How To Keep Going When Self-Doubt Creeps In

Editor’s Note: this is a guest post by Jennifer Porcelli.

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As I’ve said previously, I’m not perfect. I’m not wholly zen. I still have issues that I’m working on. That’s just a part of the human experience. We’ll always have issues, but we learn how to deal with them.

What’s one of my biggest problems? Confidence.  

I can honestly tell you that growing up and even into my adult years, I never felt like I was good enough. It is really truly exhausting. It affects every single area of your life and leaves you feeling just terrible. “I shouldn’t apply for that job because I won’t get it anyways.” Or, “I’m not pretty enough, my boyfriend is going to leave me.” Or, “I couldn’t possibly make it through masters school!” The list goes on and on.

It gets to the point where you feel so “less than” that you don’t even bother trying anymore. And if you do? You end up foiling it anyways because you’re so stuck in the fear that you’ll be proven right, that you’ll fail. This is really no way to go about living, but it’s how I’d been rolling.  

Now, I’ve worked through a lot of it, but there are still times when this fear comes up for me. Leaving a career I was good at to start a career as a writer? Sweet mother of God. There is so much fear about failing and not being good enough and not getting enough readers and not being able to really speak to people through my writing… It makes me want to quit before I’ve really begun and just take any old job like my family thinks I should.  

Now don’t get me wrong – my family are good people. They have never intentionally tried to make me feel insufficient or like I couldn’t make it. They’re always the first to sign up for my blogs, and should I have an issue, I can bring it to them. What the problem is, though, is that they can let their fear for me get in the way. Your family just wants you to have stability and to be able to provide for yourself. They believe in you, but sometimes that can mean there will be some unstable times, times where things get really rough. They want you to avoid those as much as possible, thinking that it will make your life better in the end. They don’t mean you wrong or want to hurt you, they just don’t want to see you in a bad place. This can be so damaging to your confidence, though, because you start taking their fear and adding it onto your own. So if you hadn’t wanted to quit before, you sure do want to quit now. That’s kind of where I’m at some days.  

So I woke up this morning, got myself a cup of coffee, and the fear slowly started to creep in. “Maybe you should go take that job… Do you really think you can ever be able to support yourself as a writer?” And then, all of a sudden, I heard this voice. I heard my own voice shut down the fear. I heard myself say, “The only one who needs to believe is you.” Mind. Blown. An epiphany this early in the morning? God is good.

My fear started to dissipate, and I just felt so sure. This is not just another whim for me; I’ve always been a writer. Granted, I got a degree in education, but looking back, that has helped me become a better writer and has shown me how much I want to use my journey to help children. Looking back at old journals from years and years ago, even when I was in love with being a teacher, I had written about how I really wanted to write a book. I had forgotten about these, and so I surprised myself with how badly I wanted it, and how I had written down all these great ideas but had never followed through because I was afraid of failing. But now? Looking back at everything and hearing this voice? I have faith in myself and how badly I want this. I know now that I got this, and this is what I need to do.

It’s true that our life becomes so much easier when we have a strong support system. It’s such a great feeling to have people agree with you, and tell you that you’re 100% right – right? But sometimes, people don’t understand. Sometimes, they don’t know how strong that gut feeling is. They don’t hear that inner voice telling them to go for it. But ya know what? That’s okay. They’re not the ones putting everything on the line, and they’re not the ones who can feel how badly you want something.  

You are the one who wants it. You are the one who’s going to put in all the work for it. You are the one who’s going for it. And therefore, you are the only one who really needs to believe in yourself. Everyone else can catch up later.

When other people don’t believe in you, you can prove them wrong. When you don’t believe in yourself, though? You’re doing yourself a disservice.  

If you know in your heart and soul that something is right, like really, really right, then you need to make the change and do the work; you need to believe in yourself. If you know it to be your truth, go for it, and give your family and friends some time to believe, too. We don’t always know what’s going to happen next, but when we follow our gut, we can’t go wrong.  

And just in case you need to hear it right now, I believe in you. If your heart is in the right place and you really want it, I believe you can do it. 

 

IMG_4239Jennifer Porcelli is an elementary school teacher gone writer. She is a firm believer  in a mind, body, and spirit connection, and that to thrive, we need to care for all three. 

When she’s not writing or meditating, you can find me cooking, reading, or shopping!

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