With an election imminent, we are continually bombarded with the antics of politicians. And it got me thinking… maybe we could be more like them, take a leaf out of the politicians’ handbook.
What?!!? I hear you yell and scream. Bloody politicians, can’t trust them, can’t believe them, always tooting their own horn. Why on earth would I want to be like them?
Frankly they don’t give a toss what you think about them. Well they do, because they want you to vote for them, but honestly they all think they’re great. They sprout their policies and beliefs to all and sundry. Those that like them stay, those that don’t – ignore them. And really they don’t care. They move on to the next town for their campaign and know they will pick up more sympathisers – oops voters – elsewhere. They have no self-doubt; they don’t have time for it.
And this why my thoughts led me to politicians – they have to be the one group of people with a severe lack of self-doubt (or at least that’s what they show). And that is the page of the handbook that could be very handy.
Self-doubt (from hereon in written as SD) can be very debilitating. It hits all of us at some point in our lives – some more than others. SD is a hindrance that has been put upon us by well-meaning parents- “Oh you don’t want to be a Policeman, that is a dangerous occupation, why don’t you try banking?”, not so well-meaning teachers “Oh you want to be a doctor do you? Your grades will never be good enough”, and others’ ‘well-meaning advice’ that we have listened to throughout our lives.
You are not on your own. People from all walks of life have SDs. From well-known actors and artists who fear they will be tapped on the shoulder and told “you shouldn’t be here”, to business owners and entrepreneurs who have a fear of failure (as well as success) and feel like imposters because they’re struggling with the one million other things they’re not doing at that moment. The parents who fear they’re not good enough when it comes to raising the children, the kids next door who despair “I can’t run/swim/ride a bike…” “I’m too fat/skinny/tall/short…”“I’m not popular enough…”
The doctors, the teachers, the bus driver…
The list goes on.
It is not discriminatory; SD wracks us all at some point. And why does SD always seem to pop up when we want to try something new? “I want to ice skate but I’m too old and what will my kids think?” “I want to visit a nude beach but I’m not skinny enough and people will laugh at me?” “I don’t want kids, that makes me a mean person, oh and what will Grandma think?” It goes on and on.
SD stops you in your tracks from reaching your beautiful potential and living the life you truly deserve.
But it is how you react to that screaming little voice in our head that determines how much SD will affect you. SD is often the underlying cause of procrastination or intense pessimism – “Oh I’m not good enough so I won’t try new things”. However, put to good use, SD can become a motivator. You can use that mean little voice in your head to fuel your motivation to improve yourself. Fight that voice. Become indignant. “Oh you think I can’t do that do you? Well watch me!!”
I have no quick cure to overcome SD, it usually has a tight hold. However, I do have a few things you can try to lessen its grip on you.
Focus on the positive. Find something, anything, that you can look at and think – I did that, I really am good at some stuff. Have you taken a really nice photo and thought wow that looks nice? Have you written a nice email and cheered someone up recently? Did you put those shelves up yourself? Did everyone love dinner that you cooked last night? Did you walk around the block without puffing? Focus on what you have achieved so you can focus on what you really want to achieve – if you let yourself. Counteract those negative thoughts with positive energy. Positive energy goes a long way to kick self-doubt.
Look after yourself, nurture yourself. You need to take care of your own needs – eat well, drink well (water, herbal teas, – I’m not talking alcohol here), look after your body and mind. Be grateful for what you have. I have a journal- in the morning I write 10 things that I love, and at night before I go to bed I write 10 things that I am happy and grateful for. It makes me feel good to start and end the day. Meditate to relax and stay in the present. If you look after yourself, you start to feel good about yourself. If you feel good about yourself, you will want more to feel good about and then you’ll start saying no to self-doubt.
Find support – whether it is from your soul sisters, your partner, friends, family, or a coach. Support and reassurance from others goes a long way to helping fight SD. Sure sometimes they may point out your flaws (with love of course), but usually they rally to support you when needed. If you don’t have this around you, then find it. If all your friends do is find flaws and negativity, gently reduce the time you spend with them, distance yourself. Support and reassurance is the antidote to self-doubt.
Take one small step. I’ve said it, and quoted it over and over again, but all it takes is one small step. One small step is all you need to start your journey on growth. People with a growth mindset see challenges and failures as opportunities to grow; they do not dwell on what might have been. As you grow you will kick that self-doubt to the curb and start climbing mountains.
Now SD will never disappear entirely. It will rear its ugly, mean little head every now and then, but it comes down to how you react to it. How loud you let it scream. You need to turn that “You can’t do that!” to “You can’t do that?” to “Can you do that?” to “You can do that!”
As Sir Edmund Hilary once said “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”.
So start conquering. I hope I have given you food for thought. And if you need some help, remember I am here. Contact me so I can help you kick that self-doubt to the curb.
Start Kicking Up Your Heels,
PS Don’t forget to vote – remember, make it count 🙂