06/04/2015 02:54 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Overcoming Self-Doubt: Tame Your Inner Tormentor

Introducing My Tormentor

After years of living with him, I think I've finally found a way to quiet down the jerk who plants little seeds of doubt in my brain after almost every, single decision I make. The jerk's name is Horace (because he's horrible), and he loves to make me doubt myself. When you spend every waking hour with someone, you tend to figure out how to push their buttons. And Horace has honed and shaped his button-pushing craft carefully over the years, choosing the exact right moment to start me down a dangerous path of negativity.

There is no actual way to eliminate Horace, and the vile he so cheerfully spreads; which makes him basically invincible. I can just picture the guy in a manure-brown polyester suit, pacing around a dimly lit office space, as he watches a live stream of my random thoughts. He's calculating my weakest points, and pouncing on any positivity by yelling at the top of his lungs, something to the effect of,

"NOPE! You could NEVER be a writer people would take seriously. Sure, you can write some stuff, but everyone really just feels sorry for you. Dummy."

See? He's viscous. The good news is I recently discovered a few weak spots in his armor, and that little hope of freedom from his tyranny was all I needed to start chipping away at his power over me.


Call Out Your Tormentor

So one day, Horace was being the usual downer, and wasn't really letting up. When it started affecting how I treated my children, I knew I had to do something. My husband offered to keep an eye on the kids while I meditated for a while. So I headed off to bed, fully prepared to do battle with Horace.

With my ear buds in and the door locked, I laid on my back in my warm, inviting bed and started by listening to the sound of rain. Then, I closed my eyes, let my body relax completely, took a few cleansing and determined deep breaths, and cleared my mind of all outside distractions. This is the position that empowers me most, where I do my best thinking and strongest fighting.

In my mind, we're each sitting at a desk, facing the other, in an open, yet controlled environment (that gives off a bit of a police station vibe). His mustachioed mouth holds a permanent sneer, and his dark eyes are focused, ready to ridicule.

I start with a thought about something I feel most secure about in my life, to test the waters a little bit.

"I sure love my husband and the good relationship we have," I toss out, casually.

"Ahhhh," Horace sighs, shaking his head. Then, using his best "friend-who-thinks-they-have-your-best-interests-in-mind-so-they-repeatedly-insult-you" voice, he adds, "You know, you rely on your husband wayyy too much. Maybe it's time to start thinking about his death, huh? I just think if you continuously dwell on the fact that he could die at any minute, you'll be more likely to recover once that day does come."

He sits back in his chair. And it's my turn.

Use Your Good To Conquer Your Bad

"Well, you may be right," I concede, "But, you know, we actually have a fairly healthy relationship right now. We each have our own hobbies and interests we explore, and when we get together, we're just so happy to finally be near each other. It's such a great feeling to love someone with my whole heart, instead of constantly thinking about the bad aspects of the relationship. We're really doing well."

He snorts, and quickly snaps back, "Yeah, but you're, like, a really terrible person. You know that, right?" Clearly upset with my calm and controlled response, he's jumping to my biggest and baddest insecurity.

This is when I have take a deep breath, and rely on my core strength to keep the sadness from consuming me. Once I focus and steady myself, I'm ready to pounce.

"You know," I start, in a calm and congenial voice, leaning in for effect. "I realize you want me to think I'm a terrible person, but, unfortunately, there is not much evidence to substantiate your claim. So, thanks for your opinion, but I know that I'm a good person. I understand you take a sincere interest in my life, and I can appreciate that. But you've proven to be an extremely negative influence. And, while I certainly commend your efforts, I will not let your antagonistic ways affect me anymore." Then, I smile politely, stand up, and walk out.

Boom. *Mic Drop*

You Are In Charge of Your Life

Here's what I'd like you to take away from my summit with Satan's minion:

  • Imagine meeting with and defeating your inner tormentor.
    • Give your tormentor a face and a name. It will feel that much better when you emerge victorious.
  • Meditate regularly and find your inner strength.
  • Fill your life with positive things.
  • Trust your instincts.

Self-doubt will creep in from time to time, and that pesky tormentor will keep bugging you. Just remember that you are in control of your life and the things that affect you. Don't give anyone who makes you feel worthless an extra second of your time. Politely dismiss their concerns, find what brings you happiness, and choose to be cheerful.


This post originally appeared on Defying Shadows.
Read more from Melanie on her inspirational blog, Melanie Meditates.

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