Gettin' Truthy: I Doubt It

"I doubt that camera in my face."
This post is part of Truthy Tuesdays, a new weekly over at the Maven Circle, where Jen and Jena work to empower women through encouraging them to trust their own ideas, voice, talents, etc. and guiding them to find the courage and confidence to live their dreams.

This week's topic is self-doubt: where it comes from and how to combat it. So I started thinking about what makes me feel SELF-DOUBT, that poison that tells us to STOP rather than GO. That voice that says, I CAN'T rather than I CAN.

I feel self-doubt when I compare myself to others. And I do this all the time!
I do this mostly at work, as an educator: I compare myself to other teachers. I see them thinking in ways that I don't. I see them interacting with students in ways that seem better than my interactions with students. I compare and then I doubt myself, and then the "enoughs" creep in: "I'm not smart enough; I'm not compassionate enough," etc. It's a poison fueled in part by job insecurity and in part by my own lack of confidence. This also happens with my blog. All the time.

I feel self-doubt in situations when praise is expected but not given.
Social networking is a good example--but not the only example. Sometimes sites like facebook unleash the sides to my personality that I loathe: my vanity and insecurity. The desire to be praised. The part of me that wants attention and validation. And when I'm not validated--or again, if I compare myself to how much attention others get vs. myself, I feel like I'm losing a popularity contest. I'm not as cool. Or worse, I'm not as loved.

I feel self-doubt when I create expectations for myself and then don't meet them.
For whatever reason. Is this the sign of a type A personality? Does it indicate that I ask too much of myself? Is this just NORMAL? We are a creative, industrious species. We love to learn and create. But shit, we also love to kick back with friends or with a good book or movie. So, there's the fine line: setting goals, having high expectations, and learning to forgive ourselves when it doesn't all get done.

I feel self-doubt often. Too often. When a student criticizes me. When a friend seems cold. When I look at my own work. When I compare myself to co-workers. Self-doubt seems to always be there, lurking on the sidelines, waiting to pounce. But I think that one way to fight it is to recognize its sources. I've been admitting to myself my issues with praise, and I am acknowledging those feelings when they crop up, but it's easier also to let them go once faced. I caught myself in the act of comparing myself to someone else, and I thought: She's awesome. And I'm wasting time. There are more productive things for me to be focusing my thoughts and energy on.

So maybe that's part of the process of doubting less and believing more: AWARENESS. I am aware of when I doubt, and I've already started to kill it in its tracks.


  1. i really like this post! it's very honest and brave. i have issues with self-doubt too, and i see how it can be destructive, but i think it can also help in creating balance, and in lending the ability to view the world from all different angles. it's plenty uncomfortable sometimes, but if you're not sure of yourself then you're more open-minded, you know? i feel like it's more about acknowledging the self-doubt, examining its origins and choosing how to react to it rather than trying to eradicate it completely. your mantra about "I'm wasting time..." could be a good example of that.

  2. Thank you. I think you're right: self doubt can push us to better ourselves. We just have to work to turn it into something positive/constructive rather than destructive.