The upside of self doubt

When you hear the self-improvement people whether for personal, business, or relationships they almost always mention self-doubt as a thing to overcome and work through.  It is a negative.  Well how about playing the devil’s advocate.  How can self-doubt help you?  Let’s take a look.

What Is Self-Doubt?

Self-Doubt: lack of confidence in oneself and one's abilities.  We all experience it from time to time.  If everyone experiences it then from where does it arise?  One theory is that self-doubt arises from fear.  Another would be that it comes from past criticisms or past failures.  What if you have never entered a certain situation which you have no way of knowing the outcome from a personal perspective which goes back to fear.  One of the more interesting theories on the origin of self-doubt is rooted in abandonment issues from when we children.  It isn’t necessarily that you had bad parents but when we are children much of our identity is with our parents.  We have yet to develop a completely separate sense of self.  For example when we want our toy and our care provider and protector is not immediately there to hand it to us we would cry.   Perhaps we are reliving those imprints as adults.  That is interesting but I’m not sure.  I believe that as with so much in our lives it goes back to fear.  The survival part of our brains is continually working in the background.  It is trying to keep us alive.  Most likely as with all things related to our lives it has multiple causes.   

 What’s the upside?

When confronted with self-doubt we always have a choice.  When confronted with any situation we have a choice.  A choice in how we react.  How you handle your doubt determines your fate.   If you don’t let the doubt crush you it will allow you to see other probabilities and to be innovative.  It can push us to imagine other possibilities.  See things differently.  Imagine other outcomes   Doubt can make ideas stronger. 


“The impediment to action advances action.  What stands in the way becomes the way”

-       Marcus Aurelius

In other words, the obstacle is the path.  If faced with this overbearing doubt you will know which direction to go in.  How to proceed with the dilemma you face.  You can conquer your fear.

Which leads to the next positive aspect of self-doubt.  The pain that accompanies that feeling is called growth.  Instead of seeing it as a “bad” situation.  You can use that difficulty to see the other side of the challenge.  To imagine who you will become.

Remember, you always have a choice.  It isn’t always easy and 99% of the time when faced with challenging situations we rely on past conditioning.  Focus on the growth.  Focus on what you want and not what you don’t want. 

Until Next Week,

Rich Decker – Mindful Accord