Many of today’s self-help pundits proclaim that self-doubt should be abolished, and it’s advice we typically hear from friends and relatives, “don’t doubt yourself!” Like so many things in life, it’s a question of balance and moderation. Too much self-doubt leads to stagnation and indecision. Too little self-doubt leads to antagonism and belligerence. So, let’s take a closer look.
Too many people belittle themselves, beat themselves up, and consider themselves to be undeserving of the bounty of life. Often this goes back to how they were treated as children and carry that conditioning into their adult life. Unfortunately, too often this shows up in how they treat their own kids… not being good enough. At this end of the spectrum, self-doubt does need to be worked on. We need to recognize how beloved we are. The troubled times in our lives are not because we are not loved or taken care of, but because we are loved and taken care of. The hard times are opportunities for learning and growth, but of course, many miss this entirely and just react to how circumstances measure up to their likes and dislikes. We are children of this grand creation and loved beyond measure. Sometimes it’s hard to see it, but that doesn’t make it untrue. All you have to do is read a few near-death experiences to see how boundless love encompasses us always. When that is realized, there is no room for self-doubt. A practical way to look at this is to recognize and nourish your inner child. How would you treat that child, protect and love that child? How would you encourage that child? Well that child is trying to speak to you now, are you listening?
If that thought resonates, you may be interested in Lucia Capacchione’s Recovery of Your Inner Child: The Highly Acclaimed Method for Liberating Your Inner Self.
On the other side of the spectrum, one can have too much self-confidence. We all know people who think they are always right. They can be bullish and insensitive, without much empathy. If we recognize that we are responsible for everything in our lives, then that should be a cause for a little pause. If the situation is causing pain to others, what’s our role? Maybe there’s a need to look within and be a bit introspective. Instead of always doubting others, the first step is to look at oneself. Over-confidence has led to arrogance in our world, and much sensibility has been lost. Too much blind belief and not enough searching… too much self-belief brings confidence without clarity, so we must always remain curious and question how we are choosing to engage. Have you heard of the old adage, “measure twice, cut once…” Doubt is a search for truth, but keep it balanced… don’t turn it into suspicion. Doubt means your intelligence is on, discernment is on, and nothing is taken for granted.
As we can see, a small measure of self-doubt is healthy but too much is bitter. In that way, self-doubt is like salt. Take a pinch to enliven your decisions with integrity and clarity, but not too much that overwhelms and limits you.
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