we can’t manage or solve, there is always a way, you are way more resilient than you know.