There is just something about this year that has not really brought any comfort. Things don’t make sense, life feels stagnant, nothing feels certain… it’s been a rollercoaster. It’s fine to say all of that, but what are you going to do about it? We have just a few weeks left till the end of what may be the rockiest year anyone has experienced and thank goodness for that. What I hate to admit- but feel obliged to say – is that just because the sun sets and rises on another year, it doesn’t mean that your problems will fade away. When January first comes along, what wouldhave changed? What will you do differently today so you can set yourself up for a better
year life? If you (like most) have been experiencing feelings of self doubt, here are five things that I’d like you to know.
Not everyone will like you and that is ok
Wouldn’t the world be a wonderful place if everyone just sat in a circle, holding hands, singing Kumbaya? I’m not sure if you’ve seen the animated movie “Trolls” but they seem to have the best village filled with so much love and excitement. Just like what we experience every day, right? Ha! Unfortunately real life isn’t that way, so you need to just accept that there will be some people who don’t like what you stand for, the way you look, the way you speak, etc.
Also, just as they have every right not to like you, you also have the right to not like others too. And that’s ok as long as respect is maintained. Find ways to make sure that you are filtering all potential sources of self doubt and replace those with positivity. As an example, I personally don’t use social media religiously because of the impact it has on my psyche and behaviour. There has been tonnes of research that indicates just how negative of an impact social media can have on people, so I have happily moved away from it and focused my energy on living. If that’s also something you need to do as well to accept that you aren’t like everyone else, do it.
Figure out where the feeling is coming from
I’m partially saying this for you but mostly for myself as every day brings a new challenge. Many of you already know that I speak about mental health quite frequently because of the skeletons from my past. However, what may not come across is that every day is a step further into the battlefield. What I’ve learnt on my personal journey is that you can’t expect to overcome feelings of self doubt overnight because that is not how the human brain works. Every emotion comes from somewhere, be it a past experience, social norms or what is portrayed on the media.
If your end goal is to let go of the baggage holding you back and take a step closer to reaching your end goal, it is extremely important to understand exactly where the negative feeling comes from so you can address each issue individually. Don’t believe me? Ask your GP – it’s much better to treat the problem and not just the symptoms.
Practice daily affirmations
Guys, I know, I know, it’s cheesy and over played but trust me, it works. I don’t personally stand in front of the mirror and say “hello you sexy beast” because it doesn’t work like that. What has worked for me is countering negative thoughts with a number of positive ones throughout the day. This year was meant to be the year of success, the year I participated in a CrossFit Open, the year we moved into our own home, the year I secured a promotion at work, etc. I’ll stop right there because the point isn’t about what hasn’t happened, it’s about what has. They say every cloud has a silver lining, but it is up to you to find it.
During this pandemic, I gained a lot of weight. Not just your typical holiday weight, I’m talking about the “I need new clothes because my pants don’t fit” kind of weight. Am I bothered by it? Of course! Do I hate myself for it? Absolutely not! It is amazing to know that my toxic relationship with food is no longer such that requires me to punish myself for eating or gaining weight. I’m absolutely grateful that my body was able to fight off the coronavirus and come out stronger. I’m happy that I was forced to practice patience because it is translating into other aspects of my life… I could go on, but you get the point. For every bad thing that happens, identify the good and remind yourself of it.
If at first you don’t succeed, try again… or find something else you love
You know the funny thing about experience? It teaches you something new every time, which ultimately makes you a pro at what you have to do. Is experience the best teacher? Yes. Does that mean you need to keep repeating the experience if you realise that it isn’t for you? Heck no! Even though some people have learnt to be masters by repeating certain actions over and over again, that doesn’t mean that you need to follow the same path. Everyone is different – that’s why life isn’t boring – so you should also live your life differently.
Self doubt is a beast, but it isn’t immortal. If you can’t seem to find your footing in something you are doing, move onto something else. I giggled a little as I was writing this because memories of avoiding math throughout my entire business degree didn’t quite set me up for the corporate challenges that I have to face now. Please don’t be like me, use your better judgement!
Understand that everyone is unique
It may not seem like it, especially since we are living in interesting times, but trust me, it’s true. Just because people are able to alter their names, physical appearance, and behaviour, it doesn’t change who they are. You can act and talk like the social media influencers but you will never be exactly the same. Every minute you have spent on this earth has exposed you to several situations and experiences that are unique only to you. Nothing will ever change that.
What makes this even more beautiful is the fact that our experiences have played a vital role in shaping who we are today. So to change who you are, you would essentially need to travel back in time and rewrite your past. You may not be the a doctor, the valedictorian in your class or even a company’s choice hire, but you are something better: you. While that may not seem like much, you have everything at your disposal to shape the remainder of your story. You can create a path that is different to everyone else’s thanks to that special advantage: your past experiences.
There are many more things we can add to the list, but doing so would make it feel less attainable. The key to overcoming self doubt is to start small and master each step. The biggest differences come from making simple changes. Yes, simple, not easy – so be kind to yourself and celebrate every victory no matter how small.
Good luck on your journey!