I want to talk about self doubt today. How bad it fucking sucks, how constructive it CAN be, and how I’ve only recently been relieved of the negative side of it (mostly). Self doubt is something that plagues everyone. Unless your ego is the size of the moon (in that case, I have another post for you). Even the most spiritual of people question themselves, and in most cases, it’s really healthy! But there are two kinds of self doubt that I want to talk about today. The one that cripples you, that makes any decision the wrong decision. The one that holds you back from making any important choices, or makes you back down after setting healthy boundaries for yourself. And the one that helps you grow as a human being. So (as per usual) I’m going to talk about this from the only perspective I have with it – my own.
I have doubted my abilities for as long as I can remember, but let’s just use my sobriety as a more specific example. I spent a lot of time in treatment facilities, sober living homes, jail, I was even homeless for a short period of time. This was from age 18 to age 22. I could never stay sober, because at the end of the day, I simply didn’t want to. I wanted to WANT to be sober. I wanted to stop hurting my family, which is why I always went where they wanted to send me, and tried to make it work. But the motivation never came from inside me, and thus, it never stuck. That didn’t mean that I didn’t love my family, or that I had a death wish. It just meant that I could never muster the motivation to get the job done. I wanted so badly to be ready, but I just wasn’t yet. On the surface, it felt like I was trying, even though I never really was. So each time it didn’t work out, it felt like another failure. This built a pretty shaky foundation within myself. I never believed I could. So I never did.
That self doubt was the crippling kind. The one that lived inside my head as “why bother” or “there are so many people more successful than you, you don’t have a chance”. “You can’t”, “you wont”, “you shouldn’t”, “it’s too late”, the list goes on forever. Every time I tried to set a goal for myself, I had already been defeated by it before I could even get started. “If you can’t do this perfectly then what’s the point?” I was quite literally my own worst enemy. Nobody could tear me down like I could. But eventually.. I tired myself out. I was finally ready to take some suggestion as to how to live a better way.
Even though the last two years have been a more positive growing and learning experience, with much more positive results, there have been true moments of struggle. TRUE self doubt. BUT THIS WAS NOT A BAD THING! In a lot of ways, the moments that I questioned myself and my motivation for the action I was taking at the time were what made me learn and grow the most!
The key to this whole thing – the entiiire enchilada – is finding out where the voice in your head is coming from . Is it my spirit talking, or my disease? Are these questions coming from a place of self-love, or defect?
You have to learn how to dissect the feelings in your head, and see where they are coming from. For instance, say your boyfriend wanted to go hang out with a female friend, and immediately you feel tense. You don’t want him to go. You get angry, and feel disrespected. But instead of taking the feeling at face value, unpack it. Look behind it and see what thoughts are causing those feelings. Are they coming from a place of love and protection for him, or insecurities within yourself? This is pretty advanced stuff, but THIS is thought work. And girl, it will set you free. And the only way to do it, is to build a relationship with your gut, and your God.
I had to do a lot of work to sift through all the bullshit flying around my head. A lot of writing, asking questions, reading books. There is one moment that I remember very distinctly. I was about 40 days sober after I first moved to California. This was as lost as I had ever felt, because it was the time that I finally had the courage to look around and admit how far gone I had become. This was the first time EVER that I actually tried improving myself spiritually. I was given guidance to pray, and even though I didn’t know what I was praying to, I said the same thing every night. I asked for the ability to be honest with myself. Because when I tell you I had voices in my head, I really mean that. And I didn’t know which ones belonged to me, and which ones belonged to the thing that was trying to kill me. Addiction is insidious like that. It speaks in your own voice. And wouldn’t you know it, my prayer came true.
Even though my sobriety didn’t stick that time, the knowledge that I gained did. And I started to be able to be honest with myself for the first time in my life. It took years. YEARS of mistakes and successes for me to build the trust that I have with my own intuition today. And from what I’ve learned, the smallest voice is usually the one that you need to listen to. That’s you. Your spirit is quiet, your ego is loud.
There is a reason that I’ve kept quiet so long. Even though I have grown, gotten a career, put roots down, and built a little family for myself, I still was hesitant to start telling my story. Because still, in the back of my head there is that voice that tells me it’s not going to last. That I’m on borrowed time. That it’s only a matter of time until I pull everything I’ve built down on top of me. Just like I always have. I don’t know if that voice will always be there, but it has gotten much quieter with the passing months. I finally, not two weeks ago, decided that it was safe to start really pursuing my passion in hopes of building a foundation for my future. This is all still very new to me. But I have become so in touch with myself, that it only seems natural.
By no means is this a black and white process. There is no end result. It’s a relationship with the universe and yourself that is constantly changing, growing, evolving. But you have to start somewhere, and once you are on the path, there is no going backwards. You start to feel guided, like where you’re going has purpose. You don’t question yourself nearly as much. There is no buildup of stressors, an emotional outburst, and then guilt and regret. To be able to trust my own judgement today is no small feat, for someone who came from what I came from. And all I’m saying is that if its possible for me, it’s possible for you, or anyone else with the desire to change.