I have a fear. I have a fear that it’s all in my head. What would that be? What’s in my head? Many things.
That food really matters. That I don’t feel good after I eat sugar, bread, and milk. That I can influence how my children develop. That I deserve time to myself as a mom. That I’m any different than anyone else. That I can write. That I know anything that I am talking about.
It is self-doubt. I’m not good enough. I haven’t done enough. Everyone else is smarter. They know what they’re talking about and I don’t. I’m flighty.
All my life I’ve fought it in any way that I could. I’ve fought the quiet little girl from podunkville whose parents (the best parents for me, I would never trade them ever) live exactly where they were born and never wanted more than what they had. Heck, they’re probably related for all I know.
(I remember these two doctors for my med school interview. I had to list on the application where my parents were from and even went to high school. Oh, man. They noticed that right off. “So, your parents went are from the same county? Went to the same high school?” I think I replied, “Yeah! They were first cousins.” No, I didn’t, but I felt the implied insult.)
Each day has been spent in not failing. If I do this well, maybe then I’ll believe in myself. But no matter what the measuring stick, whether you raise it to ten feet tall or drop it to 4 feet 6, my self-doubt persists.
I try to pass it off in nice terms: humility and goodness. I’m supposed to strive to be humble and good, yes? Right? It’s my religion. (Shame on me. I’m sorry. Wrong religion.)
Beginning yesterday, finally, after all these years, I see my self-doubt for what it is.
I am too proud to allow room for failure. I am too proud to risk room for being wrong, not doing it right.
The real changers aren’t too proud. They change the world. They change ideas. Their pride doesn’t interfere with what they think they know and want to share, what they’re called to share. The good ones, the humble ones–they just re-work their theories and thoughts as people expand or rebut their ideas.
The best ones DO without attaching the results to WHO they are.
Oh, don’t confuse my self-doubt with lack of self-confidence or low self-esteem. Honestly, I don’t want to be anyone other than who I am. Hand me lots of things, and I have confidence in my abilities to pull them off. (But someone else can always do it better…)
Lately, I’ve noticed sometimes that I have these strange pangs of envy and jealousy. They are not common themes in my life, and I haven’t understood them. I’m not normally that type. Because normally I’m living up to my full potential in each area of my life. Probably living up to my full potential in areas of life I shouldn’t be.
(What do I mean? Well, I’m not naturally neat, but I keep my house neat. I’m not naturally the science type, but I’ve culled myself that way for 26 years.)
I really couldn’t give a drop more in most places. And guess what–I’m not jealous in those places.
But there are a few places—places that make me characteristically me—that I’m not putting myself out there because of self-doubt, and as I stepped back to look, I saw jealousy telling me exactly that.
My self-doubt has taken me from a place of caution, which is probably good, to a place of fear and holding back, to a place of developing jealously. I see it now.
So today I say thank-you to my self-doubt and jealousy, both “BAD” feelings, for teaching me. For telling me to live up to my potential and to stop making excuses.
(“I don’t have enough time… My kids will feel neglected if… I couldn’t do that… I’m not good enough… It has already been said… I’ll look stupid… People will think I’m a fruitcake… I can’t post that blog post without a picture… I don’t run a clinic, so what I have to say isn’t important… Another real expert has a blog on this, so what is one more… Homeschooling, inspiration, and nutrition science on one blog is weird… I’ve spent 42 years of my life learning to keep my mouth shut—a very hard task for me— to look smarter, so I can’t possibly open it… My grammar isn’t good enough… Sometimes I don’t eat the way I should… Of course they can do it, they have more time. They understand computers better.”)
My self-doubt has been keeping my childish pride safe, the part that wants to prove I can do it, the part that says bicycle falls hurt. The jealousy is my inner parent telling me I’m not living up to my own potential in areas that I am called to.
Are you feeling self-doubt? (No worries! So am I–for writing this post!) Are you feeling jealousy? Despite feeling content in life? Then, my friend, you have some work to do.
Get on it. YOU have a difference to make.