Nine times out of ten, I would say I’m a pretty confident person. OK, maybe eight. (Hmm, do you see the issue here already?)
Now, I’m all for the positivity movement that’s going around:
“Love your yourself at every size!”
“Love the person you’re becoming!”
“Be kind to yourself”.
I appreciate every one of these messages and when you’re feeling a bit crappy and scrolling through Instagram during a lull in your day or you’re lolling around in bed (not Laughing Out Loud, actually lolling), coming across an inspirational, encouraging message like that makes you smile inwardly and gives you permission for a few moments to take the pressure off yourself to be ‘more’.
So what penetrates that warm, cosy inner glow and allows self-doubt to rear its ugly head in your life again? God knows. I’m happy to use myself as a case study though to explore and hopefully find out.
You are NOT 40?!?!?!
Example A: In a text conversation with a lovely person I’ve recently started working with, I replied to a request for some personal information with:
“Gosh, I don’t know. I’ve spent the past 40 years trying to work that out…”. The person responded with (and I quote) “YOU ARE NOT 40?! She was right, I’m not 40, I’m 43.
Once corrected, she insisted she thought I was no older than 28. Cool, huh? What a lovely compliment!
Many a woman would be delighted to be taken for 15 years younger than they actually are, right? Unless, they’re, say, 21.
That’d be weird… anyway – I digress.
Did I Act Like Beyonce?
So. Did I spend the rest of the day feeling myself? Acting like Beyonce when she has fresh revelation that she’s actually Beyonce? Er, no. I had a brief moment of ‘ha, funny!’ followed by:
“I don’t feel it”
“If she saw me in the flesh, she’d never have thought that!”
“Does she think I’m immature?”
“She can’t believe the lack of things I’ve achieved in my life by the age of 43! That’s the only logical conclusion to why she doesn’t think I’m 30 yet…”
What the actual… insert appropriate (or inappropriate) word here Does this sound like a 9 (possibly 8) out of 10 level of self-confidence woman to you?
The good news is that I woke up to the fact that that train of thought was pure, hot, non-sensical garbage and I could blame it on hormones or simply living in an uncertain ever-shifting world, not helped by living during a global pandemic. I also allowed myself a bit of Beyonce-ness but stopped short of posting a ‘Felt cute. Might delete later.’ selfie on Instagram.
So How Can You Pull Yourself Together and Out of Self-Doubt?
Short of a sudden flash of revelation though, how do you pull yourself out of self-doubt? I’m asking for real. Let’s share! As for me, I tend to whip through a quick ‘case for the defendant’ in my mind.
- Look at the evidence.
- What do I know to be true. Ground yourself in some objective truth.
- Even if the ‘accusations’ were true – so what? If I looked 15 years older than I am – so what? If I hadn’t reached a certain socially accepted level of living – who cares? Well, me obviously, but why?
If that all feels a bit forensic, take a short cut and tell the nagging whine of self-doubt to “Feck off”. The very same person who paid me that compliment gave me that very advice about self-doubt’s equally nebulous younger brother, Imposter Syndrome. We’ll deal with him on another day.