One in the same. Plaguing thoughts since the dawn of time; including mine. As a child, you grow up being compared to a sibling or relative. “Why can’t you be more like Sue?” “Why did you get a B? Charlie got an A+ on his project.” There are so many more examples I can place in here and I’m pretty sure you can as well. Competing with someone to get the attention and approval of others isn’t healthy, especially as a child.
These little seeds planted by your parents or other adults in your life, can manifest into something larger as you get older. Instead of building confidence in your child, your parent(s) have now created this cloak of self-doubt that you carry on your back as if it’s sewed on to your shadow.
Constantly questioning yourself is tiresome, there’s no better feeling than being insecure and inadequate 24/7. “You’re not good enough” is your theme song. As an adult you find yourself keeping a low profile, not offering up any new ideas, going along with the flow instead of taking a leap of faith.
As you begin to take that leap of faith… you look down and fall.
Having self-doubt can be a recipe for disaster in a relationship, on the job, and just living in general. You want to be accepted by your peers, lovers, co-workers and of course, your parents.
As a writer, I can’t even tell you how many times I go through these, “Is it good enough?” “Will they like it?” thoughts. So many articles have been trashed because of my self-doubt. The fear of sounding stupid overwhelms me, and in 2.5 seconds, the article has taken a one-way trip to the recycle bin. You can forget about pitching an idea, “selling myself”, for a gig.
Just recently I was talking with a peer regarding something new I wanted to do with my life, career-wise. He told me it was a “solid pitch”, and I told him to “shut up, it wasn’t.” His reply, “Definitely a better pitch than you are giving yourself credit for.” That’s the problem, I don’t give myself credit for anything.
Feeling inadequate and small, takes over any feelings of accomplishment. It’s ridiculous and so damn tiring. It’s not that I WANT to stay this way, but that little voice in my head just won’t let me be great.
Trust. I just don’t trust myself to overcome the doubt. Believing in myself is something I struggle with daily. Fear of failing, fear of making mistakes, not being good enough, the list goes on and on.
As someone who’s so tired of these inadequate feelings, I had no choice but to bring it up in a session with my therapist. As for what I can do to change my thought process? My therapist shared a few tips:
1. Get out of your head. Shut those negative thoughts down just as quick as they pop up. Turn those “you can’t” thoughts into “you can”. Reinforce positive sayings in your mind.
2. Post-it notes. Find positive quotes that speak to your soul and put them all over your home. Leave yourself a note on the refrigerator saying you’re worth it, you deserve it, you can do it. Place them on your refrigerator, computer, bathroom, TV… whichever area you frequent.
3. Self-help books. My therapist recommended a few books that might help me on my quest to having faith in myself.
4. Set goals and keep track of them. Keep track of how long it took you to accomplish them from when you started and write down how it made you feel. Take note on what positive things were said to you and put them on the same page. A spreadsheet, if you will. Start off with small goals and gradually build up. Feed your ego. Right now it’s super hungry, nurture it and watch it grow.
I have a long way to go on this journey to eradicate my atelophobia; won’t you join me and tackle your own?
MizCaramelVixen is a blerd and comic book lover who just so happens to struggle with several mental health issues; chronic depression, PTSD and anxiety; domestic violence/sexual abuse survivor. Proud owner of VixenVarsity and creator of #BlackComicsMonth. Follow her on twitter: @MizCaramelVixen