Moving beyond self-doubt

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am a thinker. An over-analyzer. It keeps me from doing a lot of things I could or even should be doing (meeting friends, meeting deadlines). This is why I decided that my word of the year 2014 would be ‘yes!’, as in, to say ‘yes’ to things more often rather than thinking in my regular ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’.

If the past month of doing so made me realize anything, it’s that doing the things I would normally dodge or cancel actually makes me feel a lot better. It’s the breaking out of my comfort zone (which, ironically, isn’t all that comfortable to start with) that creates moments that are completely worthwhile. Setting aside my doubts, anxiety and mostly my insecurity creates a space of actually ‘living’ rather than just thinking about living.

What usually kept (or, still keeps) me from going ahead and doing those things is my insecurity. As someone who overthinks everything, I create a lot of obstacles in my head that block options. Whereas someone else might experience that as difficult, for me it can feel paralyzing. Instead of breaking out, I close off to the possibilities and lock myself in self-doubt.

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Over-analysers often tend to be perfectionists as well. If we didn’t care so much about how things turned out, we wouldn’t give them so much thinking time. It’s this perfectionism that often keeps me from socializing. When I don’t feel like I’m in ‘a good place right now’, I’d rather not meet up with friends. I want them to experience my happy me, rather than weighing them down with my less-happy me. A friend of mine confronted me with this recently, by asking me what I’d do if he told me the same thing. What if he told me he wasn’t in his happy place, and that’s why he didn’t want to see me. Would I be okay with that, or would it make me want to see him even more, to help move past the negativity?

Ummm, d’oh! I’d book the first train ticket to come see him!

So why is it that I react so differently when it concerns me? Why do I not allow others to help me move past that negativity? They do not even have to know they are it; I know from experience that going ahead and saying ‘yes’ to things that make me háve to break out of my self-doubt and step into ‘real life’ are already enough to break out of the negative space.

I know everybody goes through hard times. I know nobody feels perfect all the time.

It is extremely silly to accept that as a ‘no problem!’-thing from others, yet allowing it become the main reason to lock myself away from enjoying life and all the amazing people in it when it concerns myself.

If I do not expect others to be 100% happy all the time, why do I expect myself to be so? And how did I let that translate into the silly notion that others expect that of me as well?

The thing is: they don’t. Nobody (well, except myself) expects me to be 100% perfect. Ever. Because, deep down, we all know better than that. We all know that nobody ever is. Realizing this is one thing. Acting on it is another. Moving past that self-doubt, those insecurities and that self-made pressure is not easy, but so far, it’s been worth it. Saying ‘yes’ to things has opened so many opportunities not just for fun things, but also for deeper connection. But more on that next time.

One thing I’d like to share now, though, is a realization I had: My paralyzing over-analysing is not a ‘given fact’. Yes, it is part of me, a big part of me, even. But, it’s not like I cannot work on it and go against it, if I put in the effort to do so. Being aware of this habit is the first step into moving past it. It’s not like I broke the habit and changed my persona in the past month, nor do I expect I ever will. But I did realize that, even though it might be my first response to let myself overthink and freeze up, I can decide to make a different choice and go against that initial response. And that is quite a liberating realization!

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17 thoughts on “Moving beyond self-doubt

  1. Yes yes yes!!!
    So much you are saying here is profound and important to me too. I will let it sink in and feel with it. Then I’ll come back and reply more fully. (Right now I’m needing to be outside with the beauty of our snow…and our visitors are about to depart.)
    I love it when you write and share yourself.

  2. So much here resonates with me too. I’m a terrible over-thinker about anything and everything and it’s definitely my downfall. And the socialising thing is totally true too, why do we have such high, unrealistic expectations?!

    Stepping out against your ‘norm’ is tough but SO worth it, and makes you realise you’re stronger than you thought. (But then, I know you’re a tough chick) xx

  3. “going ahead and saying ‘yes’ to things that make me have to break out of my self-doubt and step into ‘real life’ are already enough to break out of the negative space.” That’s called distraction in cognitive psychology. A great way to stop a downward spiral! Do it, more and more, and every time you’ll get better at it.

    Of course you can change. The thoughts you describe at the end of your post are called automatic thoughts. They come whether we like them to do so or not, but do we pay attention on them is up to us.

    When a bad moment comes, what works for me is distraction – thinking of something else or going on to do something, better yet with other people. Also, relaxing my body helps a lot in my anxiety bursts – like squeezing a fist and then relaxing the muscles.

    Going up against our fears is demanding, and not the natural choice, yet whenever I’ve done it, it has always ended up building my self-trust afterwards.

    A great post!

  4. Thanks for this wonderful post. I so relate, thinking, thinking and not enough putting into action. I love identifying the ‘moving beyond comfort zone..’ Sending positive vibes and gentle compassion to your beautiful soul….lol
    Love Ziggy

  5. In fact….I’d be deeply suspicious of a 100% happy even keeled person. For sure. I would think they were not -human. Or fake. Or.. boring.

    Good thing they don’t exist.

    I hide… and it isn’t even about the state of my “mood” it’s always about the state of my physical. But it’s not about me feeling like they are looking at my body and it’s … stuff. It’s almost as if I feel so uncomfortable in my body I feel like I am not myself.

    Maybe you can relate to that dissociation — maybe you tend to (but not anymore!) are more uncomfortable with yourself when you are in a “bad” mood. Maybe I have to learn to integrate and accept the me that is healthy and maybe even a bit pudgy as ME. Maybe we need to embrace the part of us that has the feels.

    • Its indeed mostly how I feel about my physical (negative) that makes my crappy (negative) mood. Maybe more than the other way around. However: Nobody except me cares. Not about my size, anyway (well, unless it’s too little. Then people got hella loads to say about it. But that’s not been the case for longgg tiiiimes now).

      Pudgy and healthy is good. Thing is, a little more pudgy is still good. Lots more pudgy as well. I know you live in a ‘beach culture’ place, but really, health is nothing to be messed with and (especially considering our backgrounds) a little more is a little better. The only thing is that we need to learn to be okay with it. And that’s haaaaard. I know!! But I also know its do-able. Email me when you need to talk, will ya? xxx

      • It’s like walking around in bubble wrap. So hard to function normally. Hard to take my mind of “bubble wrap.”

        I NEED to email you …. and Facebook message now that I can no longer work What’s app. FB IM is free texting!

  6. I really related to this post, and I especially liked the bit about your comfort zone not being that comfortable to start with … I can relate to that! :-) I think you’ve reached a very wise place, with your attitude towards overthinking. Yay!

  7. I admire so much how far you have come and how hard you work to grow.
    Your writing is so clear and full of wisdom for one so young.

    For me – I have to find a balance between pushing gently on my edges and knowing when to nurture myself with alone time. Finding that balance is key. And it is always changing. I’ve pushed myself out into social interactions and had that back fire. AND I’ve stayed alone until I was isolated and lonely….finding how to put myself in social situations that I can handle is really helpful in having little steps of success.

    Love to you.

    • Yeah, one thing to keep in mind though; balance doesn’t happen in a situation, it happens in all of them together. So it’s okay to push yourself too far socially once, and stay in too long a bit as well. The balance is over the total.

      Thanks for your compliment. I feel the same way when I read your posts; you are so aware, so hard working and so darn insightful!

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