“Do you ever experience self-doubt?” It seems ridiculous to start by asking that question, but I went there anyway…you’re welcome. Expressing your creativity, this jumping in and putting-yourself-out-there, it’s scary stuff. For me it means removing my turtle shell (my vulnerability armor) and doing one last review before hitting the “Publish” button. At first I experience the joy of accomplishing a new project and I feel fulfilled and proud. And then my inner critic shows up and sends me into a “self-doubt spin” for a few minutes, hours and sometimes even days, all depending on the material that I “published.” “I hope they like it.” “What the hell am I thinking?” “Did I say too much?” “Who do I think I am?”
“There is nothing more vulnerable than creativity. If it’s your art, then it’s something you love…and when you love, you’re vulnerable,” says Brene’ Brown. Sharing yourself with the world is a balancing act of connecting to how people experience you (their opinion) and not being defined by those opinions…not easy stuff here, my friend. It feels scary as hell sticking your neck out there and speaking about the things that matter…and for those of us doing it, we simply keep doing it. Why? Exactly. Because our “Why’s” are stronger than our fears or doubts. Our “Why’s” are calling us to speak out, to give more…to express…to show up.
Indulge me here…your self-doubt is your scared mind that’s trying to protect you. It believes that by keeping your life small, predictable and consistent (and controlling you with fear and doubt if you step out too far), you won’t get hurt. And collaborating with your scared mind are your inner critics…doubt, fear, uncertainty, and comparison…all working diligently to keep you afraid and in line.
Good so far? Cool. Now imagine that the remedy for your self-doubt is to do that thing that scares you. It requires “courage,” which emanates and is birthed from your strong and amazing heart, to acknowledge the mind game of self-doubt and keep moving forward anyway. You see, if you’re moving in the direction of your “Why,” you will be doing new things, which is vulnerable, exciting AND scary. But, because you’ll keep moving through it, your mind game of self-doubt will give way, because your heart always overrules your head (it’s the anatomy chain of command (yes, I made that up)).
Back to me…because self-doubt decided to creep (because it’s creepy) in a few days ago and I felt myself retreating into my turtle shell, I chose to move through it and find some of its benefits (yes, I’m a little crazy…yes, I’m good with it). What I discovered is that Self-Doubt has great purpose for self-realization.
Here we go…If Self-Doubt is:
- A Fantasy (a projection of fear, rejection, dread, failure, and judgment…all things that haven’t happened) – Bring yourself back to this very moment and your “Why” (to connect, to serve, to love, to co-create peace, etc.).
- Fear of Rejection – Find where you might be rejecting yourself. This, in turn, can create a beautiful opening for self-compassion and ultimately, self-acceptance.
- Disbelief and Distrust– Do some soul-searching for where you lack faith…for where you underestimate the magic of this world and the miracle that you are.
- Comparing Yourself to Others – Gain insight into how you place others either above (“my hero”) or below you (“that poor soul”).
- Uncertainty and Lack of Confidence – Engage in some self-compassion and validate the courage you are expressing by jumping in…and then “let go” and trust.
- Fear of Judgment – Explore where you might judge others for doing exactly what you’re doing, as “judgment” typically is self-projection. See The Good and Not So Good of Judgment (ye ol’ judgment blog).
Okay friend, you have a choice…If you don’t want self-doubt to knock on your door, stop growing, expanding, contributing, stretching, and constantly challenging your comfort zone. You will stay predictably numb and seemingly comfortable. You will shut the door on your creativity. Your mind might feel safe, your heart and your spirit will feel shattered and rejected…and I guarantee you, self-rejection is much more painful than self-doubt.
But I know you (I’m a wizard) and I know that won’t happen…that’s just not who you are. You challenge yourself, you grow, you expand, you contribute and you constantly kick your own ass into more creativity and less comfort…because that’s who you are and because you care. As a result, self-doubt knocks on your door, maybe a lot and maybe a little, and you get to celebrate because if you’re not having self-doubt, you’re not pushing your limits.
It’s humanly okay to want to be accepted, liked, acknowledged, and embraced for your ideas and creativity. If your “Why” is clear and you enjoy what you’re doing, keep doing it and embrace the courage that it takes to keep putting yourself out there. And when self-doubt knocks on your door, thank it for reminding you what a frickin’ badass you are…as it wouldn’t be there if you weren’t showing up and stretching. Can I get a “Hell yes?” Hell yes…Peace friends ✌😊
p.s. Check out my “Self-Doubt is a Mind Game” Video
A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, Karen has had various life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching. She remains curious about the human experience and is extremely grateful for the wonderful life she shares in Southern California with her dog, Paco. You can learn more about Karen and her work at KarenSolt.com
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