“Self-doubt is chopping your personality up into pieces and scattering them to the wind.”
Mark Peter Kahn.
I have spent decades creating this work and yet I continue to discover new things. Isn’t life wonderful?
What I discovered recently is that self-doubt is one of the greatest sources of our pain and suffering and collapsed Self-Esteem.
There is no question that the moment we doubt ourselves our Self-Esteem begins to crumble.
It’s best to work with an example so let me share one with you. I’ve just read a lovely quote from a friend on Facebook which went like this: “It’s as if before you there are countless doorways, all leading to new and different hallways. So you wonder and think, calculate and stress, over whether or not you will knock on the “right” one. They all lead to the same great room so you may as well just pick one.”
But what I want to add is that in the moment that you don’t know which direction to choose, you are potentially filled with doubt.
Here’s the even bigger question. Have you ever noticed how many times in a day you are filled with doubt around a particular decision? It’s my observation that the more time we spend in doubt and uncertainty and indecision the more we fuel anxiety, the more we feel stuck and self-rejection simply accumulates.
Self-doubt says that I am uncertain, but I need to know for certain, to be without doubt.
Is that really possible and if not, then seeking the impossible is going to leave you feeling impotent.
It’s not just about decision making.
If you think someone has overcharged you for something and you don’t want to upset and offend them by challenging them, you are going into self-doubt. Can you just picture having done this and notice what you’re doing to your energy. You’re blocking its natural and spontaneous flow.
Your internal dialogue might run like this: “I don’t want to look like a money grubber or pushy!” That belief which was injected into you by the culture you live in is running you. You are a victim of that belief system.
Self-doubt is saying, “I shouldn’t be like this, I shouldn’t be thinking this, doing this, saying this.” That’s why it’s chopping up your personality into little pieces. Who and what you are is being destroyed by doubt.
The reason you doubt your self, is because you’ve subordinated yourself to someone else’s belief system. You do that often enough and you live in the energy of self-doubt and there is no internal power or love of self left.
Let me share some more examples with you and you can just check to see which of these apply to you:
- You have to prepare dialogues in your head before you meet with people when there is a conflict or when you want to say something in a meeting or in a presentation. This endless rumination in the head is going to drive you crazy and shut down your energy. Beneath these dialogues is an attempt to create and preserve an image of perfection which you want to present to the world and it will drain your energy to maintain this image.
- You break something at home and your partner is angry and you apologise and feel guilty because you believe you are a bad person for breaking this thing. The problem is that people want us to feel guilty and if we don’t feel guilty then we look callous. This is a very tricky issue. I offer you the idea that there is a continuum where on the one side you have guilt, on the other extreme you have psychopathy and in the middle is compassion for the one who you’ve upset, without any guilt. This is the doorway to power.
- Decisions…Whether to purchase some item or not, whether to confront someone and create conflict or not, which piece of work to do first, whether to continue to avoid something that is difficult or not, whether to let someone take advantage of you or not, whether to eat something or do something that is unhealthy for you or not. Whether to sleep in the middle of a weekday afternoon or not.
- You want to post a comment on Facebook and you doubt what to say, how much to say, how honest you want to be?
- I have seen so many examples in my own life and in the lives of my clients where we have a problem and then we look for the answer and we can’t find it and we go into self-doubt about the fact that we can’t find the answer. Have you ever considered the possibility that now might not be the time to know the right answer? Simply acknowledging this can be immensely freeing and empowering. To simply give up on needing to know things that cannot be known now, is to move into internal power. Just let go of needing to know until it’s time to know.
If your personality style is driver-activator type like mine, this is not easy. Your natural style is to jump into action immediately. If you act before it is time to act, you are going against life’s natural flow.
When we doubt ourselves there is tendency to feel that we are incomplete and not good enough Self-love says I am complete in spite of and in the midst of all of my mistakes and imperfections and uncertainty and fallibility.
I really love the Sedona Method and Hale Dwoskin who made the method really popular has this very irritating laugh, I mean really irritating. I was really a victim of his laughter for a long time.
One of the audio downloads that I listened to of him speaking about the method had one of the participants in the workshop criticise him because of his laugh. His response was wonderful, he said, laughing: “That’s how I laugh!”
He was completely non-defensive and not needing to change who he is for this other person.
Many years ago I was running a corporate workshop and the atmosphere was very relaxed, so relaxed in fact that one of the participants asked me why I kept using the word “stuff.” I can’t remember exactly what I said to them but I do certainly remember defending myself and apologising and thinking that I needed to change my language to make them feel better.
Essentially I was saying I was incomplete and the way I could complete myself was to satisfy and change myself in accordance with the expectations of somebody who didn’t like the language that I used when I spoke. The graphic below really reflects so beautifully my energetic signature in having to apologize for saying “stuff” too often.
If I received this criticism today I would have laughed and I might have said: “So let’s say that I stop saying ‘stuff’ and then George over there says that my language is too technical and Mary says I’m too casual, what would be left of Mark if I’m becoming all things to all people?”
Which is not to say that I would never respond to feedback from others. If you are never considering others then you are plain and simply arrogant, you’re a ‘take it or leave it’ type, which I wouldn’t recommend.
What then arises is the question: ‘How do I know when to adapt myself and when not to?‘
I don’t think you can make it more concrete than that. There’s no formula, no prescription.
What is really important, is that you will know when you are outside of your intuition, when you are anxiously ruminating in guilt and self-doubt, desperately trying to get it right.
There isn’t a ‘right’, there are just multitudes of opinions.
In essence, self-doubt is saying.
I need to be acceptable and I need to get it right.
To dissolve these two beliefs in wisdom and love, is liberation.
A closing note. Every time you subordinate yourself to a person or idea, you move into self-doubt.
If someone or something is over-admired or you stand in awe of them or it, you are putting yourself into the inferior and doubting position.
“In a society that profits from your self-doubt, to love yourself is an act of rebellion.”
In Love & Power,