Overcoming self-doubt is perhaps one of our biggest obstacles when it comes to having the life we truly want. Just like any fear-based state (such as anxiety, worry, panic, etc.), self-doubt keeps us small and frozen, too shaky to move in any way at all.
When we are paralyzed by self-doubt, we remain stuck in mental congestion, doing time in the prison of the endless pros and cons of the options laid in front of us. In this state, we are overly identified with our thinking as we stay disconnected from our body (and our heart!).
Living in Fear
When we are ‘taken’ by self-doubt, we would rather stay put than act, since acting in any way signals danger. What if I act then fail? What if this is not the right decision? Maybe I’m not good enough for this? Do I really deserve it? Maybe I should think more? And on and on it goes…
Self-doubt paints its fearful reality and our ‘not enoughness’ with such conviction that we tend to believe it without doubting our doubt. An inner voice says I’m not enough so I buy it! An inner voice keeps me divided between ‘I can’ and ‘I cannot’. So I stay divided, disempowered, stuck.
One of the first things to notice about self-doubt is how heavily thinking-oriented it is. We are literally stuck in our heads. Once we notice this and notice it with more than our mind, our task is simple: Connect with body, sensation, and emotion.
Disempower the disconnected, fear-driven mind. Come back down into the body and stay there until thinking settles on its own.
This may not be a pleasant or comfortable experience since much of what we don’t want to feel is now more obvious and we are, well, feeling it. Yet being stuck in the mental mazes of self-doubt wasn’t a walk in the park either!
As you stay with the body, feel into it, be with it. You might encounter the contractedness of fear there. When you notice this, stay. Stay with this fear, breathe into it, breathe around it, breathe as it and expand the container that is the space of your awareness around your fear. Give your fear a bigger space in which to unfold.
Explore Deep-Rooted Feelings
Self-doubt has its roots in our early past. The fearfulness inherent in it originates at a time we might not even remember. Perhaps our “mistakes” weren’t handled well when we were a child and so now in an attempt to “avoid” mistakes, we stay put.
Explore the fear animating your self-doubt and explore it with your whole being. This is how we get to the core of our self-doubt. As the fear expands and reveals other emotions (such as anger, shame, grief, etc.) you’re going to feel less contracted and more fluid, less paralyzed and more dynamic. You will have both the energy and the courage to take needed stands and risks in your life.
As you get to the heart of your fear, you will realize fear itself is not a problem for as long as we don’t lose ourselves in it. Fear is part of life. And so is doubt.
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