Self Doubt. We all get it. But what happens when that little bit of self-doubt starts to take over? When it consumes you and it is no longer a feeling you get every so often, but an all consuming feeling that dominates your daily life?
Self Doubt is defined in the dictionary as- 'Lack of confidence in oneself and one's ability'. There's a fine line with self doubt. Sometimes it can be helpful (like the time you tried to vault an exceedingly high fence, then doubted your abilities), but other times it can stop you from trying new things, being adventurous or even going out at all. I am fiding that I am now beginning to cross that line. No longer is my self doubt stopping me from doing something stupid (like eating a whole lemon), it's stopping me from going out with friends, talking and socialising with people, or even wearing nice clothes.
I am beginning to doubt myself, my abilities to talk to people, and how I look. I no longer want to go to parties, try out new clothes, meet new people. I don't even want to go to my Year 13 prom. There's always this nagging doubt at the back of my mind, shrouding everything I do or that I try to do: 'I've been an idiot' or 'I am going to make a fool of myself'. If I have gone out somewhere or to a party I will come home extremely anxious and sad, and spend hours on end lying in my bed running over everything I say and concluding it was a mistake, I am an idiot. I then doubt my abilities to go out again. And it happens over and over again.
I recently had my 'last day of school, excuse to get drunk, leavers day' and I spent it with some close friends I hadn't seen in a while. But as soon as I got home the thoughts creeped in. 'You didn't sit in the right way, you dind't talk to that person enough, you were a complete idiot when you talked to that person, what about your other friends?' A monologue that runs over and over in my head till I fall asleep, that wraps around my brain until all I can see are the words 'Idiot' or 'Fool' behind my closed lids, and I am afraid to go out again.
I croseed the line, in fact as Chandler from Friends would say 'The line is a dot to you!' and I desperately want to be back on the other side, but how? I recently read a blog post by tiny buddha all about the five easy steps to rid yourself of self doubt, and it was a great starting point for me. Now when I start to feel the negative monologue creeping in I shut it out, sometimes physically by squeezing my eyes shut tight. I have also started singing positive things out loud to myself, little things like 'You can talk' and 'You look great' just to propel me out the door and go see the world. And I am hoping that bit by bit these little changes will knock down the fortress of self doubt that I have built around me, and hopefully one day I will be on the right side of the line. However I will never try to eat a whole lemon again, somethings you just have to doubt yourself on....
And to finish, how about a little quote from Shakespeare, who really was one smart cookie:
“Our doubts are traitors,
and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure