Self-doubt is a block to moving forward and growing. With all the mind diseases that are around, and all the people who are trying to tell us what to do, how to think, how to be; if we can't think for ourselves and are not aware, we go further and further away from our true sense of being. If we lack an inner sense of confidence (not an egoistic confidence but a naturalistic one), and if we doubt our own truth, it will be easy to be manipulated. If we doubt ourselves, we neglect paying attention to our essence.
The farther away we get from our truth, the more confusing it gets. We are puzzled by why we feel the way we do. In some cases, we may even have achieved materialistic senses of life, but
still feel unsatisfied. There is something missing. But what is it? We may experience too much guilt, shame, insecurity, fear and worry. We may put too much effort or time in impressing others and making an image. We may lose ourselves in the image we made. Furthermore, we may feel like our emotional baggage is getting heavier and heavier making the walk through life a burden.
Many of us may have been chasing other people's beliefs, dreams, ideas, and rules of life rather than that of our own. What a feeling of loss if we suddenly become aware! But we have to realize that it is never too late. Self-doubt is created when we want to imitate others and want to have what others possess, thinking that it is what we need, and want to copy other people's ways of thinking. It is great to have trustworthy sources from which we get guidance and learn, but when it comes to the experience of life, we all have an innate ability to choose our own way, what role we want to play in life, and how we want to experience it and learn from it.
As soon as we start challenging those patterns and pay attention to our essence, we are on our way to building an balanced sense of inner trust and confidence. When we doubt ourselves, we forget about our individuality, uniqueness, how we are connected to others, and our place in the world. We don't have boundaries, we feel stepped over, taken advantage of and overwhelmed. All of these can create a sense of us vs. them, a self-creation that may bring resentment and anger.
Too many of us are spending too much time undoing the damages created by us or others, due to lack of clear boundaries. This is the energy and time we could have spent building something.
Self-doubt comes when we don't know who we are. When we trust others' opinions and thoughts more than we trust ourselves; when we don't think we are good enough to have self-value, to have needs, to have ideas based on facts and knowledge, and to want to grow. It is rooted in the lack of self knowledge.
Self-doubt causes us to escape from ourselves and continually focus on the outside, not because we truly want to but because we are forced to, satisfying others consciously or unconsciously at all costs, a service that may create resentment and anger rather than love and connection. It creates negativity because it is not based on love but is rooted in a sense of escape -- an escape from self. When we provide service to others from a state of self-knowledge and awareness, we do it from a place of purity. Therefore, it does not create any resentment or negative feeling. Instead, it creates a sense of inner joy, love, and connection. Nothing good can be created if the seed is anxiety, escape from the self, fear and a lack of awareness.
At the end, self-doubt opens the door to self-neglect.
Here is a list of things you can do to help yourself with the process of self-reflection.
- Start with learning to be in control of your thoughts and quieting them, or replacing them with something productive that is effective.
- Learn to have boundaries for your needs, wants, desires, and sense of enjoyment. Try to focus more on simple things and learn to take pleasure doing them. Distinguish between your wants and your needs and prioritize. Don't sacrifice needs for wants.
- Do self-reflection practices a few times a day. Remember that practice makes perfect. When a situation is bothering you, self-reflection can help you see, rationally, how you contributed to it.
- Test yourself to see how you can shift your focus onto the solution rather than the problem and how you can calm your mind.
- Spend some time every day to learn something new: A little about a new culture, history, language, science, disease, health, disorder, condition etc. Or learn something about someone, and definitely about yourself. Every day, stretch it a little farther. You may even want to start learning about something you are intensely judgmental about.
- Evaluate your traditional values and beliefs to see whether they are helping you develop, or if they are limiting you and blocking you from growth. If the second, perhaps it is time to reconsider and make progress.
- If you belong to any group or organization that wants to make you think you are in some way superior to others because you belong to that group, or that their way is the best and only way, you may want to see why you were attracted to that group and question your intentions.
- In your quest for spirituality, question your intentions, since intention is the number one key to knowing which level of spirituality you stand at. Do you want to be spiritual out of habit, tradition, fear, escape, or a need to belong and feel important? Or is your thirst for spirituality based on a true form of love-based craving for connecting to your source?
- Take good care of your body: Eat healthily, exercise, and be selective of what you put in your body, including what type of music you listen to; what you look at and what you get from looking at it; what you smell; and what you touch. What goes in must be nurturing you and enable you to be healthy. Be selective and focus more and more on quality, not quantity. Quantity is the thing of an ego; quality is what the higher self is interested in. Stay away from chemicals, processed food, artificial flavors, alcohol and drugs as much as possible.
- Don't get ensnared by what is popular, but seek what is right. Be an active part of your choices, not a passive follower. Be a free soul, not a slave of external factors. At the same time, be aware.
- Remember that no matter what baggage you are carrying, there is an essence within you that is pure and ready to move forward. After you work through your baggage, you can reach the essence and start moving. You always have the choice, and it is never too late.
- Your expectations of yourself and your life should be reasonable, depending on your abilities, the size and weight of the baggage you're carrying, your environment, and your limitations. You should not compare your progress with another. You can only compare it with yourself, to see how far you have gone within a certain period of time. Everyone is different, and what you see may not be what there really is, so comparison could be misleading and unfair.
At the end, I will add one of my poems which I hope you enjoy.
"Wake Up Call"
What we need to pay attention to, we isolate from
What we need to stay away from, we have become
When we need to connect, we detach
When we need to let go, we try to catch
What we need to use, we put aside
What we need to get rid of, becomes our pride
Distractions turn into attractions
Mind illnesses create group reactions
We want to feel right, we don't know how
We try to connect, we don't allow
We talk the talk, but there is no true walk
We take a few steps toward the mistaken block
We keep our mind on a misguiding source
We cannot learn the truth from an untrue course
We neglect the unseen force
We feel a sense of remorse
When does it stop, when does it end?
All of that is in your hand, my friend